Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Catherine Review

Platform(s): Playstation 3, X-Box 360
Developer(s): Atlus Persona Team
Publisher(s): Atlus
Genre: Puzzle-platformer/Survival-Horror/ Adult-Adventure
Rating: M for Mature
Price: $59.99

A man told me once that there are three things that are certain in life: death, drama and taxes. The first will happen regardless, the last whenever money is involved, and the second – drama – will happen at any given moment. And Catherine, the survival-horror puzzle game developed by Atlus is chock-full of drama from the moment you turn the game on. But does the drama – and the insanely challenging puzzles – breathe life into this game or condemns it to an early death?

The Story

Vincent Brooks (age 32) is trapped in a nightmare, facing a choice of marrying his longtime girlfriend Katherine or moving on to the incredible blonde he just woke up next to – named Catherine. The worst part is, if he makes the wrong choice, he could end up dead.

The Pros

So…I’m gonna try to be unbiased with this game. First of all, the graphics of this game are nice. A mix between crisp 2D and 3D Japanese-style animation, the presentation of the game is good. It makes the game seem like you’re playing through an anime storyline, which caught my eye at first.

Secondly, the puzzles are a personal pro to me. The goal of the puzzles is for you to reach the top of the tower by rearranging blocks for you to climb. It’s challenging and slightly mind-boggling, requiring you to think on your feet a bit because spending too long on one area will have the ground fall out from underneath your feet. Thankfully, if you find yourself stuck, you can undo a move with the push of a button.

Finally, the story was a personal pro in my opinion. Although the pacing of the story was a bit…expected at times (like the repetitive drinking Vincent does at his favorite bar only to find himself waking up with the other girl), it doesn’t get too overloaded with drama to make it seem like a bad Jerry Springer episode.

The Cons

Okay…so what’s exactly bad about this game, you ask? Well, for starters, the price of Catherine is the first con that hit me when getting this game. Honestly, as good as I think the game is, it’s not worth the $60 that you have to put out for it. $40, yes, even $50 would be somewhat acceptable, but not $60.

Secondly, the difficulty of the puzzles is something that can be listed as a con as well. Now I wrote it as a pro because I enjoy some challenging puzzle games but there are points in the game where you wonder why they made the puzzles that difficult. In fact, the difficulty of the puzzles was something that the developers of Catherine had to create a patch for due to people’s reaction. Of course, that was the Japanese version of the game, however if even the Japanese have an issue with it, then you know that the game isn’t going to be a breeze.

Finally, the game’s overall presentation was something that fell into a bit of a con. When you first look at the game, either through advertisements or first glance, you get the feeling that it’s like Heavy Rain, only with puzzles to add a bit of variety in it. And unless you’ve followed the game like a few friends I know, you find yourself disappointed with the fact that you spent $60 on a drama-filled puzzle game that probably let down your expectations.


If you’re a fan of mind-boggling puzzle games with a somewhat interactive storyline, then I suggest you get this game. If you’re an anime fan, then you may want to pick this game up and add it to your collection. The storyline, puzzles, and the overall feel of the game will have you either addicted or enjoying yourself.

Outside of that…I suggest that you not get the game. Catherine screams of a cult-favorite, simply for its puzzles and nothing more. Honestly, it’s a hit-or-miss like most games but I have the feeling that it would be a miss for the average video game player.

Final Score: 3/5


  1. I definitely agree with this review. When I first saw the game, I was really excited about it. But, after reading and watching some of the reviews, I find it very disappointing right now. In my opinion, I think Atlus is riding off the graphics and the anime in this video game because I didn't even know it was a puzzle game at first. It's a great idea overall, but I totally agree that it shouldn't be $60 to begin with.

  2. I think I'm not sure I understand the relationship between the girlfriend/other woman drama and his "nightmarish" (?) puzzle arena. It is a dream correct? I suppose it's just reflective of the importance of his choices in the real world and if he makes the wrong one, it could be disastrous? His mind is putting pressure on him and it directly relates to what happens in his dream? That's the only thing I was uncertain about (and the ram's horns lol).