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  • Pete Davison 5:53 pm on November 26, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, ,   

    Sunday? I could do Sunday for podcastin’. Late night would probably work best for me after the missus has gone to bed.

    Also, would anyone care to defend some dungeons this evening?

    In the meantime while I wait for the next day of Steam daily deals to roll around, here are some Thoughts On Things.


    Late to the party, I know, but I only just got a copy, courtesy of my folks who picked one up for me while they were visiting my bro.

    I like it a great deal. The story treats you as an adult — I don’t mean that in a “wow, bewbz” sort of way, but in the fact that it’s about something younger people probably won’t have been thinking about quite so much. As a 30 year old male, I felt for Vincent. While I haven’t been in his exact predicament before, I can certainly empathise with the whole “life going nowhere… but is it easier to just leave things as they are?” idea. The story kept me interesting throughout, and it felt like a very “intimate”, personal game. Andie wasn’t a big fan of watching it, and that’s fine — it’s not set up to be a big cinematic masterpiece. Your first playthrough, at least, encourages you to play Vincent with your own opinions and see where things end up. (I got the “Normal Lover” ending, if that means anything to any of you.) You can then go back and seek out the other endings — have just started a Chaos runthrough. I appreciate the fact that any stages you “mastered” with a gold award can just be skipped altogether.

    Mechanically, it’s interesting. I was having a discussion with someone on Twitter the other day about narrative as reward. Personally, I love being rewarded for getting through a tough challenge with the story proceeding, and Catherine certainly delivers on that count. It’s not until Vincent overcomes his Trials that his life can proceed towards the conclusion of his hellish week. At the same time, though, I can see how it could be extremely frustrating for those with less patience than me — I’m usually fine with doing things over and over if I can see what I’m supposed to do, but even I was getting to the “swearing out loud and thinking about flinging controller” stage, particularly with some of the bosses. By golly it was satisfying to figure them out and get to the top of each level, though.

    In short, then, I’m very pleased I’ve played it now and have every intention of returning to try and get the other endings. It’s short enough that this won’t be a huge problem, and I found the characters likeable enough to want to spend more time with them. It also fills me with hope for Persona 5 — if they can use that gorgeous cel-shaded art style for new MegaTen games, I’ll be very happy indeed.

    Now, onto something completely different.

    Saints Row: The Third

    I beat this today. I had a great deal of fun with it and, like Rockstar’s Bully, I now feel an active urge to seek out the additional gameplay and complete 100% of it. It’s rare that a game manages to “get” what “fun” is so completely, but this game absolutely nails it. From the moment you create your character to the increasingly bizarre situations you find yourself in as you go through (the mission called “http://deckers.die” was a particular highlight, no spoilers), the smile won’t disappear from your face. The main reason for this is that it doesn’t hold back in the name of realism or plausibility at any point. If it makes sense from the perspective of fun for you to suddenly have an unlimited ammo rocket launcher, the game will temporarily give you an unlimited ammo rocket launcher and, usually, plenty of things to blow up with said implement of destruction.

    Also, I have to respect any open world game that puts a twist on the usually tedious business of checkpoint racing by either setting you on fire (thus causing you to blow up anything you crash into and netting you a time bonus) or putting you in a convertible with a tiger in the backseat who keeps “playfully” batting you, making you temporarily wobble around a bit.

    It’s also noteworthy for having one of the best uses of licensed music I’ve seen. We talked about this way back on the music episode — as well as having GTA-style radio stations, several tracks are used as “soundtrack music” for missions, and they work brilliantly. Without spoiling what happens in the final mission (which branches in one of two very different directions, anyway), the use of “Holding Out for a Hero” is absolutely perfect.

    I’ve said this before, but if you’ve found recent GTAs to be lacking that special something, then check out Saints Row: The Third. THQ’s DLC strategy can take a long walk off a short pier, however. $3 for some fucking cheat codes? Eat a dick, Brian Farrell.

  • Shingro 10:47 pm on November 17, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @beige Hahahaha you know it, I totally forgot that cosplay pictures are up I should definitely upload a select few to the boards, also Dark Souls is still cooking, and I still have some stories to tell, just been harder to get that long term push on it, I went back to poke at the painting last night, went okay. A friend of mine has been yanking me into long Borderlands sessions, (5 am last night! -___-)

    Actually, for that Catherine cosplay the humor is is that I’m dating the Katherine and her younger sister is the Catherine. Unlike the actual Vincent though, I know better then to roam =P

  • RedSwirl 3:09 am on August 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @shingro @bluesforbuddha Okay so you know those puzzles that sometimes show up in games where you switch stuff around and you have to think like 12 moves ahead? I hate those. Whenever I get to them I just mash buttons until they solve themselves. Catherine is that, but in the form of an entire game. It is the game that I would be forced to play in hell.

    Outside of that though, I probably will be starting more games on hard this gen. In general, today’s “Hard” is basically yesterday’s “Easy,” but it depends on how much I give a fuck. I cut right on through Dragon Age Origins on normal, but decided to finish off the last parts of Awakening on Easy because I realized that I just wanted to play through everyone’s story arcs. I could have beaten The Mother on normal, I just didn’t care.

    On the flipside, “Hard” – or whatever they call one difficulty up from “Normal” I think is going to be my chosen difficulty for Halo and Gears from here on out. I’ll probably even start Deus Ex: Human Revolution on hard. I might even do another run of Crysis 2 on the highest difficulty because the main enjoyment from that game comes out of out-maneuvering quicker and quicker enemies, and “Veteran” honestly didn’t feel too tough. The shooting isn’t my favorite part of Uncharted though so I’ll keep that on regular.

    Lastly, is it just me or has a disparity emerged between Japanese and Western games in terms of difficulty levels. It’s like most western games this generation went down a difficulty level but Japan didn’t get the memo.

  • Shingro 10:56 pm on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @redswirl I uh, I think I specifically said it probably wasn’t about ability in that wall of text myself c_C So, yeah, no argument. Interestingly enough Jeff Cannata said the same thing about Rapunzel, that it was the best part of the game. For myself, I got to lvl 6 in Rapunzel and just sorta left it there with a face somewhat like this 😐

    Not that it’s bad, I just enjoy the main story gameplay more.

  • Mike Minotti 8:44 pm on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , catherine   

    Interesting. All of the fun of Catherine for me is in beating those puzzles. I don’t find it frustrating at all, even when having to die 20 times before I can beat a short section. I guess I just have more patience for that kind of thing.

    I guess this also explains why I liked Braid so much more than some of you. Still, I am kind of surprised that so many Squaddies have little love for puzzle games.

  • RedSwirl 7:15 pm on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @Shingro It’s not even about ability man. I probably COULD get through Catherine on normal. I just wouldn’t enjoy it at all. I could probably get through most any game on the highest difficulty mode… if I had the patience and more importantly if I was enjoying the game enough to put up with it. Some of it is about the pure fun of the process of playing the game, but a large part is about the payoff of accomplishment, which I just don’t feel in Catherine.

    In Catherine a lot of people probably get that payoff from actually having thought through the puzzles and feeling like they’re smart after finishing them. When I finish a puzzle in Catherine I feel like I’ve just banged my head up against a wall enough times to break it through trial-and-error. Maybe if it was more like the Rapunzel mini game and there weren’t a time limit forcing you to rush the game would feel a lot better.

    It could also be because I typically hate switch-around puzzles that require me to think 12 moves ahead. Usually when I encounter those kinds of puzzles in games I just throw random shit around until it comes together.

  • Shingro 6:16 pm on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, ,   

    This actually touches on something that’s been poking around my head as I’ve wandered the sea of responses to Catherine.

    Almost everyone agrees that Catherine is hard. Some people find this a fatal flaw, and conversely some people find that its the most wonderful part of the game. Indeed, some people can’t seem to have fun without the game savagely beating them to a bloody pulp occasionally (@beige :D). I’m fairly sure though that Catherine has the full range, Super Easy you are basically just skipping all the puzzles, I watched a guy go through the entire game without learning anything more then the basic Cyclone (he refused to talk to anyone on the landings @_@). Easy has a dinger or two in floors 5,6 and 8 but is pretty heavily telegraphed… Normal is tough, requiring serious thought and investment to progress in most areas, and Hard is… well… for the beiges of the world, people who, once they’re experienced at the game want to test their mettle against the highest possible challenge. Babel appears to be an eternally replayable random-esque mode for longevity and the Vs Coliseum is a whole can of worms I haven’t touched yet.

    Still, I have trouble backing the statement “Catherine is difficult.” because I’ve seen so many people of various mental acuity, on various streams experiment their way past all problems. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone solve the tough ones the same way… ever, and I’ve seen quite a few streams. Not always efficiently and not always first try but I’ve not ever seen anyone stuck so bad they couldn’t progress as long as they were willing to push blocks and undo. My girlfriends *little sister* was able to beat the game in a day, because she loved the story and had the investment to push the game back when it pushed her. I suppose it’s possible she’s completely atypical, but I’ve seen the same thing on too many streams to discount the experience.

    It just seems the more accurate statement is “Catherine doesn’t guarantee you a smooth ride to the end” In fact, it’s probably more proper to say that Catherine guarentees that you WILL not have a smooth ride to the end no matter how smart/good at puzzles/prepared you are. It seems a matter of effort and investment rather then a bar of challenge. To me, Ninja gaiden is “difficult” Shinobi is “Difficult” some people just can’t move their hands fast enough to handle everything coming at them. or they aren’t used to multitasking enough to keep all the threats and their reactions in line. Some people’s “Capacity” just isn’t enough to hold everything serious action games like that throw at you. SHMUPS and Danmaku games are the same way.

    With Catherine however, I think everyone has the capacity to pass easy/normal. The trick is, whether they *want* to pass easy normal enough to experiment life after life to see what they can hash together. Frankly, there’s no more then what, 10 reasonable moves on any given line? and of them 3-4 are some sort of progress or setup, combine that with Undo and anyone intrepid is going to be moving on.

    The game is definitely odd though, it will ‘stop’ you, but there’s just so many ways to get to the next block up that I can’t see anyone being incapable of doing so if they’re making the effort, What Catherine *will* absolutely do though is stop you at least a few times even on easy. The question is whether you want to continue enough that you experiment your way past or whether you sorta go “meh” and throw your hands up because you don’t care enough about what’s beyond it.

    It’s clearly not about some intrinsic metal acuity, I’d expect everyone here has certainly demonstrated at length they are prone to exercising the ol grey matter. Redsirl in particular has amply demonstrated a quick wit and ample mental capacity from here and the 1up days. At the same time however clearly something doesn’t click with some people. At first I wasn’t sure whether it’s a matter of their threshold of tolerance being lower due to modern game’s “every moment spent in this game is guaranteed progress” barrier (Garnett Lee mentioned he stopped playing it because it passed the “two strikes” he’s willing to give a game he’s playing during his free time) Or whether the story and anime tropes isn’t compelling enough to them to entice some people to give the game as much time as they’ll give to say, perfecting combos in MvC, or managing plays in madden or shooting dudes in CoD.

    Reading what Red wrote though, I see now the truth is much simpler… they’re just not having fun. For me the fun and thrill of the game is successfully overcoming challange after challenge by thinking in a different way or working out some convoluted McGyver way to pass a puzzle area. (And like McGyver, there’s a ticking time bomb often involved.) I’ve always loved that sort of “Yeah it’s shoddy, but it’ll work” sort of thing. Still, if someone didn’t find that process fun, I could easily see the fun quotient of Catherine being incredibly small, far lower then the challenge it’s presenting, however surmountable. I think someone’s said it before but frankly, the puzzles ARE the gameplay, the story won’t save the experience, the endings won’t save the experience, the Atlus touches won’t save the experience if you aren’t finding the experience of pushing past those puzzles fun.

    (on that note, how did so many people not expect so many Atlus touches out of this? It’s like people have forgotten the story elements/twists/meters that have happened in everything from SMT to Persona to… well… basically anything they’ve personally developed ever -_- )

    I’m actually a bit surprised the reviews came out 80% positive since it seems the layman’s reaction (judging from twitter/tumbr/facebook is that people either really really love the game, (and there’s been a shocking amount of “couples co-op” on this title which is an interesting factor in and of itself) and people who get in and go “Mmmm…. meh :\” and just… run out of steam. Perhaps its like a riddle? You either snap to the experience immediately or you immediately go “I don’t know, what’s the answer?”

    So I guess from now on when someone says “Should I get Catheirne” I’ll continue to say “Play the demo, maybe try to connect the main world to the islands with sheep on them. If you like it you’re good to go, if you don’t, then stay away, because it’s very unlikely that any other part of the game will overwhelm the fact that the puzzling is 80% of the experience”

  • RedSwirl 5:54 am on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    It’s not the challenge, but the fact that Catherine get’s frustrating when I get stuck. When I actually finish a puzzle on the eighth try (five of which were due to me pressing the wrong button), the sense of accomplishment I get doesn’t match the frustration I went through getting there. That’s what turned me off of Braid.

    Similarly, I’m starting to regret playing the Megami Tensei games on normal. The main reason I enjoy them is for the story and characters – in the case of Persona, the social links. That’s because the dungeon-crawling in those games just isn’t that fun for me.

    Alternate example: Top Spin. You need to man-up and learn to play Top Spin, but once you do, each win gives off (or at least gave me) a sense of accomplishment matching the challenge. Catherine does not.

    To put it simply, Cathrerine is more difficult than it is fun.

  • Shingro 1:44 am on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    I will say that if there was ever a group of people I wouldn’t fear getting stymied by a puzzle game, the Squad would be it.

    Then again… there’s a couple of levels later on that *will* require some careful consideration and scrutiny, and it’s one of the most tragic things ever when a game challenges someone and they go “Meh” and decide to just shelve the whole operation, so I’m gunshy about that.

    If you’re willing to see the death screen, I’d say Normal returns the best experience. If you think it can stop you though, Easy will still get challenging near the end.

  • Mike Minotti 1:29 am on August 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    I just started playing Catherine the other day. I started on Normal, and while I certainly find it to be challenging, I wouldn’t say it’s undo-able. You just need a little patience, pay attention to the techniques the other sheep teach you, and you’ll be fine.

  • Shingro 12:46 am on August 13, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @redswirl I would say so, I don’t think playing on easy is bad at all, but I’d recommend going up to normal on your second other side run through. The story is great, but like any puzzle game its legs are in its puzzles, and on easy it’s possible to clear most things without being forced to learn and like demon souls the game will sort of ‘train’ you to see things in a different perspective. Listen to the sheep techniques and you’ll manage.

    All that being said, yeah, if you didn’t click to the puzzles, do easy first to lock into the mindset, then try tackling normal to do another ending. Also: I’d say answer honestly first time, but that’s up to your gameplay style. =P

  • RedSwirl 12:38 am on August 13, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    I’m gonna start Catherine tonight. What do I miss by playing it on Easy?

    I’ve heard about how frustrating the puzzles can be, and I had a hard time with the demo which was locked on Easy. Plus, the story is the main draw of the game anyway right?

  • rampantbicycle 7:26 pm on August 2, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, ,   

    @Shingro – Liking Persona 4 is not a good reason to assign someone to review Catherine. The only things these games really share are a connection to the Shin Megami Tensei universe, their staff, and (I hope) an art style – the experience of playing them is completely different. So…yeah, that sucks, rather.

    @RedSwirl – Most of what I’d recommend for Deus Ex players has already been said. Explore, explore, explore; it will pay off with more than just XP, though that’s certainly a plus. I am probably the only person who thinks it’s much more awesome if you play it by killing as few things as possible, but this is an oddity I bring to many games I play. I feel so much more stylish using nonlethal methods.

    @Everybody who’s been talking about From Dust – Be advised it’s not a “god game” in the way Black and White is a god game. I think it’s more appropriately considered as something like “Puzzles. With Physics!”

    It is really very relaxing, though, and I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as we have.

  • Shingro 8:39 pm on July 31, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, EVO 2011   

    @beige Oh man, DokiDokiWaiWaiHeartMaximum was the BEST of the Heart Maximum series, SANCHO-chan is mai waifu (*°∀°)=3


    So! Catherine raking in the good scores, and word of mouth seems pretty good so far! Not too shabby for a game about the relationships of a 32 year old systems engineer.

    Also: Top 8 for all the fighting games today in EVO 2011 livestream and schedule is here http://www.ustream.tv/evo2011 Good times, makes me want to get back into this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT4eeCbF7b8)

    Which reminds me, do we have any other fighting game enthusiasts around here?

  • Mike Minotti 7:00 pm on July 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @Beige Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to play it. I just had a hard time justifying the purchase at this moment, especially with all the games I bought during the Steam sales I need get through (including Witcher 2). Even still, I came really close to picking it up that day.

    But don’t worry. I’ll get it eventually.

  • unmanneddrone 12:19 am on July 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Bodycount, catherine   

    I’m actually really glad there’s boundaries being pushed in terms of what works/cohesive productions with things like Catherine. One of those crazy titles involving or shining a light onto a man’s psychological disposition and meshing it with a puzzle game. In an age of sequelitis, you’ve got to be happy with that. When my net gets back up and running (still having issues, sadly), I’m going to nab the demo and see for myself. You never know. Might end up loving it. I really was just looking to overcome my dashed hopes for a…uh…I dunno, a heady contemporary RPG with strange Miike madness trappings. That’s what it’ll take for me to jump back into a JRPG again these days. Or something similar.

    And the mature enquiry wasn’t meant to affront, if it did. It was meant to ascertain if any of the storytelling and character interplay felt contrived or illegitimate. Glad to hear it fires on most, if not all, cylinders in that department.

    @feenwager Bulletstorm: underrated and undersold, sadly. It makes you wonder…charming love letters to the old school like that really do distil what you’d think a lot of FPS fans would want these days – cutting the BS and going straight for the bang-bang. But sadly no. Keep an eye out for Bodycount if Bulletstorm continues to float the boat. It’ll probably be bypassed by the herd, but as a spiritual sequel to the original idea of what Black was supposed to be – chaining combo kills, maximum destruction, unashamedly arcadey – it’s one of my most anticipated titles. Plus, it’s got some interesting cover mechanic and destructible environments. Out at the end of August.

    Here’s a hands-on preview.

  • Mike Minotti 6:35 pm on July 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    So I was at GameStop, saw Catherine, and didn’t buy it. I could just FEEL the Squad yelling inside my head.

  • Shingro 10:55 pm on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    To back @rampant bicycle ‘s post there on Vincint seeming to have just cruised by in the dating sphere I’ll note he does have a tendency to say things along the lines of “Can’t we just stay as we are?!”

    Actually, the cell phone thing makes me think of something I had flagged for the Christine Love mission. Which was the question of “Would it be more or less immersive in Digital to have the player type something back, and let it affect the outcome of the story, and how do you POSSIBLY manage the complications of recognizing what they’re saying and responding appropritely. The Catherine phone mail strikes me as the perfect solution to such a thing, maybe 3 ‘blocks’ of text, polarized to some extent, and majority tone triggers the appropriate response? The immersion payoff seems like it’d be worth it, especially in a VN.

  • rampantbicycle 3:01 pm on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Just as an aside, Catherine from the POV of someone who isn’t driving:

    I quite like the bar segments, though I dislike the timer element, as it makes me feel like I have to rush through what are to me the most interesting parts of the game. (Predictably, Beige and I are completely opposed as to what we like best.) I didn’t really care for the part of Persona 3 where I had to carefully monitor my time expenditures either; I like to take my time and explore. Just a matter of personal taste, I suppose.

    The puzzle segments are impossible for me to be of much assistance with – he’s already done something else by the time I spot a good move – so I just try to be on hand with advice if he becomes stuck, but otherwise often find myself doing something else during retries. It’s not lack of interest necessarily, but I haven’t got much I can contribute.

    Love love love the sorta-3D sorta cel-shaded environments/characters. They look great, and the characters are hilariously expressive. (I admit it, though: mostly what I think as I look at it is “I want to play a Persona game that looks like this so much.”)

    Is the game mature? It depends on how you define mature. I suppose if you feel it is impossible for a story to be mature and still contain supernatural/strange elements, then it is not mature. (Though I disagree; mature narratives are not restricted to the world of exactly-what-you-see-when-you-go-outside.)

    If “mature” means to you explicitness about sex and perhaps a bit of nudity, then it’s not mature. The game is very discreet.

    It is “mature” in the sense that it is clearly designed to make you contemplate your attitudes toward traditional committed relationships, but Our Hero is very pointedly not mature himself; he hasn’t sorted out his own attitudes to these things, which is kind of the point. He goes drinking, holds down a job, and does a number of things that mature people supposedly do, but he is strangely undeveloped as a person; he has the air about him of someone who has to date just been cruising without ever challenging himself on anything.

    Of course, the presence of the SMT Law/Chaos meter could be considered a point against the maturity of the game. Ultimately, as with any game system that incorporates explicit point-based alignment, your choices tend to boil down to a black/white one or the other decision (in the case of SMT this is not so much good/evil as collective/individualism, despite the angel/devil imagery we see so often.) That your dialogue options aren’t “kill this grandmother or pet this puppy!” doesn’t really change that fact. Lots of people say that these kinds of systems represent an oversimplification of the moral spectrum, and really they are.

    On the other hand, the thing about the SMT Law/Chaos alignment system is that it’s perfectly possible, albeit very difficult, to remain neutral. In fact, neutrality is the only choice that tends to really require effort to follow, which is in a way very like the real world. It’s very easy to fall to one side or the other, but staying in the middle requires that you carefully evaluate each of your choices. (Which I suppose is a bit like the choice that’s offered to Vincent. Very easy to adopt the identity of “faithful man” or “cheater” and go with either; harder to refuse either label. And in that context, perhaps it is “mature” after all.)

    As an aside, I do not care particularly for either girl. I fail to see either what Vincent saw in Katherine or what she sees in him; she’s nice enough, I guess, but has yet to say anything at all that isn’t directly or indirectly a “smarten up and fly right” ultimatum. Catherine is livelier, but neither girl (so far) has enough going for them besides anime-flavored good looks to make me feel compelled by either one. We know nothing whatever about their inner lives or even their personalities beyond “one of them is sensible and one of them is free-spirited.”

    Then again, the game really isn’t about them, is it?

    It’s about Vincent, and what kind of person he is going to decide to be.

    I guess it remains to be seen how well he can carry the story along.

  • Shingro 12:58 pm on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Hmmmm… that’s hard to say, it is certainly different then anything that you normally see in games. It does have to do a lot with Vincint and his guilt, his desire for freedom conflicting with his understanding that he should take responsibly. It’s about relationships, and the various and many and varied ways in which men and women relate to each other. His friends also seem to represent people at different states and opinions in relationships.

    However, it’s not like, Witcher 2 mature. The plot of the game is about a strange rumor and crazy nightmares and mysterious wasting deaths. Against that backdrop and Vincint’s frantic efforts to keep his life from going up in flames, it’s hard to maintain a sense of gravitas.

    That being said, does a work need to be absolutely straight faced to be mature? There’s certainly a ‘life path’ metaphor at work here, and just because Vincint is trying to juggle two women in a sitcom-y manner I don’t think it cancels that. Still, others might feel differently.

    As for the puzzling the game’s gameplay feel is quite unique. Atlus wasn’t completely talking out of it’s ass when it said “action platformer.” Don’t get me wrong, the methodology to progress is certainly an intelligence-created solution, but the frenetic pace and atypical solutions make such an impact on gameplay that I almost want to stop saying it’s a puzzler at all. Heck, Portal seems like more of a puzzler to me, and by definition it’s a platformer. =P

    I’d say give the demo a try, maybe you or beige can enunciate what I’m trying to say better then I can ¬_¬

  • unmanneddrone 11:02 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @shingro Good to hear. I don’t want to come off sounding snarky, it was merely the fact that when this title was first announced and all those delicious teasers were kicking about, it sounded like a genuinely mature and groovy adult character-centric adventure/RPG mash-up. I will admit to having lost interest dramatically when the meat of the game turned out to be…well…it appears to be soft ero-Q*bert.

    I must ask though, is it genuinely mature?

  • Shingro 5:30 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @redswir1 It would! That was what I hoped for, but alas, it isn’t strictly true, depending on how you’ve shaped Vincint’s attitude, he’ll comment differently, but there seems to only be one path until the game is over, at least as far as I’ve found. That being said, there’s certain pronoun switches in the subtitles that make me suspicious for alternate routes and/or DLC.

    @unmanneddrone Well, there’s a free demo on both systems, so you can make your own judgement on that. I will say that since the nightmare levels are in vincint’s head, there’s a certain amount of development on the actual levels and twice that much on the Landings, which is basically tiny camps where all the survivors of the previous climb gather to take a quick breather. The game feels very…. coherent somehow, I’m not sure how else to explain it.

    Youtubing it would indeed work, and I don’t expect to earn them all legitimately, but like youtubing portal, it’s a disservice to the complete package. There’s a reason everyone seems to be saying “Play it honestly once first..”

    Besides, between Rapunzel, the Colosseum, Babel and the 8 endings there’s plenty to squeeze 60$ out of, I’ve certainly gotten a lot more mileage out of it then MvC3.

  • unmanneddrone 4:41 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    I’m kinda feeling like @feenwager here. The whole puzzle aspect sounds rather incongruous with what would otherwise appear to be an interesting HD VN experience, and not due to difficulty, but rather the loss of a golden opportunity to expand what I’ve seen of the character interactions.

    EDIT: And I feel like a fellow who tries to palm off seemingly boring titles onto the SoS, so I really want to know the score with Catherine.

  • RedSwirl 4:28 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    So does Catherine’s story play out somewhat like a visual novel with a branching story? Because it would be awesome to see that done in a full HD graphics engine.

  • Shingro 3:56 am on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Alright, I was prepared to be disappointed on my second run through for a quick full out balls to the wall Catherine ending. I set it to Easy and got through with all golds in about 8 hours judging by my playtime clock (it’s cumulative!) and… I have to say, though it was unfair of me, I really wanted to see the game be a bit like Way of the Samurai (or whatever that PS1 2 hour, 50+unique paths RPG was) with complete variations in story events.

    Catherine, alas, is not that game, the story is, by and large, the story. Fortunately, while sliding into home base was mostly the same, I found that I enjoyed the gameplay just as much the next time through. Using advanced techniques to solve puzzles in atypical manners was good fun, and the actual ending had multiple phases and might have been one of the best things I’ve ever seen in a game. Powerful contender for ‘favorite ending ever.’ Like Vincint’s one night stand, sleep on it in case I know better in the morning.

    So, the game is indeed short compared to say, persona. Yet it’s very long and varied if compared to say, Portal 2. If I read the trophy count right, there is indeed 8 endings of different flavors and the “pure catherine” ending I snagged was long and definitely satisfying. In retrospect I’m not sure I would ever see 8 endings if it was a 30 hour epic. So bullet dodged, disappointment sublimated, and I can recommend the game without any reservations. The only sadness I can really say is they don’t leave a lot of the symbolism and metaphor to imagination, still, I suppose I can understand that decision too.

    Addendum: Also, I find it interesting that a friend and I argued Kat vs Cat honestly from two completely separate positions, considering that events in the story are static and fairly polarizing.

  • Shingro 10:34 pm on July 27, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Yeah, let me tag in real quick to add some punch to Beige’s warning

    Catherine is a goddamn gom jabbar of puzzles, if you think it’s bad at the beginning, then later puzzles will plunge your life into misery and pain. I would go so far as to say that under no circumstances should you play for your first time without Undo.

    Now, this isn’t to say the game remains impossible. They’ve done some incredibly smart things with the sheep and the Techniques that will get everyone past easy/normal eventually. Undo is not only a lifesaver, but it permits the player to experiment with block formations without being terrified of getting eaten with a fork. That being said, if they DIDN’T have undo/techniques… this would be a game played with graph paper with block formations and vector arrows all over. Do not underestimate it.

    @beige I’ll be interested to hear if you think that your efforts on Hard honed your skill beyond what normal does. I have to say, this is one of the first games for a while where I really felt like it was training abilities that weren’t there previously. I definitively felt I finished the experience far more capable at the mechanic then I entered it, moreso then most other things I play.

  • Shingro 5:45 am on July 27, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    One day completion of Catherine… I gotta say, I definitely approve! I’ll wait a while to mention any thoughts on plot business for obvious reasons… I will also need to chase down another ending to confirm that they’re doing what I think they’re doing

    My only major suggestion is to definitely play it honestly, at least first time through. Considering how many endings there are I suspect this game ends up about Persona length. Revelations won’t exactly blow your philosophical socks off, but the ride is worth the price of admission I’d say. Puzzle gameplay will stretch your brain sometimes. Great fun.

    Meantime… Two slightly sleep deprived thumbs up. How appropriate!

  • Shingro 10:00 pm on July 26, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    So! Section 6 (clock tower) of the tower and I gotta say, the rumors of Catherine’s difficulty have not been exaggerated though. I’m playing on Normal and when you select it the game pops an “experienced players” warning on it. =P

    Story… could be awesome, it will depend a lot on how much you can change it with different decisions, legend has it that it clocks in at a 15~ hour mark, but 8 endings, so if that’s basicly a Persona length game divvied up, well… could be awesome! I also love the gameplay even if it’s beating my ass currently.

    I find myself looking forward to the confessionals, linking that to some sort of ATLUS server was a great idea.

    Tentative thumbs up

  • Shingro 9:55 pm on July 13, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @beige I did indeed hear that, actually, they had to tone down the difficulty for the JAPANESE because even Easy was too hard! American version gets Very Easy as well as some playabiltiy smoothings.

    I know that might frighten people but as one of those guys who loved cutting my teeth on FOEs in Eterean Odyssey, my response is *so* *stoked* Not sure how to approach it though, I want to see all the varients of decision you can make, which means it could go as long as 3 playthroughs, I did FES, I did EO, I want to believe I could do Catherine…. but most RPGs are about manipulating numbers, Catherine is about puzzles… so being stuck might be more….. complete… then RPG ‘stuck’

    Then again, the combination of challenging gameplay with the shine of “first run” in a legitimate story, especially a horror story which narratively feeds off not knowing the end… that combination is hard to find anywhere, dare I skip it?

    Besides, the panic of being unable to solve a puzzle while Impending Doom gets ever closer… that’s a part of the experience you don’t really want to jettison right?

    Still, no way in hell I’m going over normal first time.

    As for 30 second hero, Congrats in surviving 3 second Hero! That thing was a brute, but oddly I found 300 second almost a bit more difficult, because by only having 3 seconds, there was NO WAY to do ANYTHING wrong, the moment you do something wrong? The world explodes. That kinda gives you a much better…. ‘funnel’ to guide your next playthrough.

    Actually, come to think about it. Half Minute Hero is another great example of an RPG that levels you up by personal experience, rather then experience. Catherine looks like it’ll be like that too

  • Shingro 8:51 pm on July 13, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Just finished the Catherine demo and I gotta say, it is damn damn good.

    Even though I’m a huge Persona fan, I thought I was going to give this game a pass until it dropped in price a bit. No longer.

    Atlus has to be in the running for the “Largest Company Ball Set” over there, when they decide they’re going to depart from the norm, they sure go all out.

    The main character is thirty two (atypical as JRPG protags go) and while the game has indeed got anime fanservice, the main conflict in the game seems to be some hardcore conflict around MARRIAGE. Talk about a thing that’d never normally come up on a JRPG staff’s white board of “Main plot elements for the mainstream gaming public”

    Except maybe it *should* be. Gamers are indeed getting older, I was a fresh faced boy playing FFII on my SNES once, but I’m 29 now, the topics that the game developers can use to create investment with me is far broader then it once was.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to give the game a free pass, but between that Atlus Persona-esque visual style, the incredibly surreal and strange dream environments, a hard as balls puzzle mechanic, (This might be my first “playthrough on easy” game if the demo is any indication @_@) and the possibility for a mature type of story that has never been done in the mainstream RPG spotlight?


  • Shingro 4:57 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @unmanneddrone oh man does this mean I get to be Sir Alex at last?! =D

    What? No? Well I guess I could be Al, I already tolerate that from various people. Oh, or just call me Shingro, I am after all a Shingro

    I’d love to take advantage of all this stuff, but I’ve got a trip planned to ACEN on 20-22nd and the next desired game is going to be Catherine (full retail release), so I’m a bit strapped for cash. Still, I can taste the delicious ‘Japanese Nonsense’ flavor from here. =D

    Also, dare I hope? Might it be a mature game? (In terms of “Treating You Like An Adult,” and “Realistic relationship” rather then “Boobies! =D” which also reminds me that I gotta finish last chapter of The Witcher.)

    Seriously though, can anyone think of any games that gave a really solid “realistic” relationship? It seems to go either Romantic Comedy or Fairytail, which isn’t too unexpected as these are both entertaining relationship templates as old as time, still, surely someone gave it a shot in the west? This kinda skirts alongside the Ren-Ai mini mission, but my notes need pruning anyway.

  • RedSwirl 3:51 pm on March 1, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    We’re getting Catherine: http://catherinethegame.com/

    They even kept the original box art this time. Summer 2011 even seems like the perfect timeslot for a game like this.

    We still have to see how the ESRB handles it though.

    @Shingro Like I said, Vagrant Story has a learning curve. You will have to actually apply yourself to understanding the game’s systems, which you really wont see anywhere else in the world of RPGs.

    For one thing bosses are much more frequent. Weapon-crafting is everything in this game, as each enemy is weak to a certain kind: piercing, blunt, or edged, as well as different elemental runes and such. If you’re doing 1hp per hit to a boss it’s probably best to reload your save and head back to the last smithy. You CAN undo weapon combinations.

  • Shingro 3:42 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    That’s actually a good way to think about it, the puzzle levels are basically a replacement for the combat mechanic, if done well it’ll likely engage you more then selecting weaknesses.

    It’ll also permit you to get different grades of rewards on a much wider scale depending on how good you are at that sort of thing. There are decent reasons to support this, not the least of which is someone is trying something vastly different. We can’t tell yet, but this might be a JRPG *without* a combat mechanic

    It could solve many problems normally laid at the feet of JRPGs.

  • bowlisimo 2:42 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Think of it this way, it’s not any more repetitive than going up 254 floors of death & monotony in Tartarus.

    I watched the GB quick-look. This will no doubt be a much echoed sentiment, but I’m highly interested in the story segments, not so much the block climbing. Thankfully that part seems short, and I can’t imagine that’s the ONLY thing you do for the entire game. Not that I can play the damn thing, anyway.

  • impynickers 2:07 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @angryjedi I think the question that sticks in my mind is: Are they going to stick with variations on that same puzzle for the rest of the game? If they give me different puzzle variety, I would welcome it. I actually do enjoy puzzle games. However, I found the current puzzle mechanics really straightforward and not all that mind boggling. I guess I am probably getting way too worked up over a demo. Its just that the game still leaves many many questions unanswered, I thought the demo would give me more satisfaction. Story looks really interesting though, so far as I could tell.

  • Pete Davison 1:57 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @impynickers I like the gameplay; plus the fact it’s not an uber-long RPG may attract more people to it than the Persona series, which is a good thing. At the same time, I worry that Persona fans might look at the gameplay and turn their noses up at it because it’s NOT an RPG!

    Besides the puzzly stuff, it sounds like there’s a fair amount of conversation and decision-making to advance the plot. I understand there are lots of branching plot points and different outcomes.

    The trailer at the end of the demo also hints at lots of gameplay elements we haven’t seen yet. There’s things to do within the dreams that affect the relationships with Katherine and Catherine, for example.

    I’m intrigued. I don’t personally believe it should be a budget release just because its primary mechanic is puzzly. The production values alone make it a worthy full-price title. And if the localisation (assuming there is one) is as good as past Atlus titles, there’ll be a solid game to enjoy there.

  • impynickers 12:51 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    Played the demo. Any expectation I had for the gameplay was dashed. Story looks interesting, though obviously I didn’t get much from it. If the puzzle gameplay is the primary attraction to this game … I am a bit skepticle. I would be more enticed if it were a budget release.
    I am sure there is more I am not seeing, but it seems pretty straight forward and simplistic compared to that other game that it is bound to be compared to.

  • RedSwirl 12:18 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    @angryjedi Tried to leave a reply but I don’t know if it ever took. I don’t care to write it again.

  • Shingro 11:01 pm on January 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @angrijedi That was great fun to read,
    many props or kudos or whatever + rating you like.

  • Pete Davison 7:22 pm on January 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    Flying visit. If you’re curious about Catherine but haven’t tried the demo yet, check out my impressions. THANKING YOU.

  • Pete Davison 12:52 am on January 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    I haven’t had time to read through everyone’s posts so I’m not sure it this has already been mentioned… but I can think of at least one of you who will be interested in this news:

    There is a Catherine demo available on Japanese PSN and Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

    That is all.

    EDIT: No it isn’t. “I don’t have a Japanese PSN account!” I hear you cry. Well fear not! GAF to the rescue. Knew they were good for something.

    That is all. Now.

  • bowlisimo 4:00 pm on December 6, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, ,   

    @beige Man, Epic Mickey got an epic pooping-on in the last Weekend Confirmed. It boiled down to “poor + inconsistent design” and “for kids”. I wonder what the Minottis will think.

    Also, there’s apparently cover art for a 360 version of Catherine.

  • Pete Davison 6:45 pm on November 19, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    New Catherine trailer, for those interes… 

    New Catherine trailer, for those interested.

  • Pete Davison 9:33 pm on August 19, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    @beige: Catherine trailer: Hot shit. I’m very interested in that game. And not just for the Persona connection. Or the bewbz. It looks genuinely intriguing.

  • beige 4:10 pm on August 19, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine, Sheep   

    God damn. Here is the Japanese trailer for Catherine, as we were discussing yesterday. I don’t know how much of this is cutscene and how much gameplay but it looks like a slick mindfuck. Way more excited after having watched this.

    Also, it has 1000% more sheep than you were expecting.

  • impynickers 3:20 pm on August 18, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine   

    I really dig the premise, though it would be hard to capture what I liked about the team’s earlier work without blatantly ripping it off. If its part action-adventure with some kind of social link system/Dating sim esqueness … I could dig it.

  • RocGaude 2:41 pm on August 18, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: catherine,   

    So, the next Persona game’s not quite what I imagined:


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