A few days ago, I posted a pretty glowing review of Catherine for the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3. In hindsight, I’m still happy with how that game turned out and how that review was written. As much as I gushed about it before, it does have some kinks. Since I didn’t really go into them in detail in my review, I thought I’d call them out here. It’s still a fantastic game as is, and you may not agree with my list of gripes, but you’re always free to chime in with your point of view in the comments!
1. Your controls when Vincent is behind the block tower sucks
Controlling Vincent when he’s in-between the blocks and your direct line of sight is straightforward. However, in cases where you have to control Vincent behind the blocks, your controls become a complete mess. The problem is two-fold. For one, controlling movement behind a block tower isn’t consistent at all. You may hit left on your d-pad to make Vincent move right, but the next time you hit left, he’ll stay still. The controls when Vincent is trying to maneuver behind blocks constantly flip, which makes it extremely difficult to get places in this manner.
This issue could have been alleviated if the camera was able maneuver all the way around the block tower. At its best though, you’ll only have access to a 180-degree view. This makes it impossible to see how you’re maneuvering Vincent behind a tower of blocks. While you won’t be spending a lot of time maneuvering behind blocks, it sucks every time you have to do it.
2. Lack of interaction in the real world
Most of the gameplay in Catherine takes place in Vincent’s nightmares, where you maneuver through block towers. While I love playing through these towers, I really wish there was more to do in the real world. I have no problem with sitting through all of the cutscenes, as they’re really well done and they’re the main driver of the story. Where the game could have gone a bit further with are the times when you control Vincent in the bar. Why not give him more to do? Why not give him more opportunities here to impact the story beyond talking to people and answering text messages? Why not let the player visit other environments besides the bar? These suggestions would have helped make players feel a bit more involved outside of the nightmares.
The last points in this post contain SPOILERS, so please proceed at your own discretion!
3. The game could have ended about two-to-three hours earlier
There is a point in that game where it feels like its about to end. It seems like the game is climaxing at the perfect moment. However, the moment you get to that point, you realize there’s still more to go. It’s not until you start to play through that remaining content that you realize that there’s actually quite a bit more to go. If the game had ended at the point that I’m talking about, I would have been happy. Instead, the pacing of the game really messes up at this point, as you’re just looking for the experience to end and it still has a ways to go.
4. The game leans a bit too heavily on supernatural elements
To be fair, the game lays the foundation for supernatural elements very early on, which helps tie the real world and nightmare world segments together. However, after that key moment I mention in point 3, the game goes a bit overboard on the supernatural front for my tastes. I really wish the focus was more on the human conflict rather than the supernatural element, as I feel like the human relationships in that game were way more interesting and impactful. It also deters from the ‘freshness’ of the experience, as it becomes much more of a traditional video game at that point.
I’m sure that some people will have an easier time than I overlooking those shortcomings, while others may feel like I’m cutting the game some slack. Whatever your stance is on Catherine, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!