So the first impressions category is not only for those games I’ve bought and started playing, but also for those games that I just try out. In this case, I’m talking about Catherine Demo for X-box 360. If you haven’t heard about this game, it’s an Atlus game. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, you might not like this game, but for the rest of you it does not disappoint! At least the demo doesn’t.
So a little background on Atlus themselves. They are responsible for the Shin Megami Tensei games (including the Persona games), Divinity games, Radiant Historia, King of Fighters, Etran Odyssey games, and the list keeps going on and on. They’ve been around for a long time and have had hit after hit. If you play a lot of games but haven’t heard of them, it could be because they do a lot of “Japanese” style games that usually don’t come to America.
Speaking of which, that’s exactly where Catherine fits in. The best way to describe it is a cross between Q-bert, I.Q. and Persona 3 (I haven’t played any of the other Persona’s, so that’s why I use 3). I know what you’re thinking, how can you take three games that are so different and combine them? Well, when the demo starts, you have to make your way to the top of this tower of blocks, move some to make stairs, and then reach the top to get out. During the other scenes of the game, you’re dealing with your girlfriend and social life, like you can do in Persona, although this seems more in depth.
Ok, so the demo itself starts out in one of these towers of blocks. It’s an easy one, to get the feel of the game and teach you how to move the blocks to create a path. Helping you is a voice coming from no where, telling you exactly what to do to get out. Once you pass this level, you realize it’s been a dream, but it’s really shook the main character up. You’re then introduced to his girlfriend, Katherine. That’s right, his girlfriends name is Katherine!
It’s obvious from the very beginning that the relationship between the main character, Vincent, and Katherine is a little rocky, even though they’ve been together for a long time. It is also obvious that the relationship is an important part of the story. One of the next scenes is Vincent and his friends hanging out at a bar. On the news some guy is dead and Vincent has a feeling it was the same guy that he heard in his dream the night before. He decides to stay at the bar while his friends leave.
Pretty soon, Vincent gets a text from Katherine and you are able to reply with your choice of messages! It seems a little limiting, at least during this first scene, but it was still cool to be able to choose from different messages. The choices seem to be basically positive or negative, although neither were overly nice or mean. The use of silence and time really make you feel what the characters feel and also sets the melodramatic theme. Before the scene ends, he sees a cute younger girl walk into the bar.
Next thing you know, you’re back in another nightmare. This one is more challenging and features an evil version of Katherine trying to kill you! This nightmare also seems like a bit of a tutorial, giving you a lot of time to reach the top and learn how to build stairs better. The end of this tower brings a shocking revelation! Vincent took that cute girl home and slept with her!
That ends the demo.
The game play was pretty fun and I could see it becoming pretty complex. My advice for anyone is to play it on easy the first time around because even during the demo the ability to undo moves helped me survive multiple times! I felt really involved in Vincent’s life from the short 20 minute demo and really liked how they allowed you to choose your text replies. I also like that they added a social aspect to the game play and didn’t just shove it into cut scenes! Then again, Atlus has proven themselves good at this throughout their other games, so it’s not a big surprise.
All in all, I really think I’ll pick this game up in the coming months, although with other games like Skyrim coming out I’m not sure when I’ll find the time, but that’s really not a bad situation to be in is it?