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-   -   Please Rate This Review: Catherine (http://www.gamecritics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18856)

Zolbrod 08-01-2011 08:47 AM

Please Rate This Review: Catherine
 
(disclaimer: this is a review of the Japanese version)

"This game is almost a metaphore for itself"

High: hanging out with Vincent and his friends at Stray Sheep and listening to the deliciously overacting barkeep.

Low: Failing over and over at the same boss stage and having to go through the same tedious reload process repeatedly.

WTF: Getting drunk IMPROVES Vincent's performance!?

Catherine is weird.

To start off, I can safely say that the entire experience this game offers is unlike anything I've ever played before. It is a unique, quirky, imaginative and humorous little title, that is at once brilliant in its conception and infuriating in its execution.

Let me set the scene: you are Vincent, a regular 32-year old dude with a regular job, a regular girlfriend and, in general, a fairly regular life. Being 32, and dating a woman of the same age, it is about high time for Vincent to start thinking of getting settled and considering those major steps in the human existence called "marriage" and "having children", a fact that his girlfriend Katherine is all too eager to remind him of on a daily basis in none too subtle a fashion.

Like many adults, Vincent isn't quite sure if he's up to the task, and it is at that point that young Catherine enters his life. Catherine is a 22-year old pretty young blond; playful, sexy and impulsive, and in every way the total opposite of Vincent's girlfriend Katherine, who is serious, restrained and rational. Staying late at the local bar one night and having perhaps a few too many drinks, Vincent meets Catherine who takes an immediate liking to him and starts coming on quite strongly to him, putting poor Vincent in a situation that he is not only not entirely used to, but also not quite sober enough to deal with. Long story short, when Vincent wakes up in his bed the next morning, he finds that he is not alone, and his clean track record of fidelity apparently broken.

Obviously, Vincent is distraught, freaked even, especially considering the fact that he remembers nothing of the night before, even if Catherine assures him that it was anything but forgettable. From this point on Vincent finds himself in limbo between having to find a way of explaining this to Katherine, while also trying to gather enough courage to dump Catherine without her ever finding out that Vincent was already in a relationship. It is here that the nightmares Vincent had been suffering from recently start intensifying, and start taking some truly bizarre forms.

It is also here that the actual gameplay part of this game begins, and that understanding dawns that Catherine (the game, not the character) isn't quite your everyday ordeal. Vincent's Nightmare World is overrun with sheep who all suffer the same fate as he, that is, they are forced to climb tall walls of blocks every single night, with the knowledge that if they fail and find their deaths along the way, they will never see the light of day in the real world again either. It is these walls of blocks that form the action element of the game, as Vincent will have to push and pull blocks of various kinds around to ensure his safe passage to the top of the wall, where temporary salvation awaits.

These action parts are...how shall I put it...unbalanced, to say the least. It starts out easy enough, with a clear tutorial on how the game functions. Push and pull blocks to create staircases that Vincent can climb on, collect coins and helpful items (like health drinks that allow Vincent to make higher jumps, and blocks that can be conjured up at will), and try to reach the finish line before the whole place crumbles apart.

Sounds straightforward? Well, that's because it is. It is, however, anything but easy. It can, in fact, more often than not be CRAZY HARD. The game often gives the player hints and tips on how to make their vertica

Li-Ion 08-01-2011 12:54 PM

Re: Please Rate This Review: Catherine
 
Review is much too long in my opionion. Try to keep it brief and to the point. Also, try not to use 'you', which imposes something on the reader and quite some readers are not big fans of having something imposed upon ;)

Zolbrod 08-01-2011 08:36 PM

Re: Please Rate This Review: Catherine
 
Oh man, and here I was, trying to create a review of a decent length >_<

I still think it's not overly long though, but I'll look into what I can edit out when I have a bit more time.

I did fix up the frequency of the word 'you', though.
Thanks for the suggestions and the feedback!

Pedro 08-03-2011 12:46 AM

Re: Please Rate This Review: Catherine
 
The tone of the review is a little 'chatty' rather than detached, but apart from that I thought it was a really good review. The main problem, as Li-Ion mentions, is that it really is far too long.

I think it needs cuts rather than compression, as it is already rather dense. I would cut the whole block climbing and how difficult it is to one paragraph. Maybe one line about the irritating controls.

Don't get me wrong; it's a good review. It actually has me torn about getting this game. But the length really needs pruning.

Zolbrod 08-03-2011 04:40 AM

Re: Please Rate This Review: Catherine
 
Thanks for the feedback!

I'll keep chipping at it to make it shorter.

For reference: what is the "ideal" length of a review (if there is one)?
I actually didn't want it to be too short, but apparently I overdid it a bit.


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