Counting sheep.

Title: Catherine Classic
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Sega
Price: $20/£15
Release date: Out Now
TL;DR: Catherine brings to life the terrors of commitment whilst making you solve puzzles in your dreams.
Family Focus? Click here for more information

What other game in the world lets you push blocks in your dreams to escape impending doom, pushes you into conversing with sheep, and lets you cheat on your girlfriend of many years with a pretty young blonde? Wait, that’s your Saturday night? Where do I sig– I mean, no other game! Catherine is most likely the only game in the world where this is all possible and let’s just say it’s quite creepy.

Catherine originally came out on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2011 back before Atlus had released Persona 4 Golden for the Vita. For those who don’t know, Catherine is set within the Shin Megami Tensei universe which means it’s within the Persona universe as Vincent the main protagonist showed up in Persona 3 FES on PSP a whole four years before Catherine was released.

In Catherine, you play as Vincent Brooks, a dude in his early thirties enjoying the bachelor life even though he has a girlfriend, Katherine. Katherine wants to settle down, get married, move in together so on and so forth. This is when the enigmatic Catherine stumbles into his life and creates endless problems for Vincent, eventually sending him into the nightmare world where the game takes place.

Within this nightmare world, you must escape the demonic forms of commitment that haunt Vincent whilst solving block puzzles that build stairs to escape the nightmare and return to the waking world. These demonic forms of commitment vary from a demon baby to a nightmare version of Katherine in a wedding dress.

Between the moments of nightmares and demons, you chill out at Vincent’s favourite hangout spot, The Stray Sheep. It’s the bar where he meets up with his three buddies: Jonny, Orlando and Toby and they generally talk about the current events within the game because they’re just three, super normal friends..

At the bar, you can also reply to text messages from Katherine and Catherine, usually resulting in you receiving some spicy photographs from the girls which Vincent has to go to the bathroom to open. Classy guy.

The Stray Sheep is also home to the arcade machine, Rapunzel, a tough mini-game to master unless you’re using a guide then you’re a cheater and you should be ashamed of yourself! I’m kidding. It’s got its own little story as well which follows the actual fairy tale of Rapunzel, you get a little retro cut-scene for every four stages you clear. Given that it’s only a featurette for the game, it’s a nice little inclusion that holds enough sway to pull you away from the main story time and time again.

There is a co-op mode for Catherine, with the game’s Final Modee but you must achieve the gold rank in each of the chapters through the story to unlock the levels within Babel. You can tackle the randomised puzzles of Babel either on your own or play co-op with a friend. The goal to reach the top of each tower which is measured by the amount of individual steps you take and you can’t just walk back and forth. This mode is punishing and will seperate the pro players from the novice.

Catherine sports the traditional anime cel-shaded graphics much like the recent Persona games and they’re drop dead gorgeous especially for the last generation. The game can run at 4K on PC but it doesn’t look too shabby running on less fidelity either. The game works with an unlocked frame rate so depending on your hardware you can enjoy a super smooth frame rate.

The soundtrack for Catherine is magnificent and so it should be! Shoji Meguro composed the soundtrack, the guy responsible for soundtracks of most Persona games and Shin Megami Tensei titles. Catherine is no exception to Meguro’s standard when it comes to his 0back catalogue of work, blending mellow hip-hop with orchestra vibes for a majority of the soundtrack.

Overall, Catherine Classic is an incredible game and if you’ve played the game back during the PS3/Xbox 360 era then you know what you’re in for. If you missed it the first time around, then the Classic Edition gives you the chance to experience the title with all the bells and whistles that PC gaming offers. Sure, the PC version won’t include the love-triangle story that Sony’s Full Body edition of Catherine will offer in February but it’s still well worth your time.

The Good

  • A gripping multi-ending story that can either end in heartache or happily ever after.
  • Beautiful visuals with amazing character designs by Shigenori Soejima.
  • Amazing soundtrack by Shoji Meguro.

The Bad

  • Babel might be challenge for novice players.

Family Focus

Catherine Classic is rated PEGI 18 and rated M for Mature by the ESRB. Catherine Classic is sexually suggestive, contains bad language, alcohol and nothing really suitable for children.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.