Catherine demo impressions

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#1 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

I should let it be known right here and now that I speak zero Japanese. Could I have taken a Japanese course in High School? Yes, but I thought French was way more badass. Point being: I had a tough time understanding what exactly went on during this demo, especially during cutscenes. 
 
So, the Japanese demo for Catherine finally hit today and I felt the urge to try it out for myself. I've been curious about the gameplay mechanics ever since I saw that crazy trailer that made it look like a puzzle game. Of course the story and characters will probably be the best part about Catherine though. After playing through the demo three times strait, I feel confident in saying that I still have very little idea of what this game actually is. 
 
It starts off with a little hand-drawn lookin' cartoony video of... well, a bunch of things. It looked to me that Godzilla and The Grudge were referenced in this short little cartoon, so I'm guessing it's something referencing Japanese film? Anyways, after that you are dumped directly into the puzzly world that you've probably seen at some point in the trailers. The one where there's a ton of blocks and you're climbing all over them. From what I can tell, this is not the only situation in which you will control the main character ( Vincent?). It looks like you will control him at some point outside of this dream world too. But within the dream world, the goal is to climb these blocks and get to the top as fast and as efficiently as possible. You can push and pull blocks in order to create makeshift staircases to ascend. It gets complicated when you start pushing blocks out from under other blocks and the entire structure starts to collapse in spots. As far as I can tell, as long as a block is adjacent to another block, it won't fall, even if there are no blocks beneath it. Also, every time you move a block, you can press the back button to rewind to the last block moved. This way if you make any mistakes, it's easily fixable. There didn't seem to be a limit on that in the demo, but that may be because it's on easy mode. Climbing up a block gives you a step bonus. Getting the first step bonus starts a combo meter, and each step up to a new level you take before the meter runs out gains you more points. It's in your best interest to ascend quickly. It is possible to fall to your death as well, both by falling yourself, or not moving fast enough. The ultimate goal is to reach the door at the top and exit the dream.
 
This all probably sounds super confusing. Sorry about that. If you watch this video, you'll probably understand a bit better: 
  

   
So, I guess the question is whether or not this section is compelling and interesting. I liked it; I didn't love it, but I liked it. Navigating the 3D space is a bit awkward, but it works well enough once you get used to it. The whole visual experience is interesting to say the least. There's a sense of pressure as you try to figure out how to climb these blocks, but it's not too stressful. At least not yet; I can imagine this getting super tough later in the game, or on harder difficulties. There are sheep in these levels with you. From what I can tell, I think they're supposed to be other people trying to escape this dream world just like you. I was able to shift the blocks in a way that allowed me to reach one of them my third time through, but when I walked past him, he just ran away and ended up falling to his doom. I thought maybe I could save them. Anyways, there are pickups along the way that let you throw down additional blocks, give you more retries (lives), or just give you more points. So there is some incentive to go a bit out of your way on occasion. When you get to the top it will tally your score and give you various bonuses depending on difficulty and how fast you finish.  
 
After that it cuts away to a long cutscene sequence. You can watch the above video for that stuff. The cutscenes look nice though. They use a sort of 3D panning effect that looks really interesting with the Anime style. The characters seem cool, not that I know what they're talking about. I tried using Google Translate on my phone with no luck. :P
 
 Morality meter, mayhaps?
The next gameplay mechanic that comes up is the cell phone. The cell phone appears to be the means in which you control what looks like the game's morality system. you can read and answer text messages, which then results in a meter swinging further into either blue or red territory. On my second playthrough, I actually just elected to close the cell phone and not read or respond to any messages. This allowed me to skip the morality meter all together and head strait into the next section. Seems a bit weird that you can do that, but I like that it gives you the option to skip that stuff if you want. 
 
After you leave the bar, you're dumped back into the dream world. This time it's much more dire though as you have some kind of crazy fork-wielding demon actively chasing you. The demon at times will turn a set of blocks into stone, making them much harder to move. It just takes about twice as long to push or pull them. There's really not a whole lot to say about this section though. It's similar to the first dream section, but harder. The demo ends shortly after this section. 
 
As you can see in the video, it appears that lots of people are facing the same kind of dream world that the main character is. You see a news report of a dead man in his bed. He looked all dried out, and I'm going to assume that he was one of the sheep that didn't survive the dream world. It's an interesting concept. Of course I wouldn't expect anything less from the team responsible for Persona. Catherine seems cool so far. This demo probably raised more questions than it answered, but it seems promising. Reading over this, it's more me trying futily to describe what I played, with some impressions peppered in.
 
What did you guys think of the demo, whether you played it as well, or just watched on YouTube? Is it everything you wanted out of a 360/PS3 Atlus game? Discuss!
#2 Posted by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -

So how crazy-Japanese is it? Does it seem to be good Japanese crazy?  
 
Hopefully this question makes some sense. 

#3 Posted by EVHKwick (452 posts) -

So, how do I obtain this demo? I'm assuming it's available only in Japan, and I spend no time looking at demos.

#4 Edited by Animasta (14692 posts) -

I thought it was super crazy and played a lot better than I expected; this was their first real action oriented game (devil summoner not withstanding I suppose) but I found it fantastic. This game is going to get either really awesome or really hard at the end.
 
to anyone who wants the demo: make a japanese PSN account or live account (it's gold only for live accounts though, so I would make a PSN one if you can) and the demo should be up there.

#5 Posted by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -
@hack745 said:
" So, how do I obtain this demo? I'm assuming it's available only in Japan, and I spend no time looking at demos. "
Create a Japanese account on your red, white, and blue Xbox 360. 
#6 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11025 posts) -
@JJWeatherman: French is a lot more badass than Japanese. 
Moderator Online
#7 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" So how crazy-Japanese is it? Does it seem to be good Japanese crazy?   Hopefully this question makes some sense.  "
It's crazy as hell, and in a good way. It may not be up to the level of Bayonetta-crazy, but I definitely thought of Bayonetta when I was playing it. 
 
@Laketown said:
" I thought it was super crazy and played a lot better than I expected; this was their first real action oriented game (devil summoner not withstanding I suppose) but I found it fantastic. This game is going to get either really awesome or really hard at the end.  to anyone who wants the demo: make a japanese PSN account or live account (it's gold only for live accounts though, so I would make a PSN one if you can) and the demo should be up there. "
I made a Japanese account and I was offered a free month of Gold Live membership. So, either system is an option. And yeah, I think it has the potential be both really hard AND really awesome towards the end.  :P 
 
Side note: My Japanese profile is called "JapaneseDracula". GB references ftw.
#8 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:
" @JJWeatherman: French is a lot more badass than Japanese.  "
German is where it's at, actually, although my backwater high school in eugene oregon only had german and spanish
#9 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11025 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @MooseyMcMan said:
" @JJWeatherman: French is a lot more badass than Japanese.  "
German is where it's at, actually, although my backwater high school in eugene oregon only had german and spanish "
I'm not gonna lie, if my high school had German, I would have taken that in a heartbeat over French, but all we had was French and Spanish (though I've heard that since I graduated, they got rid of French altogether, and now it's only Spanish).  
 
But as of right now, the only German I know I learned from Hogan's Heroes and Call of Duty. 
Moderator Online
#10 Posted by InfiniteGeass (2054 posts) -

I couldn't understand the story part obviously, but it looked interesting at least. The gameplay is pretty fun and has some challenge and interesting things going for it and the stuff outside the dream seems like it could be cool to. I hope Atlus localizes this soon so I can give them my money.

#11 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (686 posts) -

Downloading this now, although I will immediately disagree with you that the French language can ever be considered "badass." But I'll post my impressions after the download! I pray I can make it through the Japanese craziness to find the gameplay. 

#12 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@A_Cute_Squirtle:  

 Downloading this now, although I will immediately disagree with you that the French language can ever be considered "badass."    


 Nicolas Batum disagrees with you, sir.

 I pray I can make it through the Japanese craziness to find the gameplay.    

I had that fear too. It's not really an issue though. There was never a point where I got stuck because I couldn't read my options.
#13 Posted by thedj93 (1237 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan: So you only recognize german as spoken by nazis?
#14 Posted by Hailinel (24818 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" I thought it was super crazy and played a lot better than I expected; this was their first real action oriented game (devil summoner not withstanding I suppose) but I found it fantastic. This game is going to get either really awesome or really hard at the end.  to anyone who wants the demo: make a japanese PSN account or live account (it's gold only for live accounts though, so I would make a PSN one if you can) and the demo should be up there. "
Wasn't Maken X an action game?
Online
#15 Posted by EVHKwick (452 posts) -
@EpicSteve: Thanks, duder! 
 
Looking forward to jumping inside once my download stops.
#16 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@Hailinel said:
" @Laketown said:
" I thought it was super crazy and played a lot better than I expected; this was their first real action oriented game (devil summoner not withstanding I suppose) but I found it fantastic. This game is going to get either really awesome or really hard at the end.  to anyone who wants the demo: make a japanese PSN account or live account (it's gold only for live accounts though, so I would make a PSN one if you can) and the demo should be up there. "
Wasn't Maken X an action game? "
never played that, was that even brought over here?
#17 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (686 posts) -

The first gameplay section was incredibly interesting, if a little hard to describe. I found myself messing up my climb one or two times because I ended up pushing blocks that I needed to continue my ascent. The story sections I've been through were obviously nonsense considering I couldn't understand them, but the models seem extremely well done and I'm at least enjoying watching the characters speak in a language I can't understand what so ever.  
 
If anything, so far the demo has confirmed that I'm as horrible at this as I thought I'd be. Silver prize on easy for the first stage? I'm lame. 

#18 Posted by Hailinel (24818 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @Hailinel said:
" @Laketown said:
" I thought it was super crazy and played a lot better than I expected; this was their first real action oriented game (devil summoner not withstanding I suppose) but I found it fantastic. This game is going to get either really awesome or really hard at the end.  to anyone who wants the demo: make a japanese PSN account or live account (it's gold only for live accounts though, so I would make a PSN one if you can) and the demo should be up there. "
Wasn't Maken X an action game? "
never played that, was that even brought over here? "
Yes, it was.
Online
#19 Edited by supermike6 (3564 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:

" So how crazy-Japanese is it? Does it seem to be good Japanese crazy?   Hopefully this question makes some sense.  "

I played the demo too, and to be honest the game isn't that crazy. Yes, it is Japanese, so people are going to assume it's absolutely nuts, but to be honest from what the demo shows it seems like about as normal as a Persona game. While the dream sequences are kind of weird, so are a lot of the dungeons in Persona. Most of the demo is perfectly normal dudes talking about normal things. It's definitely not on par with Bayonetta or something like that.
 
As for my impressions, the presentation and the different visual styles during the cut-scenes really made the game very interesting. It makes me especially hopeful for Persona 5, which if it looks anything like this could be amazing. Compared to your zero Japanese, I probably speak about 10 Japanese (out of 100) so I could get the very basic gist of what they were saying without actually having any clue what is going on. But playing Japanese demos is good practice so I like it. Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option). 
#20 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19342 posts) -
@supermike6 said:
" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past. 
 
I want to play this so much.
#21 Posted by supermike6 (3564 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
" @supermike6 said:
" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Yeah, judging from Persona 4 they'll probably do a great job. But let's not forget about Persona 3's Fuuka *shudder*.  I guess I'm just too used to anime where the English dubs are often terrible, so I immediately assume the same for games. But I think I can trust Atlus.
#22 Posted by Enigma777 (6073 posts) -

Oh shit, it's out?! Time to dust off the ol' JapaneseEnigma account and give it a tinker!

#23 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (686 posts) -

I ended up failing the second stage when I got to the top. I couldn't figure out how to adjust the blocks in order to escape the fork of death. I'll probably fire it up tomorrow and try again. I really love the franticness of the gameplay when you're scrambling to get away. 

#24 Posted by SomeJerk (3251 posts) -

Someone tell the localization crew to not straight-up include the honorifics this time, I don't want to hear another goddamn "san"/"chan"/"ME AM ANIMU FANBOY LOCALIZER ME AM INCLUED HONORIFIC" English VA track >:(
/Nitpicking with the fist of an angry god
 
Puzzle gameplay = Sweet. My mouth was all "aaaaah ohshi ohshi ohshi" at the right moments, great smiles, many oohs and aahs as the story progressed even though I didn't pick up that much of it besides - major major relationship drama. Can't wait, be it a localized version done in the worst way possible, or an import..

#25 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

That's really bizarre and pretty awesome. 
 
I wonder if you will be able to walk around the city, talking to people and doing side quests like in Persona?

#26 Posted by YoctoYotta (541 posts) -

I can't speak a lick of Japanese, but I enjoyed the demo enough to hope they localize this in English. First of all, I love Persona 3 & 4, so I'm pretty much automatically on board for Catherine, but I also really dig the hand-drawn anime and the 3D renditions of the characters, and the puzzle gameplay seems like it could be a lot of fun too. I had no problem playing through this first few parts with effectively no instruction and it looks like at least a few more mechanics will come into play later in the game from what I could gleam from the post-demo trailer. Count me in.

#27 Posted by YoctoYotta (541 posts) -
@supermike6 said:
"I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'm with you. I don't speak Japanese, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing through Yakuza 2/3 and Valkyria Chronicles in their native Japanese with English subtitles. Maintain hope . . . this game is so definitively Japanese, the developer and Atlas hopefully recognize some value in presenting an authentic option to western fans, at least on the spacious blu-ray format.
#28 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@somejerk:  Someone on another forum mentioned that since the characters are named english names that it would take place in America or something, which would probably not include honorifics.
#29 Posted by EpicSteve (6487 posts) -

How to you get past the part with the block that can't be moved? 

#30 Posted by Undeadpool (4943 posts) -

It seems kinda like a Japanese Heavy Rain.

#31 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@Undeadpool said:
" It seems kinda like a Japanese Heavy Rain. "
with actual gameplay.
 
BOOM
#32 Posted by Hockeymask27 (3683 posts) -

Living in Quebec where we are forced to take French. I would have jumped at the chance for Japanese.

#33 Posted by supermike6 (3564 posts) -
@YoctoYotta said:
" @supermike6 said:
"I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'm with you. I don't speak Japanese, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing through Yakuza 2/3 and Valkyria Chronicles in their native Japanese with English subtitles. Maintain hope . . . this game is so definitively Japanese, the developer and Atlas hopefully recognize some value in presenting an authentic option to western fans, at least on the spacious blu-ray format. "
But I have a 360! Aughhh if the PS3 gets the Japanese voice acting and I don't I will be real sad. But I think they could fit it onto a regular DVD if they really wanted to, apparently the game is only 20 hours (about 5 times shorter than the Persona games) so there hopefully the VO won't take up too much space. Hopefully.
#34 Posted by Juno500 (432 posts) -

Looking at the video of the demo I have to say the action part looked uninteresting and really simple. Although maybe the later levels and higher difficulty settings will fix that problem. 
 
Still interested in this, but I'm not getting my expectations too high.

Online
#35 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@Juno500 said:
" Looking at the video of the demo I have to say the action part looked uninteresting and really simple. Although maybe the later levels and higher difficulty settings will fix that problem.   Still interested in this, but I'm not getting my expectations too high. "
it plays much better than it looks,  really: I wasn't too impressed going in, but it's pretty cool.
#36 Posted by Hailinel (24818 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @Undeadpool said:
" It seems kinda like a Japanese Heavy Rain. "
with actual gameplay.  BOOM "
SICK BUUUUUUURN!
Online
#37 Posted by Juno500 (432 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @Juno500 said:
" Looking at the video of the demo I have to say the action part looked uninteresting and really simple. Although maybe the later levels and higher difficulty settings will fix that problem.   Still interested in this, but I'm not getting my expectations too high. "
it plays much better than it looks,  really: I wasn't too impressed going in, but it's pretty cool. "

Well that's encouraging.
I'll try to set up a Japanese PSN account this weekend and try it out.
Online
#38 Posted by ESREVER (2691 posts) -

I love the frontend menus and game over screen 
"Love is Over" is fantastic to see. Much more uplifting than "You Are Dead." 
 
But yea, despite being murdered 200000 times, I really enjoyed this unique take on a puzzle platformer. The social aspect seems amazing. I just wish I was able to read what each different text said that I could have sent Katherine. I must have sent something naughty, cause I got some negative morality. Vincent, you dog ;) 
The cutscenes were a real treat too. I loved the style and presentation of it all.
The game reminds me of a modern Q-bert

Online
#39 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" How to you get past the part with the block that can't be moved?  "
First or second sequence? I didn't run into a block that couldn't be moved.
#40 Posted by Dtat (1623 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
" @supermike6 said:
" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version?
#41 Posted by Undeadpool (4943 posts) -
@Hailinel said:
" @Laketown said:
" @Undeadpool said:
" It seems kinda like a Japanese Heavy Rain. "
with actual gameplay.  BOOM "
SICK BUUUUUUURN! "
And a quarter of the plot coherency. Sha-boom?
#42 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@Dtat said:

" @FluxWaveZ said:

" @supermike6 said:

" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version? "
I was under the impression that is was going to be released internationally. I can't remember where I first heard it, but it would have to release outside of Japan, right? I'll look around a bit and try to confirm. 
 
Edit: From what I could gather, there doesn't seem to have been an announcement about a U.S. version yet. But come on, it's coming. Right?  :/
#43 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Dtat said:

" @FluxWaveZ said:

" @supermike6 said:

" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version? "
I was under the impression that is was going to be released internationally. I can't remember where I first heard it, but it would have to release outside of Japan, right? I'll look around a bit and try to confirm.  Edit: From what I could gather, there doesn't seem to have been an announcement about a U.S. version yet. But come on, it's coming. Right?  :/ "
no point doing a 360 version if it wasn't coming to america
#44 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@Laketown said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @Dtat said:

" @FluxWaveZ said:

" @supermike6 said:

" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version? "
I was under the impression that is was going to be released internationally. I can't remember where I first heard it, but it would have to release outside of Japan, right? I'll look around a bit and try to confirm.  Edit: From what I could gather, there doesn't seem to have been an announcement about a U.S. version yet. But come on, it's coming. Right?  :/ "
no point doing a 360 version if it wasn't coming to america "
Yes! You've restored my faith. You're totally right.  :P
#45 Posted by supermike6 (3564 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Dtat said:

" @FluxWaveZ said:

" @supermike6 said:

" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version? "
I was under the impression that is was going to be released internationally. I can't remember where I first heard it, but it would have to release outside of Japan, right? I'll look around a bit and try to confirm.  Edit: From what I could gather, there doesn't seem to have been an announcement about a U.S. version yet. But come on, it's coming. Right?  :/ "
Yeah, it has to. Considering the amount of buzz it has over here and the fact that most Atlus games come out here I'd say absolutely definitely.
#46 Posted by Hailinel (24818 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Dtat said:

" @FluxWaveZ said:

" @supermike6 said:

" Problem is, I really like the game's Japanese voice acting, so I kind of want to play this game in Japanese with English subtitles (which I know sadly won't be an option).  "
I'd count on the game's English voice acting on being pretty great given the team's past.  I want to play this so much. "
Stupid question I'm sure. but have we gotten any sort of sense as to whether there will be an english version? "
I was under the impression that is was going to be released internationally. I can't remember where I first heard it, but it would have to release outside of Japan, right? I'll look around a bit and try to confirm.  Edit: From what I could gather, there doesn't seem to have been an announcement about a U.S. version yet. But come on, it's coming. Right?  :/ "
Atlus tends to take their time with announcing U.S. release dates.  Most aren't announced until after the game has already been released in Japan.
Online
#47 Posted by SmasheControllers (2550 posts) -
@JJWeatherman: Katherine or Catherine? I thought the demo was pretty hard.
#48 Posted by JoyfullOFrockets (1177 posts) -

Looks cool. Kinda weird, but it is Japanese. Fortunately I was able to understand most things, but then again those things are made pretty obvious to begin with.

#49 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@SmashedControllers said:

" @JJWeatherman: Katherine or Catherine? "

Catherine! Wait, what are you even asking? 
 

  I thought the demo was pretty hard.    

I found it was fairly easy to figure out. I also found that it got way harder though if you tried to do too much with the blocks. Keeping it simple seems key. Who knows what kinds of things you'll have to with the blocks later in the game though. 
 
@Hailinel: Cool. Good to know.
#50 Edited by SmasheControllers (2550 posts) -
@JJWeatherman: Katherine's Vincent's Girlfriend and Catherine's My Avatar, Which is dumb cause I prefer Kat. I tried to collect everything so maybe that's it.

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