I've put in a lot more time with Catherine since I last talked about it. I spent a good part of the early morning hours yesterday playing through the game, and I have a much better idea of what the game truly offers. I'm very happy to say that I like the game even more than I did from my early impressions. You know a game is good when you have to pry yourself away from it!
Interactive anime is the perfect way to describe Catherine. As a matter of fact, I think just watching Catherine as an anime would work almost as well as the game. There's a little something added by the ability to walk around an make decisions, since you can decide how the story ends up playing out through decisions you make. That's not something you can do with an anime, so that slight interactive element really does make the experience unique.
Not surprisingly, Catherine also has an easy option for those that are more interested in just watching the story unfold rather than playing. I'm not playing that way right now, but I plan on going through that setting once I finish up the game. I'm thinking that mode will have even less input as far as traditional gameplay goes. It should have you just sitting back and taking in the story for most of the experience. Definitely a unique and interesting approach, but it fits nicely with this type of game.
As with any anime, the emphasis in Catherine is on story. You're playing your way through the experience in order to get deeper into the story, moreso than you do with any other game. There are tons of games that feature stories, but a good majority of them aren't really all that important to the game itself. Catherine is all about the story, and everything you do in the game relates to how that story plays out. If you're not into games for their stories, I suggest you stay far away from Catherine.
Oddly enough, the puzzle section of the game is quite enjoyable as well. The good news is, this puzzle element is a big part of the story. Playing through these sections gives you more information on characters and where the story is going. I actually think that the puzzle game within Catherine could stand on its own as a downloadable title. It's all about pushing blocks to climb a tower, making sure you climb faster than the tower falls apart. These gameplay sections mesh with the story perfectly, but they also provide a nice break from just sitting and watching. Being an active participant in the story of Catherine is pretty damn fun!
Again, I have to highly recommend this title to anyone that is into anime and gaming. As long as you don't mind more story than gameplay, Catherine should be right up your alley. I'll be back with a full review once I complete the game.