What can be said about Atlus' Catherine that hasn't already? It's a bewildering-looking game which revolves around themes of love and betrayal, confusion and guilt--and the ultimate decision to settle down with your partner of five years or strike off with a new fling who's waltzed into your life. Even if the plot as we know it doesn't nearly reach the heady levels we're used to from the developer's Persona series, it still looks like it'll shake up the scene as their first adult-themed experience.
Another thing one can say about Catherine, it seems, is that it's too damn hard. Having been released less than a week ago, Atlus' next big hit is frustrating gamers in Japan to no end, and they're not afraid to say so. Apparently the blend of platforming, physical puzzles, and fighting off the dangerous apparitions of two women's rage and Vincent's own guilt is proving too much to handle all at once. Atlus has announced they're working on an optional difficulty patch so more people can experience their game fully.
Of the difficulty, director Katsura Hashino had this to say: "We balanced the game so that the player feels thrilled with a sense of achievement when they clear the level. But it's also possible the staff is just too good at the game at this point." All the more reason to outsource some of your QA! I can think of a few thousand people who'd have loved to help balance this game. There is something to be said for the thrill of overcoming a challenge, but it stands to reason that the crowd who follows Persona doesn't always want the same thrill from their games as, say, Demon's Souls.
Despite the continued support after development and a ton of attention by international gaming press, Catherine has yet to be announced for localization. Even if the overtly-het marketing and cutscenes don't have the same impact for me as they might for others, I can still hold out hope that the inevitable NGP port might at least player choose their gender and sexuality!
We hope soon to have more word of whether the love between English-speakers and Atlus' latest will come to fruition!