App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Back in 2016, I wrote a glowing review for Kathy Rain, and I mostly stand by it. It makes just a few tweaks to traditional point-and-click adventure game mechanics to create a character-focused experience that tells a decent--though bizarre--story. With additional hindsight and replaying the game's new "Director's Cut," though, I'm not quite in love with it as I once was, and I can't say this new version really felt all that meaningfully different than when I played it the first time.
New things to notice
If you want to know what Kathy Rain is about any how it plays, you can just reference the original review. Kathy Rain: Director's Cut definitely keeps the core experience extremely intact, with the only truly notable difference being support for wide screen devices.
Beyond that, this new version also touts an "extended storyline" with a "more fleshed out and satisfying ending," "multiple new areas to explore," "700+ new lines of dialogue," an "expanded" soundtrack," motorcycle skins you can unlock and equip to change the look of Kathy's motorcycle, and "more!"
I put a lot of the new features above in quotations because they are pulled from the game's press release directly, and if I hadn't referenced that document while writing this review I would not have come up with them on my own. This is to say that I essentially didn't notice most of these new additions to Kathy Rain: Director's Cut. For the most part, playing the game felt like playing the original with a widescreen view.
There's a few ways to interpret this, depending on who you are. A charitable read would maybe imply that the bonus features are so well integrated into the game that they enhance the experience without you realizing they weren't there originally. Cynically, you could say that the additions just aren't all they are cracked up to be on paper. For the things I actually did notice as different, like the motorcycle skins and one of the new areas, they definitely just felt superfluous. They didn't add anything to the game that felt missing, but they didn't really get in the way, either.
One thing that really stood out to me while playing Kathy Rain: Director's Cut is that my thoughts on the quality of the puzzle design have shifted somewhat. While I agree in my original review that most of the puzzles feel natural and intuitive thanks to the interview-style mechanics of the game, some of the late-stage, more traditional puzzles were frustratingly obtuse.
It was toward the end of the Director's Cut that I really started thinking about additions that seemed to be missing from the game and really wishing they had implemented a hint system of some kind. There are ways to get direction in the game, of course, but too often Kathy Rain buries your next steps behind a conversation topic you haven't thought of or presenting an item to someone that you might not feel is totally needed to move forward.
The bottom line
Despite its new content not really making a big impression, Kathy Rain: Director's Cut is the definitive way to play this great adventure game. It may not have aged as well as I thought it would, but at least there is a way to enjoy the game on widescreen devices.