I’m not sure where to begin this week’s review. Catherine as entertainment falls in the same genre as Akido, Spirited Away, and Sailor Moon; which is known as manga animation from Japan. The other side of the coin, however, is more hentai anime, better known as adult manga since the content (and some of the juicy graphics) are adult oriented. Granted, Catherine’s storyline relies on the player themselves to open and explore the relationships within each setting, which means the player’s option of choosing which path to pursue will open doors on either side of the manga/hentai line of storytelling.
In other words: It’s up to you.
The game starts off with a small animation (I refuse to use the word cartoon), portraying a man in a relationship with a long-term girlfriend: Katherine (with a “K”) who wants to get married, settle down and have kids. Vincent is unsure of this new jump in their relationship – as you find out in the opening scenes – he moved jobs a few months ago, has no money saved and is fine in their relationship where it is today: stable. Katherine is hinting towards marriage and doesn’t want the “girlfriend” status anymore, however she is also content in her life: grounded and in control. Vincent goes to his local bar to meet up with friends and think things over when a pretty girl comes by to talk. Catherine (with a “C”) is the polar opposite of Katherine – active, impulsive and unstable, however, very attractive and –you’ll soon find out, very jealous.
The next day starts off with Vincent waking up next to this blonde bombshell and not knowing what happened the night before. During the day, Vincent tries to make sense in his head of what happened, and at night the nightmares begin – nightmares which have Vincent climbing blocks and jumping over items to make sense of the predicament he’s entangled within.
Catherine is a brilliant platform game built around a movie one must play to believe is real. The points of animosity and nervousness within the game will make your blood pressure rise to the point of having to take a pause from the game and walk around outside to tell yourself “it’s only a game…” Other games build excitement with police and action, while Catherine builds with mere dialog and introduction of new facts and ideas. Catherine is a bold and refreshing game, with a reminder that original games containing new ideas are still being built by companies who don’t want to build another FPS game. Sure Catherine is nothing more than a standard platform game, but it’s a platform game in the same way that Half Life was another Quake clone.
I could spend another week playing Catherine (and I might do it anyway to see the ending), since what I’ve seen so far (about 10 hours in) is a brilliant window into the male mental psyche about women and relationships. Each chapter ends with a boss who is more terrifying than the level you climbed up to get to the boss, and after the boss, you sit in a confessional and answer questions based on your relationships. It’s clear, Catherine is a new style of mental thriller which makes me excited about new games from Altus and hopefully the hordes of new developers which see Catherine as a standard for new games to come.
Bottom Line: Must play! Must have for either system. It’s more of a psychological thriller and quest into the choices men make and why we make them, however I’ve yet to see a game do this well and still freak me out when the wrong girl is at your door.
|Graphics:||The story is all anime, which is good if you like anime. The platform part of the game is also well done, however it’s all put together so seamless which makes the game feel whole.||9|
|Storyline:||The reason you’re playing this game. Dr Freud would be damn proud, well, without his mother he would be.||10|
|Controls:||Simple and concise. What you choose to do with those controls is another thing:||9|
|Replayability:||This might be the biggest downfall of the game; however I can see myself playing again to try new (or more honest) choices within the game.||9|
|Value:||The standard game is $60 and well worth it, the “Love is over” collector’s pack which comes with Vincent’s boxer shorts and a handful of other goodies is $80. I think both are underpriced, which makes this an extraordinary value:||10|
|Total:||47 out of 50
- Chris Tallant