In a world without limit, in a world without reality, in a world called a dream, you wake up to a reflection of everything encompassing all that is you. You find yourself, remember yourself, change yourself, just so you can forget yourself to find the “answers” to “life”.
Catherine is a game about the choices we make, the mistakes we encounter, the troubles we overcome, and the lengths we go to just to grasp that which we have made a decision on. It’s a strange metaphor present in Catherine; the ambiguity of life, reality and all that we must overcome, the freedom in choice and the importance in maturity. And while it is a strange metaphor, it is such a thought-provoking and compelling one. The answers that we seek only come after the questions disappear, the real challenge in life is arriving at your answer before that happens; to struggle, to endure, to persevere. The falling “staircases” present in Vincent’s nightmare represents all that, it places Vincent and all those who wound up in the nightmare to take a good hard look at themselves and once placed in life and death situations make a choice of what they want or what they believe they should do; the stairway in the nightmare forces the participants to mature. The choice is their own, the consequences that results are theirs to suffer and the life brought about through their actions are ones they have the freedom to do with what they want.
Man I love Catherine, it’s such a fantastic game, what an intense and overwhelmingly enjoyable game, hahah it made such an impact on me, my mind is still caught up in the nightmare stage trying to visually progress through it (move this block here, move that block there, use this technique, intense indeed =P).
The puzzle-based nightmare stages are so good, it’s such a simple idea and set-up but it makes for such an entertaining and deep experience, and it’s so so very addicting. Each level adds something new to the mix and just like life, it’s one dam thing after another, and hahah that certainly was the case with each level as things just got harder and harder but the greater the challenge the more fun in conquering it, especially when it comes to Catherine. I played the game on normal difficulty, though I did give stage 7 floor one a try on hard and hahah, wow it certainly was hard, not having the “undo” function available sucks, if you make a mistake, you have to start from the start or checkpoint again =(. The first floor sure did take me some time, had to pause at each point after a lot of deaths just to visually experiment on how certain techniques would work in the area. Was so extremely relieved when I completed the level, but reloaded my game to change the difficulty back to normal (enjoyed the balance between challenging and fun it was able to strike), hard was too hard for me =(. Given enough time I could complete all the stages on hard, but that would take so many deaths to progress through each stage, and since I was so caught-up in the story of Catherine, I wanted to know what happened as soon as possible.
The characters, wow, they are just fantastic, each becoming so deep and characterised the more the story of Catherine develops and reveals itself. Certain characters I was not expecting to have such dark shadows behind them, contrary to how they appear, their lives are so much more complicated and desperate then one would expect. The amazing thing about having the world of reality and the world of dreams open to play is that you are able to get to know two sides to the characters who develop through the story. In the dreams, the characters become more open and begin to share more about their problems, in the world of reality, you are able to help said characters by offering your company and ears to them as their release all that consumes them. Being able to draw parallels between characters in the world of reality and the sheep in the world of dreams is such a fantastic feeling, you feel a sense of expansion and growth and ultimately end up becoming more connected to the characters who you want to help.
The twists and developments, wow…some developments are just so shocking and real, you are literally left speechless and in a state of awe. As Vincent’s problems become more complicated and as he becomes sucked up in the flow of reality more and more, you can literally feel the claws of reality graze across the skin of your soul as it attempts to destroy what Vincent has yet to realise what he wants. The player may not be Vincent themself, but they become so connected and empathetic to his struggles and problems as he carries out his daily life that it ends up being hard not be affected in a way similar to Vincent, both emotionally and mentally. The horrific nature of the last levels of each stage in the nightmares only adds to the unnerving feeling continually apparent in Catherine, and does it feel good, that intense and bewildering feeling, such a powerful and unusual feeling. For certain bosses, I couldn’t help but fall into terror and frantically force myself to pump whatever juices I had left in my brain into motion to find a way out of the encroaching darkness seeking Vincent’s life rapidly approaching with deformed and visually terrifying forms. Oh wow, Vincent’s has some seriously serious nightmares, geez, reality being reflected into something so powerful as a dream can be so frightful and deadly…
There are 8 different endings, I ended up going with the Katherine True ending. The “true” and “good” endings for Catherine and Katherine are fantastic, loved watching each of those. The “true” and “good” Freedom endings were nice, though I preferred a more a conclusive ending =). My favourite is the “true” ending for Catherine (hahah as expected), that was great to watch, who would have thought aye? That twist at the end really caught me off guard, it was fantastic, loved it.
As Midnight Venus states in each of the endings; “Games are lovely creations, aren’t they?”, and I have to agree. Catherine gets a 10 out of 10 from me, I absolutely loved playing it and the cut-scenes were just amazing to watch, it feels great being able to play incredibly fun and deep games like this.
Syphin signing off from some mysterious falling staircase in the world of dreams, I hoped you all enjoyed reading this, it was fun to write =).
(Also yay, 100th post entry).