September 03, 2014

Finished: Catherine

I have been thinking to start blogging about the video games I finish. This probably means there won't be too many posts and the games are likely to be few years old. That being the case, these post probably serve as nostalgia trips for most readers. The finished criteria for me is playing the main story through and mostly skipping the extra content.

PlayStation Plus subscription will take care that I won't run out of writing material anytime soon. The first game cleared from my mental backlog is Catherine (spoilers), categorized as puzzle platformer adventure game. The game had additional challenges, which I may or may not play in the future. The main thing also in this case was the story-line. In fact, I don't think I'd never finished the game without the story being what it was.

In Catherine I step into shoes of Vincent Brooks, who seems to work as programmer. Luckily the game play is not about coding. Vincent is about to face some fundamental decisions in his life. Considering what is going on, Vincent spends way too much time drinking and socializing with friends in a bar called Stray Sheep. It's no wonder he's having some nightmares. But the ones in the game are about to kill him for real if he fails to climb a tower of blocks, which basically is a series of puzzles. The tower and Stray Sheep are the two main elements in the game play. Spending every evening in Stray Sheep, Vincent tends to end up drinking. However, this gives him a speed bonus in the nightmares, so there's encouragement to fall into bad ways.

While the game mechanics are suitable for all ages, the other elements such as graphical style and the plot are targeted for grown-ups. I decided to start Catherine after some praise I found in the internet, wanting to see something different from the usual gaming experience. I'd say the game is a partial success. The choices in the story took me to the kind of ending I expected, fitting well to the overall atmosphere. There were a couple of plot twists and unfortunately I had suspicions about the other one quite early in the game. This made the story a bit less appealing. Some levels in the tower were quite challenging on normal difficulty and I went to get help from YouTube a couple of times. In some levels I ended solving the hard part more by accident than careful thought.

Catherine may stand out from the crowd, mainly because of its story. The problem for me was that the actual game play, climbing was the least enjoyable part. Even hanging out in Stray Sheep felt better, although repetitive towards the ending. While the story could have replay value, I don't think I'll go back to climbing anymore.