E3: Catherine

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E3: Catherine

image

We finally know what Catherine is all about, and it's not what we expected.

Given that it's from the team responsible for Persona, and its marketing featured more cleavage than the local strip club, you could be forgiven for expecting Catherine to be an RPG filled with plenty of sex. It's not. Oh, there's plenty of nookie, but Catherine is actually a puzzle game.

Seriously.

The protagonist in the game is Vincent, whose disinterest in commitment is beginning to frustrate his girlfriend of five years, Katherine. He meets a super-sexy girl in a bar one night, and after waking up next to her thinks that he might be in a lot of trouble. Plenty of corpses have been showing up all over town, and they all have one thing in common: They were all men who cheated on their girlfriends.

Every night, Vincent has a nightmare in which he is climbing a tower of stacked blocks. He must maneuver up the tower, moving blocks, shifting position, and reorganizing them into stairs, so that he can make it to the top before time runs out. Pulling a block out the stack, Jenga-style, allows the one above it to drop, and you can hang from the edges to shimmy around a block you just pulled into the spot where you were standing. As Vincent climbs, the lower rows of blocks fall away into nothingness, so maintaining upward mobility is vital. It's not as easy as simply shifting blocks around, though; some explode, others shoot out spikes, and every so often you'll run into something really special, like ice.

Boss levels are a little bit different. Vincent still has to race to the top of the tower, but this time he's being pursued by a gigantic monster that represents one of his innermost fears. The boss I got to see was, appropriately, Catherine herself, who chases after Vincent with a fork. Each boss has special abilities that make solving the puzzle even harder. In the case of Catherine, she can turn blocks into nonmoving blocks.

The game takes place in three different areas: Vincent's favorite bar, the "landings," and the nightmares that he has every night. The landings are where Vincent meets the sheepmen who are other men having nightmares, and talk to them about how to tackle the puzzles in his nightmares. They might teach him new moves or techniques that will give him a clue as to how to solve the puzzle in his next nightmare. There's a rumor going around town that if you die in your dreams, you die in real life, so gathering intel is in your best interests.

Pay attention to the other patrons of the bar and you'll recognize some of them as the sheep from your dreams. By talking to them, you may be able to rescue them from their nightmares, thus saving their lives. Not only will this earn you achievements, but it will also make you a nicer guy, tipping the game's morality meter into the blue.

The decisions you make aren't judged as good or evil, merely chaotic or restrained. Jerks will send the meter into the red zone, while nicer guys will have that needle leaning into the blue. The choices you make - like how to answer an angry text from Katherine when she realizes you're out at the bar again - don't change how the game progresses, but where your morality meter winds up will determine which of Catherine's many endings you receive.

The Tower of Babel mode are completely separate missions you unlock by playing through the story mode, which should last about 8-12 hours, depending on how well you tune into Catherine's particular brand of puzzle solving. For even more block-moving puzzletry, you can play the Rapunzel arcade game at the bar. Its puzzles have the added incentive of not being timed, and when you reach the top, you get to shag Rapunzel herself. Or at least do something that makes her braid shake.

Catherine isn't at all what I expected, but it's still something very special and weird. The puzzles, sheepmen, confessionals, chaos meter, and anime cutscenes are a bizarre combination, but it all really seems to work. The multiple endings are great bait for replays, especially once you've mastered the block-shifting mechanics that will help you soar through the nightmare levels.

We'll see if it gets any weirder when Catherine comes out on Xbox 360 and PS3 in late July. If that's even possible.

image
See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

Permalink

So, love isn't over?

Glad to see you guys finally understand the plot. Also, you do realize catherine is a

Other that, I gonna pick it up.

8-12 hours? I feel less happy about pre-ordering this. My finances as they are at the moment, I need to save my money for games that are going to last me a while.

8-12 hours? Well there goes my hopes for a game to take days. Seriously, I spend over 100 hours on Persona 4. (mainly because I suck at it) I was hoping for a time sink.

... I'll still be getting this. SMT doesnt disappoint, so this will be very good.

Ah, so it's a shorter-kind of game. Still, looks pretty awesome. I can imagine training myself to become an expert at the puzzle solving.

Also, I'm an idiot and looked at the spoilers above (many times I just click it, expecting an img or something because people post jokes in spoiler brackets all the time). Dammit, I'm a saaaaad panda :(

I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I'm about to (no one ever says that when they're not about to sound like a jerk). What did you expect? It was well known it was a horror puzzle game in which the puzzles themselves were in a nightmare zone. The obvious way it would work is the way it does work.

That said, this is the only game since man stepped out of the primordial mud and played Space Invaders that made me want the collector's edition. I'll probably just pick up the shirt from eBay later though.

image

Why, do you see any other susicias around here?

Well, since I pretty much gobble up whatever Atlus puts out, I'm sure that I'll be getting this game regardless. The time frame is a tad disappointing, but since it has multiple endings, that about evens it out with games.

It's sounding more and more interesting as time passes, but can they tell us if we europeans will get it too or? :(

Definitely getting this, I love Atlus either way.

I am angry at myself again. I allowed myself to get intrested and/or exited at the games's premise only to reach that PS3/360 notice at the end. I always do that.

It's sad being a PC only gamer, Steam rules over my life... It's not an iron fist rule, but I have to see all that gaming universe out the window and sigh all the time.

Didn't we know that Catherine was a puzzle game months ago?

The thing that most catches my interest is the morality system...which looks as blunt and trite as usual.

Susan Arendt:
We finally know what Catherine is all about, and it's not what we expected.

Given that it's from the team responsible for Persona, and its marketing featured more cleavage than the local strip club, you could be forgiven for expecting Catherine to be an RPG filled with plenty of sex. It's not. Oh, there's plenty of nookie, but Catherine is actually a puzzle game.

Seriously.

Even taking into account that it is Atlus that made it, I don't see how people expected anything other than a puzzle game.

Ever since first bit of uproar that the game wasn't getting released outside Japan, and then the turn around by Atlus to please fans, many months ago, videos of the Japanese release of the game have been on Youtube. Everything in those videos showed that the game was anime cinematics and puzzles.

I would have figured that anybody that was interested would have found at least what kind of game it is by now.

Great article, it is good to find out more about the game other that just from what I knew about it being a puzzle game.

Now, if only I could find a job and get money, there is so much coming out this year and the next that I am interested in, it is not even funny.

Susan Arendt:

Given that it's from the team responsible for Persona, and its marketing featured more cleavage than the local strip club, you could be forgiven for expecting Catherine to be an RPG filled with plenty of sex. It's not. Oh, there's plenty of nookie, but Catherine is actually a puzzle game.

Seriously.

Wait... what?

I thought we all knew that?

I'm not being a dick, seriously, I thought that was common knowledge.

All of the gameplay trailers were of puzzles. I never thought it was going to be an RPG.

It's coming out in July? As in, next month? This makes me happy!

No news that i've seen of it releasing in Europe... but stuff it, i'll just import the PS3 version like i did with Demon's Souls and God of War several years back, since PS3 games are (sometimes) region free... unlike the xbox 360.

Susan Arendt:
snip

Come now, you are surprised, Susan? We knew it was a puzzle game months ago. I didn't know bosses had special abilities, though.

What's Vincet's favorite party game?
limbo
BWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

The fact that Catherine is a puzzle game has been known for quite a while. I just hope it doesn't end up being the most pretentious puzzle game ever (erotic horror thriller? lol)

Gralian:
It's coming out in July? As in, next month? This makes me happy!

No news that i've seen of it releasing in Europe... but stuff it, i'll just import the PS3 version like i did with Demon's Souls and God of War several years back, since PS3 games are (sometimes) region free... unlike the xbox 360.

Be careful with that though. I had to make a fake US PSN account (and buy PS "Points" or whatever they're called) to download the DLC for the game I bought in the US. Guess the stuff you download is different between the US and EU PS Store.

On topic, I still can't wait for this game. I'm not exactly a professional at puzzle-games, but I love a lot of Atlus' games. The stories they present haven't disappointed me once. ^_^

Dang. Now I'm hoping this makes it to Australia; it's actually piqued my interest now! jRPGs usually aren't my thing, but puzzle game with RPG elements? Intriguing and sign me up!

They had this Idea for awhile I guess.
Here is Vincent in P3P

We already knew that this was a puzzle game months ago. That is to say, the information was unambiguously stated months ago. It is possible that people were not paying attention.

so I'm to understand it's NOT a dating simulation game?

Too bad it's rather short, but games have to get pretty insanely long to register in our immortal gamer minds these days, so it's probably still pretty sizable.

Not sure where all the surprise that it's a puzzle game is coming from. I thought we knew that months ago!

I thought most people knew it was a puzzle game already?

Can't freaking wait for this. It's so bizarre and different, and I love how it's looking. =)

And, no, to everyone saying it, it's NOT an SMT game.

I already knew most of this except the boss levels and the sheep in the dreams being actual people. Cool, makes it even more interesting. Can't wait.

actually i think it's exactly what we expected, since pretty much everything i know about this game has come from the escapist, and there's nothing here i didn't know already.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who realized that everyone knows it's a puzzle game. That was really bothering me. I would like to further point out, though I think many people already knew, that the game was realeased *months* ago! It was only released in Japan, but that would've been a problem about 10 or 20 years ago.

Also:

Drakmeire:
They had this Idea for awhile I guess.
Here is Vincent in P3P

Awesome. Thanks for linking this. I really need to play Persona one day.

This game actually intrigues me. So different and strange, yet it got a reason behind its strangeness. Might not buy it for full price, but will definetively get it.

The Random One:
I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I'm about to (no one ever says that when they're not about to sound like a jerk). What did you expect? It was well known it was a horror puzzle game in which the puzzles themselves were in a nightmare zone. The obvious way it would work is the way it does work.

Yeah this kinda sums it up... I knew it was a puzzle game by the third or fourth news reel, was justing wondering how much of a puzzle game it would be.

Never played P4, and I might get this if I have the spare cash but I usually can't stand puzzle games (I love strategy, but can't stand puzzles) so if I don't have the spare cash, then there's no way.

Also I kinda just spent almost 1.45k on a nice laptop, so I'd be SOL anyways if I wanted to buy this.

Yup, definitely knew that Catherine was a puzzle game since I first heard about it AGES ago. As it's been out in Japan for a while, it's not like it was a huge secret...

Also, why did I read the spoiler in the first post...? God damn...

I'll definitely buy this, not day 1 but I'll get it at some point. I'm a big SMT fan and after seeing (and recognising) Vincent in my recent P3P playthrough, I just won't be able to NOT buy the game to see what happens to him!

Susan Arendt:
E3: Catherine

image

We finally know what Catherine is all about, and it's not what we expected.

Given that it's from the team responsible for Persona, and its marketing featured more cleavage than the local strip club, you could be forgiven for expecting Catherine to be an RPG filled with plenty of sex. It's not. Oh, there's plenty of nookie, but Catherine is actually a puzzle game.

Seriously.

The protagonist in the game is Vincent, whose disinterest in commitment is beginning to frustrate his girlfriend of five years, Katherine. He meets a super-sexy girl in a bar one night, and after waking up next to her thinks that he might be in a lot of trouble. Plenty of corpses have been showing up all over town, and they all have one thing in common: They were all men who cheated on their girlfriends.

Every night, Vincent has a nightmare in which he is climbing a tower of stacked blocks. He must maneuver up the tower, moving blocks, shifting position, and reorganizing them into stairs, so that he can make it to the top before time runs out. Pulling a block out the stack, Jenga-style, allows the one above it to drop, and you can hang from the edges to shimmy around a block you just pulled into the spot where you were standing. As Vincent climbs, the lower rows of blocks fall away into nothingness, so maintaining upward mobility is vital. It's not as easy as simply shifting blocks around, though; some explode, others shoot out spikes, and every so often you'll run into something really special, like ice.

Boss levels are a little bit different. Vincent still has to race to the top of the tower, but this time he's being pursued by a gigantic monster that represents one of his innermost fears. The boss I got to see was, appropriately, Catherine herself, who chases after Vincent with a fork. Each boss has special abilities that make solving the puzzle even harder. In the case of Catherine, she can turn blocks into nonmoving blocks.

The game takes place in three different areas: Vincent's favorite bar, the "landings," and the nightmares that he has every night. The landings are where Vincent meets the sheepmen who are other men having nightmares, and talk to them about how to tackle the puzzles in his nightmares. They might teach him new moves or techniques that will give him a clue as to how to solve the puzzle in his next nightmare. There's a rumor going around town that if you die in your dreams, you die in real life, so gathering intel is in your best interests.

Pay attention to the other patrons of the bar and you'll recognize some of them as the sheep from your dreams. By talking to them, you may be able to rescue them from their nightmares, thus saving their lives. Not only will this earn you achievements, but it will also make you a nicer guy, tipping the game's morality meter into the blue.

The decisions you make aren't judged as good or evil, merely chaotic or restrained. Jerks will send the meter into the red zone, while nicer guys will have that needle leaning into the blue. The choices you make - like how to answer an angry text from Katherine when she realizes you're out at the bar again - don't change how the game progresses, but where your morality meter winds up will determine which of Catherine's many endings you receive.

The Tower of Babel mode are completely separate missions you unlock by playing through the story mode, which should last about 8-12 hours, depending on how well you tune into Catherine's particular brand of puzzle solving. For even more block-moving puzzletry, you can play the Rapunzel arcade game at the bar. Its puzzles have the added incentive of not being timed, and when you reach the top, you get to shag Rapunzel herself. Or at least do something that makes her braid shake.

Catherine isn't at all what I expected, but it's still something very special and weird. The puzzles, sheepmen, confessionals, chaos meter, and anime cutscenes are a bizarre combination, but it all really seems to work. The multiple endings are great bait for replays, especially once you've mastered the block-shifting mechanics that will help you soar through the nightmare levels.

We'll see if it gets any weirder when Catherine comes out on Xbox 360 and PS3 in late July. If that's even possible.

image
See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

Permalink

...

I knew at least two months ago and I didn't even look the game up at all.

how is this news?

Ok. This is the first time I'm legitimately sad this isn't coming to the PC. Like Susan, I also thought that this was basically a AAA dating RPG; and while I have nothing against games like that, they aren't my primary niche, so I wasn't very interested.......and I was happier that way :(

Z(ombie)fan:

...

I knew at least two months ago and I didn't even look the game up at all.

how is this news?

It's great that you're so well informed, but not everyone keeps up with game news as much as you do. E3 is a time when even more laid-back gamers tune in to find out what new games will be coming out. If you're super informed about Catherine already, then no, this demo wouldn't really provide you with much insight. But if you're the kind of reader who doesn't necessarily read gaming sites every day, and is just reading up on E3 news, then this lets you know what the game is about.

Many different kinds of gamers read The Escapist - we want to help them all, not just the super hardcore fans.

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