Catherine Xbox 360
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Released on 10-Feb-2012
Vincent likes his girlfriend. Katherine's pretty, smart, and successful. Trouble is, she's starting to talk about long-term commitment, something Vincent's spent his entire life avoiding. Since romantic complications are the last thing he wants to deal with, Vincent meets his friends for their regular night of drinks. Little does he know that he's about to be blindsided by a beautiful, seductive, irresistible freight train named Catherine. Suddenly, he's hung over in bed next to the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, unsure about the previous night's events. Was it just making out, he wonders, or did something more serious happen between them? Should he tell Katherine? Will he ever see Catherine again? Vincent's about to find that a stumble on the staircase of love can turn into a horrific, fatal plummet...
Catherine on Xbox 360 Features:
- The Horrors of Love - Vincent's waking fears, doubts, pressures, and growing guilt about commitment and fidelity now gleefully follow him into his dreams, manifesting as horribly disfigured monsters and a ticking clock.
- Between a Rock and a Soft Place - The player must navigate Vincent through heavy moral decisions. As in real life, hardly anything is black and white. What is the value of honesty? What is the right thing to do? Either way, someone's going to get hurt. Worse yet, someone could die.
- The Nightmare of Your Dreams - Under the watch of producer Katsura Hashino, acclaimed director of Persona 3 and Persona 4, famed character artist Shigenori Soejima and master composer Shoji Meguro create sights and sounds unlike anything else. As unforgettable and original as the game's narrative, Catherine's visual direction and musical score define and perfectly complement Vincent's terrifying ascent into the dizzying perils of love.
- Escape With or From a Friend - Local competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, in addition to leaderboards, ensure that the many thrills and horrors of racing through twisted stages can be enjoyed by more than one player and add hours of extra gameplay to the overall experience.
The game follows Vincent, a man who starts to have weird nightmares when his girlfriend, Katherine, starts talking about marriage. Then he meets a beautiful woman, Catherine, and things get even weirder.
The game's bizarre combination of erotic horror, text messaging and surreal puzzles has already made it a hit in Japan and America, but until now Europe had been left out of the equation. It currently has a Metacritic rating of 80 for PS3 and 83 for Xbox 360.
Limited edition version of Catherine coming to Europe
Deep Silver has revealed that a special limited edition version of its oddball new puzzle adventure game Catherine will be released in Europe.
When the groundbreaking Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game launches in the UK in February 2012, gamers will be able to pick up the Stray Sheep Edition, which packs in a host of collectable extras.
Named after the bar frequented by protagonist Vincent, it comes in a package resembling a pizza delivery box and includes a T-shirt similar to Vincent's own, authentic bar-style coasters and a poster of the eponymous Catherine herself.
Peter Brolly, brand manager at Deep Silver, said: "We wanted to offer Europe's Catherine fans something special and unique, something that was not available before."
The Atlus-developed title promises to offer a totally unique gaming experience, focusing on the surreal, sexy and unsettling experiences of a young man caught in the middle of a love triangle.
Players will need to interact with characters and overcome dream-like puzzles as they help Vincent choose between his girlfriend Katherine and the mysterious "other woman" Catherine, both of whom feature on the game's reversible cover sleeve.
Catherine must have been a tough game to pitch for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and it's just as hard to describe in words. It's part horror, part comedy, part platform puzzle game with some role playing adventure elements thrown in, all mixed with a story revolving around love, sex, responsibility and freedom. Players step into the shoes of Vincent, a thirty-something guy with a fear of commitment to his long-term girlfriend Katherine, who escapes his daily pressures by spending regular nights out drinking with friends.
But things take a sinister turn one evening when Vincent's easily seduced by a beautiful woman called Catherine. He wakes up beside her the following morning nursing a headache, unsure how the previous night's events played out. Did he and Catherine just have some innocent fun, or did something serious happen between them? Should he tell his girlfriend, and will he ever see this mysterious woman again? Little does he know the extent of the trouble he's about to find himself in.
Choose your path wisely
Vincent's dizzying, surreal journey takes place over nine in-game days. His waking hours are filled with a mixture of impossibly stylish anime cut-scenes and visits to the Stray Sheep bar, featuring adventure-style gameplay elements like chatting with friends and fellow drinkers, and reading and responding to text messages.
As events unfold, players must make a series of moral choices that impact which of multiple possible game endings they receive. As in real life, almost nothing is black and white, and it's up to players to decide the value of honesty and the importance of facing up to their actions? Either way, someone's going to get hurt, and possibly even die.
The stuff of nightmares
The bulk of traditional gameplay takes place during Vincent's sleeping hours as his fears, doubts, and growing guilt about commitment and fidelity follow him into his dreams, manifesting themselves as nightmares featuring horribly disfigured monsters and a ticking clock. These sections challenge players to climb a giant tower, pulling and pushing blocks to create new pathways, while the cubes below disappear one line at a time, meaning Vincent will fall to his death if he doesn't ascend quickly.
He'll slip on icy blocks, be blown up by exploding ones or impaled by hidden spikes, while power-ups scattered around the environment offer lightning bolts that zap people obstructing the path to safety, and extra retries, which are much-needed given the challenging nature of the puzzle gameplay. Each level ends with Vincent being chased by a scary boss plucked straight from his inner turmoil and twisted into a horrifying form.
Based on what we've seen to date, Catherine is an outrageously unique title that's stunning to look at and cleverly blends the everyday with the surreal. While we don't know how Vincent's tale will turn out, we can't wait to poke around in his troubled psyche some more when the full game launches.
Role-playing epic Final Fantasy XIII-2 has become the first new release of the year to top the UK all-formats chart.
The latest instalment in Square Enix's legendary series toppled the long-reigning FIFA 12 from the summit of the GfK-ChartTrack rankings, emulating the chart-topping debut of its direct predecessor Final Fantasy XIII.
It was one of a number of new releases to make a big splash this week, with second place going to Konami's compilation title Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which features three of the most popular entries in the classic stealth series.
Next week should see another batch of new releases making their chart debuts, including fantasy blockbuster Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, comic book shooter The Darkness II and quirky relationship drama Catherine.
EA's new role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has ascended to the top of the UK all-formats chart in its first week of release.
The much-anticipated title from 38 Studios and Big Huge Games dethroned Final Fantasy XIII-2 at the summit of the GfK-ChartTrack rankings, becoming the first brand new series to top the charts since last year's Dead Island.
It was not the only debutant to excel this week, as comic book-inspired shooter The Darkness II came in third, behind the latest Final Fantasy game.
Murder She Wrote
Catherine, out now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, can be described in a lot of different ways: a challenging puzzle game, a so-so platformer, an odd dating sim, an intriguing role-playing experience. Regardless of what you call it, one thing is for sure: Catherine is a gaming experience like no other.
At its core is a murder mystery. People are dying in their sleep, apparently victims of nightmares where they fall from an impossible height. When the dreamers don't wake up before they hit the ground in their sleep, seemingly their real-life bodies perish too.
Our hero is Vincent, a set-in-his-ways guy with a highly strung girlfriend named Katherine. Vincent's girlfriend is pregnant and wants him to take the next step in life by tying the knot with her. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worse when, drunk and stressed out, Vincent meets the confusingly named Catherine - a carefree, temptress who seduces him.
Explaining the story beyond this point would certainly ruin the experience somewhat, so we'll keep it vague and say Vincent, racked with guilt and on the point of a meltdown, begins to have nightmares where he's being chased up a pyramid of blocks. If he doesn't reach the top and escape before whatever is following gets him in its clutches it's game over time.
Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
The gameplay in Catherine is simple in design but can also be very challenging in practice. Players are tasked with scrambling up the Tower of Babel by pulling and pushing blocks to create steps he can hop onto or shuffle around.
Since these gameplay segments take place in the realm of nightmares they're incredibly surreal experiences. Vincent scurries around dressed only in his boxers, clutching a pillow, and somehow he has managed to grow a pair of sheep's antlers too.
The gameplay is made challenging by the constant threat of being chased, as well as a number of dangerous blocks that can explode, are booby trapped with hidden spikes or are made of slippery ice. Coins, bonus blocks and extra retries are also placed around the tower to tempt you from the simplest path.
When not being chased around by horrifyingly twisted manifestations of his real life problems, Vincent spends his time at the Stray Sheep, a bar also frequented by a few of his friends. In these segments Catherine becomes more of a role playing game in which you're required to mingle with other people, and talk to Catherine and Katherine, both in person and through text messages.
Over time relationships advance and the convoluted love triangle unfolds, often with terrifying consequences. Much of the joy of Catherine is in its presentation; Japanese animation house Studio 4C, which most recently created the TV Thundercats reboot, delivers gorgeous visuals and there's some top notch voice acting too.
Catherine also features a fairly simple online mode, It challenges players to answer moral questions between the tower stages and a pie chart shows how others responded, allowing you to gauge your moral compass against fellow gamers'. It's not particularly deep but is interesting nonetheless.
You probably won't see or play a game like Catherine again; it deals with mature themes and has simple yet challenging, thoroughly satisfying gameplay. It's definitely worth spending some quality time with.
- Beautiful to look at.
- Satisfying gameplay.
- Really interesting story.
- Basic online features.
- Can be very challenging at times.
- Some long loading times.
- Beautiful to look at.
"That's when the bad dreams start."
Catherine is one of those Japanese games, like Katamari Damacy and Demon's Souls, that is so unusual, even the people who publish the game aren't sure what to do with it. It took a while to find a company brave enough to bring Catherine to European shores, but it's here now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and players with a taste for smart, sophisticated gaming will find plenty to like here.
Created by the Atlus Persona Team - responsible for the Megami Tensei series - Catherine takes players into the life of Vincent Brooks, a 30-something slacker who works at a software company and generally leads a ho-hum life. His girlfriend Katherine (note the spelling) is pushing him to get married, maybe even have children. That's when the bad dreams start.
Catherine has two very different modes of play. For half of the story - during the day - you play as Vincent in some low-key social settings, mostly at his favourite pub The Stray Sheep. You make conversation with your buddies, get to know some of the other pub regulars, maybe kill a few minutes on the arcade machine in the corner. It's all pretty laid-back stuff, but it's still enjoyable. The game has a very cool atmosphere, replicating the feel of hanging out in a seedy little Japanese bar.
When Vincent goes to sleep, the game changes dramatically. Vincent is plagued by nightmares that take the form of a fast-paced puzzle game. Each level in the nightmare world is a massive tower of building blocks. Playing as Vincent, you must skitter around the tower, rearranging the blocks so that you can climb your way to the top. Oh, and you'd better hurry, because the bottom of the tower crumbles away a bit more every few seconds. Tarry for too long, and you fall into the darkness.
The nightmares and Vincent's waking life aren't unrelated. As his days go by, Vincent enters into a flirtation with a mysterious new girl, Catherine. She's blond, perky, and dangerous - everything that steady, commitment-loving Katherine is not. But now he has to decide between the two women, and his tortured psyche makes the dreams even crazier. He's tormented by a giant baby, an angry pair of women's legs, and other horrors as he scales tower after tower.
This puzzle-game portion of Catherine is hard, but the game tries to help you along to success. Your fellow travellers in the dream world - who, like you, are all transformed into sheep in this realm - teach you new strategies throughout your quest. There is an "easy" mode that still offers some challenge, and you get a number of "undos" on each level, so you can afford a little trial-and-error. Even though it's "just" pushing and pulling blocks, the puzzles prove to be quite complex and, as a result, quite interesting.
"Deep, smart, and funny"
Catherine is one of the most mature console games to come along in a while - "mature" not just in the sense that it's for grown-ups, but also in the sense that it feels grown up. The game is a deep, smart, and funny exploration of life's big choices and the mental paralysis they can cause. And while the game can be naughty, it's not salacious.
So if you're a little bored with the usual genre standards and sequels, consider giving Catherine a try. Games with this combination of character, fun, and individuality don't come along very often - and the fact that it's a little bit sexy doesn't hurt, either.
Our rating: 9.0
- Engrossing story
- Exciting, challenging puzzle action
- Different from any other game out there
- Controls can be tricky
- Puzzles get very difficult in normal and hard modes
- Well, it's weird
- Engrossing story
Catherine, the cult hit from Japanese developer Atlus, will finally get an official European launch early next year, distributor Deep Silver has revealed.…
Limited edition version of Catherine … (02/12/2011)
Deep Silver has revealed that a special limited edition version of its oddball new puzzle adventure game Catherine will be released in Europe.…
Catherine - Preview (31/01/2012)
Catherine must have been a tough game to pitch and it's just as hard to describe in words. It's part horror, part comedy, part platform puzzle game with some role playing adventure elements thrown in,…
Final Fantasy XIII-2 soars to top of … (06/02/2012)
Role-playing epic Final Fantasy XIII-2 has become the first new release of the year to top the UK all-formats chart.…
Kingdoms of Amalur reigns supreme in … (13/02/2012)
EA's new role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has ascended to the top of the UK all-formats chart in its first week of release.…
Catherine - Review (14/02/2012)
Catherine, out now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, can be described in a lot of different ways: a challenging puzzle game, a so-so platformer, an odd dating sim, an intriguing role-playing experience. …
Catherine is one of those Japanese games, like Katamari Damacy and Demon's Souls, that is so unusual, even the people who publish the game aren't sure what to do with it. It took a while to find a com…
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