Catherine

SPOILERS!!

Catherine is about Vincent. He's been in a long term relationship with Katherine (with a K) for about 3 years (i think?). And one day, on April 1st, they are talking in a cafe, and Katherine makes a few passive aggressive mentions about their future. Later on, at the neighborhood bar, Vincent is chatting up his friends, they take off, and he meets "the girl of his dreams," named Catherine (with a C). She's the sexiest thing he's ever seen. After a rough nightmare, he wakes up beside her. They spent the night together, and now he has cheated on Katherine (with a K).

While the story makes it out to question your ideas of relationships and love, it really boils down to a morality meter. Do you want to side with Katherine or with Catherine? Do you want to pursue your long-term relationship and finally "settle" down, or is this random encounter your ticket out of this jail sentence? The game poses a series of blunt questions, subtle responses to texts, and responses to other people in similar situations. Each answer moves to the meter back and forth.

I should probably mention how I played the game. I'm not currently in any relationship what-so-ever, and don't really care to be. I've had love in the past, but I'm over it, and don't really care anymore. My responses to the life questions posed by Catherine (the game) mirrored this in the beginning. I was neutral. I floated in the middle.

Unfortunately, the game threw a cruel twist at me that I decided to believe. Katherine said she was pregnant. That's when my alignment changed and I had to start thinking of kids. While it's pretty awesome that I personally don't have any kids, given the opportunity of being thrust into fatherhood, I would embrace it. Someday, I do want kids.

So from that point on my opinion changed, and my responses to the questions started moving more towards the "stick with your wife" angle. I was still answering everything as honestly as I could. I wasn't trying to "game" the system towards any specific ending. I mean, while I don't really want to be in a relationship right now, if I were in a relationship, I would answer something differently. And that was reflected in the game.

These questions are meant to guide you through the story to your ultimate ending, but the story is horribly linear. Vincent doesn't stand up for himself AT ALL. He continues to let everything spiral out of control around him with the idea that he has no control over the situation.

Despite my test responses telling Catherine to fuck off, Vincent continues to sleep with her throughout the week. While actually talking with Catherine, Vincent doesn't say a god damn word. The entire game is Vincent constantly thinking to himself about what he should do, rather than actually speaking with Catherine or Katherine.

How the hell is this guy in a long term relationship when they never see each other, or talk about anything? Even when texting Katherine, your only choices are bullshit passive aggression. It's either "I'm sorry" or "Don't worry about me." You can't actually say anything, or talk about anything. There's no way of coming clean immediately. And you NEVER see each other either. How is this a relationship in the first place?! A relationship is not some one-sided dialogue.

Things continue to spiral out of control, and Vincent never does anything about them at all. It's fucking stupid.

Gameplay

Equally stupid is the way you play the game. The game takes place over 8 or 9 days. Each night of the week, Vincent has a nightmare. The large amount of the game is played during the nightmare, and it's an action puzzle game. You move around blocks on the wall, and climb up to the tippy top.

In reality, all men unfaithful men are being subjected to these nightmares. If you do not reach the top in your dreams, you fall. And when you fall, you die in real life. Throughout the course of the game, anyone who dies in the dream, shows up on the news the next day as a new victim of the "curse."

You can prevent some of these deaths from happening, too. Vincent meets several other people in his nightmare. Sharing techniques, and talking about the problems they're facing in real life will help them solve them, and they'll survive the nightmares.

Catherine (the game) plays off the nightmares as a metaphoric representation of the relationship stress Vincent is going through in his real life. And it works really well in that context, but it's so divorced from the actual plot that I wish I could just skip it all. Nothing I do during the climbing sequence has any reflection on the story or plot, so it's completely useless. You could plug any other type of game during these sequences, and it wouldn't change anything.

When climbing up these walls, all I can think about is wanting to get back to the real world, tell off Catherine, talk with Katherine and fix everything. I played the game on Easy difficulty so I could fly through these sequences as fast as possible.

Ending

Catherine has 8 endings overall. Throughout the game, the morality meter is displayed and can guide you towards a specific goal. You'll either side with Catherine or with Katherine. You can side with yourself as well by staying in the middle.

Throughout the final challenge, you are given a series of questions that no longer test your morality, but your resolve to stand by those choices. These are presented to you as every other question has throughout the game. They aren't as blunt as saying, "are you sure?". They are truly (trying) to test if you are honest about your decision.

Whether you side with Catherine or Katherine, each side of the morality meter results in 3 separate endings. If you answer everything correctly you get the True ending. If you fuck up, you get the "Good" ending. If you fuck everything up, you get the Bad ending.

I feel rather good about myself that I passed these questions perfectly and was rewarded with the True Katherine Ending. Though, this is really only by the director's standards. Given how much Vincent continued to completely fuck up, and his inability to fix anything on his own, I feel like I won the Special Olympics. If he talked about his problems, this would have been over long ago.

The other two endings are from not choosing either girl, which is really how I personally live my life. Katherine threw that baby shit at me, and it made me think about things differently. It turns out she lied about it. She was not pregnant. It's not clear if she actually made all that up, but she is not with child. And by the time, she revealed this, my answers were already aligned with her. It didn't matter if the baby was real, because I was ready now.

Which is absolute bullshit. The damn game tricked me into being someone else. From the start I was planning on ditching both of them, but she made me care. Ugh...

The ending I got felt fake. And after watching all the endings on youtube, the True Freedom ending felt like the best one. It ends with the following quote, "Why would you live life without doing what you want? That's just a recipe for misery." That's what I do everyday. I live life how I want to. But I don't agree that this means a person has to stay single to do what they want. You can do what you want in life with someone else as well.

Here's a list of all the endings, and how to get them: http://www.ign.com/wikis/catherine/Endings

Thoughts

Even though I thought a lot about this game was stupid, I think it accomplished its goal quite well. It made me question my ideas about relationships, and think about things. In the end, it's a totally different game than anything else out there, and has more much depth than most others too.

I would totally recommend this game. At 15 hours, it's a perfect weekend game. And I'm really interested to see how my friends would react in these situations, and what their outcome would be (provided they answer everything honestly).




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