Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some thoughts about C/Katherine

Since Atlas' Catherine has already been widely reviewed to critical acclaim I'm just going to share them thoughts of mine that most critics are to occupy their usual junk to notice.

It's story definitely lives up to the hype. Vincent's affair with his girlfriend doesn't just complicate his fear of commitment but quickly gets out of control. Is also has quite a few different endings despite its somewhat binary morality (business actions and confessions are judged under the D and D alignment or law or chaos. A preferable alternative to other games hilariously childish karma meter.) The ending you get will change the meaning and significance of events in the game.  I also appreciate that there is an ending for players that end up in between the two extremes. And that both extremes have good and bad ending. While the affair and Catherine might've been in average story without the weird stuff it really is a “romantic horror” as they put it.

Catherine also has some nice arrangements of famous classical music. Incorporating electric guitars, drum kits and jazz piano conveying the puzzle games frantic pace and strange nightmare setting. A particular theater mine is a jazz version of Chopin's funeral march,  it fits that particular part of the story perfectly.

I need to say this again, this game has a story about a thirty-something man's fear of commitment and  an affair he knows is wrong. It plays it straight and doesn't back down from the ethical ramifications. Catherine also doesn't take sexuality as a novelty (despite some of the marketing making it look like a erotic dating Sim). This is the first video game I played about a common human experience. The most impressive part is that this is achieved while being very game like itself. Vincent has very quick jumpy animations and he says “alright I got it” as he picks up piles of coins by walking over them. There is also power ups and leader boards for high scores. This is a game that, according to hacts like David Cage, should not be possible.

Atlas claims that Catherine is their biggest release to date which I find very encouraging. Hopefully this will encourage other developers to take time to fit more humanity into their games. I also can't wait to see what lessons from Catherine be applied to a Shin Megami Tensei game.

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