When we stopped at the sixth floor of the giant tower Vincent finds himself climbing in his nightmares, my friend and I were pleased with our progress and decided we didn’t have much more to go before the conclusion of Catherine. I don’t remember the last time I was so wrong. It goes on for far longer after the “final” floor.
The disembodied voice that haunts Vincent’s nightmares exclaims that there are eight floors to ascend until the path to true freedom is opened. The puzzles get harder as new obstacles are introduced. Once you progress through the new puzzles you are back in the real world, in Stray Sheep, looking at provocative images on Vincent’s mobile phone in a bathroom stall. It wasn’t until the story slightly picked up the pace that we had started to become kind of annoyed with these characters. This is mostly because of the way the dialogue was translated and interpreted into English. Nearly every line skirts around the point it’s trying to make. You know when you know someone has something to say, but they stammer, mutter, stutter, and they just don’t spit out what they want to say, so they just choose about ten different words and mix them into a so-called sentence? That is the majority of the dialogue in Catherine. Maybe it’s because we were rather pressed for time, but watching Vincent and Katherine struggle to make their points and move the plot forward was painful.
In my last post I mentioned that I was enjoying the game up until the point I stopped and decided to write my impressions. By the end of it, I still enjoyed myself. The plot itself progresses rather clumsily. It tries to teach us of the complexities of relationships, but it uses characters who seem to believe in absolutes and black-and-white life choices. It pulls back too often. In fact, it would seem a lot of the conflicts that occur in Catherine could easily have been averted with a few lines of dialogue, but it would subvert the journey this man makes in his mind for personal growth. Catherine wants us to decide Vincent’s fate, as evidenced by its multiple endings. It asks us how much we’d be willing to pay for temptation. An oft-repeated line in the game is “There is no right choice.” So it would seem.
I wish more games like Catherine would find their way to this continent. Any game that at least attempts to strike a conversation about how we function as people is worth a look.