Catherine Exclusive Preview

We learn more about Vincent and his personal problems involving women, sheep, and bed-wetting.

When we first saw the trailer for Catherine at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, let's say we were more than just a little intrigued by Vincent and his troubles with women. This mature game is story-driven experience that explores infidelity in relationships, and Vincent is the star for the week. Catherine is like a game within a game, where you'll be introduced to Midnight Venus, the host of the show. During cutscenes, you'll notice the words "Golden Playhouse" in the upper left-hand corner, which is an homage to some '70s television shows in Japan, similar to Twilight Zone. Atlus came by to show us multiple cutscenes (including one where we learn that Vincent has a tendency to wet the bed) and the types of puzzles you'll encounter in the game.

Vincent is 32 years old and has been with his girlfriend Katherine for five years now. He likes the way things are going and sees no need to change, especially when Katherine pushes him to commit. Things start to get even more complicated when he meets Catherine, a perky blond girl who somehow winds up naked in his bed the next morning. Due to some excessive drinking the night before, Vincent is not sure if he actually slept with her. The juicy story unfolds during gorgeous cel-shaded cutscenes that are fully voice acted. It might sound like a soap opera at this point, but there's more to throw into the already intriguing mix. A series of mysterious deaths have occurred and the news reports are calling them the "Women's Wrath" because they all involve young men who died in their sleep.

The puzzles in Catherine takes place while Vincent sleeps, where he's beginning to have nightmares after meeting the seductive Catherine. In his dreams, he must climb a seemingly never-ending pile of blocks, which is meant to signify the "blocks that he must overcome in life." The goal is to push and pull blocks around to create a staircase for Vincent before the steps crumble beneath him. If you die in your dreams, you also die in real life. It's meant to be intense and mirror the terror that Vincent is feeling; throughout the level, there will also be checkpoints and pillows to collect for retries. In between stages, he'll encounter other men who appear as sheep. We're told the whole sheep thing is symbolic for a couple of things, but we'll let you play the game to figure out that part.

As you make your way through the game, there's a morality meter that shifts, depending on your actions and responses to particular questions. For example, we were asked if we have ever cheated on someone, and our options were "I plead the 5th" and "I don't think so." What's interesting is that your answers are collected like a survey, and when you're online, you'll be able to see what other players have answered in pie-chart form. By the end of the game, your meter will dictate which ending you'll see, and there are seven in total. It takes roughly eight to 12 hours to complete the game, and you will need to restart to experience the other endings.

This is Catherine. Not Vincent's girlfriend Katherine.

There are leaderboards where players can see how they rank when it comes to the puzzles. There are boss fights as well, which are still represented in nightmare block-pushing form. Instead of just having the pressure of the blocks disappearing beneath you, in our demo, we encountered an enormous demonic baby that was trying to squish us. So you'll not only have to frantically push and pull your way to freedom, but you'll also have to stay out of giant ugly baby's way and dodge the lasers that come out of his eyes. As the puzzles get more complicated, you'll be introduced to new types of blocks, such as a spring block that propels you upward, and there are also hazardous ones to avoid. After you've completed the game once, you unlock a multiplayer mode (which we didn't see), but it involves competitive and cooperative offline play.

There was a patch that went out for the Japanese version of Catherine that added a "Very Easy" mode, as well as some tweaks to the levels that were proven to be too difficult. In "Very Easy" mode, you have a higher chance of receiving an energy drink that allows you to jump several blocks at a time rather than just one. "Normal" mode has also been adjusted so that you have the ability to undo what you've done if you happen to pull out the wrong block. The easier difficulty settings will also allow the mystic pillows that you collect to grant more retries. All of these changes will make their way into the North American release.

Because the game is designed and developed by the Atlus Persona team, you'll find similarities in the art style, and the music is also done by Persona series composer Shoji Meguro. Though it is rated M for mature and the content is definitely adult oriented, there is no nudity as all the cutscenes have been carefully cropped for your convenience (or displeasure). For those interested in the soundtrack, it will be included along with an art book if you preorder the game.

It's up to you to decide which way the needle points in Vincent's morality meter.

Catherine looks to be a twisted tale that explores themes that aren't often touched upon in video games (or in certain social circles). We look forward to seeing what becomes of Vincent when the game ships for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on July 26.

Written By

Want the latest news about Catherine?

Catherine

Catherine

Discussion

170 comments
anshanlord
anshanlord

damn!they censored the game!ah I hate these prude idiots down here!I hate it when they do that....it can totally turn me off to a game....

mrbacons
mrbacons

I was very skeptical when I first heard about this, but having played the demo, I'm actually really intrigued.

daschectron
daschectron

Atlus really has some really great and twisted games like baroque and demons souls... but this one seems just a bit boring about what the core action is.

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

Atlus is an awesome company, so I think this will probably be an awesome game.

ecoolen
ecoolen

I wonder if this is going to be another anime "adult' exploit with childish, unbelievable pseudo-humans starring in a situation that starts off as a corny soap and ends up in an overcomplicated demon mess...

soulst0p
soulst0p

I'm interested in this solely for the story. But I'm not that big a fan of puzzlers...

mihaitzah
mihaitzah

Really interesting concept. And the artwork looks fantastic.

crazeegamer20
crazeegamer20

can we play with japanese voices on and english subs?

Black_Id_Jenova
Black_Id_Jenova

Persona Fanboy just keep babling why not persona, persona here persona there, if u don't like this game go scram already... This game is uniquely designed for those who love Japanese style of game puzzling, Atlus brand is not only Persona, dear fanboy...

tomarlyn
tomarlyn

Bah, was interested until I noticed it was a puzzler. Nothing against puzzlers, I just had adventure game in my head for some reason. Like Heavy Rain or Shenmue.

Avaddon8
Avaddon8

hmm, might give it a go.

iboo01
iboo01

Im afraid they ll screw up the puzzle action aspect, as I was looking forward to Persona when I saw Atlus and I doubt this one will equal the greatness Persona demands.

Superlink517
Superlink517

@watchawant Yeah honestly it looks repetitive and boring to me. That was my problem with Tales of Symphonia too, which I know is completely unrelated but it's another one of those anime-cutscene-heavy games. The cutscenes were good, but most of the puzzle gameplay involved moving blocks.

savagetofu
savagetofu

The story seems very interesting but the game seems entirely too hard. If one of the designers is having trouble playing the game during the interview then what hope do I have?

velsper
velsper

Sounds insane, sounds nice, praying the localization won't mess up too much.

Ovirew
Ovirew

My attention just isn't being caught by this one. Somehow, it seems like I've played games that have already been there, done that on a larger scale. Maybe not a single game, but many games have explored various aspects of this story and the gameplay in some shape or form.

billaboy69
billaboy69

If there are no Anime boobs, I'm not getting it.

finchused
finchused

This game will get serious consideration from me. Seems intriguing and original. How often does the "hero" we play wet the bed? Sounds comical, I'll be keeping an eye on this.

ash162
ash162

will keep an eye out for this......

xboxgameman
xboxgameman

Never mind that voice you just heard, it was just the moon splitting in two as the sun melts on your face, burning the sizzling skin to your skull.

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

Now that's bizarre. I think it needs check.

watchawant
watchawant

Wait so that's all you do in this game is do those box-pulling puzzles over and over again?

gashoe13
gashoe13

lol.. game within a game "gameception" looks like a very strange game... i'll wait and see

187umKILLAH
187umKILLAH

Play as a 32 year old nerd whos scared of his girlfriend and wets his bed, lame

Hunterjuggz
Hunterjuggz

Interesting. Might be one of those ones that you wait till it loses the new price tag and dive right into. @weaslerz - score! I'll go with you on that call

jedrick1490
jedrick1490

So getting this for the intriguing story and hardcore puzzle, what else could top a puzzle game? It has a story!! O: Though I wonder if there are other cameos... XD

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

@Burritocakes: Japan is finally bringing something new to the table? Wtf? Your comment is so ###### up at so many different levels.

darkentity
darkentity

@Burritocakes you say finally the Japanese are bringing something original to the table? They always do. ALWAYS. It's just WE have no market for them. Thank atlus of America for being brave enough to translate one of the many unique titles that Japan enjoys all the time.

looseyourself87
looseyourself87

the gameplay is that of a downright puzzle game... i don't really see how the story goes with the gameplay... the story seems nice though...

Poncho_Hachacha
Poncho_Hachacha

@Asheileon Oh. Well like I said, it's a puzzler so people who like games that challenge their reasoning and problem solving skills or are just looking for something different will probably love it. As for the story, most of these games don't have much of a story, if any at all, so this is def a step up. It may not be about saving the world or something really epic in scope. But it could still have a great story, and even better than msot big releases, if told well. As far as the genre goes, this game has a lot of potential. There's def good reason for people to be excited by this game if they're fans of the genre. Like you said, it's thing of preferences.

RaIn285
RaIn285

Looks like a mediocre puzzle game to me.Atlus should make Persona 5

killarse
killarse

I think I'd have more fun playing the GTA's dating game.

rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

this looks extremely frustrating.

weaslerz
weaslerz

Vincent reminds me a bit of Mugen from Samurai Champloo

DKant
DKant

I'm getting it. :)

calvinsora
calvinsora

Folks, don't even check out P00L_SharK's comment, he's trying to spoil the story. Just leave the comment blocked out due to negative votes.

neovalkyr
neovalkyr

This game is not even close to hentai. The story is about being faithful to your girlfriend / cheating. And in that sense it is an adult story, but not because it has nudity/sex. The story really makes you want to keep playing, but the puzzle element is actually quite deep, and unique.

knifey
knifey

well americans aren't known for beign smart they are known for invading other countries and raising tensions by celebrating the deaths of people from other countries

WindsweptSpy
WindsweptSpy

... Too difficult for Japan so they assume the Americans will definitely not be able to pass it? ... Lame

Killswitch007
Killswitch007

I'm not reading or watching anything related to this game since my copy is bought and paid for. I R LUV TEH VID30G4M35!!!!

howie1926
howie1926

Wow this sounds so F&$%D up I might actually get it

P00L_SharK
P00L_SharK

the final boss is the barman from the restaurant!! and catherine is a demon!!!!

killer690
killer690

Man, this is Qbert gone mad.... So another thing, the japanese gamers complained that the game was too hard and they made it easier? So they went Ninja Gaiden 2 on this game, you know, The xbox version was stupid hard while the ps3 version was a breeze.