Way back in 2011, I recall seeing the trailer for a new anime based game, Catherine, for the first time. Instantly, I was captured by the intense plot, sleek visuals and puzzle-based gameplay. Catherine was unlike any game I had ever seen at the time. And when I played through the game on my PlayStation 3 (PS3), I loved it. To this day I still have my physical copy and hold it as one of my top ten video games of all time. It showed me that a story-driven game could break the standard gameplay conventions of the day and be even more engaging.
Catherine is dark, intense and intoxicating. You play as an indecisive protagonist, Vincent, who has been with his long-time girlfriend, Katherine, for several years. That's Katherine with a "K". Katherine is actively pressuring Vincent to move to the next level, get engaged and start a family. But Vincent is apprehensive, and this only heightens when a new girl comes along, Catherine. That's Catherine with a "C". As they become entangled within a side relationship, we see Vincent mentally dealing with the fact he is cheating, and his nightmares begin, which force him to climb for his life each night as he evades his demons. And this is where the core gameplay shines.
Throughout the game, you experience well-crafted anime-style cut sense, which aids in driving the story in a well-paced manner. You also see yourself, navigating Vincent through his nights out with the boys, interacting with people coming in and out of the bar, checking text messages and drinking alcoholic beverages, avoiding the nightmare. But Vincent always succumbs to the night and when it's time to sleep the nightmare begins again. These nightmares consist of hard-core puzzle towers which equate to the primary gameplay portion of the game. This cycle works on a loop until you reach the climax of the story and everything unfolds.
Fast forward to 2019, and we saw the re-release of Catherine on the PlayStation 4 (PS4). Now in 2020, this re-release, Catherine Full Body, has arrived on the Nintendo Switch and I cannot wait to experience the fun on my handheld device. With additional characters, more plot options and revised gameplay, I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth in and re-living this quirky, intense and dark game.
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