GAME REVIEW | A Full-Bodied Experienced With Revamped “Catherine"
In 2011, Atlus unleashed a unique love story with Catherine. A tale of regret, betrayal, and sheep, the story from the same people behind the Persona franchise gained a big cult following within both the gaming and anime community. Now eight years later, Catherine returns with a Full Body edition, one packed with more story, choices, and heartbreak. After playing it again, it feels like a whole new adventure despite some of its retold elements.
**WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
Catherine: Full Body retells the original’s story, but with one new feature. On top of Vincent’s girlfriend Katherine and the mysterious recurring fling Catherine, a new person named Rin (short for Qatherine) arrives with their memories lost and a keen talent for the piano. But as it is before, each night Vincent is forced into nightmares where he’s climbing high towers amongst others who may be having affairs. Oh, and for some reason, everyone looks like a sheep.
What dragged me into Catherine the first time around was how complicated the story was. There’s no straightforward answer to everything, nor does it seem like there’s a pathway that leads toward a good-natured answer. Everything has consequences, even if you choose the right way. Here in this Full Body edition, those choices are more complex, with the addition of Rin into the picture.
From a story perspective, Atlus’s new version is very on-point with the ways men & women think in society. In relationships, trust binds two people together; but as the years go by, that trust can rust, resulting in dishonesty and — worse — heartbreaking decisions. Throughout the game, you are given a question with two answers to choose from, which are based on your thoughts on relationships and the like. Players can then read their results alongside everyone else’s, which left me shocked in places as to how some people would answer these questions!
As for the character of Vincent, there are moments where you feel like he’s scum, whereas other times you kind of feel bad for him. He seems to have no idea how Catherine entered the picture, why she keeps appearing next to him when he’s awake, and somewhat plays with him in ways that make him feel confused. On the other hand, with Katherine by his side, one can’t help but feel somewhat grossed out that he’s doing this sort of stuff behind her back. (Then again, Catherine has always been about how everyone has their own sorts of dirty secrets.)
The addition of Rin adds a new layer to the story, as it showcases the true heart that Vincent has for other people. With that being said, you can’t ignore the elephant in the room regarding their twist. While I can’t say 100% say how Vincent reacts to Rin is offensive and cruel, I can’t help but feel like a certain gaming demographic will no doubt frown upon his initial reactions. However, depending on which path you take during the game, there is always the chance of redeeming Vincent’s character and mentality when it comes to people like Rin.
As for the actual gameplay in Catherine: Full Body, the nightmare levels as a pure delight! Each level has you climbing a high tower, as you pull and push blocks to make your way upwards towards the goal. Most blocks are normal, whereas others have spiky or explosive traps or even something helpful like a spring to bounce you up high. How you reach the top depends on your puzzle skills, but even failure often brings a level of fun and learning experience each time.
Graphically, the game looks a lot better than it was on either PS3 or Xbox 360, with the anime-like visuals popping with style. Its animated sequences by Studio 4°C (MFKZ, Detroit Metal City) dazzle in ways that make me surprised that an anime adaptation of Catherine was never made. (This game has always been seen as a good mixture of anime and interactivity, though, so perhaps one was never needed.) The only downside currently is the lack of an Xbox One version, as the developers seem to be only releasing it on PS4. A small complaint, albeit at this point almost every gamer out there has every console.
Catherine: Full Body will take you roughly 9-10 hours to play the first time around. With multiple endings to discover and various paths to take, the game offers a huge dose of replay value to those who enjoy these sorts of puzzle and love simulator games.
- Deep, fantastic story
- Great puzzle mechanics
- Huge replay factor
- Rin’s twist & reaction may offend some
- Xbox fans of original currently left in the dust
After eight years, Catherine has aged like a fine wine. The addition of new characters and twists adds to a game that was already packed with fun and deep storytelling. If you’ve never swiped right for Catherine before, then be sure to do so for its Full Body edition!
Promotional consideration provided by Jonathon Stebel of Atlus USA