Eight years on from the original release of Catherine on the PS3 and Xbox 360, it seems ATLUS knows that people still love the world and characters that were created and it appears they’re happy to give us more of it all these years later. Earlier this year, the original game made it’s way to the PC for the first time with some PC enhancements in the form of Catherine Classic.
Now the game has been completely remastered for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. But this isn’t just your typical remaster where the same game is shipped out with some higher resolution assets. Catherine: Full Body comes with the improved visuals of course, but also brings with it a ton of new content. You’ll experience a new take on the story that now includes an additional love interest, a heap of new story content and animated cutscenes, new puzzle types, difficulty modes and multiplayer options making this the definitive Catherine experience and gives you plenty of reasons to pick it up and jump back in even if you’ve spent plenty of hours with the original game.
Catherine: Full Body follows the life of Vincent. A tech savvy 32 year old who begins having nightmares caused by his commitment issues after his girlfriend of 5 years Katherine suggests they take things to the next level and get married. While his life already seemed complicated, things get turned up to 11 when he wakes up in bed next to an attractive blonde girl also named Catherine. Vincent now needs to juggle his life with both girls and decide if he continues the affair with Catherine or fix his relationship and settle down with long time girlfriend Katherine. But this is where Full Body throws Vincent another curve-ball. Full Body’s story introduces a third main girl, Rin (Quatherine), who is helped by Vincent and later becomes a character he can confide in, which doesn’t help his situation when it comes to dealing with female relationships.
Plagued by his cheating, Vincent spends his days trying to decide what he’s going to do to manage his relationships with the “Catherines” and his nights climbing for his life, trying to survive the platforming puzzle based world he finds himself in while he’s dreaming. This becomes a reoccurring nightmare for Vincent as he tries to overcome the famed “Woman’s Wrath” curse.
The core gameplay for Catherine: Full Body remains mostly unchanged from the original. The game still takes place in 2 main sections with the story being told via visual novel style dialogue, trading text messages with Katherine, Catherine and Rin or animated and in-engine cutscenes where Vincent talks with his friends, patrons and the staff at the Stray Sheep bar. Then there’s the main gameplay section taking place within Vincent’s dreams where he needs to solve block based platforming puzzles to climb his way to safety and avoid falling to his death, subsequently resulting in him dying in real life too.
Where Full Body does differ is with it’s introduction of new puzzle types and integrating Rin into the story. Plenty of games these days introduce new chapters or post launch DLC that add in new content, but Rin’s addition into this game has been worked in from the ground up. You’re not just getting an additional chapter or stage that includes some cutscenes involving this new character. She has been written into every aspect of Full Body in a way that feels natural and doesn’t hinder the overall themes of the original game. Rin is introduced right from the get-go and appears prominently throughout, working at the Stray Sheep, playing their piano, having a big part to play during Vincent’s dreams, literally becoming the girl next door and being someone Vincent can vent his issues to.
To pull this off, there have been a ton of new cutscenes and additions to the story’s script added so that her involvement doesn’t feel tacked on and out of place. And this worked out so well thanks to the original cast coming back to voice their characters again for the new cutscenes and dialogue, with Brianna Knickerbocker joining the existing cast this time around to voice Rin.
Catherine was widely talked about at the time for it’s out there story that tackled concepts not seen in video games and for it’s puzzles. With the conversation around it’s puzzles primarily involving how difficult they were. It did put some people off finishing the game, and yes they’re still here, in fact there’s more than ever, with Full Body including over 500 puzzles this time around across it’s story and challenge modes and yes they can be bloody difficult but this time around, developers Studio Zero have implemented a number of new difficulty options to suit all types of Catherine players.
There’s the Remix Mode, that adds another layer of difficulty to the already existing puzzles by introducing new block types and block linking and there’s also the new Safety Mode that allows players to just focus on the story and choices aspects of the game and remove the time limits on puzzles or have the puzzles auto-played for you. This opens up Catherine to be enjoyed by everyone, not just those that can solve the puzzles and no longer prevents people from finishing the game because they couldn’t get through certain sections.
Full Body also introduces a number of online and multiplayer focused change-ups too. Babel and Colosseum mode have had new stages added, there’s an online battle mode with a ranking system and ranked match support, you’ll be able to see how what percentage of players made the same choices as you, see the number of deaths a certain puzzle has claimed that day and you’ll even get to see glowing souls of other players on the puzzles, indicating where they died during their playthrough.
With Catherine: Full Body now available on the Switch, after checking out that version I thought I’d add a section to my review focused just on the Switch version for those players looking to check out the game and possibly questioning which platform to pick it up on.
When it comes to Catherine: Full Body on the Switch, in short, it’s a fantastic port. During my time playing it I encountered no performance issues, with the game sitting at a stable 30fps whether you choose to enjoy the game in handheld or docked mode. The vibrant colours of the Stray Sheep really pop on screen and there was no noticeable downgrade in graphics compared to the version of Full Body that released last year on PS4. This was something I had expected as even though the game is extremely stylish it hardly pushes the boundaries of the hardware when it comes to visual fidelity.
All of the additional new content that was added to the PS4 release is also present here too, so if someone were to ask which version of the game to pick up if they had access to both a Switch and a PS4, it would really come down to if you wanted to be able to play through Catherine and it’s puzzle modes on the go. If so then for sure pick up the Switch version. As the PS Vita release of Full Body never made it to the west, the Switch version has filled a nice gap we had for those players looking to enjoy the game on the go.
As the marketing for the game states, Catherine Full Body really has gone from a love triangle to a love square. The introduction of Rin into the story hasn’t just been bolted on as an additional chapter, it’s been integrated into the whole Catherine experience. And by implementing new difficulty options, the game is now accessible for all types of players and combats the difficulty spikes of the original game. Saying that, there are still themes in the game that not everyone will be able to agree with and it is most certainly a mature game that deals with mature situations. But for those that love ATLUS games and the way they develop characters, you’re in for a real treat. Even if you’ve sunk a ton of hours into the original game, there’s so much new content here you need to dive in and check out.
A Nintendo Switch review copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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