DEVELOPER: Studio Zero
GENRE: RPG, Simulation, Puzzle Platformer
PRICE: $59.99(Standard) $79.99 (Premium)
RATING: M (Mature)
RELEASE DATE: September 3rd, 2019
For those unfamiliar with the original release of Catherine, let’s recap! Catherine released back in 2011 on PS3 and Xbox 360. When the game was originally announced in 2010, most Atlus fans noticed that this title was going to be something completely different from what Atlus usually release. Catherine is a hybrid game mixing an anime artstyle, an JRPG storyline with simulation events and puzzle platforming elements. This unique blend of genres made Catherine a huge hit with mostly niche gamers and anime fans. Fast forward to 2017, Catherine: Full Body is announced featuring a graphic overhaul, a new love interest, and lots of new features.
The story revolves around Vincent Brooks, 32 years old, poorly paid, and dating his college sweetheart (Katherine) who wants to move their relationship forward into marriage and children. While he is on his way home one night he meets a girl running from a supposed stalker and rescues her. This girl turns out to be Rin (Qatherine), an amnesiac who doesn’t seem to remember much about her life. She becomes a piano player at the Stray Sheep and Vincent’s neighbor in his apartment building. Lastly we meet the titular Catherine who happens upon Vincent at the Stray Sheep one night while he is drinking away his worries. After a supposed one night stand, Vincent now has to deal with his long time feelings for Katherine, and his new feelings for Catherine, while helping Rin try to find out who she really is. With all this conflict going on in his head and his heart, Vincent starts having nightmares where he is stuck in a supposed Hell having to climb his way up without falling to his death, being pushed off by others trapped in this nightmare, or surviving his internal conflicts come to life in the form of bosses.
As someone who played the original game numerous times to get all the endings, I was excited to dive back into the game once again with all its new and improved features. One of the first things you notice when you load up the game is the new opening where the game is presented as a fine wine. The next new addition will be noticed when you are choosing your game mode. The original three are back, Golden Playhouse allows you to experience the games story, Babel allows you to complete puzzle challenges either alone or with a friend, Colosseum allows you to battle another player in local co-op, and the newest addition Online Arena where you can compete with people online in either Ranked, Casual, Friend, Arena or Babel matches. When choosing Golden Playhouse you will be presented with playing the game in the new Safety difficulty, Easy, Normal, or Hard. Safety allows you to play through the game without ever dying. Your next choice and new feature is how you will play the puzzles. Classic mode allows you to play them as they were originally developed, or Remix mode allows you to play them with a fresh take on the puzzles adding odd shaped blocks to the mix.
Once you have made all your choices, you will be presented with a montage of movie moments and introduced to our narrator Trisha who got a complete makeover. Story mode is presented as a television program. Trisha’s dialogue has been completely revamped as she explains what the Full Body subtitle refers to.
We are introduced to Rin right away and she is definitely a cutie. I was excited to see how her story was going to be introduced and how it would mesh with the already developed stories of the other two. Studio Zero did a fabulous job as Rin’s story feels like it should have been there all along. It flows well, has many touching moments, and Rin’s assistance in the puzzle stages is a wonderful addition to the game. As with the original, the story is still the heart of the game With so many decisions and choices to make I definitely recommend answering honestly and then start playing around with your choices and strategies for the remaining twelve endings.
When you are not having nightmares and solving puzzles, you are hanging out with your friends at the Stray Sheep, There are various people you can talk to, change the music on the jukebox, play the Rapunzel arcade machine, or just drink. More song tracks were added to the jukebox that weren’t available in the original. During these moments you will also get texts or phone calls from one of the three women in your life. How you choose to respond to conversations, phone calls, and texts is entirely up to you and affects the story and your ending.
As with the original, the music is very fitting to the story and enjoyable to listen to. The new remix version of some of the original tracks and the new Full Body tracks are great additions. The new cutscenes and the graphics overhaul is pleasing to look at and just as colorful as before. I played the game on my PS4 Pro and I could definitely see a difference from the PS3 version of the game. The voice acting is superb in both Japanese and English, so however you choose to play it will not disappoint!
As in the original as you progress through the puzzle levels, players will unlock new towers for Babel mode. The time you take to complete a puzzle level and its score becomes your Babel mode time to beat. So if you have a competitive streak you can definitely challenge yourself, a friend, or an online player.
I think one of the draws for getting a new person interested in this game was the addition of the Online Arena mode. The other being all of the new features and the addition of a third girl to choose from.
Catherine: Full Body is definitely the complete package! Getting the original voice cast back together to record the new lines of dialogue, listening to fan feedback, and releasing the game for a new generation are definite pluses to an already wonderful game. I think my favorite feature is changing the music playing at the bar. My entire first playthrough was spent listening to the various Persona series songs. The original music and the new Full Body tracks are all spectacular, but listening to tracks from other games was a treat. The new Remix puzzle levels and the choice of difficulty makes each playthrough a challenging experience. With the ability to beat the story in 8-12 hours makes replayability for the other endings a viable option for even players new to the game. Studio Zero and Atlus definitely delivered a complete package with Catherine: Full Body offering plenty of new stuff for returning players and an overall full experience for new players. I was weary about how the addition of a new love choice was going to affect the original story, but I was very satisfied with the outcome. I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but I recommend getting at least one of Rin’s endings because you will be surprised by who she really is. Catherine was already an amazing game the first time around, but with Full Body it’s even better! This is a definite must buy for fans of the original and new players who enjoy puzzle games, anime, or games where choices matter.
Overall I give Catherine: Full Body a solid 9.5/10!