Catherine: Full Body Review – The Many Faces of Catherine

Developer Studio Zero, and publisher Atlus US is bringing the title Catherine: Full Body to the West, with full localization for us to enjoy. We have spent the last week playing through the game and the question is: Was it worth the effort?

 

Read on to find out.

The original Catherine title was released back in 2011 for the PS3 and XBOX 360 for Japan and the US simultaneously. It received great review scores and created a large following of fans. The developer is the same one that is behind the Persona series, so it comes as no surprise that there was some crossover references. Fast forward to 2019 and we find that the game has been polished up and has new content added in for its new release titled Catherine: Full Body. Full Body made its Japanese debut back on February 14th, 2019 and is set to release in North America on September 3rd, 2019.

The Many Faces of Catherine

The story follows Vincent Brooks, a guy who seems afraid of commitment and is being pressured into making a huge one by his longtime girlfriend Katherine. While contemplating his options at his local hang out spot, the Stray Sheep bar, he meets a sexy gal named Catherine, who ends up in his bed the next morning after what must have been a night of alcohol fueled sex. He can’t remember the sex or the nightmare that he knows he had, he just knows he screwed up by cheating on his girlfriend Katherine.

If that didn’t complicate things enough for him already, on the way to the bar he gets bowled over by Qatherine (Rin), whose amnesia has taken away everything they knew about themselves. Vincent helps Rin get an apartment next door to his and talks the proprietor into giving Rin a job as a piano player at the bar. Over time Vincent starts to have feelings for Rin as well, so the guy is definitely in a tight spot that gets tougher as the game progresses. We can’t really say much more about the story without giving spoilers, so we will just say that the story takes some twists and turns, and is well written.

2 Types of Gameplay

Catherine: Full Body is split into two distinct types of gameplay. One is when Vincent is in the real world and can interact with the NPCs at his hang out or is in his apartment either waking up or getting ready for bed. While at the bar Vincent can drink himself blind, talk to folks, or look at his phone. His phone doubles as an in-game menu for saving progress, looking at scores for challenges, and retrying them.  It’s also used for communicating via text with Catherine, Qatherine, and Rin. It can also send and receive pictures and videos.

Your text messages to everyone have different word choices that will ultimately affect the story, so choose wisely depending on which outcome you really want (more on that in a minute). The amount you drink at the bar can also affect what happens in the next type of gameplay, so try not to let Vincent get too drunk. Each type of drink comes with a bunch of trivia and there are trophies for hearing all of these little bits of information, but you can only here so much during each trip to the bar.

Nightmares You Can’t Remember?

The other type of gameplay is when Vincent leaves the bar and starts a nightmare sequence. Here Vincent faces a huge wall of blocks that he must move and navigate around in order to climb to the top. It’s a cross between a puzzle and platforming, with quite a few different pieces that take the puzzle to a confusing level. It’s a climb of epic proportions, and the final stage of each nightmare will have some sort of monster chasing you up your climb. Blocks will need to be moved around, when possible, or climbed on when not.

Each sequence is split into sections, with a point at the top of each where you can interact with other NPCs and hear their stories. If you listen to enough of these folks, you can earn trophies for helping them through their own troubles. They’ll eventually end up at the bar where you can talk to them there and complete their storylines. Early on you’ll meet a vendor that can sell you items that will assist you on your climb, but beware if you are trying to reach a high score, these items will take away from your score if you use them.

Choices Matter

Your in-game choices determine exactly where the story goes and determines which of the eight(?) endings you’ll encounter. While speaking to folks in the many places throughout the game world, you’ll be given choices that will determine your ultimate outcome and which ending you’ll get to see. Text message from your phone gives you certain phrases to choose from that will determine how each of your love interests see and interact with you. At each of the landings on your climb up your nightmare, you’ll also be asked questions to help determine your ending. All through the game you’ll have a meter which determines if you lean toward excitement or comfort and each of your decisions will move the needle one way or the other.

More game Modes to Play

The game is split into four modes; the single-player story campaign dubbed Golden Playhouse which we covered, Babel, the Colosseum, and Online Arena where you can challenge levels unlocked after first completing the story. Each mode will have you playing through levels that are procedurally generated so it’s a new level everytime. You can go it alone or even play with or against an online opponent, so even if you do get through every ending of the Golden Playhouse, you’ll have a never ending supply of challenge levels to attempt.

Catherine: Full Body uses the Persona 5 gaming engine and while the game isn’t exactly a top notch 3D game, it sticks to its anime roots and delivers a top notch visual experience with its art style and characters. The music for the game can be light, dark, fast paced, or downright gloomy, depending on the mood needed by the gameplay, and all of the songs need to be downloadable soon, as we would love to have them in our music library.

Developer Studio Zero has done an excellent job of taking the original Catherine and turning it into Catherine: Full Body. Even if you played through the previous title, this isn’t exactly the same game and is worthy of another dozen or so playthroughs.

9


Catherine: Full Body review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.