Catherine: Full Body (PS4) Review
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher/Developer: SEGA of America, Inc. /ATLUS
Platform: PlayStation 4
Price: $59.99, $79.99 Digital Deluxe/Premium Edition
Catherine is the bizarre tale of a love triangle between our protagonist Vincent, his five-year relationship Katherine, and a sudden fling with the free-spirited Catherine. Vincent begins his tale aching to hold on to his free-spirited life and maintain a normalcy with Katherine, but the rather straightforward Catherine knows what she wants. Will Vincent stay dedicated to his long term relationship or does he ache for something different? This is the story most gamers know, but the “Full Body” edition evokes the full body of a fine wine, aged and more complete than before. As the producers say, the love triangle is now a “Love Square”: a new interest named Rin enters Vincent’s life. Vincent meets her during a dire situation in her life and helps her find a place to live and work. It all starts innocently enough, but she could become a new option in his romantic life.
The core story of the original Catherine really doesn’t play well for a full on story sequel. The “Full Body” edition gives the developers a chance to go back and give more to the player whilst retaining the original unique story and setting. Catherine: Full Body offers new alternate endings for both Katherine and Catherine, as well as endings for Rin. Whilst developer and publisher request that early reviews don’t spoil main twists and story points, my understanding is that the tale runs similar to the original with Rin’s storyline splashed in throughout, and a key point in the story where you can diverge on a path to follow her. Otherwise, the story continues as normal, but you still have chances to get alternate endings for the original two.
The big question lies in how different the new release is. Will gamers who played the original find any interest in the new one? The short answer is yes. The story can, by and large, be the same as when you played it on the last generation of systems, but Catherine is made to be played through several times to see the different choices. With a whole new character, there are several new paths to go down. But fans know that the visual novel-style storyline isn’t the entirety of gameplay. Each night, Vincent has nightmares involving running away from something by climbing up a neverending tower and shifting blocks to find his way to the top. You can play the traditional levels, or a new “remix” mode with oddly shaped blocks beyond the simple squares, requiring new strategies to overcome. If you aren’t a fan of the puzzle sections a new easy mode allows you to see the level in autoplay or flat out skip it. More stages have been added as well. Quality of life additions have been made, such as edits to the power ups you find, being able to review tips at later points in the game, and the ability to rotate the camera, even going behind the puzzle stage if it provides a better angle.
The elephant in the room here involves Sony’s recent stance on sexual content. Catherine is a mature game, full of adult situations regarding a man making some very difficult decisions. What I can tell you is so far in the game I haven’t seen anything directly edited. Catherine’s early scenes have moments where characters end up in bed in various states of undress tastefully done for the story’s sake. What I’ve seen in Full Body so far don’t appear to be censored (I never played the original game, but used some YouTube videos to watch original scenes for comparison). New scenes I’ve seen don’t seem to shy away from mature themes either. Unless something surprising happens in the latter half of the game, I see no issues regarding extreme censorship. To be bluntly honest, even if there was, the depth of additional storyline and gameplay options would make up for it in my mind, and the original still exists for those who would complain either way.
Additional online research regarding the Full Body edition discusses more people to talk to in the Stray Sheep bar, online battle modes and leaderboards, and DLC including Persona 5’s Phantom Thieves. I haven’t read these as locks for the international release, but there is a digital deluxe edition available to purchase. With new cutscenes, an overall cleanup of graphics, and an intelligent insertion of another love interest that doesn’t feel tacked on, Catherine: Full Body is definitely the ultimate edition of the original game and worth checking out by diehard fans or those just now getting into it. Catherine provides a thrilling, romantic, twisted story and the flavor of the game is all the better for it.
-Fuller, richer story. A new love interest potential, extra scenes, more endings
-Twice the puzzles and even new block styles to keep masters of the original on edge
-It really feels like an extension of the existing story, not just a tack-on. The developers took care to add Rin in a thoughtful way.
-So far, it doesn’t seem as if the Sony Censorship Ninjas have attacked this game in any noticeable way.
-Part of the draw is seeing multiple storyline options play out, which means repeated plays, potentially of a game you’ve already played
-As with the original, this isn’t for small eyes. Mature themes ahoy
-Yeah, I’m stretching it with cons on the last two. We are supposed to make a cons list. Really. This game is worth full retail price even for those who played the original thanks to the extra care and craftsmanship put in to make this more than it used to be.
Special Thanks to Sega and ATLUS for providing a code for review!