Catherine: Full Body (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 30.08.2019 1

Review for Catherine: Full Body on PlayStation 4

Fans of the original were naturally sceptical when Catherine Classic released for the PC in January 2019. After all, Atlus had already announced Full Body's development and the remake was approaching its Japanese release date. Of course, given how much the remake changes up the story and gameplay, it's perhaps for the best that fans have a convenient way to access the original through Classic. The title's original release differs enough from the remake where the latter can legitimately be considered something of a companion piece. For better or for worse, Catherine: Full Body is one of Atlus' most extensive remakes.

Catherine: Full Body wastes no time in assuring audiences that it's more than just a graphical overhaul. From the title screen listing an already unlocked Babel to Rin playing a soft piano theme in the background, Atlus has treated this remake more as a reimagining of the original than an outright replacement. Certain changes in the story seem to occur as if the game expects its audience to have played through Catherine beforehand.

That's perhaps the best way for fans of the original to approach the remake's story. Full Body takes a perfectly paced plot and forces an entirely new story arc in the middle of it all. Rin isn't just a character lurking in the background; they have a presence that frankly goes unmatched. Rin gets so much narrative focus that they can even influence endings for Catherine and Katherine.

In the original script, the story carefully balances both Katherine and Catherine. There's a give-and-take between the women, but, more importantly, they're written as direct foils to one another. The few times they interact, their interactions have weight. Most of all, however, Vincent only having two love interests keeps the story moving at a steadier pace, since development scenes are only split between the two girls.

Screenshot for Catherine: Full Body on PlayStation 4

With Rin in the mix, the pacing gets messy, fast. While there are a number of new scenes dedicated just to Rin, they're also spliced into pre-existing scenes. Surprisingly, quite a bit of work has gone into refining Catherine's smaller moments. Just about every single character has new dialogue, and the added lines aren't just fluff, either. The entire cast is better characterized in Full Body on the whole. The problem is that all these little Rin moments start to add up. Full Body's script is much wordier than in the original. New dialogue goes on and on at times, beating the audience over the head with information. The text was always heavy-handed, but only to the extent where it added a sense of style to the experience. Most of the new dialogue is just too wordy for its own good.

Rin isn't all bad, though. Rin's route in particular actually plays out in an interesting enough way so that the bastardisation of the story's pacing is almost forgivable. Vincent's dynamic with Rin may not be written as maturely as his relationships with Katherine or Catherine, but it is certainly handled as maturely. Rin is not a character who has just been thrown into the remake to sell copies. Rin's influence is very deliberate, from how they change the story to how the pacing and tone are affected in the chain reaction.

To Atlus's credit, failing to trigger Rin's route keeps the last act more or less as it was. The endgame plays out at a much brisker pace with consistently crisper dialogue as a result. It's not as if the remake pretends Rin doesn't exist from there on out, but their presence is noticeably absent. Even then, though, it's hard to ignore the fact that Rin is at their most present when the story is supposed to be focusing on the interplay between Vincent and Catherine/Katherine.

That's all intentional, though. Full Body doesn't want to just regurgitate Catherine, which is admirable. Rin's plot is alienated by design, both for better and for worse. It doesn't pay off in the end and results in a less compelling story, but it is admirable to an extent. Even Trisha, the in-game narrator, comments on the title's nature as a remake. To put it bluntly, Rin's plot ultimately pays off, but only at the expense of Catherine's and Katherine's. If nothing else, the story's extensive makeover really puts Catherine Classic's release into perspective.

Screenshot for Catherine: Full Body on PlayStation 4

It should be noted that this isn't to say that the story is now bad. Far from it: the plot's better moments still shine through and while Rin is intrusive, they never completely overwhelm the narrative. Plenty of time is still dedicated to both Catherine and Katherine, irregardless of Rin's presence. Rin's scenes just happen to play out with a bit more impact at times, but that's only natural given Rin's role in the remake. All the good is still present - it's just jumbled up.

While anyone looking to experience the story at its best is better off playing either the original or Catherine Classic, those looking to sink their teeth into some tower climbing are going to be very happy with their options. Babel is now unlocked from the get-go, allowing veteran players to tackle the tougher challenges immediately. Best of all, players can now select a "Remix" option when beginning their playthrough. Remix mode not only remasters every single stage in the main game, it does so for Rapunzel as well, now titled Super Rapunzel. Atlus doubled down on the puzzle solving gameplay and essentially created a "bizarro" version of their own game. The Remix puzzles are all well designed too, sometimes even eclipsing the original level design in terms of thoughtfulness.

Just like in the source game, gameplay consists of Vincent pushing and pulling blocks to scale a perpetually crumbling tower. With the new level design meeting the standards of the original, the remake doesn't have to do much else, but Atlus thankfully implemented some nice quality of life features. Most notably, Full Body no longer has a life system. Instead, players are free to retry whenever they fail. Instead of giving extra lives, Pillows give Vincent extra Undo's, allowing him to flip back to an earlier move in the stage with the press of a button. White Blocks have also seen a change, dropping a 3x3 floor now instead of a single block. It's a massive overhaul that ends up adding more variety to the moment-to-moment gameplay.

As was perhaps expected, the remake also adds new blocks to line the tower. In Remix mode, Vincent will have to interact with blocks that are permanently stuck together. They're almost like 3D Tetrominos, a detail that ends up fundamentally changing each stage. Better yet, Super Rapunzel ends up consistently using these types of blocks in Remix mode.

Screenshot for Catherine: Full Body on PlayStation 4

As was the case with the source game, the remake is home to a surprisingly excellent multiplayer mode. The logistics of online play may be a bit too simple for their own good - lacking both quickplay and lobbies - but playing against a human opponent is absolutely thrilling. The core gameplay loop translates well to PvP. It is disappointing that Babel doesn't support online play, but the fact that couch co-op is possible is a nice touch, especially for couples.

Catherine: Full Body prides itself on upping the eroticism and, to its credit, it does indeed succeed. The story is far more sexual, featuring brand new pictures of both Catherine and Katherine. Furthermore, most of the new cutscenes mainly exist for eye candy, at least as far as the Katherine ones go. Rin is also the centre of some expected fan service as well. The remake's approach to fan service feels far less restrained and considerate than the original's, but it isn't too out of place either. Catherine was already a very sexual game - it's only natural for the remake to try push things further considering gaming's maturation since 2011. It would certainly be nice if the quality of the new scenes matched that of the original script, but it's fine enough just to get a closer look at the world of the game.

It's also very much worth mentioning that Catherine is the kind of puzzle game that was designed to be played multiple times. It has over a dozen endings for a reason (five of which are new to the remake.) Full Body offers way more narrative variety than its predecessor, which is something that will keep its replayability high. To be honest, though, the story could be a total butchering and the remake would still be worth playing. The main game, Remix mode, Rapunzel, Super Rapunzel and online multiplayer culminate in a very expansive puzzle game. It's impossible to ignore the sheer amount of high-quality level design on display. Catherine: Full Body takes an already compelling game and makes it addictive.

Screenshot for Catherine: Full Body on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Catherine: Full Body's narrative contributions may ultimately serve to hinder what was an otherwise thoughtfully written story about self-discovery, but the overall improvement when it comes to gameplay is almost staggering. With hundreds of brand-new stages to play through - both in the main game and in Super Rapunzel - along with deep online multiplayer, this is a remake that offers so much high quality content that it's difficult not to see the whole package as a complete upgrade. In fact, with so much content to play through, it's almost easy to forget just how poorly paced the new scenes are at times. When it comes down to it, Rin isn't nearly as interesting an addition as the new items and blocks are. If nothing else, Catherine: Full Body is far and away the definitive way to play the game… Just not the best way to experience the story.

Also known as

Catherine: Full Body

Developer

Atlus

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Other

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Comments

The way this review is worded I'm liable to assume Rin is a male...

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