We in the west we are largely used to certain type of games, and if a game doesn’t have weapons, cars, or sports, we mostly avoid them like the plague. And despite of what some Japanese developers and publishers would like you to think (see SEGA), we don’t really mind all the Japanese craziness, as long as the product of which such is a part of is solid – and features what we like. However, sometimes there is a game which is so far out of the left field, that we should want nothing to do with it. But because of how mad and intrinsically Japanese it is, we all gravitate towards it, and Catherine, is just one such game.

Originally, Catherine saw the light of day all the way back in 2017, on PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and now, over eight years later, Catherine returns to the west in a brand new, spruced-up, Full Body Edition.  It can be played on both the PC and PlayStation 4, and while it is easy to get confused and assume that Catherine: Full Body is just a remaster, then in truth, this is a complete remake as it comes sporting a brand-new engine, and a host of other additions.

First of such additions, is the inclusion of twenty, brand new anime cut-scenes, that have been created by the 4oC studio, which has returned from previously working on the original Catherine. In addition, the plot of the title has been significantly reworked, as Catherine: Full Body, sports not two, but three ‘Catherine’s’, as a brand new character named Rin, has been added to the core story, and works as an antithesis to both Catherine, and Katherine.

In an attempt to please everybody, the studio behind the title has also introduced a range of quality of life changes, and has partially redesigned the core, puzzle-based gameplay, in order to allow the players to enjoy the story of the title, without the fear of failure. And lastly, the aforementioned Rin, also works as an in-game get out of jail free card, as during boss stages, she can stagger the boss with her piano, in the last-ditch attempt to save your life.

Overall, the Full Body Edition of Catherine is far more enjoyable than that of the original, as it offers a much slicker and robust user experience. The puzzles are not as cumbersome and loose as in the original, the player movement seems lighter, and is in general much more responsive to player inputs. While the core difficulty has remained the same, then the title is not as frustrating as the newly introduced quality of life changes ease the more frustrating aspects of the title somewhat.

First and foremost, Catherine is a narrative driven game, and while the puzzles do play a significant role in the proceedings, then ultimately the story is what drives the title forwards. Such definitely has its moments, but overall seems a little inconsistent, as the pacing of the story is constantly oscillating between intense and emotionally draining moments, and cumbersome boredom which is in large part caused by the in-bar sequences.

Sure, the Stray Sheep, as the bar is named in the game, feels like a great hub, where you can meet new people, experience new things, and uncover truths about the story’s ambiguities. But for the most part, it can feel like filler, as it only features a small amount of narrative development, and a metric F ton of interpersonal drama, which has very little impact on the broader proceedings. However, if you are in a rush, or simply do not wish to partake in the Stray Sheep activities, you can skip those, by leaving the bar. On one hand you will be saving a lot of time, and the core story will become much more digestible; but on the other, you can end up finding yourself at a point where you have no idea what is going on with all the auxiliary characters, because you have skipped too many character interactions.

Depending on how you feel about Japanese culture, you can perceive Catherine in one of two ways. Either as a great game, with quirky and eccentric storytelling; or as a compilation of some fantastic puzzles, with a rather shameful story, which will make you press the PlayStation button as soon as anybody enters the room. And I believe that the latter is closer to the truth for both Europeans and Americans, as Catherine can be a little too much at times. Personally, I don’t mind the overly sexualised themes of Catherine: Full Body, as you can see much more liberal depictions of sexuality on TV, then I have to say that Catherine can get a little uncomfortable. So, in all honesty, you are better off playing it when you are all alone.

When it comes to visuals, not a lot has changed since 2011. The title’s resolution has been turned up to the now standard 1080p, textures and character models look a lot cleaner than they did on the consoles of the previous generation, and the animated cut-scenes are simply superb. The same really goes for audio, as in truth, nothing negative can be said about it – as Catherine, unlike some Japanese games, features complete English dub. And if you happen to be Japanese, or at least have some knowledge of the language, you can enjoy 13 different voice actresses for Catherine, as in the Japanese version of Catherine: Full Body you can pick and choose whichever voice you want to hear.

To summarise, all that really has to be said about Catherine: Full Body, is that it is a great remake of the 2011 original. Because just like Yakuza Kiwami, it polishes up everything that has already been a part of the original game and adds even more in form of new content and quality of life changes. But that being said, Catherine: Full Body is simply not for everybody. If you like puzzle games, then you are going to be feel right at home with it. But if you have struggled to get into games such as Persona, then you will most likely struggle to get used to Catherine’s over the top, Japanese spirit.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.