A lot can change in eight years.
When Catherine was first released in 2011 it was unlike any other game I had ever played. It featured fast-paced, adrenaline-inducing puzzle-action, juxtaposed with a dialogue-driven, story-heavy adventure about a 32-year-old man named Vincent, his friends, his long-term girlfriend, Katherine, and his not-so-secret side-piece, Catherine.
Catherine explored mature real-life themes and stories that very few games have explored before or since, and asked questions with no right answers. Eight years later, the revised Catherine: Full Body retains that same uniqueness, and introduces plenty of new reasons to play if you’ve completed it in the past.
See the story-driven gameplay of Catherine: Full Body in the video above.
We’ve explained how Catherine: Full Body is much more than just a remaster before, but let’s give a “quick” recap.
- More than 500 unique puzzles to solve – more than twice the amount in the original.
- A new “Remix” mode for every puzzle.
- Some puzzles have been tweaked.
- 20+ brand-new, animated cutscenes that delve into character backstories, and new scenes that introduce the new character, Rin.
- Rin also appears in the nightmare puzzle world and interacts with Vincent and the sheep there, and can halt threats while Vincent climbs.
- All English voice actors, including Troy Baker (Vincent), have reprised their roles for new lines.
- New music is selectable in the Stray Sheep bar’s jukebox, including tunes from Persona 4 and the mysterious Project Re: Fantasy, which Atlus hasn’t talked about since its vague announcement.
- It’s been ported into the Persona 5 engine, so Catherine: Full Body is especially pretty to look at. (We’re still waiting for more technical details about this!)
- There are new online features, like a versus mode and “souls” that will appear in stages where other players have died.
- Five new endings are included: Three for Rin and one new each for Katherine and Catherine.
- Certain characters are properly named in the credits. (You’ll understand this if you were tuned into the controversy surrounding previous editions of Catherine.) Some lines may have been changed about this character as well.
Because it’s been so long since the original version came out I didn’t remember the puzzles perfectly, but if you’ve replayed Catherine recently the Remix mode will make it more interesting. This mode rearranges the climbable-block puzzles so that chunks of blocks will move as a unit, instead of individually, making it so some stages have single solutions.
The original Catherine was notoriously difficult.
Plus, you can change the difficulty and puzzle mode at will between stages, so you can tweak and tailor the gameplay experience to your preferences as you play. And, if you’re just interested in the thought-provoking yet kind of wacky story, there’s a new Safety mode in which there is no time limit or game overs, and you can skip the puzzles entirely from the start. Though I personally wouldn’t recommend skipping them, as I find the puzzles quite fun, and they can be very challenging. The original Catherine was notoriously difficult.
See the tower-climbing puzzle gameplay yourself in the video above.
Catherine: Full Body has been out in Japan since February, so during my hands-on demo I didn’t learn much we didn’t already know. But I did get to play the first two hours and what I found was that my life circumstances changed the experience more than the revisions made to the Full Body edition have.
When I first played Catherine I was a 20-year-old full-time college student who still had a healthy wash of naivety and optimism for human nature. As intended, Catherine – a game heavy with themes of morality, maturity, and responsibility – got me thinking.
Now, I’m a 28-year-old full-time editor, passionate about work to a fault and in a committed relationship. The experience I’ve gained over the past years, and my situation in life, has drastically colored my perception of the stories I consume, including Catherine: Full Body.
The main character, Vincent, had infuriated 20-year-old me because I never thought a real-life person could be so damn stupid… but now I see there really are people like him, and can attribute his logicless stupidity instead to believable cowardice and insecurity-fueled indecisiveness.
“How are we supposed to present [Vincent] in our marketing, or how is the game supposed to present to him? Are we supposed to identify with him?” asked Jonathon Stebel, associate PR manager at Atlus. “I don’t think we’re supposed to. I think we’re just supposed to kind of be confused by the way that he thinks. [It’s] frustrating for a main character that you control…Just like, please get your life together, [Vincent].”
Just like, please get your life together, Vincent.
Oddly enough, though Vincent’s character was unbelievable for me in the past, I also empathize even less with his indecisiveness and fear of responsibility and change now than I did before. On the other hand, I empathize with the career-driven, responsible Katherine more than ever. But, those feelings will change based on who’s playing. Not everyone has the same experiences, so empathy and sympathy come easier for some than for others, depending on who you are.
The way I experience their stories and judge their characters has changed based on my own experiences, making a replay feel like a brand-new experience for me. The myriad endings available in Catherine: Full Body depend on the decisions you make and the answers you give when questioned with moral conundrums, and I wonder if I’ll even unlock the same ending now as I did eight years ago. That alone makes playing Catherine: Full Body worth it now. The expansive additional content only makes it that much more enticing.
Stebel also said Catherine: Full Body is the story the developers wished to tell at the start, but only thought it possible in today’s social climate. I hope with the 20 or so brand-new animated cutscenes, I can grow to understand Vincent and Katherine’s relationship better, and become more satisfied with both of their motivations. Rin’s introduction also made me feel compelled to play Full Body – her amnesiatic-fueled mystery hooked me from the start, and I’m looking forward to unraveling it when Catherine: Full Body is released this year. Let’s hope I can avoid spoilers from the Japanese version until then!
Casey DeFreitas is an Editor at IGN and left a party early to keep playing Catherine back when she first played it. Catch her on Twitter @ShinyCaseyD.