Catherine: Full Body does not look kindly on the males of our species. Depicted as aggressive, violent, misogynist and unfaithful, Catherine: Full Body clearly has a lot to say about men. And none of it is any good. Even the protagonist Vincent, and I use that term very lightly, is an unlikeable piece of shit.
In a long-term relationship with Katherine (with a K, it’s an important distinction), Vincent is a depressed, 30-something with little drive or ambition. You know the type. Either you are him, or you’ve dated him.
He gets by with a sarcastic attitude and some snark but in reality, he’s got nothing to say and he knows it. So, in what he calls an “accident” he takes Catherine (with a C) home from the bar and sleeps with her.
Catherine: Full Body Review
I’ve honestly never played a game with as much disdain for the main character before. Maybe my own bias was colouring how I viewed Vincent, but I had no sympathy for the guy.
Maybe, in the beginning, I could understand how he went down the path he did. However, as the story began to unfold, I was shocked at his cowardice and refusal to even try to put things right.
I’m being deliberately vague here, with full knowledge that Catherine was originally released in 2011. There are bound to be new players that I don’t want to spoil the experience for. And there are probably even those who’ve played it before who’ve forgotten exactly what happens.
The point is Catherine: Full Body is best experienced fresh so I won’t be spoiling anything. Just know that the game deals with some heavy, emotional subject matter and definitely paints men in a very harsh light.
If that doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then best jog on.
Not a game for kids
Right, that’s the story stuff. Well, it’s not, but I can’t say more without ruining it for you. What I will say is that Catherine: Full Body’s story is told through some tremendously well voiced and animated cutscenes and fans of anime will be lapping it up.
The style of storytelling is very Japanese too, so if you’re a fan of Persona you’ll enjoy Catherine. In fact, it helps to have some knowledge of anime when going into Catherine as it leans heavily on fan-service and other anime tropes that could be misconstrued by those unfamiliar with the medium.
As for the gameplay, Catherine: Full Body features two main gameplay loops. The first takes place in the Stray Sheep Bar. Vincent’s local and where he goes to crack a cold one with the boys, here you’ll get to chat with other characters, read and reply to texts, drink and try to understand the ongoing mystery of the game as it unfolds.
The other part of Catherine: Full Body is the puzzle sections. At night, when he dreams, Vincent is transported to the Nightmare Realm where he has to climb a series of towers without falling lest he dies. If he dies in his nightmare, he dies in real life.
The actual gameplay of these tower climbs is difficult to describe, but it’s kind of like a cross between Q*Bert and Tetris with a bit of Bomberman thrown in just for fun. And you know what? That doesn’t even really describe it.
In the Nightmare Realm, Vincent needs to climb to the top of these towers in order to survive until the next day. To do so, he needs to make a path for himself by pushing, pulling, moving, creating and climbing on a range of different blocks and boxes. There are boxes that crumble when he steps on them, those that can’t be moved, some that explode, some that are made of ice and others that bounce Vincent up to a whole new level.
There’s tonnes of variety in the levels and the puzzles and each comes with three difficulty settings that make for a hell of a lot of replay value. Not to mention the morality metre attached to your decision making that dictates how Vincent reacts to certain situations. If you’re absolute garbage, you’ll have a very different experience to someone who tries to do the right thing.
Men Are Bad
Honestly, I’m blown away by just how negative Catherine: Full Body is about the way men operate and how they perceive their place in the world. In the game, men think they are owed whatever they want and freely call women sluts, bitches and worse simply because they won’t acquiesce to their wishes. It’s frightening close to reality and honestly makes me sick.
More than any other game out there, Catherine: Full Body captures ‘male privilege’ in all its grossness.
Since this is a remaster it includes a bunch of extras and additional features to make it worth playing again for those who had a go the first time around. Catherine: Full Body includes new music, new cutscenes and an all-new character that radically changes the narrative.
Whether their inclusion is a good or bad thing is up for some debate, but it certainly adds something to the experience.
A Work of Art
Players will also find more than double the original game’s puzzles, with 500 on offer, and a brand new Remix Mode that changes the original levels to create all-new experiences.
Overall, Catherine: Full Body is an incredible video game for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it was even released when it is so openly hostile to males and stars a character so flawed that there’s no moral way to like him. It broaches mature and adult themes in the way only an anime can and it delivers puzzles that will have you scratching your head for quite some time.
I honestly can’t fault Catherine: Full Body and if you’re a proponent of games as art then this is definitely a game for you. It’s a stunning achievement and one that I’m glad to have played through.
Catherine: Full Body was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by Atlus.
Game Title: Catherine: Full Body