"Catherine: Full Body" is still as weird as the original while adding more movie-like elements to the game.
On Sept. 3, game developer Studio Zero released "Catherine: Full Body" in the United States and Europe. The game's initial release in Japan was on Feb. 14. Although this game is a remaster, there are many reasons why players of the original (released in 2011) should play this game.
There are 13 distinct endings, new levels, new music and another love interest added to the game. Even with these additions, the game will still feel familiar to returning players. To those who never played "Catherine," they will be coming into a more polished version of the original.
"Catherine: Full Body" puts a dark take on serious topics such as infidelity, freedom, sexuality, marriage and gender. This makes playing the game uncomfortable yet difficult to look away from.
For those who have never played "Catherine," it’s a puzzle game inside a nightmare. In each nightmare, the main character (Vincent) must climb up a wall of floating boxes to access the real world waiting for him at the top. Climbing the boxes is not easy. You must push and pull the boxes in order to make a climbable pathway.
Depending on which difficulty you choose, these puzzles will be extremely hard — especially within the time limit. As the clock begins to tick, boxes start to fall from under you. Each stage has sections within them that you must complete.
The boss on the last section chases you to the top, so it's a perfect motivation to be quick and escape. These creepy bosses include Vincent's girlfriend, a baby and Vincent himself. The original game forced you to solve each puzzle on your own. If you couldn't solve them, then you couldn't progress in the game.
On the easy difficulty, there is an auto feature that will solve the puzzles for you. While it's a helpful feature, it defeats the purpose of playing the game.
Throughout "Catherine: Full Body," it's learned that everyone in the nightmare is a sheep. Each of these sheep represents a real person. As a player, you can speak to each of these sheep to help rid them of their fears. The more you talk to them, the more likely it is that they'll survive the nightmares.
The puzzles are broken up by cinematics and scenes in the "Stray Sheep," which is a bar where Vincent and his friends hang out. In these portions of gameplay, you have the option to speak with Vincent's friends, access Vincent's phone and drink (every time you finish a drink, you get trivia about that drink). Everything you do in the game directly relates to other events.
What happens outside the nightmares affects how the mechanics within the nightmares work. For example, if you drink a lot at the "Stray Sheep," Vincent can climb the boxes faster. If you stay too long at the "Stray Sheep," you will miss the opportunity to speak to some important characters. While playing the game, you must always be aware of your choices.
The original "Catherine" game had some unfortunate jokes scattered throughout its story. There are transphobic jokes that come out of nowhere and jokes about women and their status in society. The developers of this remake dial back some of the harsher jokes from the original. There is still a reminder in this game that context is not universal amongst countries.
"Catherine: Full Body" changes that and brings up important discussions of gender and sexuality. It's nice that Vincent's journey is now more positive, at least in that sense. There is still the inclusion of a transphobic character, possibly as a representation that those people still exist.
In this game, you can make Vincent any type of person you want. The kind, vengeful and neutral character traits are all tracked with the order/chaos tracker: It's a blue and red meter, and it will move in the direction that matches with your actions and decisions. It is always difficult to determine if your choice was ordered or chaotic.
"Catherine: Full Body" could be described as an interactive anime: It doesn't answer many questions that you may ask yourself throughout your playthrough, but that's part of the charm. You get to build your own creepy, sexy, dynamic story.
"Catherine: Full Body" is rated M and is intended for those over the age of 17.
Caitlin Scott is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Caitlin69123118