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Catherine

キャサリン

Developer / Publisher: Atlus
17 February 2011
Catherine [キャサリン] - cover art
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920 Ratings / 5 Reviews
#599 All-time
#15 for 2011
Vincent Brooks, who is being pressured into marriage by his current girlfriend, is plunged into a surreal nightmare world every time he falls asleep after having an affair with a mysterious girl named, Catherine.
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(consider only catherine: full body for this review as i've never played the original game)

this game has great story with a great message behind it, although some parts of it definitely have not aged well... at least the remake tried to deal with transphobia in a decent way but in some parts it was... rough

vincent's a piece of shit but i think that's actually good for the overall experience, as it makes things be less "black and white" and his three romance options are pretty good too even though rin being trans and then being revealed to be an alien is such a ??? decision i won't even attempt to problematize it

in gameplay aspects, this game is really boring, that ben 10 ps2 games-esque gameplay starts to be annoying really fast, wish they would just keep this to the visual novel style.

overall, a pretty unique and fun experience, if you manage to tolerate the annoying tower climbing and the transphobia
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amauralho 2024-02-15T21:47:32Z
2024-02-15T21:47:32Z
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Title
Love stinks, or so goes the popular sentiment. In reality, where the negativity for one of life’s most powerful emotions stems from is less rooted in general unpleasantness and more from the fact that it's frustratingly complicated. Animals don’t fall in love; they have base sexual relationships for the sake of procreating, and the relevant factors in who passes on the species’ genetics are purely based on physical characteristics. We humans are far more complex than that, using our superior intellect to analyze a person beneath the surface so we can commit to an ardent bond of wild passion meant to be everlasting. However, despite the efforts of our religious and governmental establishments, the vast percentage of romantic human relationships falter because people, similarly to animals, were not meant to be tied down to one person until the end of their days. In my personal, non-expert evaluation, sex is the one aspect of human nature that reminds us that we are closer to the primal and savage animal kingdom than we want to admit, which is why the drive to do it causes shame and embarrassment among a good handful of our kind. The fact that it's a cultural taboo in several earthly societies despite its necessary ubiquity in preserving the human race is the biggest fallacy we propagate-an oxymoronic idea even. Because we all try to make an earnest attempt to juggle society’s expectations of our sex lives with a healthy restraint, any time the animalistic ID that thirsts for more than what a relationship would allow breaks out of its cage, the consequences for breaking the sanctity of commitment tend to have catastrophic results. To celebrate Valentine’s Day (which is totally when I’m publishing this review and not a week or two later), a holiday that is synonymous with the dutiful, monogamous romance that society upholds, why not take a look at Catherine: a video game that delves into the scary, stressful, and ugly dimensions of romantic love?

From initial impressions, what genre of video game would one expect Catherine to fall under? Firstly, Catherine is developed by Atlus, who are widely associated with the JRPG genre thanks to their popular and acclaimed Shin Megami Tensei/Persona franchises. If Catherine doesn’t ape SMT’s turn-based formula, perhaps it expands Persona’s dating sim mechanics to the forefront of an entire game as opposed to a piece of alternative gameplay intertwined with the turn-based combat. I did allude that sex was an integral facet of Catherine, after all. However, if anyone made either of these logical conclusions and confidently made bets based on their deductions, they would be liable to lose a lot of money. Any rational person would probably never anticipate Catherine as a puzzle platformer in the vein of the falling block variety but alas, this is ultimately what Atlus envisioned for their new IP. After the opening credits, the game drops the player on an ascending grid of white blocks. They’ll figure it’s imperative not to stand around waiting for context to fill in the blanks of their abrupt objective because the lower blocks that comprise the grid are falling and the shirtless man they are controlling will die if he dawdles wondering what the hell is going on. By rearranging the blocks to make a staircase of sorts, a door materializes at the peak of the tower for the player to escape the eroding area. The player will perform the same task numerous times, albeit with differing layouts, because it’s the focal mechanic that defines Catherine’s gameplay. Again, who the hell could’ve expected this from Catherine?

Naturally, Catherine isn’t simply a bizarre Japanese interpretation of Q*Bert, even if the introduction would lead the player into believing anything at this point. Context is given to the player once they complete the first level, but elucidation doesn’t make the game any less strange. The terrified man whom the player just aided in preventing him from tumbling to his death is Vincent, a 32-year-old American man who is currently at a turning point in his life. He and his girlfriend Katherine have been going steady for half a decade now, and they’re at the point in their relationship where the elephant in the room of marriage and having children is rearing its bulbous head. Katherine isn’t getting any younger, so her ticking biological clock is a catalyst for where their relationship is going. All the while, the wrinkles of a long-standing relationship are starting to emerge. Katherine has become the nagging girlfriend who chides Vincent for any lifestyle choices and personality quirks she finds annoying and unsavory. Vincent seems fearful around her rather than exuding any excitable infatuation. Because their relationship has hit a rocky road bump that was imminent with all the contextual evidence, it’s time for Vincent to shit or get off the pot and bite the bullet for an admirable adult life. Or, he can start an affair with a blonde tart with pigtails at least a decade his junior who eerily has the same name as his long-term girlfriend. It’s admittedly a decision an embarrassingly sizable number of men make when backed against a wall in this scenario. In this case, I’d at least make a minor defensive case for Vincent’s infidelity, for he returns home from a bar every night so roaringly drunk that he has no recollection of even speaking to the girl much less seducing her. The other Catherine is possibly taking advantage of Vincent’s debilitated stupor in a predatory manner, but that’s an argument of double standards that I’m not touching with a ten-foot pole. Still, the taboo outlet for some side action does not distract Vincent from his relationship troubles; rather, it compounds them to the point where Vincent is liable to explode from all of the anxiety. While the conflict in Catherine is mundane, its over-the-top anime presentation heightens the story and expertly coincides with the palpable stress that envelops Vincent’s life.

As for explaining the introductory gameplay sequence, the odd puzzle-oriented sections are a series of similar, gamified nightmares that will always place Vincent in a frantic, do-or-die situation that forces him to manipulate the blocky, expressionistic ground as it crumbles around him to survive. Before engaging in this nightly escapade, the player is granted a conscious leisure period in a bar called the Stray Sheep. Vincent, his two high school friends Orlando and Johnny, and Johnny’s younger co-worker Toby congregate routinely in the same booth and discuss the latest gossip over pizza and beer. Usually, their topic of discussion is Vincent’s newfound promiscuity because of its intriguing scandal and relevance to the plot. These four dudes congregate at this dive so frequently that the on-staff waitress, Erika, feels emboldened enough to butt into their conversations as if she’s one of the guys. Apparently, the unmistakably Japanese studio of Atlus researched American life via television for their debut game that takes place across the pond and got the impression from Cheers that all thirty-something Americans are barflies wrought with trivial issues they try to drink away. After the cutscene where the boys (and Erika) provide their input on Vincent’s romantic dilemmas, the player is essentially given free reign over Vincent’s activity in the bar until they decide to leave and face the hectic climb during Vincent’s REM cycles. At the booth, Vincent can use his now oldfangled flip phone (or maybe cheaters have burner phones?) to check and reply to text messages, save the game, and replay a nightmare from the previous evening to achieve a better score. Vincent can also guzzle down a maximum of four different drinks per night, which include a selection of beer, sake, wine, and more of his rum and cola standby. From both fables and personal experience, I’ve learned that there are damnable consequences to heavy drinking, but Vincent illogically jumps like a fucking jackrabbit in his dreams when he’s blitzed. Getting up from the booth and roaming around the building allows Vincent to speak to other patrons at the bar and play Rapunzel, a minigame that mirrors the puzzle platformer gameplay from the nightmares in a minimal, arcade fashion. Vincent can also use its restroom for a more private session with his phone if he doesn’t trust Orlando not to peer into his business from his shoulder view. Anyone who is familiar with Atlus’s Persona franchise will recognize that the bar shares the same real world and surreal world dichotomy that Persona exhibits as a prime idiosyncrasy of the series. However, where both worlds in any Persona game divide about an equal amount of screen time due to being stretched to the proportions of an epically long JRPG, Catherine’s shorter length forces it to prioritize the nightmare gameplay and leave the bar section as a lot to be desired in terms of content. Nothing in the Stray Sheep holds me to the lucid realm of reality for more than ten minutes tops.

The Stray Sheep is still a valuable point of respite in Catherine because the game’s interactive centerpiece is just as much of a nightmare for the player as it is for Vincent. The self-confidence in my puzzle platforming abilities I had cultivated through playing Portal and its sequel was immediately dashed upon playing Catherine. Stacking blocks to form a staircase sounds elementary on paper until one realizes that the player won’t be constructing Vincent’s vertical exit with blocks that materialize out of thin air: they’ll be repurposing the foundation that Vincent is already walking on. I’m no architect or construction worker, but I’m fairly confident in stating that renovating a foundation is a more considerable task than erecting one from scratch. The inherent challenge here is also magnified due to the flimsy and volatile nature of the foundation corroding into oblivion at every second. The margin of error involved in rearranging the blocks in Catherine is so razor thin that a supermodel could use it to permanently raze even their peach fuzz. I attribute Catherine’s stern difficulty curve to the fact that the blocks can be manipulated in a myriad of directions thanks to the multifaceted parameters of the third dimension. Pulling out blocks from their secure wedges will be the most common maneuver, but they won’t always be symmetrically aligned in a comfortable row that Vincent can conveniently climb one-by-one. Oftentimes, Vincent should also consider pushing blocks out of the foundation for easier access to more manageable blocks, creating a zigzagging staircase by lowering every incremental block back down to the base, pushing blocks to the side as a makeshift bridge to a sturdier array, etc. Some sections are arranged so obtusely that it’s like the player has been tasked with reorganizing an MC Escher painting. The third dimension might have diluted the difficulty of traditional platformer games, but it gives the puzzle genre an additional spatial layer for the player to work around. Vincent will always have to contend with alternate kinds of blocks that are more stubborn and precarious than the standard white ones. The golden brown blocks with red eyes and a glower, for instance, will always make their presence as totally immovable obstacles. As the game progresses, they will be accompanied by slippery ice blocks, booby trap blocks with spikes that practically liquify Vincent in a burst of all his blood, bomb blocks whose triggered fuse will decimate all white blocks in its blast radius, etc. Because the realm exists in a dream, Vincent can “edge” blocks that stick to parallel surfaces without being weighed down by the rules of gravity. While it's important to practice this often during the puzzles, I swear that the concrete laws of physics only apply only when it's inconvenient for Vincent. Keep in mind that Vincent is also a noodle-armed mamby-pamby, so he does not possess the upper body strength to climb more than one block at a time. Due to all of the gameplay stipulations, Catherine is a nerve-wracking experience. For beginners, becoming hopelessly stuck from a string of mismanaged mistakes is equivalent to stubbing one’s toe after every few inches of walking, so prepare to dive into the game and start drowning. However, after proverbially learning to swim, the eventual grace one exhibits when directing Vincent to victory will make you feel a swarm of confidence that not too many other games provide.

Fortunately, Catherine corrects for human error that will consistently impede the player from progression and provides plenty of remedies. Depending on the number of successive moves the player has made, they can undo these moves to repave their pathway to an effective solution. Having a few moves on hand also acts as life insurance for whenever Vincent falls or one of the many hazards on the stage subdues him. Items will be littered around the stage with individual perks such as the bell that rings in a grid of white blocks to supplement sections lined with with unyielding ones, a bible whose verses will strike down the irritable enemies that halt Vincent’s ascent, and a soft drink that allows Vincent to jump on a stack of two blocks with its fizzy lifting properties. One of these items can also be purchased with the piles of gold found on the blocks that tend to be in rocky positions. In moments of considerable strife, of course the player is going to feel inclined to use any item on hand. However, as tempting as they are, I don’t recommend indulging in them because these shortcuts will cheat the player out of firmly grasping Catherine’s puzzle mechanics.

The first eve of the nightmares was a sampler tutorial of what is involved when Vincent goes to sleep. For the duration of the game, every nightmare is going to be a three to four act epic. At the final act, the nightmare climaxes with the closest example of what could be construed as a “boss” in a puzzle platformer game. Whatever the most severe form of stress is in Vincent’s life at the moment materializes as a beastly juggernaut that chases Vincent up the fourth act level’s foundation. For example, Katherine informing Vincent that she might be pregnant shakes him to his core, so the “boss” that night is a gigantic, monstrous baby that utters demonic-sounding goo-goo gaga noises while calling Vincent daddy. Because the anxiety of this situation persists, the baby returns two nights later as a Terminator cyborg with a chainsaw for a hand. Not since Eraserhead has the prospect of fatherhood been so harrowing. Other psychological machinations include a veiny arm that stabs Vincent with a fork, a crudely abstract depiction of the most intimate of female anatomy with a tongue the length of a fire hose, and Katherine in a wedding dress. Take a guess what was on Vincent’s mind that day. While the boss levels do not enhance Catherine’s already steep difficulty curve, they do enhance the horrific frenzy that naturally comes with a nightmare with their cosmically grotesque visages. The more sensitive types were probably alarmed that Catherine unexpectedly incorporated these horror elements.

Like a stage production with multiple acts, the nightmare offers an intermission so Vincent can take a breather. The save option situated on a music stand is the piece de resistance here but if the player doesn’t impatiently dart to the next level, they’ll see something rather peculiar happening on this suspended slab of land. While we see a compromising view of Vincent in his underwear carrying a pillow around, his real physical appearance is still discernible. However, the other unwilling participants of this nightmare all see Vincent as a sheep and vice versa for Vincent’s perspective of them. Technically, and the game never corrects itself, but they’re all rams. I wouldn’t be so pedantic except for the fact that all of the characters on this island crag being male is a significant thematic detail of Catherine. If Vincent strikes up conversation with any of these frightened lambs, they are all fretting over their love lives as frantically as Vincent is. Some of them are even stricken with guilt over their lack of fidelity in their relationships, which the deadly environment of the nightmare has forced them to come to terms with. The police officer, Morgan, is plagued with grief because of his wife’s murder, Daniel the wealthy heir with sunglasses feels guilty for abandoning his normal girlfriend for a rich heiress his parents arranged him to marry, and the flashy golden-kitted Abul is middle-eastern oil baron whose opulence alienates him from the rest of humanity. We even pry into the personal lives of Orlando and Johnny in their fluffy, astral forms, which shows the extent of the curse affecting seemingly every man in the game (except for Toby) and that every man deserves to be punished for all degrees of romantic misconduct. The atmosphere of the area is akin to that of being pinned down in a foxhole, a collectively masculine feeling of terror, dread, and the danger of the inevitable vulnerable period of stepping out into the action being their last.

The player might also notice that the aisle with symmetrical arrangement of pews in the intermittent sections of the nightmare resemble the interior design of a church. Instead of an altar as the centerpiece on stage, the confessional booth is instead situated front and center, and sitting down to purge Vincent’s innermost secrets is the only way to commence the next level. Actually, instead of Vincent spilling his guts via a monologue, the impish, condescending voice opposite to him will have Vincent conduct a poll with questions based on popular romantic quandaries such as the ethics of cheating or what characteristics they pursue in a partner. Pulling either of the two ropes depending on Vincent’s answer will cause a compass to appear and slightly slide towards either the order spectrum on the right or the freedom spectrum on the left. Sometimes, the array of questions feels like taking an EPI test, and the grand scope of information seems to fall on a spectrum of general lifestyle choices between bohemian to rigid and orderly. Really, wherever the compass needle is near the end of the game dictates the outcome of whether or not Vincent solves his issues with Katherine or decides to abandon her completely and sincerely commit to his fling with the other Catherine full time. Unlike the majority of people who submitted their answers in the online polls displayed in a pie chart revealed after the player gave their answer, I did my damndest to reply with utmost honesty. I guess the outcome will inadvertently reveal the circumstances of my own love life.

Whether or not the player does sway their answers toward their preferred (CK)atherine, they cannot circumvent the eventual outcome of Vincent’s two worlds colliding when Katherine catches Catherine in Vincent’s apartment at the wee hours of dawn. While Vincent is squirming so hard that his skin is bound to shed like a snake, old Katherine decides to approach the situation calmly over a spot of tea. However, new Catherine isn’t as sanguine and tries to kill her rival for Vincent’s affections with a kitchen knife before ultimately impaling herself on it by accident. Even though the threat to Katherine’s monogamous bond with Vincent has fortuitously been vanquished in the scuffle, she isn’t rid of the pest just yet. Katherine and Vincent then teleport to another level of the nightmare together where Vincent props his girlfriend along a puzzle path in the game’s one and (thankfully) only escort mission. All the while, a ghastly, scorned boss version of Catherine is hunting them down from below. One would think this experience would cause Katherine to be frozen in shock and confusion, but this ordeal is yet another fabrication of Vincent’s astral projection. In fact, when Katherine arrives to break up with Vincent after sussing out the clues of his infidelity with context, it astounds Vincent to know that Katherine never even saw a glimpse of the phantom femme-fatale in her peripheral vision. In fact, none of Vincent’s friends witnessed him attempt to sever ties with the lingerie-wearing bimbo at the Stray Sheep the day prior, and they’d probably kill to sneak and peek at her. The only person who seems to have acknowledged Catherine’s presence directly is the older, debonair gentleman who owns the bar. Once Vincent comes to this realization, he confronts “Boss” who tells him that he’s a God who constructed Catherine as a mental machination of Vincent’s ideal sexual partner. Vincent is evidently not a man of sophisticated taste, but to each their own. He did this to punish Vincent and every male patron over a certain age in the bar for either not committing to the longcon of marriage or the failure to launch a meaningful relationship with a woman and have children to maintain the human population. They are lambs being sent to the slaughter, if you will. He’s a utilitarian if his views mirrored those of everyone’s nagging, baby boomer parents who got married at 19. Vincent finds his punitive game cruel and unfairly judgemental so later that night, he makes a bet with the bar owner that if he climbs the zenith point of the tower, he’ll cease the charade indefinitely. Because Vincent is such an exemplary climber (you’re welcome), he has little trouble winning the bet despite the Bosses' efforts to quash him from the comfort of his flying recliner. The reveal that the culprit behind the otherworldly dimension is a God masquerading among the living is pure Persona. Still, the revelation is less contrived than it can be in Atlus’ other series because the mystery and intrigue still resonate in the air instead of acting as an elevated epilogue after the core mystery has already been solved.

Alas, despite Vincent’s efforts to liberate himself and his friends along with his discovery that his cheating was all a mirage, the falling action of Catherine’s narrative was Katherine sternly doubling down on her departure from Vincent. I guess this is what occurs when the compass needle barely diverts from its center as a neutral ending, and it’s actually the best possible outcome. I’m not going to disparage or berate Vincent, mostly because I pity him, but the man needs to get his shit together. He’s a nervous, stuttering wreck, he’s dead broke, and his current place of residence is practically a dorm room that is crawling with ants. Simply because he’s at an ideal age to settle down and procreate doesn’t mean it’s ideal for his circumstances. He clearly isn't mentally or financially ready to support someone else when he can hardly support himself. Catherine manages to convey a valuable and surprisingly uncommon life lesson for all young adults to bask in the glory of singlehood despite society and matriarchal and or patriarchal pressures that befall all young adults. Besides, it’s not as if Vincent has menopause as a future hindrance to tackle. Vincent has all the time in the world to cultivate confidence, financial gain, and other means of prosperity before he concerns himself with passing on his genetic material with a woman. That, and the other endings achieved on a staunch range of the spectrum are either dumb, anticlimactic or a mix of both. I can’t stomach the concept of “spiritual” cheating that Vincent admits to committing to wed Katherine at the Stray Sheep, and becoming a suave playboy demon in hell with Catherine is just ridiculous. The latter of the outcomes emphasizes a route of freedom if they side with Vincent’s goomar, but the truth is that being single releases the shackles of relationship responsibility completely.


To say that Catherine is a unique experience in the world of gaming is an understatement. Atlus can’t seem to quit implementing themes of Jungian/Freudian psychology into their IPs and externalizing them as an otherworldly dimension that comprises half of the focal point of gameplay mechanics with a humdrum depiction of the real world. Besides Atlus’s Persona as a stark influence, Catherine evidently borrows aplenty from other sources such as Silent Hill, Q*Bert (honestly), and the philosophies of love and its gamut of pleasure and pain. Such a lofty conceptual mix is ideal for a lengthy JRPG such as what Atlus usually creates, but the fact that all of it congeals splendidly in a challenging puzzle platformer is nothing short of bewildering. It’s difficult to recommend Catherine due to its mind-boggling puzzle mechanics, instances of heart-attack-inducing horror, and often negative attitude on values that the western world holds as sacred. Still, I’d rather play something unorthodox and inspired than sink into a conceptual comfort zone and for those who aren’t of the faint of heart, Catherine is fresh and exciting.
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Erockthestrange 2024-02-16T10:01:24Z
2024-02-16T10:01:24Z
8.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
I should’ve known that Atlus would release an expanded version of Catherine as they tend to do with each of the Persona titles. Still, an eight-year gap between Full Body and the original Catherine was a long enough duration for a sizable percentage of new players to experience Atlus’ most unconventional IP for the first time as opposed to veterans squeezing more juice out of the potential content to total satisfaction. While a whole gaming generation of time passing caused Catherine to become a fainter recollection in our memory banks, perhaps forgetting its finer details is a fortuitous circumstance for the developers to rework some of the game’s questionable decisions.

Naturally, to get the money’s worth for all returnees to Catherine, Atlus has compiled a plethora of additional content that wasn’t available in the original. Upon selecting Catherine’s story mode, the player has the option to choose “remix mode” which shuffles the placements of blocks in the levels as well as injecting some unseen blocks with new mechanics into the mix. Quality of life enhancements have been implemented to make the already nightmarishly (no pun intended) challenging levels less of a grueling excursion. Dying due to either falling or being slain by a pursuing machination of Vincent’s psyche will not result in a game over. Rather, the developers have shifted these fatal occurrences into the “undo” mechanic, reverting Vincent back to the previous spot to his last maneuver. The developers have also done away with the limited continues, so Vincent is free to fuck up as many times as necessary. Anything to alleviate the binding duress of Catherine’s strict difficulty is much appreciated. The “Babel” and “Colosseum” challenge modes are unlocked without any conditions, so you and a friend can tackle these steep, formidable climbs immediately.

Really, I think the focal point of Full Body is the addition of Rin as Catherine’s character that Atlus shoehorns into the story as another reason to justify rereleasing the same game at full price. Forgive my cynicism, but it’s not as if Marie was a highlight of Persona 4: Golden that made it radiate brighter than the original. Rin’s placement among the plot points is awkward for those who experienced the original game as expected, but she isn’t a waste of space. The game establishes her as early as the first cutscene even before Vincent goes to bed for the first time as she’s being pursued by a stalker the size of an ogre. After getting perhaps too acquainted with her, Vincent helps the frangible, pink-haired girl get back on her feet as she is debilitated by an amnesiac stupor. Vincent houses her in the apartment next door where she decorates her living space with frilly girl things like stuffed animals galore. Vincent also sets her up with a gig playing piano at the Stray Sheep. She isn’t exactly Arthur Rubenstein, but all of the bar patrons appreciate her efforts nonetheless. What is even stranger is that Rin’s job extends to Vincent's nightmares as she slackens the rate of erosion whenever she feels Vincent it could be gaining on him. This is a relief to everyone involved in the nightmare, especially the player, but Rin’s inclusion goes beyond a glorified quality of life enhancement. Seeing Vincent take care of Rin like an older brother makes him a more likable protagonist, giving him a responsibility that forces him to shed the usual pathetic worrywart persona that makes everyone pity him.

But a sibling relationship is not the type of bond Vincent is intended to have with Rin. Once it’s revealed that Rin’s full name is Qatherine, the absolute last consonant to fit as the beginning syllable sound for the name, we realize that she’s also another potential love interest. While a vocal handful of people complain that her presence disrupts the organized love triangle because a love square isn’t as contextually shapely, her inclusion might present another facet of what happens when a man is discontented with his love life: sexual experimentation. Vincent busts into Rin’s room after a disturbance finding her lying on the floor in nothing but a towel. After the towel falls off, let’s just say that now Vincent knows everything there is to know about the crying game. Yes, the big reveal behind her character is that Rin is a trans woman, or at least she’s a gender-fluid, femme-passing person with male anatomy (it’s complicated). Because Vincent is attracted to Rin in some capacity, this revelation makes him frantically question his sexuality as he lashes out at Rin out of complete shock. Of course, I did say that Rin is still a viable romance option so if the player feels inclined to pursue Rin even further, Vincent will have to apologize up and down to her for forgiveness. Once Vincent puts himself on the Rin route, more is revealed revolving around her origin as a supernatural being similar to the yandere blonde bimbo of the same name, hence why she can enter the nightmare to serenade the sheep with her piano playing. Vincent defeats her Archangel older brother as the game’s “final boss,” who then splits into a group of pink aliens that resemble those from Toy Story with a swapped color palette. Vincent marries Rin and becomes her music producer as they travel through space in her rightful saucer. As dumb as the good ending result is, it’s rather sweet of Vincent to pursue his true feelings for Rin regardless of her gender identity.

In reality, the more likely reason the game’s one additional story character is trans is to backpedal from the grievous mistake the original made with this topic. I omitted this detail from my review of the original game but once Toby loses his virginity to Erika, it’s revealed that Erika used to be a high school friend of Vincent and the others named Eric and has had a sex change. Toby is revulsed beyond belief at Erika’s “duplicity” and Erika is offended at his gall to dispute her gender identity. I glossed over this B-plot because it seemed quite trivial to the overarching story of Catherine and almost like a mean-spirited punchline to Toby. If he’s not old enough to suffer the block tower gauntlet in his dreams, he can still suffer in the real world with his crush having a penis. Yikes, Atlus. If this interaction drew a sizeable bit of ire from the LGBT+ community back in 2011, imagine what kind of backlash Full Body would’ve received in a post-#metoo world. I’m not certain Full Body remedies their mistakes with Erika’s gender identity, rather, makes it more vague when Toby tells Orlando that intercourse with Erika was “weird” instead of having a fit. There is also a scene where the gang discusses same-sex couples, and Erika brings Rin over to voice her opinion who is naturally receptive to the concept. Touche, Atlus, but this level of inclusivity is laughably elementary at best. Truthfully, I don’t think Japan as a culture is as progressive and enlightened on the rights and awareness of LGBT+ rights as the Western world even in modern times. They tried, but their attempts were too shallow to show that they now have a profound understanding of the subject matter at hand.


Besides adult sophistication, the “full body” wine parallel in the title alludes to a richer, bolder taste that signifies maturation and complexity. If the parallel means that Catherine has reached its potential, I can’t really agree. Sure, the gameplay is far more agreeable and makes for a smoother experience, but there are still several thematic holes in Catherine that are still leaking because the job to fill them has been half-assed. It’s tolerable at best. Still, I can’t argue that this is the definitive Catherine experience despite the glaring flaws that shine through the solid steel door like bullet holes.
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Great story and message, ok gameplay
I like this game, I got the ending where he got back with Katherine and it wasn’t the best ending but it worked I guess. I watched YT videos on the other endings and I much prefer the one where he married Catherine. The game has a great message and it actually made me think about my own love life at many points, it’s a very vibey game that I recommend playing late at night with a couple beers here and there. However, I was pretty bored with the gameplay aspect of the game and wished that there was more variance. I wish it was a Mario party style game where you climb by playing several different types of minigames instead of just climbing blocks. The story does make up for the full gameplay and I definitely recommend a binge play for anyone who plans to stay up late on a Saturday night.
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aziz713 2023-05-18T23:36:57Z
2023-05-18T23:36:57Z
3.5
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One of the most unique games ever made. Story arguably didnt age that well. But seen as a product of its time, and the other elements of the story and absolutely amazing gameplay, an absolute masterpiece.
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Diugo 2023-03-06T15:40:49Z
2023-03-06T15:40:49Z
5.0
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Rin and Queerness in Catherine Full Body
This review pertains to Catherine: Full Body, but is mainly my thoughts on the character Rin. SPOILERS ahead.

I played the original Catherine as well and finished Full Body recently. Obviously the major change is the inclusion of Rin (Qatherine lol). Midway through the game when the characters mention the existence of queer people, Erica and Rin are the most accepting and like "yeah dude queer people exist." At this time, I said to my partner who was watching me play, "I would be my entire bank account that Rin is trans." I also don't remember this conversation happening in the original.

So when Rin was revealed to be trans, naturally I was a bit self satisfied. It was kind of obvious over time though. Vincent's reaction to the realization is BAD, but from the narrative's point of view his revulsion is condemned, which is GOOD. He does something cruel, and we as the audience are meant to see it as such. At this point, I felt like the weird anti-queer subtext of the original was being rectified.

Entering the next bar scene I thought "lord please don't let Vincent blab to his bros about this." He does, which sucks hard. I think when I played Catherine, I gave the narrative some leeway considering Japan has different standards for talking about queer people. I also played the game for the first time in 2016. So if I transported myself to 2011 (before same-sex marriage was federally legalized in the US), I could be a bit more forgiving. The same mental exercise was necessary tolerating Vincent's loose lips about Rin's transness. Overall, I understand that Japan has a totally unique understanding of queerness; however I'm not so much a relativist that I don't believe some of the culture's treatment of LGBTQ+ people is ethically wrong.

Things got worse when Rin left the game entirely. I understand that sometimes, not every character can be so fleshed out that they don't just serve the protagonist. But, come on, she literally stopped existing after she was known to be trans. Of course she's a token queer character, but it didn't have to be so shallow. There were so many loose ties by the end of her story, and it was incredibly dissatisfying.

Erica: On the Wiki, I found that in the original game's credits Erica is labeled "Eric." The Wiki states that this a joke about Erica being trans and is supported by the guys' revulsion over Toby's infatuation. If this is the case, the subtext is so flimsy that I don't think someone would really pick up on this. I think the more immediate interpretation is her sisterly relationship, shamelessness, and age (relative to Toby).

Given these flaws, I still adore this game. While I was very disappointed to see Rin leave, I honestly appreciate her inclusion. As a queer nerd for Japanese pop culture, I've gotten used to managing my expectations for representation.
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The funny thing about this game is one of my friends wanted to play this so he rented it through our Gamefly account and it was about a month before the end of the college year during my Junior year of college, which was my worst year of college because of horrible, obnoxious roommates, so it felt good to get away from my apartment as often as possible. So for about a week, I'd head over to one of my friends dorms, then the whole group of friends which was about 8 or so of us would all gather on the couch in the dorm lobby and play Catherine. It was a game that even drew in the non gamers as we tried to solve the puzzles and progress. It actually is a pretty fun game, its a game where you have to think about what you want to do and how to climb the towers, and it was a game that brought us all together as friends. There was some story between about a man who was struggling with his love between his girlfriend and a girl he meets at the bar, and to be honest, the story is decent, sure its not Persona level genius, but its still good with some twists, plus the fact that there are 8 different endings is cool. I mean what more to say, its a solid puzzle game that isn't too difficult but will keep you on your toes and does present difficulty at times, and well there are a few frustrating moments where you have to be quick, its mostly a fair game that only punishes you for being rash. My only complaint is the game has hardly any variety, sure there are some new blocks and puzzles in different areas, but the whole game is basically moving blocks and climbing up to the top, yeah I know a lot of games are repetitive but I guess I just am not a fan of this kind of repetition as much as others, I would have preferred more interactive story over gameplay to be honest.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T22:06:07Z
2017-07-21T22:06:07Z
3.5
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Catalog

JGeeK キャサリン 2024-04-14T15:31:11Z
2024-04-14T15:31:11Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bluecap9 キャサリン 2024-04-10T04:44:52Z
2024-04-10T04:44:52Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nery_Mrotis キャサリン 2024-04-09T11:34:15Z
2024-04-09T11:34:15Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Hawk_ Catherine: Full Body 2024-04-06T04:45:14Z
PS4
2024-04-06T04:45:14Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
solzhenbass キャサリン 2024-04-05T02:47:35Z
2024-04-05T02:47:35Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SergLeDerg キャサリン 2024-04-04T04:44:42Z
2024-04-04T04:44:42Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Psychochimecho キャサリン 2024-04-02T01:43:15Z
2024-04-02T01:43:15Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Upsilon_Nova キャサリン 2024-03-30T12:57:49Z
2024-03-30T12:57:49Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ali5ia Catherine: Full Body 2024-03-28T23:59:27Z
Switch
2024-03-28T23:59:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FirstMate キャサリン 2024-03-27T16:27:14Z
2024-03-27T16:27:14Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
OffModel キャサリン 2024-03-26T16:56:17Z
2024-03-26T16:56:17Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TiraRemy キャサリン 2024-03-26T11:55:07Z
2024-03-26T11:55:07Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: C
Player modes
1-2 players
Media
1x Blu-ray
Also known as
  • Kyasarin
  • Catherine
  • Catherine: Full Body
  • View all [3] Hide

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  • Previous comments (40) Loading...
  • Xaman_ 2023-07-11 08:25:35.235347+00
    no idea why some people think you're supposed to like Vincent, lol
    reply
    • Fowlawneeshafow 2023-12-09 00:16:08.479085+00
      yeah, you're supposed to relate to Vincent I think, but not in a way where you're supposed to like and empathize with him. More in a way where you might see his flaws in yourself and where those flaws might take you
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  • watercolour 2023-12-04 02:03:01.533487+00
    a part of me feels like the entire point of this game is to make cheating look more fun and appealing.
    reply
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  • ... 2023-12-04 15:02:09.766247+00
    removed by mod
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  • sidekick 2023-12-17 05:51:21.31485+00
    played this game solely for alcoholism vibes. the romance stuff is so surface level anime bs, which is a shame because the questionnaires at the end of each level are actually compelling with the poll reveal.
    reply
    • RiskR 2024-03-01 15:33:32.786557+00
      the romance stuff is so so so beyond anime bs wdym

      all the relationships here are depicted so so accurately and depict abuse, lying, and genuine humanity in ways most anime dont
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  • Moonlight_Shiori 2024-03-08 23:42:52.025673+00
    idk if anyone else here has seen the anime, Welcome to the NHK, but this game really gives me the same aesthetic vibes. i guess it's because vincent is similar to satou in a loser kind of way. it doesn't gloss over human nature and how faulty we all can be.
    reply
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    • watercolour 2024-03-29 00:33:49.772724+00
      but also welcome to the NHK had the worst protagonist ever, probably to try to make any potential watchers not feel so bad about themselves. and then trying to use shame to dissuade people from you-know-what was a seriously cheap approach to a very deep social issue.
    • watercolour 2024-03-29 00:40:28.137505+00
      also NHK's "don't give up, you'll get laid!" way of storytelling is seriously pathetic imo. handing the piece of trash MC the girl was beyond unrealistic.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • RiskR 2024-03-09 00:53:22.261513+00
    this being at a 3.67 is a crime
    reply
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