Catherine: Full Body’s New Story Elements Muddles Its Original Themes
Catherine: Full Body adds a number of great features, but one of its additions obscures some of the main themes that the original displayed.
Editor’s Note: This editorial contains spoilers for Catherine: Full Body. If you haven’t played through the full game yet, we would recommend coming back to this editorial after finishing it.
Back in September, Atlus released Catherine: Full Body, an updated version of their niche dating simulator and puzzle game from 2011. It comes with a variety of quality-of-life improvements for its gameplay that is attractive for both players new and old. The biggest selling point for myself as a returning player was the addition of Rin, a potential love interest who is new to this version of the game.
As the game was being marketed in Japan, there were controversies regarding how the revelation of Rin’s gender was executed (which is a whole different topic). In reality, that does not end up being entirely the case. After personally getting the true ending of Rin’s route, I think developer Atlus did a relatively good job expanding on the idea of being able to love anyone regardless of their sex or gender. Throughout my time with Full Body, I thoroughly enjoyed myself until some of the final moments in the story where it fell to shambles deconstructing consistent themes that are presented throughout.
Developer Atlus is known in several of their series including Persona and Shin Megami Tensei for having religion and mythology play as prominent themes, whether it be a source of the protagonist’s abilities, bosses, or replicating the actual stories told in that respective belief. Catherine: Full Body specifically uses the Sumerian religion and is a recurring element in its story. If you are unfamiliar with the title, you play as Vincent, a man who starts having nightmares where he has to escape every night by pushing and pulling blocks to help climb up towers. If Vincent doesn’t survive the night, then he will die in the real world. He, however, is not the only man dealing with this, as numerous men are found dead every day across the game.
Vincent’s goal is to reach the Cathedral at the top of the tower so that he can gain his freedom. During the daytime, he drinks with his pals and struggles to maintain the relationships with his girlfriend Katherine, mistress Catherine, and friend Rin (Qatherine). At night while you’re in between levels, Vincent takes a break where he can speak with other sheep, learning more about them and working together to discover new puzzle techniques. Once you’re ready to move on, Vincent is asked a morality question regarding his relationships in a confessional. Based on the answer you choose, this will determine which love interest he leans toward.
Rin is implemented into the story from scene one after running into Vincent on the streets while fleeing from an unknown entity. They are completely ignorant about themselves and their history so, with Vincent’s help, Rin gets a job at the Stray Sheep, his local bar, as well as an apartment right down the hall from his own. As the game progresses, Rin regains their memory, learns how to play the piano, and uses their skills to help you during your nightmares. Normally, all those that wake up from their nightmare forget about their experience, which you later find out is because of Ishtar, but Rin doesn’t. I was always curious as to what made Rin special because of that, but all I could do was keep playing.
Regardless of which path you choose, the final boss is Dumuzid the Shepard, an evil deity from Sumerian mythology who disguised himself as Boss, the owner of the Stray Sheep bar and perpetrator for all the deaths that happen in the story. At first, Vincent believed that he was being punished with his nightmares because he was cheating, but he learns that it is actually because he is afraid of commitment. Without his commitment, it is likely that he will never procreate, which Dumuzid sees as the primary role of men. If a man doesn’t provide to make children, then they are a waste of space.
In the original Catherine, once he is defeated the game is over and you finish it off by watching the cutscenes of whichever ending you received. In Full Body, it is the same case unless you’re going for Rin’s true ending. After defeating Dumuzid, the game continues as you are confronted by “angels” who happen to be Rin’s brothers commanding Rin to come back home. Vincent takes on a challenge from the angels after they want to take Rin away, and if he succeeds, then Rin can stay with him forever.
Once completing the challenge you find out that the angels aren’t who they say they are. They’re actually, wait for it…aliens. Yes, you read that correctly: they are a plethora of small, pink, one-eyed space creatures who have been pretending to be angels after learning that humans began to see them as such, which makes me assume that angels do not exist, while these other evil gods do.
Now, Duzumid isn’t particularly an evil god in the Sumerian belief, but when a game is created that focuses on religious themes that include (in this case) an evil deity and decide to introduce angels that don’t actually exist, then I think it ruins the ideas that have been marinated throughout the story. Catherine only focused on one side of the spectrum which is why it worked, because any presence or mention of celestial entities would be irrelevant. But now with Full Body having introduced them, realizing they aren’t real and actually being aliens makes absolutely no sense and is all being presented to you in the final section of the game.
Catherine: Full Body has made some great changes and additions in gameplay, but when it comes to Rin, I wish the true ending could have gone down a different route with something that was already presented instead of something new in the last thirty minutes. With Rin being an alien, it adds a new element that really doesn’t make sense in the world of Catherine where its story focuses on religion and mythology that is factual. In this case. Katherine is a normal human and Vincent’s established girlfriend, Catherine, is a succubus of the underworld, but Rin is an alien. With Catherine being one of my favorite games, it is frustrating to see this new updated version make additions that end up worse than its predecessor. Now every time I start a new playthrough, I will continuously think about how there are aliens trying to gain intel on nightmares being caused by a Sumerian God.