Catherine: Full Body might have a new heroine, a new route, new stages, and is releasing for new platforms, but what probably stood out and appealed to me most in my playthroughs of the game were the various improvements made to the core gameplay of block climbing, and how it has made it easier for players to practice and experiment with trial and error, and experience the rest of the story.
From the beginning of the game, there is a new Safety mode difficulty available, which goes several steps beyond Easy without changing the layout of the puzzles to be less challenging. While Easy makes it so that the blocks below you won’t fall (although you’ll still be chased by bosses), in Safety, you have traps disabled, and it becomes impossible to get a Game Over at all.
That said, even on other difficulties like Normal (my main difficulty), other helpful QoL improvements from Catherine on PlayStation 3 like an easily viewable glowing line that shows where you’re able to to go to when hanging off an edge, stood out. Some of the mechanics have changed as well, including how there isn’t a life system at all. Instead, grabbing pillows in Catherine: Full Body increases the amount of Undo’s you have from a base 3 Undo’s. While this meant I wasn’t able to use Undo’s as much as in the PS3 version, at the same time I liked the change as it made me more careful about when to consider using Undo’s. One too many careless moves in a row, and I would accidentally cut off my chance at survival by pulling off more bad moves than the Undo’s could reverse. It adds to the tension, and also inadvertently added to the sense of danger the falling blocks gave me.
Complimenting this new method of Undo’s and lives is the Auto-Undo feature, where you are sent back to before your last move before any type of death, as long as you have Undo’s remaining. The PS3 version and this version aren’t known for having the most fluid controls, and accidental slips of the buttons are bound to happen, so it’s good that I wasn’t sent back to the checkpoint for silly mistakes that only lower morale when they occur.
The easier difficulties offer an Auto-Play button that might seem a bit too patronizing except for those only here to see the story and no more than that, but even this feature found its use with the Retry Assist feature. Essentially, if you get a game over, the game will start you on Retry Assist, and auto-climb your way up to where you fell, meaning you’re free to focus on challenging what’s ahead instead of treading old ground. That said, it’s cancellable at any time, so I’d let it take me up around halfway, then do the rest myself.
The gameplay in Catherine has always been about getting through the stressful stages in order to return to the slow life of languishing with your pals and the patrons at the Stray Sheep bar, so it’s unsurprising that Atlus added lots of QoL features that didn’t change up the puzzles, but made the experience itself more enjoyable. Catherine: Full Body offers a surprisingly large amount of freedom in ways like this, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, ‘freedom’ is one of this game’s keywords.
Catherine: Full Body will be released on the PlayStation 4 on September 3, 2019 in North America and Europe. The Persona 5 Character Joker and Phantom Thieves Commentary Set will be sold separately after launch. It is immediately available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in Japan.