The promotion for The Caligula Effect: Overdose certainly got to me with the creative looking aesthetic and a huge cast of characters. However, does the remake of the 2017 PS Vita title manage to impress on its outing on the Nintendo Switch, PC and PS4? Read on to find out.
Developed by Aquria, the same folks behind some of the recent Sword Art Online games namely Hollow Realization and Hollow Fragment, The Caligula Effect: Overdose is a turn-based RPG where you’re tasked to explore areas in a dungeon-like structure. When first researching about the game I was really intrigued to find out the game was written by Tadashi Satomi, the writer of the original Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Those three games feature mature themes that were almost unseen in RPGs back in those days and with The Caligula Effect: Overdose, Satomi went on to create a story around the titular psychological term which refers to wanting to see and perform things that are prohibited. Although an interesting concept, the game’s story, and the environment fail to effectively capitalize on it.
The game’s story had a really promising concept, however, the over-exaggerated Japanese tropes stuffed into the sandwich ultimately waters down the experience. The game starts off with the silent protagonist realizing something weird is going on in his school. This is because of “μ”, pronounced Myu, an AI which has gained sentience and has trapped the souls of people that can’t deal with issues of the real world. The player character, accompanied by his allies of the “Go-Home Club” must go against μ to leave Mobius as they’re the only ones who know what’s going on.
Gameplay wise, The Caligula Effect: Overdose, as mentioned earlier, features a turn-based battle system. The screen shifts to combat when you bump into an enemy character during exploration. A standard battle will allow you to choose a party of four characters, from a choice of 9 main party members. The player can choose up to three actions and have them act out as the titular “Caligula Effect” to see how the battle will unfold before actually performing them.
The main selling point of the battle system was that you can recruit NPCs when you create a strong bond with them, and there are a ton of them to recruit. Similar to Persona games, you can raise interactions and gather more characters to your cause by hanging out and interacting with NPCs you see. Although the battle system certainly differentiates itself from other turn-based RPGs, most battles are simply too long which makes the overall experience tedious. After a while, the novelty ran out and I was just going around enemies so that I wouldn’t waste my time fighting them.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is an okay RPG that will last you quite a while if you like the themes and concept presented. It certainly isn’t the Persona-like game we were expecting so you may want to skip this if you were under the same impression as me.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Mobius. An idyllic world that lets people forget about the pain and problems of reality. Created by a sentient vocaloid program, μ (Mu), reality and fantasy have become blurred, allowing people to relive their high school years in bliss -- but just how real is a virtual happiness?
Final Score - 5/10
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is an okay RPG that will last you quite a while if you like the themes and concept presented. It certainly isn't the Persona-like game we were expecting so you may want to skip this if you were under the same impression as me.