Rating

A-

Specific Ratings

GraphicsB
SoundA-
GameplayA
Replay ValueA
Learning CurveA+

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Main characters all have their own likeable quirks
  • The "Imaginary Chain" is unique and well done
  • Great soundtrack
Cons
  • Stiff Animations
  • Graphics kinda clash
  • Overleveling can be done easily

The Caligula Effect: Overdose (PlayStation 4)

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Summary

Even with its issues, Caligula is a welcome look into the world of Mobius and the secrets underneath

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Description

Story
Playing as a male or female high school student, you find out that the world you are in is not reality. Once you see through the seams, fanatical followers to the world called digiheads try to subdue you so they can brainwash you and wipe your memories. Joining the "Go-Home Club," it is up to you and your team to track down the creator of the world Mobius, and break back into reality.


Graphics
The graphics are a bit of a mixed bag. Some areas look absolutely fantastic, and others look a tad copy and pasted. Similar to every other JRPG, non-essential characters like NPCS or enemy types tend to just repeat themselves often as well. But that doesn't mean the game looks terrible either! The dev team has had a good go with the Unreal engine and it does show! The characters and environments that are important to the narrative got a more hands-on touch, and they look fantastic, even if the animations of said characters feel a little stiff at times. The user interface is also well done in the looks department and has a heavy Persona feel. All said, a decent job overall.

Sound
This was actually one of my favorite parts of the game. The voice acting and the general sounds (menu selects, combat noises) are all done really well, and you can really get a feel for the intensity of the situation you are in. But the best part is the music. Right from the beginning you are greeted with this soft instrumental score that makes you feel curious about what is next. Happier instrumental pop music plays as you explore the first dungeon. It creates an odd atmosphere since you know how wrong everything is while most don't, and when you enter combat, suddenly the music has vocals and starts adding rock riffs to the track! Boss fights remix that track and take it to another level. Much love went into the soundtrack.

Gameplay
The game plays much like Persona would. You have three team members, and you decide their moves based in large part on your enemies' weaknesses. However, the game adds a few things that make this interesting. See, in the world of Mobius, each person was brought here because at some point in their life they experienced a deep emotional pain. While I am trying to avoid spoilers, I say that because I have to bring up the "Causality" menu. In this menu it shows every single person in the game (500+!) that can be interacted with to learn more about them. When you become their friend, you can learn the trauma they experienced. Each trauma has a set list of requirements to "heal" that ailment, and if you manage to pull it off, you get a bonus item to equip to aid your party in battle.

The other interesting aspect of the combat is the "Imaginary Phase". When you choose your tactics and moves, it shows a digital representation of what could happen within those parameters and even has a "HIT CHANCE" percentage in the upper left. Higher the percent, more likely that the games guess of what will happen is correct. If you are unsatisfied with those choices, you can always go back and change your moves or even the timing to see if you can up your chances.

The only sad part about this is that some of the battles can easily be beaten by just brute forcing everything. But when you encounter the ones that make you use your entire team strategically, there isn't any other feeling like it.

Learning Curve
With the robust amount of tutorials right out of the gate, the game appears to be quite daunting, but to my surprise, the game holds your hand and makes sure you absolutely know the ropes before tackling the bigger threats. By the time it says goodbye and lets you off on your own, you already have quite the understanding of how everything works. The game has a lot of features, and it teaches them well.


Replay Value
Unlike the original release on Vita, this version of the game has a new route to follow, multiple endings, and the choice to play as a male or female. So if you really enjoyed the game already, there is more than enough reason to go back and see what you missed.

Overall
Even with the minor flaws present, I couldn't hate this game even a little. Sure, it isn't perfect. But it reminded me of the RPGS I used to play as a kid. The ones that took chances on odd ideas and just ran with them. This is one of those sit down and play something weird games, and I love everything about that.

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