"The Caligula Effect: Overdose" Review
Choosing between a boy or girl, join the "Go-Home Club" as you see through the disguise of the virtual world "Mobius" and try to escape back into reality as crazed followers known as "Digi-Heads" try to stop you and wipe your memories. This is your chance to break back into reality.
The visuals are a bit confusing to explain and look at. Some areas are done absolutely perfectly, they fit the area, they fit the setting. But on the other hand some look like they may have been repeated over and over as if they had maybe ran out of time or ideas? Like any other JRPG, the NPCs and enemies are also treated this way, good design, until you see them the 15,000th time. But that shouldn't take away from what they did right. The developers gave a really good attempt at using the Unreal Engine and it shows! The things (characters, environments, things essential to the story) that are more upfront do get a more loving touch, and they look great, that doesn't mean I compliment the animations however. They feel a little rough and definitely needed a little more work. The UI has a very Persona feel, well done overall though.
Absolutely the shining star of the game. The vocal work and general sounds (menu, combat, odds and ends clicks) are all done competently, and at times the game really does give you the tense feeling it was going for in certain situations. But the one thing that takes the cake for this game is the soundtrack, right from the start you are greeted with soft instrumentals, low intensity sounds, things that would make you feel absorbed and unaware of the situation, but also curious. Once you start entering dungeons the music kicks up a bit, being a little upbeat. It makes this weird feeling atmosphere since you know everything is wrong but the game world seems to be completely unaware. Boss battles intensify the music harder with vocals and added rock music, that makes it feel a bit stylish. Love and care went into the soundtrack and it shows.
The game feels much like a Persona game, you have a team of four (including yourself) that plan your moves and attacks based on the weaknesses of your enemies. The game does add a few things that make it interesting however. In Mobius, every person who lives there has at some point in their live experienced a deep emotional trauma. Avoiding spoilers, I had to mention this just so I could bring up a main piece of the gameplay which is the "Causality" menu. Showing every single person in the game that can be spoken with or interacted with (500+), you can befriend them and learn more about what deeply scarred them, fulfilling the list of requirements each character has will heal this trauma and give you bonus items to use in battle.
The main focus of combat is called "Imaginary Phase". It is a system implemented that lets you pick your strategy and watch it play out with a "HIT CHANCE" percentage meter to show you how likely it is that your plan will work. If you are unhappy with your odds, you can keep replanning and replanning until you are happy with your decision. Juggling, chaining, and working closely together with your team is a very important aspect of the game's combat.
Unfortunately, combat can be slammed through without planning quite often, because the ability to overlevel is quite high (I was doing it very often on accident). But it is great when it works!
Heavy on the tutorials, the game at first seems it will be quite daunting or user unfriendly, but honestly, the game takes its time to explain and show you everything you need to know before it throws you into anything difficult. And once it is time to start getting into the harder aspects, the game has made sure you know exactly how to play.
This game was originally a PS Vita release, but it adds new features that easily bring it up to a game you should play more than once. Multiple endings, new routes, and other goodies will easily draw you back in for at least a second go.
Even with the small problems it has, I couldn't find a reason not to like this game. It's an odd one, but that is what I played when I was a kid. Weird ideas that you would never think would work as a game but they totally do! And that is what I love about this game.
Pros and Cons
Main characters all have their own likeable quirks
Stiff and rough Animations
The "Imaginary Chain" is unique
Graphics kinda clash with each other
Overleveling can be done too easily
Buy it on Amazon!
© 2020 Tobias Rieper