There are games that go under the radar because of the circumstances in which they were released. One of those titles is The Caligula Effect of Furyu, whose launch coincided precisely with a colossus, Person 5. The game has already been released three times, including this one, only now it’s a version for current consoles with The Caligula Effect: Overdose.
Overdose, is the definitive version of the original game that brings the always welcome graphical improvements and the odd addition, but now it makes the leap to PS5. The similarities with Persona are not only limited to the setting, one of those responsible for the Atlus series worked on this game, Tadashi Satomi.
Stuck in a digital loop
The Caligula Effect: Overdose Follow the adventures of a high school student who discovers that he is part of a virtual reality program called Mobius. This simulation aims to serve as an escape for people to escape their lives indefinitely.
Our protagonist (who can be a man or a woman), must join a group of students who know they live in Mobius and form the “Go-Home Club”. This group is formed to find a way out of Mobius and face the digital entity “μ” that has a group of followers who sees them as traitors. The more famous the Go-Home Club becomes, the more it attracts the attention of the landowners that Mobius dominates.
Like all school anime-style games, the story takes a long time to start, so the impatient may despair (I myself was losing patience). However, it contains a shocking, sometimes cruel story with certain touches of modern culture. The title plays with the sensations of the viewer in a unique way, but sometimes it takes too much time and feels very predictable.
As for characters, we will find the typical characters of high school students such as the quiet one, the popular one, the annoying one, the nerd, etc. Well we could empathize or not with any of them but that is up to each person’s decision. In addition, there are 500 NPCs, which have something to tell, undoubtedly an overwhelming number.
As a good RPG, the game offers us to go through the labyrinthine corridors of the school that have been altered by the Mobius program. Along the way, we can either see normal students that we can interact with or students altered by the program that are the enemies of the game. Talking to students who have not yet been affected will provide a number of benefits that we will discuss later.
The game has its own Social Links system, but taken as exaggerated as possible. We can interact with 500 characters, which have a friendship development level reaching the maximum can bring us benefits in the form of passive skills. However, being so many, the interactions are limited to generic responses that do not add much to the plot. It is still something interesting but I feel that this mechanic was wasted.
Already in the combat plane, once a fight has started, we go to another plane in the same place where we find the enemies. Our actions are determined by a state called Forecast which consists of, as the name says, a preview of what can happen during our actions and that of the enemies. There is a time line that indicates when our actions are carried out and we must choose the correct moment for each allied character.
The actions have a percentage level that indicates whether or not it will be effective to better plan our strategies. Actions don’t always go as planned, and this adds a touch of randomness to combat. It is a very dynamic combat system, because even the actions of our companions can be chained. For example, one character attacks an enemy and makes them jump into the air, while others can perform a specific attack on enemies that are suspended. Although it is an interesting and rarely seen system, in the long run it could become tedious because the Forecast state takes up a lot of our time.
As the final version, we have some other improvements in the quality of life of the game such as the removal of menus from the Vita version. Also, improvements in graphic quality with better resolution and frame rate. In addition, the possibility of being able to play as a man or a woman. However, visually the game feels very last generation because it was left pretty much the same.
As for the soundtrack, the game does not disappoint at all with instrumental and vocal pieces that alternate depending on the situation of the J-pop genre. It comes in Japanese spoken language and English subtitles, very understandable if we have a certain level.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose It’s a JRPG with touches of social simulation that, despite not being perfect, has its own ideas that make it a good option. It has an interesting plot although somewhat slow that takes a long time to start. Playably the best is its battle system, although in the long run it will end up being tedious and repetitive, it is quite tactical and strategic. Graphically, it is an improved version that fixes many of the bugs of PS Vita and PS4. Highly recommended to those looking for an option similar to the Persona series.
Note: This review was made on PS5 and the code was provided thanks to NIS America.