The Caligula Effect Overdose was originally released back in 2016 in Japan, then simply called The Caligula Effect. They have added quite a few things to the game, but before we get to that once again a huge shout out to NIS America for hooking us up with yet another game. Nothing but love for you guys. In the past, they have let us check out Disgaea 1 Complete (PS4) and The Lost Child (PS4) so it is always a pleasure to hear from them.
Now for the added stuff, first you can now choose to play a boy or girl and playing as the female protagonist does change many of the character interactions. There are also 2 new members of the Go-Home Club which is the group you are in as well as an entirely new story path in the game that lets you get to know the musicians. They have added quite a bit to this version of the game and admittedly it adds a lot of replay value.
The gameplay itself reminds me quite a bit of the Persona series. It is very Japanese in nature, in fact, all the voices are in Japanese with English subtitles. At first, this was a bit distracting to me but I did get used to it pretty quickly. It didn’t take away from the story at all so, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. The story itself is rather interesting as you are trapt in Mobius and you in the other members of the Go-Home Club attempt to track down the musicians that brainwash all of its inhabitants so you can find their leader and force them to take you home.
The battle system is pretty original. On the surface, it may look like a standard JRPG with a turn-based system, but if you look under the hood there is a ton more going on. As you pick moves you will get a small preview of the following action. This represents how the turn will go if things go pretty much perfectly. Things won’t necessarily play out this way but it gives you a good idea. Some actions will also pop enemies into the air while other actions cause more damage to airborne enemies or that have fallen on the ground. So it is pretty handy that you can delay a character’s actions until after someone else with just a push of a button. So person one can pop an enemy into the air, delay the action of the next and shoot them while they are in the air causing massive damage. It functions very well and may be the best part of the game except for one small detail we will get into later.
The graphics and sound are great with the music being even more outstanding when the musicians are on a map. They all have their own distinct style that matches their characters. Speaking of characters, while I don’t like most of the characters, they are well done. Also, the reason I don’t like them has to do with the very reason Mobius exist in the first place and is very much by design. One of the musicians, Stork, is legitimately a pervert and sends his time attempting to get a free peep show from women. This is, in contrast, one of the ladies in your party absolutely HATES men with a blinding passion. All of this will be explained throughout the game, and it all has a very good reason, but many of the characters are simply not good people. It is, however, fascinating to see and learn.
The game does have some issues I will admit. For example, as great as the battle system is, unless you are playing on the hardest difficulty setting you won’t be overly engaged. In fact, I won the first few boss battles by simply holding the X button to quickly input commands while playing on normal. There is a pretty significant difficulty spike from there tho. Also, there are certain doors locked by special words that the game never truly explains very well how to get, tho if you make a lot of friends and help them on their side quest you should get them just fine anyway.
Now for the reason, you all came. Should you spend your hard earned money on The Caligula Effect Overdose? This one is a hard one for me to answer. The game has a fun story and battle system but there are long periods of simply going through the motions. JRPG fans will enjoy the game, however, I think most people may be a bit hit or miss with it. The game is a solid 7 out of 10, and a great example of what an updated version of a game should be. I personally would be happy to spend money on it, and fans of other NIS American fans will enjoy it I believe. Others looking to break into the genre tho are probably better off looking at a different game, however. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.