By Steve Baltimore / May 2nd, 2019
|Title||The Caligula Effect: Overdose|
|Developer||FURYU Corporation, Engine Software BV|
|Release Date||March 12th, 2019|
|Platform||Switch, PS4, Steam|
|Age Rating||M for Mature|
Way back in 2017 Atlus released The Caligula Effect on the PlayStation Vita. I felt it had a very interesting story premise but the execution really failed to hit the mark. The game felt very stilted, the writing wasn’t very good and I found the dungeon design very tedious. The game has been updated with some new content and re-released as The Caligula Effect: Overdose. Let’s see if a fresh coat of paint and some new content can make this one better.
The story begins as a group of students are trapped in this perfect digital world called The Mobius. This world was created by a Vocaloid named μ. Only those suffering in the real world which can relate to μ’s songs find their way into The Mobius. Once there they begin to forget about the real world, and are turned into students no matter what age they are. Then they will continually repeat high school over and over again. Few in this world are able to break free from this ensnaring song, but those who do have their memories slowly return. The students form “The Going Home Club” and fight for a way to return home to the real world and their lives.
The overall story hasn’t changed much from the original release, though the addition of a female protagonist does allow you to view the game from a different angle, which is always a welcome feature. The additional characters are okay as well, but the writing here is still just bad. I came away again feeling there is a great idea here, but the writing never lets you fully connect with the characters. That is really what hurts this one for me. If I don’t feel a connection with the cast I know it’s going to be a long 30+ hours.
Graphically this release is much improved thanks to the Unreal Engine. The character models and environments are more detailed and battle effects look crisper as well. The game runs at a solid framerate docked on the Switch. This is a huge leap from the Vita version where I’m pretty sure frames were in the single digits at times. In handheld mode this is playable, but it really takes a hit in the framerate. It’s not nearly as choppy as the Vita version, but I wouldn’t call it smooth either. This would be a good game for Nintendo to let have that extra clock speed like they did for Mortal Kombat XI. It would help a ton while playing on the go, but I’m sure your battery would be crying for mercy!
Combat still functions in much the same way as last time. Your characters will chain up to three attacks together to create combos. You can see how these combos will play out in the Imaginary Chains. This has been tweaked a bit and it’s now simpler to figure out which attacks to chain together. Though just like last time there isn’t a guarantee things will work out as planned. Much like in real life sometimes unforeseen things go amuck and end up not as expected. The best addition to the combat system is the new Auto Battle option. I know it may sound lazy, but the endless dungeon backtracking here makes this worth its weight in gold. I wouldn’t use this on the bosses by any means, but for standard random battles it makes life much easier.
At the end of the day The Caligula Effect: Overdose is still a very flawed game. The dungeons are still very tedious and the writing isn’t much better. The new protagonist and story sections add more value to the game. The new Auto Battle feature is a very welcome addition as well as the improved graphics and framerate. If you played this on Vita and were okay with the story but felt the gameplay was lacking, this would likely be a good pickup for you. There are some good quality of life improvements here. If you were like me and didn’t care for the writing or the story left you feeling empty, then there is nothing here that is going to change your mind.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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