Caligula Effect 2 returns with the series’ signature RPG traditions while bringing a breath of fresh air with the likes of HoloLive like characters and virtual idols. Being intrigued by the aesthetics and the cutely designed characters, I had to check out the sequel to Caligula Effect: Overdose.
Originally released mid-June in Japan, the sequel has been released to North American shores. Before diving into the goodness of Caligula Effect, here’s a brief recap of the series: the first entry was originally developed by Aquira for the PS Vita and PS4 (Japan only) while FuRyu and Historia Inc. developed Caligula Effect: Overdose and Caligula Effect 2. The Vita title was published by Atlus USA and the others by NIS America.
Let’s hop into Caligula Effect 2!
You begin in a dream-like state where a girl named of Regret informs you that you are here because you have a painful regret in your heart, something that you wanted to forget. This is the “character creation” stage. Once you agree to live in the place called Redo you awake and go about your day as a normal high school student until your dreams stop making sense. Then suddenly there’s a giant hole in the sky.
This is when things take a turn. Your normal high school life is no longer normal. You’re seeing weird things, you have this person who isn’t a person suddenly attached to you, students don’t look like students, and people are after you because you’re apparently a virus.
All of this is explained to you by a spunky, loud, and slightly obnoxious virtuadoll by the name of X (Chi). She explains that the world that you’re living in isn’t real and the life that you’ve been living in Redo is a lie. She’s here to fix all of that, with your help of course. X (Chi) grants you abilities through the painful means of remembering your life before you came to Redo. It is important for you and your teammates to remember who you were in the real world to fight the Digiheads, Regret’s musicians, and stop Regret from trapping people against their will.
Of course, you’re not doing this alone. At a first glance you can tell who might join you and who is an enemy so no getting anyone mixed up. After some important conversations, they work together and create a “Go Home Club”, a resistance group that promises to fight against Regret and return to the real world.
Being completely new to the series, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but my first impression is that it is a dungeon crawler JRPG. The story progression is decently paced, but it is fairly linear to certain points, usually, after you beat a dungeon/boss you’re free to do whatever till the next boss shows up. The locations are well done, but basic in terms of actually utilizing the environment. There are very few places you can go to besides interacting with people in Redo.
As you play you will notice that there are people walking around with some type of static over their face and a meter above their heads. Once you speak to them that is removed and they are given a name. The meter above their head is a sign of how much they depend on Redo and once it reaches a certain threshold they will attack.
On an important note, the story progression has a decent pace to it and there’s still room to explore. Once in battle things change up again. Being the third persona dungeon crawler, Caligula Effect 2 has three things that caught my attention. First the music. With every dungeon there is a theme that is played starting with instrumental versions. When in a battle you can hear Regret’s vocals. The deal with this is that anyone that hears Regret’s singing transforms from a Puppethead to a Digihead. The game will remind you of the differences, so don’t forget!
The second thing that caught my attention is the aesthetically pleasing turn-based system. Of course, there are tutorials, which I highly recommend reading if you know nothing about Caligula Effect. The tutorials range from basic movements to how best to play a character and more.
Trigger warning: Flashing, pulsing and distracting lights while in battle.
The turn-based system is sleek, modern, and has a cool prediction feature. You have the ability to see how a specific move will affect the flow of battle as well as how it will pair up with your teammate’s abilities. Also, this feature isn’t always 100 percent accurate, the character’s stats come into play as well.
Though the battle system isn’t without fault, you are unable to have a character on standby or pass up a character’s turn. Everyone has to do something and you are dependent on SP. Those things are annoying but can be overlooked. Strategizing your moves is super important when it comes to battle, especially boss battles otherwise you’ll be taken out quickly.
Another interesting feature is X (Chi) herself. She is a virtuadoll and you will learn more about her and her connection to Caligula Effect: Overdose as you progress through the game. I will admit I didn’t like her much when you are first introduced to her. When you activate her during battle she can affect how the battle plays out through her versions of the song you have equipped. All of the songs available have different attributes so make sure you have the best song equipped!
In this world of Redo, you will learn how each of the characters has some sort of regret they hold close including the main character. Even the enemies themselves have regrets and this will be explored through the game. speaking of characters, your team’s levels up and learn skills through the conventional way. You can also supplement the main character’s stats by completing side quests.
Side quests are a form of connection and help increase your stats and also gives you conversational questions that you will use in various situations later in the game. I had a minor issue with the side quests. All the NPCs, except for a few, are mobile and you have to go find them. I’m pretty sure I spent ten minutes looking for one. However, each side quest is beneficial to the main character, so I relent.
While Caligula Effect 2 is a good JRPG, there is one big issue that I noticed that doesn’t apply to the gameplay but to the game itself. I have the digital version, but after loading there seems to be some type of stutter or lag. Not entirely sure if this is an issue with my version or if this is something applies to the physical release.
Caligua Effect has extremely catchy music, pleasing battle aesthetics, a story shrouded in mystery, worthwhile side quests, and dungeon crawling that is tolerable and enjoyable! Besides, with a HoloLive like character on our side, what could go wrong on our quest to stop a false Hatsune Miku?
The Caligula Effect 2 Review
Caligula Effect 2
An unreleased Hololive character on a quest to stop a Hatsune Miku character gone wild.