Keep Playing Those Mind Games Forever...
Title: The Caligula Effect: Overdose
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (reviewed) Playstation 4, PC
Release: March 12, 2019
Mobius is an ideal virtual world created to help relieve the world’s pain and suffering. However, the world is not real, and being trapped in a virtual reality isn’t the ideal situation. The protagonist discovers the truth about what’s going on and wants to go home and finds others that discover the truth as well. Will you and the other members of the Go Home Club get out? Or will you be trapped in Mobius forever? Welcome to The Caligula Effect: Overdose.
The Tip and The Top
RPGs, especially JRPGs, can be complicated and quite daunting. Luckily, that is not the case with The Caligula Effect: Overdose. The mechanics are pretty straightforward and the tutorial that walks you through the basics is well done. It doesn’t overwhelm you, and it walks you through the new features whenever you come across them.
The combat system is great and helps make the game less daunting. The Imaginary Chain allows you to preview your attacks and see what effect each one will have on your opponent and how your opponent’s attacks will affect you. To get the most out of each move, you can also set up the timing of your attacks with your party. This isn’t predicting the future, as things may not play out as planned. But this system allows JRPG newcomers to ease into the game and the genre.
Leveling up is streamlined as well which is a nice touch and makes the game much more approachable. As your characters level up, you gain skill points that you can apply to your abilities for each character. The skills points are aggregated, so you can apply as many skill points to each character as you see fit.
As you progress through the game you will also come across stigmas which are the trapped “emotions” of people in the virtual world of Mobius. These stigmas act as equipment which you can apply to each character to raise their stats.
The music is outstanding. The game’s premise centers around the fact that Mobius is designed around the music of the creator of Mobius, and there are “Musician” bosses who help maintain the virtual world. The game’s music adds to the overall background premise and definitely stands out as one of the main highlights.
Not to be outdone by the music is the voice acting. DIalogue is all in Japanese (with English subtitles) and the acting is superb. Even after the battle is complete, each character celebrates with quips to each other which adds to the overall feel that your team is building relationships as you progress.
The Flip and The Flop
Even though the story is absolutely fantastic, the game does admittedly start off slow as there is a lot of story to get through. Once you get to the action though, the game picks up. Just expect the first thirty minutes or so to be a bit slow and heavy on the story.
Speaking of story, some of the dialog is a bit strange. For example, there is a scene where some of the Go Home Club are shocked and appalled that a “heavy set” female character in Mobius is described by the general populous as beautiful and popular. The writers were probably trying to go for quirky humor, but it doesn’t play very well and comes off as tone deaf instead (and makes the members of the Go Home Club seem shallow).
Getting lost in a dungeon is probably the biggest issue with the game. Most of the levels in each dungeon all look the same with very little landmarks, and the respawning enemies make it even more difficult to get your bearings on exactly where you are in the current dungeon. You do have a minimap with exclamation points that direct you where to go next to move the story forward, but if you are far away from one of these points on the map, you’ll find yourself aimlessly wandering and looking for a way out.
Final Grade: B+
The beauty of The Caligula Effect: Overdose is its simplicity. A lot of JRPGs are complicated, cumbersome, and require a lot of grinding before you can progress further. The combat system here is easy to pick up on, the leveling system is streamlined, and the item menu navigation is easy to understand. Add to that the intriguing story, the amazing music, and the outstanding voice acting and you got yourself a solid JRPG. Fans and newcomers alike should really consider adding this to their collection.
Review copy provided by NIS America