- Fun Premise: Caligula takes place in a virtual world called Redo which is ruled over by virtuadoll phenom Regret. Those who have been drawn to Redo by Regret's music get to relive their high school life again and overcome any .. regrets they have had in their later life. Unfortunately those people don't know that they are living in simulated reality and that life past high school will never happen. These people are the 'blue pills". When virtuadoll X(Key) invades Redo she cause's a temporary glitch in the system that awakens certain people to realization that something is not right and they begin having dreams about another life (their real life). X(Key) gathers all these guys(the "red pills") and they form the Go Home Club with idea of breaking everyone out of Redo by defeating Regret and her crazy musicians. Almost Like a weebo Matrix.
- Awesome Battle System: It is a real time turnbased in the vein of something like Grandia(Closet thing I would say). Like Grandia, you choose your attack and then your target, but before the attack is initialized you get a preview of the attack(s). During this preview you have what look's like a video/animation editing bar where you can delay your attack up to 30 frames. This is how you plan your offense/defense around enemy offense/defense and connecting multiple attacks from team mates together while trying to stop as many enemy attacks possible. You get to see everything happen before it actually happens and adjust accordingly. Battle system is also unique in the fact that it forgoes any "magic attacks" and replaces with a counter system where certain skills can break other skills and will send enemies(or allies) into a counter state (more damage). Outside of that every character has a special move and there is a limited super mode available
Example of battle system. First boss. No spoilers.
- Phenomenal Music: Lots of bangers, and there should be in a game where virtuadolls are goddesses in a virtual world. I have been listening to the OST almost exclusively for month.
- SOCIAL LINK!!!!: Social links are in the game with a new name; The Casualty Link. There over 200 NPC's that you can be befriended in the game. When you meet them, they will be added to the casualty chart with their "Redo profile". Finish a quest for them and you get to dive deeper into who they really are. That 17 year old boy is really 63 year old man that regretted giving up chess. Reading all the reasons why these NPCS were pulled into Redo can be depressing because a few of the reasons kinda hit home for me. Casualty Link ended up being more satisfying than the actual story for me.
- Presentation: Pretty subpar even for a niche game nowadays. Models are lackluster and they animate even worse, but I will say that art direction saves it from being terrible. Strangely, the first game looked better. I don't think moving away from the cel shaded look was a good idea.
- Uninspired Dungeons: Every dungeon is just a maze with a particular gimmick. These gimmicks are so generic that the cast actually makes fun of the one in chapter 2. A little surprising because the game takes place in a virtual world and why this is never taken advantage of, I have no idea.
- Tedium. I like the battle system, but when I am just trying to get through a long dungeon or finish a quest, getting into a unwanted battle is pain because this battle system is not fast. There is an auto battle but on harder difficulties I would not trust it. Remember in old school JRPG's where if you have multiple characters attack an enemy and that enemy dies before everybody attacks but they don't switch to live enemy? Its baaaaack!. Speaking of enemies.. low variety. I like the music, but every dungeon is controlled by one of the musicians and they have their own theme song which plays in various forms throughout their dungeon: The calm version when running around, the upbeat version during battle and then the remixed version for the boss fight. Game explains this as us getting to listen to the music in its various development stages which is cool but when grinding it can get tiring. Quest system and structure of the game feels like a Vita/PS2 game.
- Tadashi Satomi - This man wrote Persona 1 and 2. The issues I have with the stories of those games are present here. There is lack of consistent tone and urgency within the story until the very last hours and even then the team is like "awwwwwww, Ok, lets go take care of this real quick". Check this out, one of the reasons it is urgent to get everybody out of Redo is that in reality everybody in Redo is actually in coma with the threat of death by muscular atrophy looming closer everyday, but our guys care more about having to face the reasons that brought them to Redo to begin with; the dead thing is just a cherry on top(Barely talked about). Something serious is suppose to be happening but it does not stop the team from goofing off every floor. The enemies in the game are not even aggressive, they're reactive and nearly all of them don't care and end up helping the team. The story is very hard to get invested in when nobody cares. So I don't care.
- Tech Mess: Had the game crash on me several times. Also had issues with framerate dips. I noticed it happens the most when getting into a battle or trying to save before area is fully loaded. Pretty easy to replicate too.
I liked the Caligula Effect 2 but I was happy when I got that damn plat because I was ready to move on, but if or when another is announced it will absolutely be put on my wishlist. I looked forward to seeing how this series evolves.