Developer: historia Inc
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
The Caligula Effect was one of my favorite underrated JRPG back in 2019. So when the chance to review THe Caligula Effect 2 came around, I had to get it and see what has happened in Redo. Was it worth jumping back in to let’s find out.
Set after the events of the first game, where Redo had been destroyed. Has persisted with a new Virtuadoll Regret now in charge. Redo is a world without regret and is made for people to forget about their own regret and be happy. However, it does not solve their own problems. Think the Matrix.
However, like her mother before her χ (pronounced Key) disrupts this new Redo and to break it once and for all. To do this, she will need ally’s. This is where you the protagonist comes in. χ cannot act herself, so she uses people who are struggling in Redo.
After arriving in Redo, χ noticed by the Obligato Musicians. They are sent to destroy her. These Obligato Musicians are the ones who compose the music and songs Regret sings to keep everyone in Redo. These songs can also be used to create and use people to fight for the Obligato Musicians.
In order to fight back, χ uses people who are struggling in Redo and can perceive the flaws it has. She awakens their power by unleashing the Catharsis Effect. That turns their personalities in to weapons. This is the start of the new Go-Home Club.
The story in its self is a far more deep and emotionally charged story than the first one.
Redo Is A Broken Home
χ and the Go-Home Club, know that Redo is nothing but a lie and it is up to them to get back to the real world. However, going back comes with a price. The person they are in Redo may not be the same as the person they are in real life. As you progress through the story and become more friendly with each member, and increase their affinity.
This will allow you to enter character episodes. Oh man, these are deep. As you figured out the games, premises it regrets, there are no hold bars. There are some truly sad events that happen. It is possible to work out what each of the characters regrets are, but it does not take away from their impact.
It’s Time To Fight Back
The battle system in The Caligula Effect 2 has changed little from its first outing and it is still one of the better JRPG battle systems I have used. It is still a turn based battle system, with a twist. The Imaginary Chain makes a comeback. Once you have picked an attack and target. This attack will play out before you lock it in. When playing out the attack on the Imaginary Chain, you can delay the attack to make sure you get the most out of an attack and hopefully link up with other party members to do combos.
The Imaginary Chain is not what will happen, it is what might happen. There are many factors that could change the outcome of the attacks. For instance, if you attack and do not consider any other enemies. This could be the end of a combo by interrupting an attack. Or you do not time the attacks right, this could cause missed attacks (Yes, it happened more than I want to admit).
The Imaginary Chain makes all decision with in a fight tactical, while not overbearing with the need to plan out every little move meticulously.
It’s all in the Music
The Caligula Effect 2 has one hell of a soundtrack. Each Obligato Musician has its own song that acts as the battle music in that area. These are all unique and each sounds great. However, once the Musician has been beaten, χ will take that song and use it against the enemy. Her χ-Jack ability will give the party a stat boost for a short amount of time.
Along with the bonus, the song is remixed slightly and has χ voice actor singing the song. This makes each song feel as it belongs to χ. These songs will get you toe tapping, while never getting boring when fighting.
Dungeons… Please be better
In the first game, the dungeons were so badly designed it was a joke. At least now, the devs took this on board and have made the dungeons feel a bit more varied and nicer to look at. Having varied textures is a vast improvement for the game. We now have areas that feel a little more real and varied. Thank god!
Grapics Are Still A Bum Note
Sigh, The Caligula Effect 2 was going in the right direction, until now. If you look at the graphics as the major attraction, then you won’t like. As my son said “Dad, that game looks poo.” And yes it is not the best, animations look janky and the character models are not the best. In fact, it looks like a late PS2 to an early PS3 game. The graphics are made more noticeable in docked mode.
There is also some lag on the Switch version, be that transiting for areas to while in battle. It is not a major nuisance, but it is noticeable.
Also, before you ask, playing the first game is not integral to understanding what is happening. There are a few nods to the first game that you will not fully understand. The game explains them well enough to get the idea.
Overall, The Caligula Effect 2 is a massive step in the right direction for the series. With a likeable cast and emotional back stories as well as an interesting plot that will surprise you. And a battle system that is rewarding and fun to use. It is let down on its looks.
Like the first one, The Caligula Effect 2 will fly under the radar of most JRPG fans, more so with the price. However, it is definitely worth playing.