(By Victoria Thorley)
I bought The Caligula Effect last year on the PS Vita and got around to playing it recently. It cost me £32.99 digitally and came with free DLC swimsuit costumes. As far as I’m aware it’s only available digitally in the West.
I had watched YouTube videos of this game before purchase and thought I would enjoy it despite its flaws and low scoring reviews…..
Before starting the game you can select Beginner or Normal mode. I chose beginner because I did hear the game is very difficult.
Trapped inside a digital world
The main plot of the game sees a high school student (you can choose his name) realizing he is trapped in a created digital world called Mobius. You join the Go-Home Club; a small group of students who also noticed something is wrong and that they are trapped and stuck in a continuous loop of High school, reliving the same three years over and over.
The rest of the students haven’t noticed the truth and almost seem brainwashed into thinking Mobius is perfect and real. None of the Go-Home Club know what has happened to their real bodies. They must work together to find a way out. You can also bond with your team mates and other students.
Arms turning into weapons…isn’t there another game featuring that?
It is a turn based RPG with a twist. The first area sees you making your way up each floor of the school. Some of the students turn into ‘Digiheads’ making them hostile and they will attack you if you’re in their line of sight. They can’t see far ahead so you are able to run past them most of the time if needed.
During battle your arms turn into a weapon. You can input up to 3 attacks per team member, which you can link together for maximum damage. An interesting feature allows you to see the ‘imaginary chain’ which predicts and shows you what the outcome might be before confirming the moves, allowing you to change your sequence to inflict more damage. There are many combinations. You can earn points in battle and use them to buy more SP skills.
I was disappointed to discover there is no battle music. The same song plays continuously through the school and after a couple hours of that it got very annoying. There are also camera angle issues and glitches for example walking through a door without even opening it, although it didn’t bug me too much.
This is getting to be too complicated!
Two more team members join you in quick succession which I didn’t appreciate. I had only just got used to the battle system to some degree, and then more features get added including the attack timeline allowing more chain customization.
I did feel it started to become over complicated and I didn’t see an option to repeat the chain, so you have to go through selecting up to 9 different attacks all over again and then editing the timeline. I do like how you can really have the variety but it wasn’t explained well in-game and there are too many options.
Getting to the top floor just sees you having to go back to floor 1 and then back up again. It felt like a long slog to finish the first area. The map isn’t always clear either. I didn’t feel like I wanted to carry on playing after that. The game could have so much potential and has great ideas and a dark plot but misses the mark on every aspect, if it was done well and more time put into making it, it could of been great.
To sum up the game has great premise and a unique battle system, but the glitches, repetitive music, occasional boring dialogue and over complicated mechanics let it down. Some people may be able to look past all that and will enjoy the experience- but my advice is to wait until it is on sale. But I will be playing this again at some point, despite my score I’m willing to give it another chance.
I score this game 5/10
The virtual school idea sounds cool. Shame about the complicated battle system.