The long-awaited sequel to The Caligula Effect is finally available on the Nintendo Switch. Published by NIS America and developed by FuRyu, The Caligula Effect 2 is an RPG that’s been worked on by the Persona scenario writer, Tadashi Satomi. Let’s find out if this game can grip the hearts of fans once again like the original game in this review.
A new, fake world has resurfaced. Known as Redo and ruled by Regret, this new space has entrapped those who have been fed up with the tortures of reality. The story repeats itself in a similar high school atmosphere. With a new virtuadoll, the re-establishment of the Go-Home Club, and a fresh set of characters, it’s up to you to lead your fellow high school students back to their harsh reality.
While the plot is similar to the first game, it feels far from a simple clone. The game immediately jumps into action the moment you start playing. You’ll immerse yourself right into the story with no unnecessary detours along the way. After playing for a bit over 20 hours, it felt shorter than I was expecting it to be. Yet, it left me satisfied in the end.
If you have played the first game, you’ll know that the cast was awesome. It’s no different in the sequel. The Caligula Effect 2 brings an amazing set of characters together, some full of energy and strong in emotion. You’ll be able to dive deeper into their backstories the more you play. I must admit, I did enjoy the character stories from the first game more. On the other hand, The Caligula Effect 2 benefits from stronger acting during the story scenes where they express their emotions exceptionally well.
Do You Have To Play The First Game Before Playing The Caligula Effect 2?
The Caligula Effect 2 tells a brand new story. It isn’t necessary to play the first game before playing this sequel. You will miss out on some of the references and major characters from the previous title, but it shouldn’t ruin the experience of playing The Caligula Effect 2 as the entry to the series.
Recruit characters, defeat brainwashed citizens, and take down the new musicians of the counterfeit world. The Caligula Effect 2 will have you exploring several areas of Redo in an open third-person view. Whether you’re new to the Caligula Effect games or not, it doesn’t take much to get the hang of things.
Dungeon crawling in The Caligula Effect 2 is pretty basic. There aren’t any challenging puzzles to solve or many obstacles to overcome. It’s pretty much just moving from one area to get to the next. A map is drawn out for you as you progress through uncharted areas and an indicator will always guide you through the way. Even when in disarray, there’s an app that throws a hint for progression. What’s fascinating about exploring the world of Redo is the interactive actions you can perform. It’s not just one or two of the same actions, but a handful to spice up the experience.
Part of what slowly diminished the enjoyment during combat from the first game was the constant mashing of buttons just to finish one turn. It was tolerable with the tougher opponents but quickly became boring when having to run through the weaker foes. This is where The Caligula Effect 2 improves by optionally letting the AI control your backup characters. Gone are the days of having to mash your controller’s buttons dozens of times just to see a fight through. There’s still room for improvement with how you make the AI command your fellow party members, but it feels more convenient.
Similar to the first game, you’ll play in a party of four. The concept does not shift far from the first game. Setting up attacks and delaying their execution are what make The Caligula Effect what it is. It’s always been an intriguing concept and the improvements added to this game make it shine even brighter. The game wouldn’t disappoint with its large number of characters and skills they each learn along the way. It’s always a pleasure setting up attacks and watching them unfold to see how well the characters you mush together duke it out with the enemies before them.
What can make fights frustrating is when you’re not playing on the appropriate difficulty suited to you. The game has four difficulty modes and while Normal may seem like the leveled playing field option, it’s not. Once you’ve learned the core mechanics and become acquainted with the combat, this changes. Disregarding character upgrades and item hunting will be your biggest downfall in this game. The enemies will normally be significantly higher in level, so adjusting your difficulty might be in order.
The Caligula Effect is known for its overwhelming number of characters. Interacting with each increases their friendship level with you. This would have normally discouraged some in the first title. The sequel, however, made some adjustments to help fix this issue. There’s no longer a need to interact with each of the hundreds of characters three times in a row just to heighten their friendship level with you. Each random NPC now only requires one interaction to raise their friendship level with you. Some might get a quest, and upon completion, their friendship level will hit max with the perk of increasing the protagonist’s base stats.
Finishing the game prompts you to New Game+. You’ll be able to replay the game from the start and transfer over most of your progress. Personality, upgrades, levels, ultimate moves, consumables, stigmas, X Points, X Covers, affinity, yen, and quest progress can all be carried over. The game has multiple endings and it takes time to max out friendships with your party members, so there is some replay value here.
Graphics and Performance
The game’s graphics are sharper and less blurry when compared to the first game. Visuals peak when playing docked. There’s still some noticeable blur in handheld/tabletop mode, but it does not reach the less desirable level as seen in The Caligula Effect: Overdose. There’s no major dip in performance regardless of how you choose to play. Enemies may fall too slow for some peoples’ taste, though.
If you’ve played The Caligula Effect: Overdose before, you’ll know about the distorted screen prompted to you when the time came to dig deeper into a character’s story. The first game captured the dark atmosphere of this perfectly. The Caligula Effect 2 kept this concept, and while it’s good, I found that it didn’t quite capture the same dark atmosphere as seen in the first.
A game where the opposing organization is a group of musicians is bound to have a banging soundtrack. Like the first game, one of the best parts of The Caligula Effect 2 is its soundtrack. It’s good to see that this has not changed with its sequel. The music is part of what pumps the very life into these games. The melodious tunes are always a joy to listen to, and it’s tough to decide which I liked listening to more.
The Caligula Effect 2 wastes no time when diving into action. It excels in story with a strong cast of characters. You can feel the emotion from their speech during the critical cutscenes of the game. Backed up by its superb soundtrack, it’s a force to be reckoned with. There’s been a lot of improvements compared to the first game which makes this sequel superior in every way. Its combat system is much more tolerable, but may need some fine-tuning to get the proper difficulty for the right person.
The Caligula Effect 2 gets an 8/10.