When starting our The Caligula Effect 2 review, I found the JRPG leapt out at me as this year’s surprise hit. The game is a sequel almost in name only, with the exception of a few characters and common themes. Five years after the first game, you start off as a new character in a new world.
Things begin to unravel in front of you via dreams and the deteriorating world. χ, a virtual idol, has taken refuge in your body and wishes to right the wrongs of her “mother”. The creator of Redo, a utopia, Regret is informed of an intruder that aims to disrupt her plans. Upon meeting other characters, you find that you want to escape back to the real world and deal with reality.
This lengthy game will have you battling enemies and making new allies all while searching for answers. This JRPG is about returning back home from the ideal world you once envisioned.
The Caligula Effect 2
Developer: Historia Inc.
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Waking up, you are introduced to Regret, a virtual idol who creates virtual worlds. She makes a world that is ideal to you, and it’s already recreated in the way you want. You can choose either a male or female avatar to also be who you want to be.
Some days into your new life, you have nightmares and what you perceive to be hallucinations. χ, a virtual idol, is found to be residing in your body and instills the power to fight against Digihead enemies and Obbligato Musicians.
Musicians do the work of recruiting new followers for Regret. They typically brainwash people with their songs in hopes of appeasing her. Throughout the game, the Musicians act as tough bosses against you and the newly formed “Go-Home Club”. One of the first allies you meet is Gin Noto who is another “awakened” like the other members you encounter.
Playing through the story nets you some interesting and sometimes weird characters, each with their own reasoning for being in Redo. From a minimum of 30 hours, this story is somewhat improved from the first; bosses feel threatening, the story sometimes drags, but otherwise it moves reasonably well.
To break tradition, let me start with something positive, the presentation. Graphically speaking, this isn’t a super detailed game but that’s where it shines the most. Environments all over the game look as they should with some jagged edges but some smoothness appears to help. Everything is colorful in areas like the train, and has an interesting aesthetic that grows on you the more you see it.
Characters all are unique and even if you don’t remember their names, you at least recognize their outfits. Models have decent enough detail on their outfits and, again, stand out from each other. Perfectly shaded and colored, it’s a visual pleasure even on something like the Nintendo Switch.
Regardless of where you end up though, starting battles will have you notice the UI is very clean. Starting up a fight shows the visuals on the ground but it doesn’t stop there. During combat, colors and areas are visually impressive with the same aesthetic. The presentation of the game overall shows high quality and even for the Nintendo Switch, it’s definitely not the worst I’ve seen.
Digiheads are going to be the main enemies you fight against besides the Musicians sent by Regret. Gameplay is boiled down to “I can beat them” or “Yikes, I’ll come back later.” Whenever you can’t have those 2 options, you’re dealing with a boss that will take some time to beat.
When exploring areas in the world of Redo, you’ll stumble upon Digiheads which are NPCs (that’s how they’re described in-game) and range in level, even in early game. The way of fighting them is all timeline based; you can see what the outcome will look like before you accept the attack.
Eventually you have more part members and you can match up your attacks on the timeline to do some combos, which give out good stuns. For characters in your party you don’t control, you can change the way they behave with the bumpers. They can play defensively, offensively, or act freely.
A Voltage meter can be used to activate χ which grants the effects of allowing ally attacks again, attacks generating more hits, and increased action speed. Ultimately, it does run out fairly quickly but can be upgraded throughout the game.
The gameplay is very typical of a JRPG and doesn’t require a lot of adjusting or prior knowledge. While there are some difficulty spikes in the early game, it is still enjoyable for the majority of the game.
Usually a short segment in our reviews, this one has some meat to it this time. Music is a major part of this game since each Musician and χ all have songs that can be acquired and then played on the jukebox in the train. Japanese idol pop songs are first sung by χ consequently after beating the original Musician.
They aren’t elaborate arrangements by any stretch but are pretty neat and a change up from the normal world music. Ominous, serious music are everywhere throughout, which matches its setting except for the train. Light jazzy tunes are played in segments of the train… wait a minute… this is familiar.
Most scenes are completely voiced over and add more to interactions. The voices and some sounds don’t seem to echo too much in areas like the train tunnel or locations that are more open, however. Audio is a mixed bag, but more positive than negative in all regards.
Wrapping up our The Caligula Effect 2 review, there’s a lot to like in the game, even if it’s not your cup of tea. The gameplay is fun, maybe even challenging for new players of JRPGS, but it works well after the tutorial segment. Voice acting is professional sounding even if in the locations you hear them doesn’t match the environment.
Returning to tradition, this entry is only $49.99 USD, the way games used to be priced. For that price, it’s every bit worth the pick up for fans looking for either the sequel to the first or something new to get into.
The Caligula Effect 2 was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by NIS America. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. The Caligula Effect 2 is now available for both Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.