Wanting to forget about the pain of our daily lives is something a majority of us are familiar with, after all, we spend countless hours glued to our phones mindlessly browsing through social media or playing games. But what would happen if a sentient being created a world for us to live in and be forever happy? Would you want to live in this paradise?
The Caligula Effect: Overdose takes us into the world of Mobius where the lines of fantasy and reality are blurred. Will you want to live in Mobius?
Created by the sentient vocaloid program, μ (Mu), Mobius is a place for people to forget about their everyday problems and re-live a blissful high school life. In a setting where fantasy and reality are blurred, the “Go Home Club”, who have awaken to the falsehoods of Mobius, attempt to escape this false paradise.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite familiar with the premise of The Caligula Effect, but I had watched the first couple episodes of the anime and completely forgot about it. After picking up the game I decided to revisit the anime series.
I played the game for about 5 hours before jumping into the anime series, which was a decent amount of time spent on the game. In many instances, I usually say the game is better since there is a lot of time to build the story, however, I hate to admit that the anime captures the emotional impact of the game in a clearer and more concise way.
While playing, I found it difficult to balance my interest in the story with the variety of game play elements. When presented with story line topics, the game fell flat. The characters want to escape Mobius, but in game there’s an overall apathy about actually trying to escape. The characters don’t quite come off quite as strong in the video game.
What makes the Caligula Effect: Overdose stand out is the unique combat system. Although battles are a turn-based, you have the option to customize your battle. You can pick from your character skills and attack with a single character up to three times. What’s really cool is that the game will go into a prediction mode and you can watch how the actions and battle moves will play out before you commit to them. In addition to seeing how moves will play out, you have the option to adjust the timing of your moves. You can adjust the timing of a hit to be delayed or for the character to attack sooner; it’s like crafting your own battle. You can do this for each character on your team and strategize your attacks based on the character skills. Of course, predictions are not 100% accurate and sometimes will not indicate when the opponent will be defeated. You have to pay close attention and take some risks when designing your battle. Overall, this was an element I really enjoyed since it takes basic “turn based” game play to a different level.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is your basic RPG game so you have the options to complete missions and side quests. Accessing side quests is a bit unique since it’s based on your relationship with NPCs. All the students walking around are the people that inhabit Mobius. Based on your social connections and reputation you can talk to them and learn about their problems and struggles. When you reach a certain level of friendship you’ll learn more about what is troubling them and will have to help them resolve their issues. To take it a step further, you can access a sub menu called “LINE” and communicate with the friends you have made by sending texts. However, the prompts are repetitive and even if you’ve already asked the question the prompt will reappear. Responses are all generic and you can get the gist of the character personality, but there are so many characters to chat with it’s easy to get overwhelmed and bored with this function of the game.
μ (Mu) is the creator of Mobius so it’s fitting to have her songs performing in the background. It’s her music, after all, that influences the characters and keeps them brainwashed. You get a really fun J-pop track playing throughout the level. While the songs are all fun and catchy, I didn’t feel inclined to stay in a particular area too long since the chorus is on permanent loop throughout the level.
Pros: The battle system is a lot of fun and the game offers a variety of game play elements to delve into.
Cons: The story doesn’t hit quite as hard during game play. After a while the music can start to irk your nerves.
I’d give it a 5. It isn’t a must-have, but might be something worth picking up on sale. You might have a better time catching the anime instead.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Are you a fan of the anime?
Let me know in the comments!