The Caligula Effect 2 (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: JRPG, Dungeon crawler
Developer: historia Inc.
Publisher: FuRyu
Platform: Switch, PS4, PC
Tested on: Switch

The Caligula Effect 2 (PC) – Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Enjoyable combat system
Bad: Visual presentation could have used some more work
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

About a year ago, we took a look at The Caligula Effect 2, a JRPG/dungeon crawler hybrid from Historia Inc., that was released on the Switch and the PS4, courtesy of NIS. Now, that very same game is available on Steam, thanks to FurYu. While we weren’t particularly impressed with the original release, most of our issues with the Switch release of the game stemmed from the lackluster visual presentation. Now that The Caligula Effect 2 has made the jump to PC, perhaps it’s time that we take another look and see if a second chance changes our opinion of the game. As we’ll be comparing with the Switch version of the game quite a lot, it’s recommended that you check out that review as well before diving into what makes the PC version better (or worse) than that original release.

Story

As this is a direct port, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the story remains exactly the same as before. We should note that it helped tremendously that this was our second time playing through the story, as it remains a convoluted mess, but this time we at least had some idea of what was going on. For those completely unfamiliar with The Caligula Effect 2’s plot, we’ll try to briefly summarise it, but as we said, it’s quite a convoluted tale and you really need to have played through the first game to fully understand the backstory. We have actually picked up that first game on sale since the original review, but we haven’t gotten around to completing it yet.

The Caligula Effect 2 is set in a virtual world known as REDO, where the inhabitants are reliving the same three-year cycle over and over again. These inhabitants act as a source of life force for REGRET, an entity known as a Virtuadoll, who takes on the appearance of a pop idol. She feeds on the admiration of her loyal fanbase, although there are side effects to living in a virtual world -for the inhabitants, that is. They eventually fall into comas, something REDO’s society blames on μ, a Virtuadoll that played a major part in the first Caligula Effect game. Despite μ’s actions in that first game, she isn’t to blame here, and her daughter, ⲭ, has traveled to REDO to clear her mother’s name. She recruits the player-named protagonist to aid her in taking down REGRET, by allowing him or her to see through REDO’s reality. Along the way, ⲭ and the protagonist encounter various other characters that are able to see through the illusion, and these characters team up with our heroic duo in order to take down REGRET.

Graphics

Compared to the Switch release, there are noticeable differences between the two versions of The Caligula Effect 2 that we’ve had the pleasure of checking out. The PC version definitely has a more consistent frame rate and higher visual fidelity. That said, there hasn’t been a complete graphical overhaul, so we’re still dealing with the same large, empty environments, low-res textures, and jagged edges, especially when roaming around the environments freely. It’s a shame as this could have been a chance for Historia Inc. to take The Caligula Effect 2 to the next level. The visual improvements that are present here feel like they’re the result of the game running on better hardware, rather than any actual effort being put into the overall presentation.

Sound

We thoroughly enjoyed the original soundtrack of the game -which also plays a huge part in the narrative- and our opinion hasn’t changed. The OST is clearly The Caligula Effect 2’s trump card, and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of J-pop. We aren’t necessarily into this genre and even we loved some of the tracks here. Likewise, the voice acting is of above-average quality, although the PC release didn’t fix an issue we had where there was no English voice track and some non-essential dialogue wasn’t subtitled.

Gameplay

We instantly felt at home here, as The Caligula Effect 2’s hybrid JRPG/dungeon crawler gameplay remained identical compared to the previous release. As we were using a Switch Pro Controller to play the game on PC, there was no difference here, except that performance did feel a little smoother compared to the Switch version of the game. We should point out that if you’re going to play the game with a mouse and a keyboard, then you should probably at least take a look at the configuration of the controls before starting up the game in earnest. Once you start playing for the first time, it takes a while before you’re able to open up the menu or even exit the game. If you happen to be playing on a non-QWERTY keyboard (looking at you, people in Belgium and France), then you won’t be able to make any adjustments until you reach the point in the game where you’re able to access the menu. Avoid being frustrated about this by checking your settings first!

Actually playing the game itself felt as satisfying as it did originally, even slightly better because of the seemingly improved performance. The combat system remains as enjoyable as ever, and with four difficulty levels, you’ll be getting plenty of replay value out of The Caligula Effect 2 as well. The Steam version comes in two flavors: there’s the base game, which we’re reviewing here, and the complete edition, which includes non-essential DLC, including new battle tracks and stigmas. These stigmas are basically equipment that boosts your characters’ stats, so while they do give you a head start, you won’t be missing out on any content if you decide to purchase the DLC later or even skip it entirely.

Conclusion

Returning to The Caligula Effect 2 reminded us how fun the overall combat system is and having at least some understanding of the story made us appreciate the characters more. If you already own the game, either on Switch or PlayStation, then there is no reason to double-dip: this is the exact same game with changes so minor they are hardly worth mentioning. There are some improvements to the visuals and overall performance but they didn’t feel significant enough to alter our actual gameplay experience. If we were to choose, we’d still go for the Switch version as we prefer the benefit of portability over the slight performance increase, but at least The Caligula Effect is available to more people now. Perhaps our initial judgment was too harsh as we definitely had more fun the second time around.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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The Caligula Effect 2 (PC) - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
SebastiaanRaats


1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Fallen Legion: Revenants (PC)- Review
    September 21, 2022, 00:01

    […] NIS seems determined to buck this trend, however: hot on the heels of the recent PC launch of The Caligula Effect 2, another “older” PS4 and Switch title is now on Steam (as well as PS5 and Xbox Series X/S). We […]

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