Caligula Review

When vocaloid turns bad, and trap you inside a Virtual Reality world.

Caligula_cover_art
Caligula Japanese Box Art

Caligula is an RPG developed by Aquria, the developer of Sword Art Online game series. It was released in Japan on 23 June 2016 and is published by FuRyu. The western release will be published by Atlus in 2017 Q1/Q2.

The scenario writer is Tadashi Satomi, who worked on the first three games of Persona Series: Revelations : Persona, Persona 2 : Innocent Sin, Persona 2 : Eternal Punishment.
Let’s check out the trailer for the game before we go to the review.

The music is composed by Tsukasa Mako, and the theme song is performed by a three-person group: Eriko Nakamura, Emi Nitta, & Yuka Otsubo.

The Review

  • Story
    The story is pretty simple. Basically there’s a Virtual Idol called “μ(Myu), who created a Virtual Reality world called Mebius. People who wants to forget things in the reality or want to escape the reality was brought to Mebius as Myu tries to bring “happiness” to them by granting their inner desires. Our hero, due to some events, realized that he is actually not in the real world. After that, he meets Aria, another Virtual Idol who explains that Mebius was made by her & Myu. But one day, Myu changed and trying to keep people inside Mebius and will not let the people inside leave. Now Aria can only appear with her Chibi-form because she doesn’t have any power over Mebius now.Confused by what’s happening, the main character was saved by Satake Shogo, the leader of “Kitaku Bu” / “Going Home Club”. The main character, together with the Going Home Club & Aria is trying to find Myu inside Mebius so that they can go back to the reality. Pretty Simple, the main mission is to find Myu to get a way back to reality. People who is being brainwashed by the Ostinato lost their consciousness and become some kind of monster called Digihead.
    Does the story sounds familiar to you? It is to me, kinda like Sword Art Online, which Aquaria developed not so long ago. The Main Plot isn’t something special. You are basically trying to find Myu, by finding the Ostinatos (Music Composer), who’s supporting Myu by creating song for her. And it’s just a cycle of that. Find one Ostinato, fight him/her, get a new information about another Ostinato, find another Ostinato and so on. That’s the main plot of the game, nothing special.
    BUT the game is saved by the Sub-Plots. There are Sub-stories called “Character Episode”, it’s basically a series of event between you and the “Going Home Club”, and through that, you’ll see the dark side of each character, about why they want to escape from reality, why did they have to resort to Mebius, and how they overcome their fear / weakness. I must say that the Character Episode alone can get a 9 out of 10 from me. Each character has an intriguing back story and the character development is really really good. I even shed a tear on Mifue’s Character Episode.
    The main plot is mediocre, but saved by awesome Character Episodes. And also this game has a more established villains, who actually has a reason & back story of why they are the villains.An 8/10 for the story.
  • Gameplay
    This game is an RPG. There’ll be dungeons, random battles, skills and stuffs. I’ll try to explain all of it.
    – First of all, there are no Weapons, Armor, or whatever equipment you usually want in an RPG game. You can only equip Fragments to increase your stats.
    – There are no Items as well. You can’t use item to heal or revive your teammates.
    – When your main character dies in the battle, it’s game over for you.
    – No Inn to recover your health. Your HP will recover a lil bit after every battle.
    – When your character level-up, they’ll get skill points to open up a new Individual Skill on your character’s Skill Reel. But the problem is, you share the skill points with other members as well. But the good point is that you can get a lot of Skill Points by leveling a low level character. You can choose to use the point to open up “Catharsis Effect”, “Battle Effect”, & “Affection Effect”. I’ll explain a little bit more about the “Catharsis Effect”.So if you have watched the trailer up here, you’ll see that there’s an explanation about “Prediction”. You can choose an attack and you can “Predict” how the attack will go. Will it get Critical? Will it stun the enemy? Are you fast enough to make a counter attack? And stuffs like that. 1 character can move/attack up to 3 times in one turn. So, you’ll have 4 party members with 3 attacks in one turn, resulting in 12 Attack Combo. And because of the “Prediction”, you can finish the battle without even any scratch. I don’t know if the game is too easy or not, but i actually beat the last boss in 1 turn. The only problem in this game is that when the level difference between your characters and enemies are too high, you are doomed. I mean, the dungeon is a maze, i walk around and suddenly i fought level 35 enemies with my level 20ish characters. The result? I can’t escape from the battle, and my party members are dead in seconds. In this game you can leveling until Lvl 100 (According to trophy lists). I finished the game on Level 33 though. (The last boss was Level 30). The problem with your character moving 3 times in one turn and seeing the “Prediction”, it takes too long for one battle. (Plus the loading time can make you crazy). Even though the battle is Active Battle like Star Ocean 5, it still take a long of time for doing a lot of unnecessary things. It looks cool at first, but later on all of it feels annoying. If you want to take a better look on the battle system, check the video below. And also there’s not many things that you can do in the game. In the trailer they explained that there will be 500 characters that you can recruit. Don’t believe that AT.ALL. Those 500 characters are basically copies of the main party members (Weapons & Skills), and they have limited slot for equipping the fragments. My advice is don’t bother with them, at all. There’s no town to explore as well, and nothing much to do in Mebius. Shame.
    Only 5/10 for the Gameplay.
  • Sound
    After seeing a medicore main plot and a bad gameplay. We finally see something good in this game. It’s the music! Basically every dungeon has their own Ostinato (Composer), so every dungeon has different theme song. In the dungeon, the theme song will play in the background as instrumental song, but once you are in the battle, Myu’s vocal will start playing in the song. Actually the lyric of each theme songs explains the situations of the Ostinato that made the songs.
    Check this link for the whole album of the OST.
    For me, those theme songs actually have a pretty good arrangements and i like them all.
    9/10 for the Sound.
  • Graphics & Performance
    This is going to be a very harsh comment for the game. As you know they are made by Aquaria, who made Sword Art Online game series as well. I can’t help but think that they are using the same engine as Hollow Fragment as both game looks VERY SIMILAR in terms of graphics. Not to mention the graphics, the performance of the game is really really bad. Normally it has a very bad FPS, probably around 25 or something, and it will drop DRASTICALLY in a battle. Dropped to 10~15Fps when you are attacking or making a flashy moves. It’s annoying and irritating. You can check it on  I mean, it’s not their first time making a 3D model game. They already made Sword Art Online, so this game could have been better, or they are just lazy to fix it. Or maybe this game shouldn’t be released on PS Vita. Either the vita isn’t strong enough or the game itself is bad. (Because Trails of Cold Steel is much smoother). Also there’s a lil lag after changing screen, which makes you can’t run immediately for like about 10-15 seconds because the loading isn’t complete yet. Gosh.
    Take my 4/10 for the Graphics & Performance
  • The Verdict
    To tell the truth, this game actually has great potential to be something good. I mean it has a mediocre main plot, but they have a great character episodes to nullify that. But the technical problem is killing me. Crazy long loading time & FPS Drop, almost a game breaking trouble for me. A meaningless battle system which looks cool at first but annoying. Not the game that i’d like to spend hours to be immersed in it. But i can speak with confidence that the Character Episodes are that good & the musics are awesome.

The Score: 6.5 / 10
The game has some good parts but it’s overwhelmed by the bad one. Not something that i want to play for the second time or ever again. If you have extra time & money, by all means, play it. But i’d recommend you to buy it second-hand if you really want to play it.

And that’s our review for Caligula. Finished the game in 25 hours more or less. Let us know what are you expecting from the game on the comment section below.

 

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One Comment Add yours

  1. kiel nevec says:

    oh noooooooo. why must atlussssssss. RIP japanese dub.

    Liked by 1 person

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