The Caligula Effect 2, the review of a very respectful sequel

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Valery Aloyants
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In approaching ours The Caligula Effect 2 review, the Spanish gamer can count on an extra gear, an interpretative key probably not available abroad. In the first place, psychology has chosen the name of the Roman emperor Caligula to describe the syndrome in question: it is (obviously we are simplifying a bit) the desire to experience extreme situations, to break taboos and most of the rules imposed by society to individuals. The characters of the first and second chapter of the series, in fact, find themselves in the alternative world following the experience of one or more traumas; moreover, life itself in the virtual elsewhere is, on balance, a limit experience, normally impossible and transgressive compared to normality.



But there is also another aspect curiously on the subject and possible only in our language. The "caligo" is a fog that rises from the sea. According to popular tradition, with this haze the spirits appear who rush to kidnap the souls of the deceased, still wedged between earthly life and the afterlife. Which is then the same condition of suspension of the protagonists of The Caligula Effect 2, whether it's the protagonist or the members of the newly found Go-Home Club. Apart from these curiosities that you might find interesting for a full understanding of the work, The Caligula Effect 2 is officially the second chapter of the franchise started on PlayStation Vita in 2016. The positive feedback of the first The Caligula Effect, which in 2019 also landed on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, justified the development of a substantially very conservative sequel, in which Tadashi Satomi, among others, returned to collaborate. (Persona world expert) and Takuya Yamanaka in the role of director.

Plot: in the alternate world

The Caligula Effect 2, Regret is the creator of the virtual world

La plot of The Caligula Effect 2 plays it safe by proposing situations, characters and atmospheres largely derivative, perfectly related to the first chapter of the saga. You might rightly wonder if it is possible to start directly from the sequel, ignoring the existence of the first The Caligula Effect. The answer is the following: in theory yes, it is possible to do it, also because various characters (without anticipating too many revelations) will refer directly to the previous events. Given that, however, in fact, the plot resumes right where it ended in the first chapter, it would be appropriate to have first concluded the original episode, and then move on to The Caligula Effect 2, so as to better grasp all the references. However, it is not so obvious that after 40 hours you are willing to face as many in the sequel: think carefully about the most appropriate option.



Offerta Amazon The Caligula Effect 2 - Playstation 4

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In itself, however, the narrative context of the title turns out to be more than valid. We find ourselves in Redo, a virtual simulation in which various individuals from the real world have been trapped. Basically, either thanks to technology, or because of some unexpected errors that have resulted in an excessive mass application, people have been "stolen" from their existence and transported to another fictional world.

Fictitious in every sense: the simulation proposes a banal typically Japanese school life cycle, with an eternal repetition of the same moments, the same actions, the same interpersonal relationships. Moreover, those present do not remember the previous life: they believe that this is their real world. For some it is a dream; for others (the few who know the truth) of a nightmare.



To reign over Redo is Regret, a virtual doll that welcomes and places newcomers in the right place. Until the protagonist arrives who, just like a good self-respecting protagonist, turns out to be special: in fact he realizes that that is nothing more than a simulation. As a result, the narrative soon becomes more complicated: an external being also arrives in Redo, X, another virtual doll intent on bringing Regret's creation to collapse. X allies himself with the protagonist, the two gradually find new allies from the Go-Home Club group (who are in turn opposed to the simulation) and all together try to dismantle the whole hut.

Don't expect big revelations or who knows what intrigues, but it all turns out to be pleasant anyway; perhaps even less obvious for those who have not played the first chapter of the series, in fact, because it is really easy to guess who the villain is and what his intentions are. We just want to point out that, apart from the good characterization of X, of Regret and a few others supporting actors, the other party members and above all enemies and generic NPCs are immersed in the most complete banality and predictability.


PlayStation 4 Trophies

The Caligula Effect 2 offers a rich list of trophies, including the Platinum Trophy. To get them all you will have to complete the eight main chapters of the plot, then all the secondary missions of the various protagonists, win over 200 battles, dedicate yourself to collectibles and much more. After all, it is a J-RPG, what did you expect? Nothing too complex, but certainly a long and potentially tedious operation.


Gameplay: exploration and combat

Very conservative is also the offer of The Caligula Effect 2 linked to gameplay. Barring partial changes, the J-RPG-style turn-based combat system has remained much the same. The player enters battle against any enemy encountered along his path and from there on he must choose the next actions, organized in four categories: Catharsis Effect, Support, Action and Items. Basically this is a bit of the usual "attack, defend, perform special actions, or use an inventory item" strategy, nothing to pull your hair out about. But everything works, thanks to the existence of a chain of actions (which is called the Imaginary chain system) which allows us to predict how our shots will hit and how the enemies present will react. Every single action you have in mind has an MP cost, the indicator of which will always be present on the screen during the fight.

Through the predictive chain, before carrying out any action, the player is encouraged to calculate and recalculate the effectiveness of his moves: in fact, a minimum error would be enough to facilitate the enemy counterattack and, potentially, the interruption of the offensive. In truth, all this is more useful in boss battles than for those with common enemies, usually all the same and equally weak; the level of difficulty in "normal" mode in The Caligula Effect 2 then is non-existent, so we encourage you, if you are looking for a healthy challenge, to opt directly for the higher ones ("difficult" or even "extreme"). What has been said so far is valid both in the case that you use only the protagonist in combat (i.e. your alter ego, mute and slightly customizable) and a real party, with various members of the Go-Home Club to the rescue, which will be unlocked and recruited calmly, continuing in the main plot.

Exploration and technical sector

Aside from that of the protagonists, the character design of The Caligula Effect 2 leaves something to be desired

Apart from the plot and the battles against enemies that are sometimes all too improbable, the rest of the offer of The Caligula Effect 2 consists of thescouting of the environments of his virtual world. In itself it would also work well, were it not for the banality of the proposed environments (a train station? A school? Wow), and for the extreme linearity of the same. Getting lost is practically impossible and the objects of interest on the screen are substantially indicated with real reflectors, so that it is impossible to lose them along the way. Having everything immediately and so easily does not translate into a fulfilling experience at all. Interacting with the secondary characters and their stories helps a bit.

Just discreet and certainly not memorable is also the technical sector, essentially stopped at the first experiences of the kind on old gen. It's okay that J-RPGs don't usually focus on graphic detail, frame rate, resolution and objects on the screen, but here we're really talking about bare, empty, stripped-down environments, where the only vaguely different thing is. and in a certain recognizable way are the faces of the protagonists and antagonists; all other NPCs and locations are identical. On the one hand, this enhances characters like X, Regret and the protagonist himself, on the other hand it belittles and demeans everything else.

Comment

Tested version PlayStation 4 Digital Delivery PlayStation Store Price 49,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

6.8

Readers (5)

8.0

Your vote

The Caligula Effect 2, as the number on the right suggests, is the second interaction of the franchise in question. The soul of the title, completely conservative, draws heavily from the material of the first chapter of the series, updating it only up to a certain point and never fully convincing: the solution certainly manages to satisfy the fans who already appreciated the experience. five years ago on PlayStation Vita, but struggling to convince everyone else. The sector is full of similar productions, much more inspired and cared for: both from the point of view of the gameplay (which also shows some creative flashes) and from the graphic-technical one, the latter really mediocre. Of course, the narrative itself might attract some curious: the conflict between the virtual and the real world, for some reason, is always captivating. But before evaluating the purchase, we strongly advise you to add explanatory videos to this review, perhaps the same ones provided by NIS America.

PRO

  • Interesting narrative context
  • long-lived
  • Partly original combat system
AGAINST
  • Very derivative and conservative
  • Technically and graphically obsolete
  • After a few hours it has already become repetitive
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