The Caligula Effect Vita Review With Stream
Made by Persona developers, The Caligula Effect on Playstation Vita will naturally receive notice. Having a soundtrack backed by some of the more notable acts in Japan and a social link system that is utterly staggering, the game seems to have a lot going for it.
The best part of the entire game is the combat system, confusing, seemingly overly complex, and mostly unneeded in the first hours of the game – oddly the only thing that ever fully explains how well the battles play out is through hours of trial and error gameplay. In the first battle, the player is given scores of choices and moves against the opponent, all with different effects, different damage, and different cool downs—many of which are either not explained or so briefly explained as to mean nothing at all. The only real way to understand how the game works is to just play and figure things out for yourself.
Check out some Caligula Effect by watching our stream:
The flow, however odd, is satisfying when figured out. It is one of the few games that will show the gamer how the series of moves will play out, and if the enemy is going to counter them—also if the other party member’s attacks will combine with theirs in some way to increase damage or cause a knockdown. At first this seems silly and superficial, but when used correctly boss fights can be won without taking damage and by inflicting insane chains of damage.
Where Caligula begins to struggle is with the massive social link system that it introduces; amazing in scope, flawed in execution. The game has a massive list of NPC characters that the player can become friendly with, gain person knowledge of, and even have join their party. For the most part the first section of this is handled amazingly well as most characters are complex and memorable. The problem comes when they decide to join the party as they are pretty much anything but the two aforementioned descriptors; mainly having only one or two abilities and never remaining permanent party members. Sadly, the fact that the large pay off of befriending NPCs ends up paling in comparison to the time invested in them, or simply the normal party members that almost always end up being a better choice at any given time.
The music, while amazing, is another minor detractor. The problem stems from the nature of the game, where areas must have about a minimum of five plus hours in before clearing. Most of them only have one song, which while great the first time isn’t always the best in the world to be played on constant and repeated repetition. The second area in the game, the shopping mall, comes to mind as an area who’s music started off perfectly fine but ended up having to be muted before completion simply because of the nature of dungeon crawling.
The Caligula Effect is actually a good game, in a very old school, weird, PS1 era RPG kind of way. If it had come out 20 years ago it would have been a title that people would randomly bring up in conversation of best games of that year. The problem is that it didn’t come out alongside the older Persona games, or any single digit Final Fantasy, it came out now. Oddly the game seems to accelerate despite itself and is really worth playing. While a portable system is an odd choice for a game not conducive to short play time, the Vita seems to be more and more the home to these titles, and if you enjoy them you owe it to yourself to pick this up.