From Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series to Bandai Namco’s Tales series, more and more JRPGs are coming to PC. Sadly, some of the best JRPGs out there, Atlus’ Persona games, are still far out of reach. But hey, at least we’ve got games like The Caligula Effect: Overdose, an upcoming remaster of a PlayStation Vita JRPG which sounds a fair bit like Persona and is coming to PC next year.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is a turn-based dungeon crawler set in Mobius, an “idyllic world” created by a sentient vocaloid (or virtual idol) named Mu. According to the game’s newly minted Steam page, Mobius allows people “to relive their high school years in bliss,” hence the game’s youthful characters and distinctly school-like dungeons. But it’s still a false world, mind, so the story revolves around you and your gang of Go-Home Club members trying to escape Mobius.
Overdose reminds me of Persona in two ways. Firstly, it’s got a psychological edge to it. As publisher NIS America explains, the residents of Mobius all suffered some sort of trauma which they wanted to escape, and this theme bleeds into everything from skills (such as catharsis and affection abilities) to gear (with equipment grouped into manifestos, core beliefs and traumatic memories). The official site for Overdose is pretty thin, but the site for the original game is loaded with still-relevant information, such as the fact that characters literally equip their “crystallized regrets,” just in case this game didn’t sound JRPG enough already.
Secondly, Overdose is centrally about befriending characters in order to expand and strengthen your party. There are over 500 students in Mobius, and you can recruit all of them by getting to know them and helping them solve their problems. Apart from new party members, befriending some students can also get you new skills. The catch is that many students won’t open up to you until you hit certain milestones, like befriending people in their social circle for example. Luckily, the students you’ve met and have access to are tracked in a grid called the ‘Causality Link’, so you can plan out who to pursue next.
Similarities to Persona aside, Overdose looks like a neat JRPG in its own right. I was put off by the mention of hybridized turn-based and real-time combat because I find that the two tend to work better separately, but the game’s ‘Imaginary Chain’ combat system actually sounds pretty fun. Basically, you queue up explosive turns by having party members combo off each other according to the potential outcomes of each move, and once you’re happy with the overall outcome, you launch all those moves at once. Plus, as a remaster, Overdose comes loaded with “enhanced visuals and gameplay,” as well as new content like a female protagonist and new scenarios like the “Forbidden Musician Route.”
NIS says Overdose will be out in early 2019.