The Caligula Effect: Overdose is out now on PC, a JRPG by FuRyu and heavily inspired by (even sharing some development talent with) Atlus's Persona series. Trapped in an all-too-perfect virtual campus city by a rogue AI pop star, a band of teens seek to break the rules and escape the simulation. The game was originally released for the Vita some years ago, but today's Overdose edition seems like a significant overhaul, including several new characters (both party members and villains), alternate endings and a major graphical upgrade. This version also lets you pick the protagonist's gender. Check out the PC launch trailer below.
As with the Persona series, there's a lot of focus on personal relationships in The Caligula Effect. Minor and major characters each have their own plot arcs, and in order to convince them to leave the simulated city with you, you need to convince them to face whatever traumas made them decide to stay in the first place. While only a small number of characters can be recruited as combat party members (each of which has their own corresponding quest arc and boss), there's hundreds more characters you can get perks from by talking with them. In fact, it's mandatory - you don't gain much from fighting.
Of course, this is a JRPG and there will be fighting. Turn-based tactical combat, but with a timeline showing all actions for all combatants. It looks like there's a lot of focus on juggling enemies - having one party member knock them into the air, while a ranged combatant pummels them in Devil May Cry fashion. Of course, this being a virtual dream-world, everyone's able to go completely ham on each other with swords, axes, guns, throwing knives and anything else available. It's nice to look at, but perhaps a little messy, with a whole lot of action happening at once.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is out now on Steam, Humble and GOG for £50/€50/$50, which isn't how exchange rates work at all. I've a feeling that not too many are going to jump on this one at launch, even if the PC is starved of official Persona games. NIS America are publishing.