I always knew the Vocaloids were just trying to lull us into a false sense of security. Persona-ish JRPG The Caligula Effect: Overdose is less about saving the world, and more about saving yourself as you lead a teen rebellion against a rogue AI singer's dystopian virtual reality city-state.
Originally released on Vita to wildly mixed reviews, the Overdose edition promises major overhauls, including doubling the amount of story content and adding the option to pick the protagonist's gender. It's headed to PC early next year via publisher NIS America.
While developed by lesser-known studio Aquria, The Caligula Effect's similarities to Atlus' Persona series are immediately obvious in the trailer below, with several of the development leads having worked on multiple Persona games. As with Atlus' classic series, there's heavy psychological undertones to the game, with your protagonist and recruited pals building up relationships and working their way through buried personal traumas as they try to escape the city.
Also similar to Persona, you'll be doing a mixture of exploration, socialising with the student body, and dungeon-crawling. Combat is semi-real-time, with a musical style tracker in the top right corner of the HUD showing you who is going to act and when. If nothing else, the gameplay shown in the Overdose trailer looks a lot smoother and less cluttered than the Vita original, which probably asked too much of the handheld's hardware.
One of The Caligula Effect's more defining features is the ability to recruit almost any character to your party, once you're befriended them enough to convince them to join your uprising. There's 500 different recruitable party members, which adds an interesting Pokemon-like aspect to the game, but also could mean that interesting character writing could be spread too thinly, one of the common criticisms of the original release.
There's no store page yet for The Caligula Effect: Overdose, but you can read a bit more about it on the publisher's official site here.