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Video Game / The Caligula Effect 2

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The Caligula Effect 2 (known simply as Caligula 2 in Japan) is an RPG for the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch, developed by Historia and published by FuRyu. It was released in Japan on June 24, 2021, in North American on October 19, 2021, and on October 22, 2021, in Europe. A PC port for Steam released on June 22, 2022. A Playstation 5 port released on October 17, 2023.

Set five years after the events of The Caligula Effect, Astral Syndrome makes a sudden resurgence around the same time an unknown virtuadoll, Regret, explodes into popularity. Another virtual world has also cropped up in the form of Redo, created by none other than Regret, catering to the wishes of those who agonized over the decisions and choices they made in the past. Defending Redo are the Obbligato Musicians, loyal servants, and followers of Regret.

In order to prove μ's innocence when people blame her for the resurgence of Astral Syndrome, the virtual doll known as χ infiltrates Redo with the intent of destroying the virtual world and Regret. Her infiltration in Redo causes a few of the virtual world's denizens to become aware of the true nature of Redo. Upon merging with one such denizen, the protagonist, χ and the protagonist set out to defeat the Obbligato Musicians and gather like-minded individuals with the hope of escaping Redo, all the while combatting their own inner demons.

This game contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: After being defeated a second time, Kudan is dragged into the Metaverse-Es, most likely by Bluffman's hand. Even Niko admits that she didn't deserve it.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The Musicians' fates are left unknown, although Machina and #QP are implied to have returned to reality.
    • It's unknown what happened to Kudan after being dragged into the Metaverse-Es. It can be assumed that she was returned to reality after Regret was defeated.
    • It's unknown if Bluffman survived at the end. Although if Redo works as Mobius, he most likely died.
    • What happens to Regret after χ return the others back to reality is unknown. Most likely, she returned as well.
  • Beneath the Mask: Regret always appears as apathetic, but always willing to help her followers. In reality, she's terrified of playing the goddess, only going through it due to Bluffman pressuring her. Her sanity is pretty much gone and she often has anger outbursts.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Machina saves #QP after she accidentally falls off the tower due to her shock after witnessing Kudan being dragged into the Metaverse-Es.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Gossiper" and "WIRE" return from the first game. There are also a few "Last 21" clothing stores, clearly meant to reference Forever 21.
  • Body Horror: A mild example, but the Catharsis Effect causes alterations to parts of the user's body, along with a stake rupturing through the chest from which flowers grow.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Tower of Prometheus, accessible after beating the game. It's a 100-fight gauntlet where you can't save or change your party members, and also your healing skills have their strength greatly reduced. The rewards are well worth it, though.
  • Call-Back: The ending credits theme for the Good Ending is Orbit, μ's Leitmotif from the first game, but sung by χ—one last reminder of their relationship before the game ends.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: The Protagonist must always be in the party. This is justified in-universe, as χ is part of the Protagonist, and her presence and power let the Go-Home Club manifest the Catharsis Effect and defend themselves. During one cutscene, Gin expresses his relief that they managed to sneak around the Digi-Heads, as without the Protagonist or χ nearby, they were helpless.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A cutscene in Okitama Station has Gin look at a train's timetable in the middle of being chased down by Machina. After Machina is defeated, the reason for this becomes apparent — he was waiting for the next express train to pass through the station so it would hit Machina.
  • Chick Magnet: Kaoru Uno from the "Prince of Lettuce" questline. There's little about him that comes across as remarkable, yet he somehow manages to net a rabid clique of fangirls who cause havoc in the Hashihime Botanical Garden. Even vocally abusing them does nothing to deter them, and if anything, only makes them fall in love with him even more. He loses his fanclub when he lets the attention get to his head and hosts an event out of narcissism.
  • Cool Train: The Go-Home Club's base of operations is onboard a subway train that's been renovated with all kinds of furniture, called the χ Train.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In the previous game on PlayStation 4/5, the R1 button allowed you to dash. In this game, it brings up the chat log instead.
  • Death Seeker: Regret. She even helped covering for the Go-Home Club so that they'll reach and kill her.
  • Delinquents: Two groups of these are encountered in the "Hustled and Bustled" questline. The Hustlers, under Ryusuke Domon, are a rowdy, but well-meaning and closely-knit group who prefer doing their own thing and don't cause much trouble unless someone wants to pick a fight with them. The Jerks, on the other hand, are stereotypical thugs who pick fights with anyone who so much as looks at them wrong and steal money from others.
  • Developer's Foresight: Certain interactions with the protagonist will change accordingly depending on whether they are male or female. For example, Kobato will try to hit on the female protagonist while being envious of the male protagonist for being friends with Marie.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The conclusion of the "For the Love of Regret" questline. Riichi becomes a die-hard Regret fan, alienating the girl he had a crush on in favor of his newfound "calling in life" and said girl breaking off what little friendship they had with no sign of the two ever reconciling. Although, his friends said that Riichi was a Regret fan from the beginning and he was trying to repress those feelings. So, more likely than not, his relationship with that girl would have been doomed from the start.
    • The Bad Ending of the game. Even if is a case of the player's own decision. Although the Go-Home Club succeeds in returning to the real world, Marie is dead and it's obvious to anyone that the event has or will traumatize the main characters, even if Wicked herself is glad to have died at their hands.
  • Downloadable Content: Similar to the first game and its remake, the DLC offers players Stigmas, which can be obtained as early as the beginning of the game. The passives skills the Stigmas offer beneficial effects, such as tripling the amount of Mastery and EXP you earn in battle. Additionally, the DLC offers three songs from the first game for χ-jack; Distorted Happiness, Orbit, and Suicide Prototype.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The appearance of floating glass that then shatters is used to indicate a character awakening their Catharsis Effect, and a similar effect is used when confirming that you want to dive deeper into a teammate's Character Episode.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: In order to net the Bad Ending, you have to decide to go along with Marie's Mercy Kill Arrangement. Do so and she will regain her former identity as Wicked from the failed attempt, leading to a confrontation between the Go-Home Club and the Ostinato Musician.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Obbligato Musicians' base of operations is the Tower of Epimethius. Fitting, as Epimethius means hindsight. The fact that it's hidden within the Metaverse-Es only serves to make it all the more creepy and foreboding.
  • Faceless Goons: Like the first game and its remake Overdose, the Digiheads who you fight are more or less servants of the Obbligato Musicians who want to stay in Redo and are hostile to anyone who isn't like them. In addition to the Digiheads are Puppetheads, stronger variants who are directly being controlled by the Musicians and are identified by the pink rods stocking out of their bodies.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Marie in reality is paralyzed on a hospital bed with no means of moving...and unfortunately she's conscious. This is mitigated by the fact that Ryuto promised her that he would heal her no matter what.
    • Machina is shut down by Kudan after he saves the Go-Home Club, which is the closest thing to dying for him, and is re-programmed without a will, with his only purpose is to obey Kudan's orders. Luckily, after Kudan is dragged into the Metaverse-Es, her control on him vanishes, and he returns in time to save #QP.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Denial. Niko's parents haven't moved on over the real Niko's death and believe their only remaining child Iori is "Niko". They still refuse to acknowledge Iori as being alive since they favor Niko so greatly that they believe Iori died instead of her sister.
  • Flower Motifs: All around with the protagonist and the Going-Home Club members when they activate their catharsis effects.
  • Heel–Face Turn: #QP after her Heel–Face Revolving Door ends and after her, Machina pulls one too.
  • Hidden Villain: Two of the Obbligato Musicians (#QP and Kranke) are actually students, and the Going-Home Club doesn't suspect either of them being Musicians. By extension, Doktor is this as well, as he's most often seen with Kranke, including when she's at school.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight against Regret ends this way, with the Protagonist taking a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from her after getting isolated from the rest of the Go-Home Club. This sends χ into a Heroic Blue Screen of Death, as she begins doubting that Regret can be defeated, opening up the subplot of killing Marie as a shortcut for the rest of the Go-Home Club to return to reality without having to fight Regret.
  • Hot for Teacher: The "Extracurricular Affair" questline is part of a school girl's attempt to get into a relationship with one of her teachers. Megumi Arata has her eyes on Jou Takihara, one of the teachers at Tatefushi Academy. She tries to pressure him into a relationship first after he's forced to deal with one of her friends falsely accusing him of sexually harassing her (Megumi asked her to put pressure on him), then have her friend take back the accusation in exchange for a "private lesson". It's Played for Drama as the teacher does not entertain the idea of going out with a student since it would mean he'd lose his job.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: #QP's mentality. She's with the Musicians because she thinks they already won. She defects after realizing that nothing good will come out of it.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The core of Sasara's Character Episodes are her being far too willing to die in the other members' steads, as she's nearing the end of her natural lifespan at the ripe old age of 84, along with having made peace with her demons unlike everyone else in Redo. Once the Protagonist resolves this conflict, her ultimate skill is "Old Soldiers Never Die", which both allows her to instantly self-revive if she's killed and viciously assault the enemy with an all-out attack without fear of death.
    • Shota is a member of the Discipline Committee and was a police officer in reality. The real-life use of his sasumata is non-lethally restraining criminals, and his in-game skillset is focused on restraining, debuffing, and crippling your opponents, making them less dangerous and easier for your members to take them out. Shota himself can comment on his intended role if you ask him on WIRE about his weapon.
    • Though Niko certainly isn't lacking in highly destructive skills, she shines best as a healer and support character, buffing up and healing the party so they can bring the pain to your enemies without worrying so much about defense. During her Character Episodes, Niko is the first to notice the Protagonist's hand is bleeding, bandages it in her handkerchief, after which the Protagonist points out how good and eager she is with caring for others. Like Shota, if you message her over WIRE about her favorite RPG class, Niko will proudly and enthusiastically declare her love for clerics and other healer types.
    • Much of Kiriko's is intended to buff herself and deal extreme amounts of single-target damage to enemies, especially ones with high Risk or ones in Risk Break. After completing her Character Episodes, where she makes peace with her desire to distance herself from her past as a caring, responsible, "big sister" idol to everyone and the new, normal life she's trying to have, her Ultimate skill both involves performing an idol dance routine, damaging multiple enemies, and buffing the entire party instead of just herself.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Once you have more than 4 members, the Go-Home Club is shown in cutscenes to fight as a whole group. In gameplay, however, you're limited to just 4 active members. Shota even lampshades this partially during Kranke's section, where he requests to be on the frontlines than the reserve in order to confront Kranke/Maria directly.
  • Lazy Backup: Once you have more than 4 members, the Go-Home Club is shown in cutscenes to fight as a whole. In-game, you only ever have 4 characters to control at once, can't swap them out during combat, and it's game-over if everyone is downed, even though there's presumably 4 other fit members ready to swap out with them.
  • Leitmotif: Each of the Obbligato Musicians has a song sung by Regret, that they wrote themselves and represents their characters. Additionally, each of these songs has a version of it sung by χ which corresponds to a Go-Home Club member.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the first and Overdose, the characters are more upbeat, more sympathetic, and the setting is more colorful. The story also tone down many of the heavy/dark tones of the previous one, to the point that the game has a "T" rating from ESRB.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two endings to the game, though one can be reached before fighting the Final Boss.
    • Bad Ending: The protagonist agrees to perform a Mercy Kill on Marie in order to destroy the micro-Mobius inside her, which would in turn destroy Redo. The process goes awry, however, and Marie regains her former identity as Wicked, leading to her fighting the Go-Home Club.
    • Good Ending: The protagonist refuses to kill Marie and chooses to continue fighting Regret.
  • My Greatest Failure: In contrast to Mobius beckoning people with Dark and Troubled Pasts, Redo caters to people who came to regret the choices they made in the real world.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The game's cover art shows Regret holding χ like this.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The game's overarching theme is that you have to properly communicate with others and actually understand their point of view if you want to help them, instead of making assumptions about what they want. The Character Episodes practically give you an examination on how closely you've been paying attention to the nuances of people's problems. In particular, a lot of the major problems of the overall plot are caused by this kind of assumption-making:
    • The Doktor is suffering because of his botched surgery that permanently rendered Kranke's legs unusable and considers the failed surgery to be My Greatest Failure, not realizing that Kranke doesn't really mind whether she can walk or not as long as he's there for her. Kranke believes that the Doktor wouldn't care at all about her if it weren't for her disability, to the point of Faking The Disability even after Redo restores usage of her legs because she's convinced he'd leave her and potentially even kill himself if not for that, apparently not realizing that the degree of lengths he'd go for her make it very obvious his investment in her goes far beyond simply just that.
    • Bluffman created Redo and put his daughter on a pedestal as Regret because he assumed it would make her happy, unaware of the fact that Regret was actually crumbling under the pressure of so many people depending on her and was tired of faking being a virtuadoll. His failure to tell her that he was actually her father also led to her becoming convinced that her father was a Workaholic who didn't care much about her, unaware that Bluffman — whom she hated for propping her on the aforementioned pedestal — was in fact the very same father working to make her happy.
    • Eventually, at the end of the game, χ succeeds where her two predecessors μ and Regret failed in becoming the virtuadoll who can help people through their problems, because while both of them eventually became overwhelmed by everyone's negativity and went uncontrollably berserk, χ spent the duration of the game connecting with people, hearing them out, and learning more about how humanity works, making her the best equipped and most eager to do her job as a virtuadoll giving humanity solace.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome : After telling Regret that Bluffman has been defeated, she screams in joy. After that she reveals that she was thrust in Redo, playing the goddess due to Bluffman's blackmail, but she wanted to return to reality. Of course an anti-social girl wouldn't be very thrilled by such a thing and it takes a lot on her sanity, enough to becoming a Death Seeker and ending up exploding into anger outbursts.
    • While it's true that a human can comprehend people's desires, unlike virtuadolls, it's also true that they cannot bear the desires of thousand and thousand of people. In fact, Regret was almost crushed by such a thing if it wasn't for χ, and as she correctly points out, a virtuadoll can bear the laments of humans because they can't comprehend human emotions.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: The "Extracurricular Affair" questline is all part of Megumi Arata's plan to hook up with her teacher, Jou Takihara, whose advances he does not appreciate. Maxing out his Causality Link and Diving into his profile reveals Jou wound up in Regret because his career as a teacher went to hell when he was caught being in an intimate relationship with a student.
  • Time Skip: The prologue reveals that 5 years had passed since the events of the previous game.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: The "For the Love of Regret" questline involves a group of die-hard Regret fans trying to turn their friend Riichi into a fellow Regret groupie, much to his frustration and χ's indignation. Ironically, it isn't them who succeed in turning Riichi into a Regret groupie, but Nozomi, the girl Riichi has a crush on (though it's entirely unintentional on her part), who makes him distracted enough for another set of Regret fans to sink their claws in him. Diving into his profile reveals that Riichi had been a die-hard anime nerd, meaning the Regret groupies didn't so much as corrupt him as they had made him rebound.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Tower of Epimetheus serves as the Obbligato Musicians' base and is the final dungeon. It's lampshaded by Kiriko in Chapter 8.
    Kiriko: This place has got final boss written all over it.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 6 is a huge one that centers around Marie. Not only is she revealed to have a Micro Mobius within her, Doktor says it was given to her by μ and is the foundation Redo is built on. If Marie dies, Redo goes out with her. When the Go-Home Club returns to the hospital, they find it's been corrupted and encounter several monitors with Marie acting uncharacteristically ranting about her situation in the real world, which sounds disturbingly familiar to a certain character from the first game. Doktor later confirms Marie's true identity midway through the dungeon, having learned of her during his time with Maria prior to her ill-fated operation. Marie Amabuki, in Wicked.
  • Wham Line: Bluffman explain how Regret can understand the emotions of humans and how she can comfort them. χ concedes the point, right before revealing why.
    χ: I'll give you that much. It goes without saying. After all, Regret...was never a virtuadoll to begin with.
    • Right before the fight starts, Bluffman gloats about how Regret is a being that can become a goddess, with his last line being...
      Bluffman: That my daughter.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The Japanese convenience store chain Lawson is changed to Lawsun.