The Callisto Protocol – A Space Flop Review
We decided to purchase The Callisto Protocol after seeing many of its trailers and knowing that the game had been directed by the talented man behind the Dead Space video game series, Glen Schfield. Knowing and seeing all of that was enough to make the quick purchase. As a massive fan of the Dead Space series we went in with considerably high expectations. Were we disappointed? Did the game live up to those expectations? Well here is our review.
I’ll admit when it comes to horror titles there are only so many that can truly terrify a gamer such as myself. Though most of these have something in common, they all rely on suspense and atmospheric scares rather than throwing waves of enemies towards you. There is nothing more scarier than the unknown. This title has all of that! From the very beginning you are strapped into an unknown world full of mystery and untold secrets. The environments are dark and sinister. Every corner is filled with suspense, every corridor and room with a feeling of anxiety or uncertainty.
The story itself begins with our poor protagonist quite quickly finding himself in trouble. Kidnapped and finding himself amongst an organisation that hold many questions but very little answers. From there things do not get any easier.
Nightmarish creature begin to surface and chaos erupts. Ultimately though the story is rather weak and the characters are not that interesting. It tried hard to make us care about everything, even supplying us with backstories through audio logs and brief profile descriptions. However anything that is told outside of that is scarce and by the time we found out more we had lost interest. Long story short, the games story was too slow and the characters did not have enough time in the limelight for us to feel any emotional connection to them.
I also have to admit, the combat system. The melee aspect of the game is quite confusing and complex. Having to quickly dodge enemy attacks and get the correct timing in doing so. It makes for a more realistic approach but it took us a while to learn the mechanic. Our dodges were always mistimed or we would end up dodging in the wrong direction. Thus was met with a nice uppercut to the face on several occasions.
Though the death scenes more than made up for it. Plenty of gore and limb tearing. Very nice.
Thankfully the game only begins with us being stuck to using melee attacks, as later on we are given better weapons to choose from. Still the dodging mechanic never left and was still rather frustrating.
The Callisto Protocol had heaps of potential and it does play similar to the Dead Space series. The environments are dark and eerie, the suspense is terrifying and the monster designs are quite something. Though that is as far as it goes. Overall the game just lacks in every other aspect.
The story is bland and short. The game can even be played and beaten in under 10 hours. Though most of the game is definitely more gameplay than story, as someone who enjoys a good story this did not make for an improvement.
The areas are very linear and require minimal effort to get through. Everything felt too straightforward and the monsters were very similar to everything that we had already encountered before. The only difference being they now grew tentacles and became stronger and tougher to hit. From a personal perspective I would have rather seen this change in new and different creatures rather than simply enhancing the old. One of the monsters that we would have like to see return or made more of a presence were the security robots. They were great additions, especially at the start of the game. Big, bulky, tough, and everything I wanted to see more of. They had this really terrifying aura about them.
Perhaps it was there size that did it for us? Perhaps their voices or sheer determination to find and hunt down their targets? Whatever it was we loved it! Unfortunately though they ended up being another missed opportunity. They were poorly used and never taken real advantage of.
Another flaw within the game is the Reforge system. Though it is always great to be able to purchase and upgrade your gear. A must have really. This too is also flawed. Every time you wish to purchase new ammunition or healing items you can only ever make one single purchase at any given time. Meaning if you are looking to purchase a bulk of any item then you can only do so by constantly interacting with the Reforge upgrade system.
Moving away from the Reforge and after having spent quite a considerable amount of time trying to upgrade our gear we were then met with no checkpoints to save any of that. Meaning we would need to redo everything all over again if we failed to reach another checkpoint before crashing and falling to our next enemy target. Yes, that is not fun.
Overall The Callisto Protocol looks very nice in terms of visuals and suspense. However, outside of that there is nothing but disappointment. It was a complete let down. A lot of it felt rushed or not fully taken into consideration or advantage of. Nothing was utilised to its full potential. The story and linearity made the game feel like it was very subpar and not worth the full asking price of the game.
I would only recommend this specific game to those who want to play a horror title but have really low expectations. Plus I would also wait until the game was placed in the bargain bin. As mentioned before it is not worth the full asking price.
Developer: Striking Distance Studios
Release Date: December 2nd, 2022
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC, XBox One, XBox Series X/S
Genre: Survival Horror
Main Story Length: 10-15 Hours
Platform Reviewed On: Playstation 5
Overall Rating: 2/5
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