Home Game Reviews The Callisto Protocol: Brave Leap Beyond Dead Space

The Callisto Protocol: Brave Leap Beyond Dead Space

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Callisto Protocol: Jakob In the Light
Callisto Protocol: Jakob In the Light

Title: The Callisto Protocol
Developer: Striking Distance Studios
Publisher: Krafton
Released: December 2, 2022
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Platforms Available: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Article Reading Time: 9 minutes

Dead Space Reminiscence

The author of the legendary hardcore action Dead Space, Glen Scofield, has returned to where he feels at home, in the Callisto universe. The plot here, as in his previous masterpiece, is bravura and is more cinematic than Dead Space, which the game shows you right at the very beginning when you are blown away by perhaps the most beautiful graphics I have ever seen in games up to that point. .. the main character played by Josh Duhamel looks just like him, unreal, the sound here also went further than it ever has been, this sound is just precise and it absolutely mesmerized me, the soundtrack and ambient music was also absolutely incredible… As I said, and I have to say again, audiovisually, it totally blows you away to the universe, except for Callisto… The story is Dead Space-like again… you suspect nothing, things happen to you, and you find yourself in a prison where more and more and more things happen to you, but it all gets beautifully rendered, and it all makes sense by the end. 

Callisto Protocol: Jakob Infront of the Airlock
The Callisto Protocol: Jacob Infront of the Airlock

Into the Story

The game takes place in the year 2320, when the main character, Jacob, and his partner, Max, work for the UJC (United Jupiter Company) and deliver their last shipment. Then, with this job, they want to jump ship and enjoy their retirement. Only a woman named Dani gets on their boat with a so-called Terrorist Unit and damages the ship. Jacob has to make an emergency landing and asks for permission to land, which is denied, but the ship is so damaged that a landing/crash is inevitable. Leon Ferris – the prison’s chief security officer – gets him out of the boat and makes sure everything goes as it should… only Jacob has broken landing protocol and has the Terrorists with him – so he gets his prison number and goes behind bars. The player then discovers what the prison and Jacob actually are. The other characters have a place here; none are random NPCs. 

The game has no HUD, and everything is on the main character. It’s explained perfectly, which I liked more than on the DS, where it “just is.” Since the game is in prison, it doesn’t have firearms like the DS but close combat, which is absent in the DS.

Monsters in Environment

The monsters are also explained; their origins are revealed as you play, and everything falls into place. Since there are really few bullets and weapons, most of the monsters are literally smashed to pieces.. no really, that’s not a typo, but really totally smashed to pieces, arms, legs, heads, guts, blood all flying all around you and Jacob is covered in blood throughout the game, the only part where he’s clean is in the sewers. Thanks to the excellent haptics, You can feel the weight of every punch in the controller. It’s a shame to shoot someone here because you’re just setting yourself up for a bloodbath. The firearms here are classics, from pistols to shotguns and submachine guns. What’s missing here is some BFG, but I understand we’re in a prison.

Callisto Protocol: Hello Monster
The Callisto Protocol: Hello Monster

The environment is a dark prison, which is very well-designed and well-interwoven. There are paths outside the story, but this is where I see the first negative of the game – the orientation around the environment. I understand that Glen wanted to make this as hardcore as possible and that you are in prison in the unknown. Still, the lack of a map or signposts to where the main story goes and where it doesn’t is just a wrong move. It probably doesn’t matter, but with my illness, collecting everything the game has to offer is quite a problem as you can’t go back; there’s no chapter or chapter selection; you just miss something and have to go there in ng+, and hope you remember where to go. This, for me, is not a problem anymore, I’ve played the game a few times, and it’s exactly the type of game like DS or RE where the first playthrough takes around 10-15 hours, and you can do the game in 4-5-6 hours. Another negative is the absolutely unfeeling level splitting. There are actually 8 chapters in the game, but it still needs to be done like the DS. Here, you just play you open a door or go in somewhere, and the screen goes black, and it writes the chapter name and throws you behind the door. I don’t understand why it can’t be done with the feel of the DS that you go through the door, and the chapter is written on the screen, and you move on; here, it’s just like that… Recycling puzzles, mostly finding something, putting it somewhere to unlock the next part, and so on, where it feels like a missed opportunity for a more elegant solution.

Heat Goes Up

But high praise goes to the second part of the game, where you look outside the prison and even discover the original colony, reminiscent of the legendary Last of Us passage – the dungeon with the elevator. Here, you’re in awe, and how it’s done and explained is just a huge thumbs up. This is precisely why one plays horror games. The game gives you a solid feeling of unease and discomfort that you will carry for a long time…

In an environment with a worse design and a heartless chapter ending, we should now look at another weakness: monsters, unfortunately…

There are so few of them in the game, not that there isn’t something to bash. Still, I mean, the variation could be counted on one hand… the monsters are disgusting and pretty simultaneously, but they are desperately few. Later in the game, there is the so-called mutation mode, where each monster mutates into something that is always supposed to be original, but the reality is that the mutations are all the same. Saying that the game is epic and spectacular compared to the DS is a fact. There are epic scenes, but mostly some escape scenes or exploding things. As for the monsters, there are maybe two or so, and then the game introduces you to its biggest bastard, which is awe-inspiring. The combat is really luxurious, but again, the illogical recycling of the monster, where the game puts it in the arenas over and over again and ruins the feel of the beast completely, and it can be seen as laziness or lack of time to do quality work with the game. Another laziness and annoying element is the constant recycling of jump scars using a single monster; I’m telling you, you’ll hate that damn pop-up head and curse the developers for years after you’ve finished playing; this is true laziness and recycling, perhaps Ubisoft does with Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry.

The game recycles monsters, jump scares, and even the shafts are annoying because when you see it, you know what’s coming next. Launching through the sewer and riding the “slide” was fun for the first minute, but when that scene lasts literally 5minutes you tap your forehead and don’t understand why… for the first playthrough it doesn’t even matter. You don’t notice it as much, but when you play the game multiple times, you just can’t help but notice it.

Callisto Protocol: Viewpoint
The Callisto Protocol: Viewpoint

Err..the Difficulty

The other problem is the difficulty. The game has a choice of 3 difficulties – so you could grade the combat into 3 options for your suffering and Jacob’s suffering.

– on the easiest difficulty you will survive three mistakes. On medium difficulty, two errors and the most challenging difficulty will punish you after more than one slightest mistake, you will get a second hit, and you are dead… personally, I don’t mind this. I like more challenging games, and this is precisely what I want. Moreover, the get-good rule applies precisely to this game; you will learn the moves of the enemies and the combat system and go through the game like a terminator, destroying everyone without the slightest problem. You learn it’s not until you become a “master.” The combat works by locking yourself into a combo with a monster and using the move lever to do dodges. It works great. Some criticism when there were more monsters was that it didn’t work very well, but the opposite of what others may say is true… it works great. It works exactly the same as with one monster, only there are two, and you have to concentrate more and give combos after 2-3 shots, wait, block, dodge 1-3 shots, help myself with the shotgun, and voila… I walk away without a single wound. Weapons are created here using the prison printer, upgrades, and inventory, like DS; again, there is no HUD. Everything is integrated into your character. You still have a glove to help you grip, and you can throw the monsters around the room as you please, and the best way to do that is to stow them away in a fan or “meat grinder.”

Have a good taste!!! 

The Callisto Protocol: Encountering Monster
The Callisto Protocol: Encountering Monster

Jacob

I would also like to praise the main character, Jacob; I find him well-acted; his emotions and expressions underline precisely what is happening; his voice is your guide, his anger your engine. Then, the Divine Dani is one of the best pairings in the gaming world since Joel and Ellie. And if there was a poll for the most sweaty and astonishing game, Jacob… I mean, Callisto would win it on all fronts… The best part is Jacob’s reactions to everything that happens to him and his expressions, plus how he’s covered in various mud, blood, and other crap all the time… I FUCKING HATE THIS PLANET! As Jacob would say…

I believe that Callisto did well, but the expectations were unrealistic. The fact that Glen Scofield came back and created a new world that is pretty similar to the one in Dead Space and the overall feel of the game is like playing a close combat dead space for which Glen took quite a bit of heat, but if you are a die-hard fan of horror and quality horror with a good story, Callisto is the game for you, it’s not a revolution or anything more than Dead Space. However, it’s still a quality title in the genre that goes its own way while taking a lot from its predecessor and even surpassing it in some places, and I don’t mean the audiovisual treatment.

Last Rites

 I am sorry to hear that the game did not fulfill the sales, and probably the sequel will not be made… but I will pray that it will be announced at some point because there are very, very few games like this…

When you do not have enough good reads on survival horror games, follow with review on Last Of Us Remake for PlayStation 5.

Purchase The Callisto Protocol at:

The Callisto Protocol – Official Launch Trailer