The Callisto Protocol Review – Tweakers
The Callisto Protocol
Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game reminiscent of Dead Space, but doesn’t show the same quality across the board. The game looks excellent. The facial animations in particular are highly praised, which immediately elevates the cutscenes and therefore the way the story enters to a higher level. The gameplay is quite entertaining, but also a bit repetitive and slow. The latter in particular is sometimes boring. The game gives you few options to escape when there are lots of monsters around you. It’s also a little strange that the game presents you four times with the same type of intermediate boss in the perspective of the final boss: more creativity would have been welcome there. This only hinders gameplay to a limited extent, as Callisto Protocol is still good for a number of highlights, such as when stealthily exploring the Black Iron Prison and surrounding areas, but all of that could have been an ounce of more. This also applies to the amount of content, by the way: you can go through it in about ten hours and that’s not a lot of playing time for a game that’s in store for the full shot. There will be another hardcore mode and New Game+, but they’re not here yet. Callisto Protocol is a good snack for players who really miss Dead Space and similar games, but not much more than that.
Some games are immediately “big games” as soon as they are announced. Thousands of gamers immediately put these titles on wishlists, keep tabs on the latest news, and place pre-orders. Other games go more unnoticed and come off as welcome surprises or fail to reach a wider audience at all. The Callisto protocol falls a bit in between in my opinion. The game is certainly more “AAA” than “indie”, so bigger than small, but the hardcore hype that arises around really big game releases isn’t there around The Callisto Protocol. Still, there are enough reasons to look at this game with a positive feeling. After all, it’s a project of director Glen Schofield, the man behind Electronic Arts’ Dead Space games. These games won a lot of fans back then and all of those players will have been following the Callisto protocol with interest this year.
Of course, The Callisto Protocol is not a new Dead Space game. After all, Motive Studios is working for EA on a remake of Dead Space and it’s on the schedule for 2023. The Callisto Protocol has its origins in the creation of Striking Distance Studios as part of PUBG Studios. The wish of the company behind PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds was to create a more story driven game to complement PUBG. Initially, it would be a game close to PUBG, but this idea quickly turned into a game a little closer to Schofield’s vision. He even had the concept of the Callisto Protocol as an idea for a while. And yes, this concept certainly has the necessary similarities to Dead Space.
black iron prison
The Callisto Protocol revolves around the planet Callisto and space pilot Jacob Lee, played by actor Josh Duhamel. Set in the year 2320, the game begins when Jacob and his partner are attacked while carrying a mysterious and dangerous substance. The attack causes their ship to crash into Callisto. To his own surprise, he is handcuffed there and taken to Black Iron Prison. He tries to explain that he’s innocent and doesn’t belong there, but that doesn’t help anyone: he receives an implant in his neck and is thrown into a cell.
It’s not a great start, but the evil quickly escalates when it turns out that a mysterious disease is circulating the prison, turning inmates and guards into zombie-like creatures. Jacob has barely been captured when things go wrong. Jacob sees guards running for their lives and generally failing. He manages to escape his cell and with the help of fellow inmate Elias Porter, he embarks on a journey that will hopefully take him away from prison and the planet. Of course, it’s not easy: the prison is increasingly invaded by monsters, while prison security, in the form of deadly robots, is always active. So staying alive is a big challenge.
The route eventually leads through various areas within and around the prison complex. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the outbreak and who’s responsible for it. Karen Fukuhara, James C. Mathis III, and Sam Witwer also play a part in this story. You can know the latter in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; Witwer played Darth Vader’s secret apprentice named Starkiller in this game. The cast does a good job, but the most striking thing about their presence is how they’ve been recreated. The faces of the actors are realistic and animated. It’s so nice in a game that should provide a lot of tension. It certainly makes the cutscenes immediately better and more engaging than they otherwise would have been.
Cutscenes are good and Callisto Protocol generally looks good too. The faces attract attention, but the way the environments are built and especially lit, deserves a mention. Striking Distance developed a kind of hybrid light model for this game that partly uses features from Unreal Engine 4 and partly developed by themselves. Manufacturers were primarily concerned with shadow effects located in the center of the player’s field of vision. Unfortunately, we don’t have more information on how it works, but the result is impressive. The game can rely on nice lighting effects, which of course are also important in a rather dark survival horror game.
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