The Callisto Protocol Review: An excellent half of a game

WE ARE hurled towards what seems like certain death as a two-headed monster swoops down on us from the darkness.

The only reaction we can muster, however, is a long sigh. We’re in the second half of Calisto Protocol and we’re all exhausted.

Get ready for the blood.


Get ready for the blood.Credit: Striking Distance

The first half is exceptional. You make your way through the bowels of a prison on Jupiter’s moon Callisto with plenty of scares and thrills along the way.

Classically simple horror techniques are put to good use, like dark and claustrophobic hallways and watching the once-grand building slowly become corrupted.

One of the strongest points of the game is its audio design. Distant murmurs will keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.

It’s tense. As you slowly amble through, feeling terrified that at any moment you might be attacked.

When the creatures find you, their growls and screams hit your pounding heartbeat just right.

The silence is as powerful as the sounds. The pace of the sounds ebbs and fades, truly leaving you alone.

The tension mounts as you pray that you won’t be found or find yourself in another tense battle.

It’s even scarier when you’re thrown into a snowstorm and the environment drowns out the sounds of monsters and never lets you know when they’re around.

In the early game, combat feels fresh and fun. The combination of melee and ranged combat gives a nice flow when switching.

You’ll have to switch between these and the grav cannon to defend yourself, adding to the panic of the fights.

There’s a lot to think about when dodging and blocking, and early on we had a lot of fun getting to grips with the complexity.

However, once we mastered these techniques, the horror faded. It’s one of the few times in video games where you don’t want to feel skillful and powerful, but instead feel lost and hopeless.

The longer the Callisto Protocol lasts, the further it moves away from horror and into the action genre, and this is where the problems start to show.

Things don’t get scarier, they just get more frustrating as enemies become harder to deal with.

One of the big problems is that combat only works well when you fight one at a time, and as you progress further hordes of enemies start to overwhelm you.

These fights make it difficult to apply the techniques you’ve learned because you can’t see what’s coming from every angle.

Stealth can help you take out enemies to keep them from overpowering you, but this tactic rarely works.

It feels like a coin toss whether they spot you or not, and the stealth kill warns other enemies attacking you before you’ve even finished the first one.

More enemies will spawn during the fight. Even if you start using stealth, they will soon fill the space without you being able to do anything to stop it.

The later enemies also have frustrating quirks. Melee doesn’t work and they will hit you with one shot at close range.

If you then switch to a ranged weapon, you’ll soon find that they can also one-shot you that way, and those attacks are even harder to avoid.

However, the level design is varied enough to keep you entertained, and the pace between panic and build-up is well done.

Conversely, the 15 hours it takes you to complete is too long for what the story is trying to achieve, and the combat issues come too early in the game to leave you with an overall positive experience.

If you’re craving a survival horror game, The Callisto Protocol might be worth a try, but it’s not all it could be.

While we thought the Callisto protocol would win from previews in Battle of the Dead Space reboots, we remained scrutinized.

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Written by Ryan Woodrow and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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