Overall 6.50
Made by ex Dead Space developers The Callisto Protocol is an attempt to recapture that magic with an independent studio. Does it do so, no, this is no where close to being as good and interesting as Dead Space was. Is it bad, no, it’s just a by the book game that tries to have an identity with its melee focus on combat but fails to make great situations for it.

Callisto stats very close to the Dead Space formula with undead enemies that can survive head shots, pieces of them can come off, they can mutate. Your character gets powers that let him grab and throw objects like a Jedi. He has the usual guns in a third person shooter, which can be modded to have secondary fire modes but honestly bullets are scarce , the cost of upgrading is so much that it’s pointless to ever reach these upgrades.

Best to save your upgrades for the true killer, the melee baton, which beats enemies to a pulp. It’s the first weapon you get and clearly the focus on the combat, swinging feels and looks great with the camera going in with each swing, the issue is how boring the entire melee system is. You have a standard combo and a stronger wind up attack, honestly just use the standard combo, strong attack is only good on regular goons and if you want to knock them back. You just mash mash mash until the combo is over or the enemy blocks. The evasion system is extremely one note and makes defense during close encounters almost automatic. All you have to do is hold the the stick to one side and you auto dodge, then move the stick to the other side and you will dodge. Never have two attacks in a row with you pressing to the same side, so as long as you can move your thumb left to right you are invincible against most attacks. Say multiple enemies come at you, if you engage in a combo on one the others will usually just stand around and wait their turn, unless they hurl projectiles at you which will stun you and open you up for attack. So many fights can be won by just dodging and meleeing forever (on hard the enemies take a while to kill with just melee).

Guns start off super weak, I felt like I was firing a pea shooter the first few hours. The later guns are better and finally there is some impact with enemies flying back or losing limbs. The most satisfying why to kill enemies is using the multitude of traps around the game world to instant kill them, best way is to simply force grab them and launch them into a spinning fan. When all your skills and powers are on display the combat can shine, I didn’t feel the main game had enough quality encounters that really pushed the mechanics. This is in contrast to the post game dlc which I felt was so much better designed than the main game, more on that later.

The first two or three hours of the game is a slog, almost all linear hallways and so many forced tight spaces and air duct crawling. Seriously this game has more air duct crawling than all of metal gear saga. And it’s all for nothing, to hide loading I guess, it’s ridiculous. Some times they go for the most obvious scare possible so it ends up being not scary at all. Everything about the design of this game has a been there done that feel to it, nary an inspired gameplay moment in the game. There is a mid section in the game with fake clicker enemies so you must crouch and slowly sneak around for instant kills, it’s so SLOW. There is none of the tension from TLOU cause these enemies just walk in a set pattern so you just wait till you get behind them to kill. These sections just kept happening over and over and over, way too much.

At the mid point enemies start to sprout tentacles after hitting them a few times, the gimmick is to shoot them before the creature evolves into a bigger foe. This is where melee starts to become an issue cause if you melee a dude with the tentacles they probably morph meaning it takes extra long to kill. To combat this the game gives you an auto shoot skill after a melee combo, but at first it always targets the head, meaning you miss the tentacles. You need to spend a bunch of upgrades to reach the auto target the tentacles skill. It’s such a weird thing to hide behind a skill, it made me never want to do melee against these guys until I got that skill. There are weird quirks with the gameplay, one with a big tank boss like monster that all of a sudden you can’t do melee attacks on but the only way to actually kill it is to stun it and then do the melee but only the regular melee hurts it, not the strong one. Things felt rushed.

As the game goes on you get more enemies, better mix of enemies, bigger levels with lots more traps and toward the end actual boss battles but not great ones. It’s never bad, combat is engaging enough, your deaths are so brutal it was a joy to be killed. I actually enjoyed the story somewhat, it had some twists and turns. The game is gorgeous to look at, production values are ridiculous and the Hollywood acting talent is engaged and gives good performances around. It doesn’t really over stay its welcome, hell it actually feels like they wanted it to be a longer game judging by how slow the weapons were given early on and how they dump the final ones pretty much at the end.

As I said before the DLC is easily the best part of the game. This is the true ending of the game, sucks they put it behind a pay wall but that’s the industry we have now. The quality of the encounter design and having a full strength arsenal from the start makes the game so much better. The DLC has much better level design with some areas needing keys or batteries to be moved to activate certain sections. New saw blades can be grabbed and launched at enemies. The levels and mix of enemies is far better done than the base game with encounters that felt like actual design thought was put into it. If the whole game was like the DLC this would be an 8, but I’m going to judge the main game as it is, a disappointment.

The Callisto Protocol just never does enough to stand out. There are so many better third person action games out there… one of them being the literal remake of Dead Space. I appreciate the effort, I enjoy these kinds of games so I was into it. Seems the production values got more attention than refining the gameplay, or they ran out of time and money.

Base game score: 6.5

DLC: 7.5
Posted by Dvader Sat, 18 May 2024 04:24:01
Log in or Register for free to comment
Recently Spotted:
Login @ The VG Press
Remember me?