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Influenced by Dead Space
The Callisto Protocol was a game I waited for a looong time. I’m a huge Dead Space fan and The Callisto Protocol is a spiritual successor for that game. Even though Dead Space Remake is right around the corner, can The Callisto Protocol satisfy my hunger until the Remake is out?
The horrors of Jupiter’s Callisto moon
As its name tells The Callisto Protocol happens in Jupiter’s moon Callisto. It’s a year of 2320. Jacob and his friend Max are contract freight transporters. They have just finished their shipment in Europa (another Jupiter’s moon) and they are heading to the Callisto. They are attacked by terrorists and their ship crash lands in the Callisto, Max is killed instantly. There is a Black Iron Prison in Callisto and the security head Captain Ferris takes the only survivors as prisoners; Jacob and one of the terrorists Dani. They both are taken into the high-security Black Iron Prison and it seems it is their last stop.
Jacob awakens after the horrid intake process to find the prison being overrun by hostile “biophages,” which are inmates afflicted with an unknown disease. In toher words the prison is full of monsters and Jacob have to find his way out of there.
Gameplay, Controls, Enemies, Graphics and Sound
So, there is the plot of the game and throughout the gameplay I wanted answers to million of questions, but the game gave me none. The story is unfolded more in the last part of the game, which was OK, I guess.
What comes to the gameplay, well The Callisto Protocol was rather simple in that part. I had to kill the enemies and progress to the next area to find my way out of the prison. There are more other areas in the game than just the prison, which was a good thing. The game didn’t have any puzzles, which was also nice, because I don’t think it would’ve suited the whole ensemble. The only thing I mostly had to to was to find fuses to open the door to continue my journey or go through enemy filled areas. The gameplay is rather linear, only some areas had other areas or hidden areas with items to collect.
The game doesn’t give you all the weapons immediately, they are give as your progress the game. First you got only your prison uniform and baton, which made Jacob very vulnerable to attacks. I highly recommend to upgrade the baton to the max damage first, because you use the baton the most in the game. Later I got a space suite which gave me more defence, various guns and a glove that allows you to control gravity and lift up both objects and enemies without touching them. The GRP glove was very good addition to the weapons because with that enemies can be killed easily by throwing them to the spikes that were all over the place along the walls.
The Callisto Protocol also had some necessary item managment. Before Jacob gets the space suite the item slots are very few available. So, many times I had to left items behind and choose the mose necessary things with me. It was a good addition to the survival horror theme.
Jacob had a dodge move that took some time to perfect, because it wasn’t a one button, it was Left Stick that had to be pushed either left or right to dodge enemies attacks. Because enemies will ALWAYS hit you when you tried to kill them, because it took so many hits to finish them. The game was designed that way, so the dodge had to be learned, but it was little bit difficult, since you had to dodge opposite way. Thankfully, I did learn dodge, but what I didn’t learn was blocking, it was pushing Left Stick down. I never used it. The controls themselves were OK, but the absolutely slowniness was the killer of it.
The enemies are very fast and Jacob is veeery slow with his movements. I’m sure the developer made it that way to make the gameplay feel more “horror”. It was almost like the first Resident Evil games, which had tank controls to make the game feel more difficult to play. I think Jacob’s absolutely slowness was more frustrating than horroring. Even healing was absolutely slow to do, which meant that I couldn’t heal myself around enemies. Even loading the gun or changing a weapon was so slow that it was mostly impossible to do when enemies was attacking.
So, the enemies and bosses. Well, the enemies were OK to deal with, even though one enemy can easily kill you if you don’t dodge the attacks, but the bosses were nearly impossible to kill. There is one boss that comes four times during the game. It had to be killed always the same way, but the first two times it took me nearly 20-30 times to kill it. Because my gun wasn’t loaded and my health was low, so it killed me with few hits. It also depend where you shoot it, so hitting it with the head/upper body was the way to go.
Visually The Callisto Protocol looks just so astonishing. It must be the best looking PS5 title—or any next-gen game—to date. Everything around me was sharp and photo-realistic. The game didn’t have any visual or technical issues. Not even pop-ins, which are almost in every game.
The Callisto Protocol also had a final boss, which I DIDN’T manage to kill. So, my gameplay was ended there. I tried maybe 40 times to kill it, but nothing worked. Jacob is so slow with his movements that it takes long time to perfect everything, meaning that even one wrong move and your dead. It didn’t help the case that immediately when the fight started I had to heal myself, meaning a very slow and long healing animation had to be done.
Yes, I didn’t finish this game, even though I tried everything, every tactic and even using objects around me to kill the boss. I even played the game on easiest difficulty, changed the settings; auto-aim and auto-dodge, but still the boss was too difficulty for me. I never get to see how the game ends, which is a bummer.
Lastly, the music and atmosphere was so good. This game had to be played with headphones, I used the 3D audio wireless headphones. Every noise around me and music in the background was well made. The game had amazing 3D audio that it must be the best audio design so far in PS5 game.
The Final Verdict
The only reason to not being able to kill the final boss, was Jacob’s sluggish moves and he even runs away very slowly and the enemies are too fast for that. I could understand if the whole game is built around that, but it feels like it isn’t. Because, I would’ve finished the game otherwise. I even had to ask Reddit users for help, but they couldn’t help me because I already had tried literally everything.
I did enjoy my time with The Callisto Protocol, even though I didn’t manage to finish the game. Maybe, some time soon I’ll take a whole day and try to beat the final boss. I had a good time with the game, but the only downfall was the horribly designed boss fights and slow controls. I know they tried to make the game feel more horror that way, but I think they went too far with that idea. Hopefully there is a patch coming to fix the game a little bit.
The Callisto Protocol was about 10 hours long and it is available on PS5 (reviewed), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.
“Visually The Callisto Protocol looks just so astonishing. It must be the best looking PS5 title—or any next-gen game—to date. Everything around me was sharp and photo-realistic.”