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    The Callisto Protocol

    Game » consists of 13 releases. Released Dec 02, 2022

    The Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game developed by some of the same people known for Dead Space.

    mrcropes's The Callisto Protocol (PlayStation 5) review

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    We Have Dead Space at Home

    Callisto Protocol is possibly one of the worst triple-A games I have ever played. I spent the last day of my holiday break completing the main campaign and felt like I should be owed another day off just for playing it. Callisto Protocol is one of those games that makes me terrified to spend $70 on a video game; thankfully, I had a month of Gamefly for only a dollar. It feels so clunky but so polished, so old while looking so new, so lackluster while aiming to be stellar.

    The game itself tries to open with intrigue, not even focusing on the protagonist, but a secondary character, on the moon of Europa in the midst of an outbreak with a lone survivor. We pivot then to a freight transport with the protagonist as its pilot and during a routine check he finds out he's been bored and then panics. On board now is a group that is completely irrelevant by the end and only gets name-dropped a handful of times, but its leader is the lone survivor from Europa who now seeks vengeance. Is this vengeance well-placed? The game doesn't even reconcile this until long after you've stopped caring and only wonder maybe once an hour of its 10-hour playtime. Karen Furukawa plays the survivor, Dani, and Josh Duhamel is our protagonist, Jacob. Jacob does not have any aspect worth rooting for; it's not that he bumbles through anything, but his shock is gone so fast you'd think he was just waiting for this his entire life after a while. Both get captured after the boarded ship crashes and are wrongfully incarcerated in Black Iron Prison. Black Iron Prison sounds like a World of Warcraft dungeon! Throughout the rest of the game, it is an escape plot that goes wrong every time it seems to go right. My wife called Uncharted 4 "The Long Way Around" because the game insisted on taking the longest path often times to the simplest of places; that is the entirety of this game; while my wife did not watch much of this game during my playtime, I could hear her voice label it every time something went astray and led Jacob down another path. All paths, mind you, always push forward and never back, even when it would seem logical. Dani blames Jacob for everything, even after Jacob unknowingly frees her and is quickly re-imprisoned by her; after a few events and hours later, they begrudgingly work together and very quickly trust each other with minimal reasoning. Similar to Dead Space, there is a cult that has a plot and the Prison warden is a part of it. Evolution. We've seen this before. Nothing Callisto Protocol does is original by any means. Sam Witwer plays a character who is disposed of, brought back, disposed of, and brought back. Dani ends up infected, Jacob makes sure she gets an antidote, the big boss fight, and Jacob sacrifices himself so Dani can escape the Prison. Sure, there was another character, but as much as he helps Jacob he ends up dying right when you feel like the character would have an important impact on the plot more than just opening doors "because he knows the prison because he's been there for so long." It is all so rote for sci-fi you could just cherry-pick a title and sprinkle it in for this. Again, Jacob loses his fear so quickly and just falls in line like this is just any old Tuesday.

    There are audio logs in this game that most players may skip after the first few because in Callisto Protocol to listen to an audio log you must access a menu, press a few buttons, and then sit and listen from that menu. You have no option whatsoever to continue the gameplay during these moments, you just sit and listen, taking away any urgency the game seems to push on you. This same sense of urgency is lost in the final third when it brings in Clickers from The Last of Us and places the burden of stealth on the player when it was used only two or three times before to dodge a single one-attack kill enemy; it's not that stealth in this game feels bad, it's just so misplaced or unnecessary that it's only in the game to drag out its length. There is the equivalent of Dark Souls mimic chests in this game, you open a chest and a thing flies out; queue quick-time event. This game is a sucker for QTEs. One enemy is stuck to the floor, and I never once saw it before it attacked, and it attaches its claws onto Jacob and starts to pull him in. The solution? Mash the button on the screen. Imagine if Half-Life were made now, and every time a Barnacle nabbed you it was a QTE rather than picking which firearm or melee weapon to free yourself with; the difference is Barnacles are obvious, while Callisto's alien is a forced jump scare level of aggravating and the first time they are brought into the game they're used about 5 times in half as many minutes.

    One thing that does work for Callisto Protocol which sets it apart from many other games out there is a well-focused melee system. A stun baton is the main melee weapon of the game and the game's boxing style of dodging and hitting is maybe the highlight of the whole game. However, when more than one enemy gets on screen and conserving ammo is a must, melee because less reasonable and more of a hassle. Many encounters were so annoying because melee in a game where enemies do their best to cling onto is frustrating when there are two attempting to charge. This can be overcome with proper upgrades for a strong hit - but again, when multiple enemies are there a longer wind-up doesn't fix the issue. There are hits that will give an indicator for a charged shot, this is the best method to utilize during combat. Hit and pop, repeat.

    This game looks phenomenal even when crouching through sewage. With that, if this is the direction lighting specifically is going to go, I can see concerns for those with epilepsy; Callisto Protocol continuously finds ways to put flashing or strobing lights on the screen, sometimes more dominant in presence than others. Josh Duhamel's character model is hyper-realistic, along with Karen Furukawa's, and the game runs incredibly well in motion. This is the most polished game I've ever disliked; if graphics and fidelity alone were the points here, Callisto Protocol sits very high. I did have some pre-patch crashes, but after the patch, the game was just fine.

    For me, Callisto Protocol is probably my least favorite game of 2022 and most certainly my least favorite of this new generation. I even bought Saints Row, discounted it, and disliked it; even it does not touch my disdain for Callisto Protocol. Callisto feels like the byproduct of the seventh generation of consoles, and for those think that could serve as a compliment just think that this is the worst aspect of those games jumbled together in one.

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