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The Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game with a lot of familiar feel to the classic Dead Space experience of 2008. More interestingly, the game used to have the idea of development around the context of PUBG: Battlegrounds, but then switched to into a standalone experience with a brand new narrative, and some mechanics like melee combat and dodge to make a mark. At least the Striker Distance Studios development team also succeeded in building a new IP with a lot of potential and ending?
Callisto Protocol puts players in the role of transporter Jacob Lee, who specializes in delivering chartered freight from the Black Iron prison on the planet Callisto to the colony of Europa for the United Jupiter corporation. As you might have guessed, the latest shipment had an accident and the situation was made more confusing when Jacob was suddenly thrown into the aforementioned prison. Bad luck continues to follow when Black Iron spreads a mysterious disease and survival to escape this is an experience that leaves many mixed feelings that the game brings.
From the perspective of someone who has experienced enough of the classic Dead Space series and the recently released remake, it is difficult to find the plus point of Callisto Protocol. In fact, it is difficult to accept that the development team did not invest much in the story and screen design, feeling like a less attractive copy than Dead Space released since 2008. The cast of characters also do not leave much of an impression on the writer other than their main purpose of leading you to and from there. Much of the plot is revealed through the collection of audio recordings.
The problem is, Callisto Protocol has an uncharacteristic plot and the aforementioned recordings do not have any remarkable information. The game also has no unexpected knots, feeling patched from classic names of the survival horror genre like Resident Evil or the original Dead Space. Even, the writer also saw the cost of searching for the above recordings when what was received was only fragmentary information of the overall picture, seemingly to arouse curiosity for the player, but it was backfired. .
The brightest plus point of Callisto Protocol is the melee combat system that combines dodging but is designed to be unintuitive. The writer has a feeling that it is suitable for a virtual reality experience that allows players to swing their arms more freely. Specifically, dodging is performed not the moment you press the button like souslike games but interactively swiping the analog stick left or right, corresponding to the direction of the enemy’s attack. Initially, this mechanic was quite exciting when the player only had to face one enemy but quickly turned into a disaster later on.
That’s when the enemy starts to take on board attacks, making dodging with the analog stick confusing and difficult to execute with the right person at the right time. It is especially true when the game sometimes misinterprets the player’s dodging maneuvers with enemy A as enemy B, leading to many unintended adverse combat situations such as extremely inhibited cornering. Although the description is not too complicated if not quite interesting in terms of ideas, this aspect made me face the game over screen many times.
Worse, Callisto Protocol is also “very muddy” when building long-lasting protagonist’s death animations, but not allowing players to skip making the game experience more inhibited. Fortunately, after a month of release with a lot of “brick and stone” from players, the developer has adjusted to allow fast forwarding of the “scene transitions” that no one wants to watch again for the nth time during the aforementioned playing time. . Without this update, the writer probably has no intention of returning to finish the game and post.
The original Callisto Protocol experience is undeniably very interesting, from the combat system to the plot opening very attractive. However, the development team did not know how to take advantage of the game’s potential, but almost blindly copied from the classic Dead Space. None of the built-in aspects are really exciting, making the experience bland quickly from the first few hours of the game. This is especially true with linear designs that don’t leave room for players to explore and many other problems.
For example, a design that also seems to be copied by the development team without understanding it is the interface that displays the main character’s health status. In Dead Space version 2008, this interface is designed along the main character’s spine. Big and very vibrant in color. While the character’s back is designed to not have much movement during the experience even when fighting. The Dead Space remake retains this design because it’s standard without tweaking and that’s the game interface design of nearly 15 years ago as of the time of writing.
In contrast, Callisto Protocol designed this interface at the back of the character’s neck, which is both small and continuously moving when the character moves or fights. When the character is about to “fly in color”, it still flashes red, not “the brightest in the neighborhood” for players to notice. Not to mention in situations of experiencing with different ambient lighting, the aforementioned display interface is easy to be obscured in certain prolonged moments. For example, stealthy action moments where the character has to sit and move. Whatever you say, you still have to criticize!
Some issues such as healing for too long, the animation of drawing and changing guns are also long, although they have been adjusted by the developer at the time of writing, but left the writer with quite mixed feelings. Inadvertently, the re-adjustment makes the Callisto Protocol experience too easy compared to the original design intent. Some designs that both scare the player and drain the control character’s blood, like the giant worm hiding in the lockers, have also been updated to “discolor” mercilessly and lose the sense of horror. Game-specific survival.
In contrast, Callisto Protocol impresses with the audiovisual aspect. The 3D rendering of the character is extremely detailed, especially Jacob looks like a real person with the excellent mocap of the cast. Sound design is also a plus point of the game when it excellently reproduces the tense atmosphere with very separate noises. The writer can clearly hear the sound when the enemy is about to attack, even distinguish each enemy through the characteristic noise they make. It’s a pity that the enemy’s shape is quite limited, not diverse.
After all, The Callistto Protocol offers a survival horror experience that is just fine if you put it alone and do not compare with names of the same genre. The biggest plus point of the game is the high quality of graphics, which contributes significantly to creating the gory and daring moments rarely seen in the history of video games. However, the gameplay and plot aspects do not bring the same emotions, plus the replay value is not high even with NG+. This is actually still a name worth considering especially when there is a sale.
The Callistto Protocol is available for PC (Windows), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Strike Distance Studios
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