A Brief Review of The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto Protocol will reemerge from hibernation in 2023 and cause a stir in the gaming industry, so keep an eye out for it then.
This continuation of the sci-fi survival horror series faithfully recreates the blood-spattered corridors and space zombie-killing hallmarks established in the original game’s 2008 setting aboard the USG Ishimura, right down to the last gory detail.
The Callisto Protocol – How it all Began
After a disaster, the inmates at the Black Iron Prison on the moon of Callisto have begun a rebellion. They have escaped from their cells and begun rioting; they have also contracted a strange virus that has transformed them into twisted toxic dark demons (for lack of a better description).
Jacob Lee, a cargo pilot who has been wrongfully imprisoned, must escape the prison planet by navigating its cramped facility, which has fallen into disrepair and been overrun by wackos from the moon.
The Plot Thickens with Ultra-realistic Effects
Excellent performances are given by Josh Duhamel (Transformers) and Karen Fukuhara (The Boys) as the protagonist and his main ally Dani Nakamura, but the game’s amazing art direction and audio design did a better job of expressing the characters’ desperation and discomfort.
Because of the game’s third-person viewpoint, players can see everything from the beads of sweat on Jacob’s forehead in the hot laundry room to the blood splatter that soaks his coveralls after each horrific encounter to the particularly icky sewerage that coats his body after he is forced to wade hip-deep through waste management.
Moreover, while it has become standard practice for designers to have players shimmy through narrow gaps in the landscape as new areas load – in this case, the gaps contribute to, rather than detract from, the atmosphere of foreboding, as Jacob gingerly makes his way through the pus-boil and tendril-covered caves of Black Iron’s lower levels.
While the rest of the game is a fairly linear gauntlet, Striking Distance Studios (the developers)have proven themselves masters of creepy hallways; very seldom are any two passages ever the same, and each area is given its own place identity, from the maintenance room decorated with hanging down dead bodies to the frosted-over facilities that lie far beyond prison walls.
The Callisto Protocol – A Dead Space Wannabe?
The Callisto Protocol is essentially a Dead Space game, down to the fact that Striking Distance Studios is headed by Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield. Everything from Jacob’s health bar, which is neatly grafted into the back of his neck like a phone battery indicator, to the stomping of crates and ominous corpses to uncover lifesaving resources. The pandemic on Callisto may be linked to some ultra-religious cult (who knows), but what us for certain is that you are left with tell-tale cryptic messages (in blood) on the walls of the facility.
By emphasizing close-quarters combat more, The Callisto Protocol departs most significantly from the horror-fueled Dead Space template. As bullets and weapons are scarce at first, you’ll need to use cunning to get close to your snarling cellmates, dodge their clawing attacks, and then hammer them with Jacob’s stun baton before they can kill you. It’s fun to break off their limbs one by one and make grooves in their heads that look like batons. Dodging and blocking attacks with the thumbstick feels like a boxing game.
Melee combat is a good way to conserve ammo even as Jacob’s arsenal grows, as each combo string you land grants you a brief window to do the “skill shot,” allowing you to auto-lock-on to a weak spot with your firearm and down them in a few shots instead of a full clip.
One of the game’s many unique features is the risk-reward trade-off between fighting enemies up close and trying to kill them safely from afar. The already close-up camera pulls even closer to showcase the carnage as you give each infected inmate a lethal rain of lead.
If you loved Dead Space, then The Callisto Protocol is right up your alley. However, the intense melee combat scenarios sets it apart from Dead Space, but interesting of the overall feel and gameplay, there’s so much similarities between the two. Nevertheless, The Callisto Protocol is still a thoroughly satisfying video game with a theme that never seems to get old.