The Callisto Protocol

Rawdaw Jacob is an intergalactic transport pilot. When it crashes into the former colony after a mysterious attack Callisto, begins a nightmare for him. He is captured and detained in the infamous “Black Iron Prison”. With no opportunity to tell his story, Jacob slowly loses hope, until the misere breaks out. Strange mutations among both the other inmates and the staff cause the prison in blow turns into a hell. This story that The Callisto Protocol creates is thinner than a sheet of cheap toilet paper, but however a stepping stone to one of the coolest – but certainly not the most original – next-gen horror games of the moment. A game that feels a bit like a cross between Bioshock, Resident Evil and Die Hard (in space), with quite a dash Dead Space.

Jacob must escape by fighting his way through the prison. The mutants, consisting of both the guards and his fellow inmates are all creepy, slimy deadly. They will also frequently startle you by appearing out of nowhere. Now we’re not faint of a good “jumpscare”, but the game has a tendency to put a mutant with ditto scares behind every little door, nook and cranny. Especially in the beginning this is disturbing. So there naturally came a point that when we looked around a corner and nothing jumped into view, we héél briefly thought it was a bug was. As a result, the game starts off a bit blandly without getting scary. However, the makers do manage to create some really scary moments at timesërun.

The game does this by focusing halfway through on “survival-horror”, with dark, dimly lit corridors full of smoke and fog. These moments is where the game really comes into its own. Because of the phenomenal visuals met raytracing, a world is createdëerd that sometimes feels lifelike. So you can almost taste the sweat on Jacob’s neck. Only criticism is the mediocre fire effects that seem to move at a lower frame rate. The framerate in general is also a thorny issue. Although recent updates have already managed to make the frame rate more stable, there is still some work to be done.

The voice cast, led by Josh Duhamel (Transformers) is in absolute top form. Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad, The Boys) and James Mathis III (God Of War: Ragnarök, The Last of Us: Part II) are a nice change from the slow Jacob. It is unfortunate, however, that part of the story is told through audiologs. Now that need not be a problem, but where with most games they can be listened to while you play the game, it forces The Callisto Protocol you to stay in the audiolog menu. It is a strange move that manages to take the momentum out of the game immensely.

Apart from that the game plays wonderfully. Putting the health bar in Jacob’s neck was a masterstroke; by indicating on a display on the weapons how much ammunition Jacob has left, the game manages to do just fine without a HUD. The fact that here and there an arrow is painted on the wall to indicate the route we take for granted. Our biggest surprise came from surely the combat. Because you don’t have a firearm right away, in the beginning you rely mostly on mêlee. Besides your truncheon and firearms, there is the “GRP”, A glove that allows you to lift and throw certain objects and mutants. The amount of spinning fans, pins on the wall and rotating gears to throw the mutants against even reminded us a bit of the Wii classic Madworld. None of these weapons are really overpowered, so in some sections you have to rely on your own creativity to survive. Also, with the 3D printers, there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade your weapons and create new ones, provided you have enough Callisto credits on hand. The Callisto Protocol is available for PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

We found The Callisto Protocol a very cool game. One thorny issue is that the comparison to Dead Space unavoidable. It would have been nice for the makers to be just a little more original, especially with the release of the remake of Dead Space at the end of next month. We also ran into the playing time, with its six à seven hours this is a pretty short game. Now an expansion is planned, but it still felt like the creators could have gotten more out of this setting. We played this horror game on the PlayStation 5. After tweaking a bit with the image settings, we ended up with a game that played in beautiful 4K and 60fps. The haptic feedback, triggers én 3D audio provide a next-gen experience that takes the game to a new level.