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Review: The Callisto Protocol - Jump scare The Game

Published: 14:52, 09 December 2022
AltChar / Krafton
The Callisto Protocol Review
The Callisto Protocol Review

The Callisto Protocol is a disappointing but most of all frustrating experience that desperately tries to scare you with cheap and worn-out tricks. 

What you need to know

  • What is it? A sci-fi survival horror with a strong focus on melee action.
  • Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
  • Developer: Striking Distance Studios
  • Publisher: Krafton
  • Release date:  November 15, 2022
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

The Callisto Protocol review copy provided by Krafton. 

It's sad how The Callisto Protocol seems to have everything figured out on paper but in reality, it fails to deliver on almost every single element that makes horror games great. 

If fails at creating an eerie atmosphere that would make you feel uncomfortable, isolated and genuinely intimidated by the dark corridors of the Black Iron Prison and all the monstrosities that reside there.

Right from the get-go, The Callisto Protocol will start throwing jump scares at you at every corner to the point where you'll be able to predict most of these cheap and overused tricks that will make your eyes roll.

AltChar The Callisto Protocol surely is a spiritual successor to Dead Space The Callisto Protocol surely is a spiritual successor to Dead Space

Its combat starts off strongly but falls apart as soon as you start fighting a group of enemies. This issue becomes extremely frustrating later on when the game will regularly throw large groups of zombies at you. I felt completely lost during these sequences as most of the time I just couldn't figure out what the hell is going on the screen due to the game's dodge mechanic. 

When surrounded by enemies, you'll dodge one attack but the dodge animation will throw you into another enemy that will grab or hit you. 

Add an annoying ranged enemy that spews acid from distance, stunning you as his ugly buddies rip you to shreds and you have a frustrating combat loop that results in so many deaths, even on lower difficulty levels. 

Another important aspect of a good survival horror game is the player's connection with the game's protagonist. In The Callisto Protocol, you take the role of Jacob Lee who is played by Josh Duhamel.

Despite Duhamel's best efforts, Lee is an incredibly boring character with little to no personality. He's just a guy that ends up being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he doesn't have a backstory and I never cared about him nor feel sympathy for the messy situation he got himself into. 

AltChar Visually, The Callisto Protocol is breathtaking Visually, The Callisto Protocol is breathtaking

The same goes for other characters in the game. They are poorly written and feel just thrown in there to fulfil their duty of being a stereotypical horror character that sits somewhere in a control room while you fight through hordes of zombies to manually open some door. 

The Callisto Protocol's story is very lean, to say the least. It's about a zombie outbreak on a distant, cold planet with the villain being some madman who talks about the next step in evolution. You've heard it a million times before. 

I'd say that The Callisto Protocol isn't even trying to tell a memorable story, which doesn't seem to be the goal here, but then I'd ask, what is the one thing this game is trying to sell? 

It's visuals? Probably, given that The Callisto Protocol is a stunning game. I would go as far as calling it one of the best-looking games I've ever played. 

The faces look incredible, the environments are varied and packed with detail, the lightning is phenomenal and the gore and zombie design are disgustingly good. The visuals really do come together in The Callisto Protocol, making the game a proper eye candy. 

AltChar The level variety in The Callisto Protocol is great but sadly, most of the levels are too linear The level variety in The Callisto Protocol is great but sadly, most of the levels are too linear

The same can be said for the sound design. I was impressed by how the game uses surround sound to tell you where the danger might be, or how it tries to evoke an uncomfortable feeling with the sound of zombies crawling through pipes before they jump right in front of you.

Sadly, apart from the visuals and sound, there's not much I liked in The Callisto Protocol. And it breaks my heart to say that since this was one of my most anticipated games of the year. 

The Callisto Protocol simply isn't scary, doesn't play well and has nothing to hook you into its world to keep playing it. 

It's a poor excuse for a horror game and you're better off waiting for Dead Space Remake than spending $70 on this one.

The Good

  • One of the best looking games of this generation
  • Great music, sound design and surround sound

The Bad

  • It's not scary and fails to build a horror atmosphere
  • Combat is atrocious when fighting a group of enemies
  • Cheap jump scares and overused button-mashing sequences
  • Bland story and forgettable characters
  • Countless "squeeze-through" moments
65

Our Rating

Good

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