I delayed doing a review for the game as I took my time to complete it and also wanted to wait until I played the new Dead Space in order to have some additional perspective as I know that players will want to compare the two since Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield is behind the game.
I also want to point out that while we did pre-release coverage we were not given a review copy for the game so this review is fully voluntary and based on a gift I received which also delayed the review as I had to make sure my backlog of movie and game reviews were done and this game releasing while I was deep in Movie award voting and screenings made it a hectic time.
When I first saw the announcement for The Callisto Protocol It made me think there was a connection to Dead Space as the health meter brought back memories of Isaac and his Rig so naturally, I was invested from the start. After a lengthy lack of news I was thrilled to see the game was given a deeper look along with a release date which was followed shortly by news of EA releasing a new version of Dead Space.
The Callisto Protocol tells the story of a pilot named Jacob Lee (Josh Duhamel), who is imprisoned without trial and sent to the harsh Black Iron Prison following a crash.
Not long after his brutal in-processing, Jacob finds things have become a chaotic nightmare as insane creatures and deadly guard robots are everywhere and he must flee his cell to stay alive.
Guided by a fellow inmate, Jacob must run, crawl, vault, and squeeze his way through the prison to accomplish various tasks and to find weapons, ammunition, and resources to stay alive.
The task is daunting as there are some very deadly and abundant enemies on the prowl and death is a frequent and brutal part of the game as environmental and organic enemies all come into play. There is nothing more frustrating than brushing a spinning chopper in the heat of a battle and seeing your character diced to a pulp to get your adrenaline going.
Playing from a third-person perspective players will have a melee weapon and can obtain a pistol, shotguns, and other guns which can be upgraded along the way. This can be a bit tricky as resources are limited and having to decide on health versus ammunition or that upgrade and which items to keep or sell at the automated stores makes for some hard choices.
Jacob also has a leash option which allows him to grab and throw many enemies and objects and tossing an explosive or throwing an enemy into a spiked, shredding, or dangerous area is very enjoyable.
The enemy types are varied and abundant and players must find a style that works as with a checkpoint save system; they may have to play various areas frequently to find a tactic that works best. This in many ways is a big frustration with the game especially with boss fights survival can come down to simply guessing at the right time as the player was frequently slow to respond to movement commands and would at times drift right into an enemy when I had instructed them to run.
The last update to the game did a great job with this and I saw marked improvements as I was on the final boss after several frustrating near misses, I was able to win the game on my first try after the patch.
I enjoyed the game and the visuals as I found the look and story very engaging but I did have abundant frustration with the slow controls and combat which caused some segments to be replayed more than I wanted.
The debate over the cinematic aspects versus the gameplay is a real quandary as I thought the game looked great and presented a real challenge at times but how much of that challenge was largely in part to the controls and other issues seems to be a debate as recent updates seem to have made areas much easier for players to complete.
There is a new story DLC promised for the summer and hopefully, the disappointing sales for the game to date will not delay this as the game has much going for it and while it is not Dead Space, it is a very worthy and enjoyable time for those willing to be patient with it and the issues.
4 stars out of 5