The Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game developed by Striking Distance Studios and published by Krafton. It was released on PC and Consoles in December 2022.
When Jacob Lee is running a job, he stops off at the dead moon Callisto for his cargo. On the way out, he gets attacked by a terrorist group known as “The Outer Way”. Needless to say his ship gets downed onto Callisto and when someone comes to save his life, he finds himself suddenly booked into Black Iron Prison, the notorious prison. When things start falling apart though, Jacob takes his first chance to find his way out, and back to safety, and his life.
The one thing I absolutely loved about the story is the fact that I was escaping a giant prison in space, and figuring out what is actually happening in there, and why. Why are there giant monsters here? How did they get here? Why is it happening now as you land there? The story is mostly pieced together through the cutscenes you’re given in the game so there’s nothing left to much of your imagination, but you do get to find audio logs throughout the game. Most of these just sort of recount the struggles of the guards or medical staff for example, moments just before they die, and they were so short, it felt like it really added nothing to the overall lore of the game. In all honesty I expected these to really build up a ton of things in the background, but there was nothing.
Considering how isolated you are most of the game, I expected a lot more self dialogue between Jacob and…well himself. There was still quite a bit of “well of course I need to do this now”, but I was expecting more. I’m not sure why. In situations like these, even if people are trying to be quiet, I feel like most of the time, they’d still be muttering to themselves most of the time.
When it came to the survival aspect of the game, it surprisingly leaned heavily on the melee portion of everything. When I started the game, it took a while to get used to it all, mostly because of the way the tutorial worded everything. When enemies attack you, you have to move the stick to the left or right to dodge their attacks. I thought if they slapped you from your left, you had to move left to dodge. It wasn’t for a while that I learned, you can dodge anyway you want. I wish it was conveyed a bit better, because I struggled quite a bit until this dawned on me. So you would dodge their attacks, then attack them with your baton, rinse and repeat.
Eventually you start getting weapon that help you do all this, obviously, but I never felt they were super useful in combat until of course one overused mechanic was introduced. Eventually when you do enough damage to enemies, they get tentacles coming out of their bodies. If you don’t destroy these with a bullet, the enemies will morph into an even stronger enemy. This was intense at first and brought a sense of dread to every encounter, until of course it happened to EVERY enemy. So when I had to quickly shoot a tentacle before another enemy jumped into the fray, it became more annoying than anything.
It honestly would’ve been a mechanic that would’ve made everything scary if tentacles came randomly or rarely with enemy encounters. I would’ve freaked out when I saw one and tried my best to destroy it quickly. The death scenes in the game were gorgeously gruesome, as I expected them to be, but holy crap there were not nearly enough of them. A lot of them also happened to do with eating Jacobs face. Poor guy.
As you progress, eventually you get to upgrade your arsenal, but these never felt worthwhile. I was always sitting there thinking what I should upgrade and what was actually worth it. Why upgrade my guns damage when I never used them? Why increase my melee damage when I need a gun to finish enemies off anyways? It just all felt pointless. I did enjoy upgrading my GRP though so I could grab enemies and toss them into traps so I didn’t have to deal with them. I do wish I got to upgrade my health, but that was only ever done once in the game, automatically. This also finally gives you a much needed inventory upgrade as well, because the starting six was not nearly enough!
- Gruesome Deaths
- Amazing Aesthetics
- Lackluster Upgrade System
- Feels Like It Played It Too Safe
The Callisto Protocol is a fun walk through a space prison. Unfortunately it feels like it plays a few things too safely. Though I did enjoy the game for what it was, I feel like the combat system didn’t work that well with the game itself, but that’s okay. I still definitely recommend this adventure, just go in with a bit of tempered expectations.
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Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Striking Distance Studios
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Krafton
Publisher Socials: Twitter