‘The Callisto Protocol’ utterly falls aside in its remaining hours

The dreadful sound of my weapon clicking spells catastrophe.

I’m out of ammo, with no solution to cease the two-headed half-man, half-mutant that pursues me.

Positive, I may use my telekinesis to chuck objects, however there’s nothing helpful in sight. And with that, I notice The Callisto Protocol desires me to make use of my melee weapon, a baton that requires me to rise up shut and private. As I strategy, the beast instantly rips my head off, ending the battle abruptly. This occurred time and time once more, till lastly, every little thing went completely. It felt extra like a fluke than a triumph, which left a foul style in my mouth.

The Callisto Protocol succeeds as a desolate and brutal survival horror expertise in its opening hours. However the second half is hindered by large issue spikes and clunky melee fight. Callisto will doubtless hook you at first, but it surely fails to stay the touchdown because of its excessively irritating late-game enemies.

Lightyears forward

The Callisto Protocol’s visuals are simply its strongest go well with. It’s one of many best-looking video games in current reminiscence.Krafton

The Callisto Protocol wears its inspirations on its sleeve. It’s a religious successor to Useless House, directed by sequence co-creator Glen Schofield. Callisto places you within the footwear of Jacob Lee, a transporter who turns into an inmate at Black Iron Jail on Jupiter’s moon. It’s your job to uncover the darkish secrets and techniques of the ability, whereas surviving the lethal hordes of mutated creatures referred to as biophages.

The Callisto Protocol is straightforward on the eyes, with life-like character fashions, animations, and memorable performances. Josh Duhamel and Karen Fukuhara, who play Jacob Lee and Dani Nakamura, create a stage of realism that enhances the immersion of the expertise.

Lee will usually react to the biophages by screaming in worry, giving his character extra believability. He’s not a warrior — like Useless House’s Isaac Clarke, he’s by no means had fight coaching, which intensifies the sensation of fixed hazard. This sport additionally borrows Useless House’s diegetic HUD — Lee’s well being bar is constructed into his go well with and his ammo depend displayed on his weapon. It’s a pleasant nod that additionally prevents your display from changing into too cluttered.

The areas inside and past Black Iron Jail are packed to the brim with environmental storytelling, impacting a definite sense of persona and historical past to Callisto’s world. At one level, Lee should traverse the slums deep throughout the jail, discovering cans of meals, studying materials, and different home items. You really get the sense that folks lived right here.

Whereas a lot of the expertise takes place in cramped quarters bursting with element, the crew at Hanging Distance Studio additionally has a aptitude for dramatic setpiece moments. In a very outstanding scene, Lee should endure the climate on the floor of Callisto. The best way the snow flies in all places is true to life, and Lee’s response bolsters the realism, as he shields his face from the climate. The scene left me awestruck.

The clunk

Realism is a robust focus in The Callisto Protocol, however as a rule, this doesn’t do it any favors.Krafton

It’s a disgrace that Callisto’s fight isn’t as pleasant or refined as its presentation. You’ll be armed with a baton and ranged weapons, like assault rifles and shotguns. You additionally finally unlock the GRP (AKA “Grip”) weapon that provides you telekinetic powers, permitting you to throw enemies or objects. However too usually, you’re pressured to make use of the melee weapon, which is gradual and irritating, as a result of it often leads to you taking harm.

The clunky melee fight doesn’t pose a lot of a problem while you solely have a few normal enemies to defeat. In these circumstances, battles are difficult but rewarding — particularly since they often lead to helpful rewards comparable to ammo, credit, or well being.

However melee fight is downright horrible towards extra highly effective enemies. You’ll die in a single or two hits on the “regular” issue, requiring you to play completely to advance. This merely isn’t enjoyable, particularly since your success typically hinges on random probability ammo drops. Too usually, this leads to a maddening sequence of retries that may really feel neverending.

In lots of of those sequences, the checkpoint begins with the boss standing proper in entrance of you, providing you with little or no wiggle room. It doesn’t assist that Callisto’s dodge mechanic solely appears to work about half the time. Typically, you merely can’t run away quick sufficient from an instantaneous barrage of harm, leading to a irritating, low cost demise.

Realism doesn’t equal enjoyable


The Callisto Protocol is a principally linear expertise, with a handful of non-obligatory areas to discover. At 10 to 14 hours, this could really feel like a tightly-paced journey. But most of the sport’s animations are painfully gradual, making the expertise persistently plodding and sluggish.

Reloading weapons takes an eternity, and there’s a prolonged animation for swapping to a distinct gun as effectively. This makes it inconvenient — and doubtlessly lethal — to modify your weapons. Likewise, therapeutic brings Lee to an entire cease, leaving you extensive open for an assault. Operating seems like a crawl, and the sport often received’t allow you to run for what seems like arbitrary causes. Different instances, while you attempt to flip round to run away from an enemy, the digital camera will get wonky and blocks your view, inflicting you to get taken out.

Hanging Distance emphasizes lifelike grit and real-deal peril in The Callisto Protocol, which is an intriguing premise on paper. In follow, this hard-line dedication to realism often will get in the way in which of enjoyable. The expertise would significantly profit from quality-of-life updates that velocity up many animations, whereas additionally tweaking well being sliders to offer you extra of a preventing probability.

Because it stands, The Callisto Protocol is equally as enjoyable as it’s irritating, making it robust to advocate, particularly with the Useless House remake lurking across the nook.


The Callisto Protocol is accessible for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Sequence X|S, and PC. Inverse reviewed the sport on PS5.

INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: Each Inverse online game assessment solutions two questions: Is that this sport value your time? Are you getting what you pay for? We’ve got no tolerance for limitless fetch quests, clunky mechanics, or bugs that dilute the expertise. We care deeply a few sport’s design, world-building, character arcs, and storytelling. Inverse won’t ever punch down, however we aren’t afraid to punch up. We love magic and science-fiction in equal measure, and as a lot as we love experiencing wealthy tales and worlds via video games, we received’t ignore the real-world context through which these video games are made.

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