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The Calliso Protocol(Review)[Weirdo Wednesdays]

Last Friday (December 2nd), one of horror’s most anticipated games of the year was finally released. A debut effort from a new development team whose had previous experience working on successful titles such as the original ‘Dead Space’ series, it showed a lot of promise and dread all throughout its promotional campaign.

Set in the year 2320, you play as space trucker/freight transporter Jacob Lee. During a routine job where you are transferring volatile cargo between Europa and the Black Iron Prison on Callisto, your ship is hijacked by a group of reported terrorists known as the Outer Way. The ship is partially destroyed leading to a crash-landing back on Callisto’s surface. You are the only survivor when the Callisto Prison workers arrive to salvage the wreckage. Obeying orders from the warden, you are imprisoned without any answers. When you awake after having an implant placed on the back of your neck and thrown into your cell, you open your eyes to see that complete pandemonium has ensued. Corpses are ripped in half and hanging from the ceiling. Walls & doors are completely demolished and plenty of miscellaneous items are on fire. There are loud cries of terror, pain, anguish, and inhuman screeching. You must fight your way to find a way to another ship and escape from the prison before it’s too late.

Right out of the gate, this game looks and feels exactly like the original ‘Dead Space’. It’s a third-person over-the-shoulder survival horror game where you eventually are equipped with a security baton, futuristic handgun, and other weapons as you make your way through level after level of chaos and violence. The combat system is an interesting approach where you essentially have to duke-out your opponent to open them to a free swing of your baton. It has a fun feel that kind of (and I mean only kind of) feels like a Souls’ like game or something of that ilk. It feels much more like a boxing kind of style compared to the original ‘Dead Space’ style where you just stand and shoot. It creates for a more engaging and original set up where every fight feels different even when you die and repeat a part. There are parts where you can knock an enemy off-balance and then immediately shoot them with a quickdraw fire to balance it off. The combat is easy to pick up and allows for some variety, but if you are encircled by enemies you are in for a rough time.

Even on the average difficulty setting, I have died A LOT. But the death scenes are pretty different from each other and some are very gnarly – i’ve had my jaw ripped wide open, had my head severed right underneath my nose, curb stomped by a robot security guard, and so much more. The gamestyle is very much a progressive leveler where you go from one end of a section all the way to the other (say, from the prison courtyard down to the sewers, then from the sewers up to the cafeteria, etc.) with a few side-halls that you can explore to find currency, health injectors, ammo, and other things. It features a system where you can trade in items for credits, and then trade in credits for either ammo, health, or weapon powerups. The machine itself operates like a 3D Printer, which allows you to control your playstyle and max-out the weapons and functions you prefer to use. You crawl through crawlspaces, wade through pools of sewage, and face grisly fates one after another. It has a lot of good atmospheric set ups and jump scares that work especially well when wearing headphones.

The Verdict: Truthfully, I have no clue what everybody is complaining about. Since this game dropped it’s been nothing but jokes and harsh criticism – but I’m not surprised anymore, everybody hates everything nowadays. The game is the first game to capture this fun feeling in a long time, it has absolutely gorgeous graphics, lots of intense sound effects and gore, and isn’t riddled with as many bugs or glitches as most games. Yes, there was word that the PC version had difficulty operating – but the console versions didn’t have such issues. Where I will agree is that it’s about a 10-hour long game that perhaps feels a bit repetitive near the end, and that for $70 (the new default price point – not exclusive for this title) it might be a bit much. I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale or Redboxing it to give it a try.

But it’s a super fun game that has an immersive, dread filled environment. For those of us who have been waiting for a successful ‘Dead Space’ entry to return, and while we wait for the official remake to drop next month, it’s a great alternative. It doesn’t completely re-design the wheel, but it finds ways to have fun and innovate just enough to make it stand apart. It’s worth your time and effort, but you are completely fine to wait for a better time to save some money for the experience.

“The Callisto Protocol” is currently available for PC, Xbox, PS5 & PS4.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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