The Callisto Protocol review roundup: 'as fun as it is frustrating'
The Dead Space spiritual successor is a mixed bag of gore and graft
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: The Callisto Protocol
😕 The Callisto Protocol has had mixed reactions from critics
👍 It’s sitting on a Metacritic score of 76 after 37 critic reviews
🕹 The Callisto Protocol is out now on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC
💰 It’ll set you back $59.99 for the standard version
The Callisto Protocol has been initiated but not everyone is happy with the result.
Striking Distance Studio’s spiritual successor to Dead Space has all the trappings of a third-person, sci-fi, survival horror gem. It follows the story of Jacob Lee, an inmate of Black Iron Prison that must fight his way to freedom when fellow prisoners and guards begin to mutate into monstrous creatures.
It turned plenty of heads before launch with its incredibly gory death sequences, claustrophobic atmosphere and dazzling high-fidelity visuals. But critics have had mixed reactions. It’s currently sitting on a Metacritic score of 76 after 37 critic reviews.
Many have praised The Callisto Protocol’s gritty commitment to body horror, but have been disappointed with the game’s repetitive gameplay sequences, laborious animations that slow down the pace of the action, and finicky combat. Don’t expect The Callisto Protocol to land on our list of the best PS5 games or best Xbox Series X games anytime soon, but it might make for a fun blood-soaked adventure.
IGN gave the Callisto Protocol a 7/10, applauding its “spectacular slaughterhouse set” but worrying that “there’s also the overriding sense that there’s not a lot here that hasn’t been done before – and there’s disappointingly little to do once you’ve beaten the campaign”.
Eurogamer couldn’t ignore The Callisto Protocol’s similarities to Dead Space, which persisted right the way through. It awarded the game a ‘Recommended’ label for its “frenzied action and brutal battles” that build upon its predecessor’s impressive framework.
Game Informer similarly felt The Callisto Protocol rarely branches away from what Dead Space did back in 2008. But cumbersome animations (including the gory death scenes), frustrating checkpoints and a rushed story earnt the game a 6/10.
Inverse also highlighted the game’s frustrating animations, and said that an inconsistent dodge mechanic makes The Callisto Protocol feel “equally as fun as it is frustrating”, giving it a 6/10.
GameSpot was also less than enthusiastic, saying: “The Callisto Protocol's combat falls apart once you start facing swarms of enemies” and much of its individual elements “are just at odds with one another too often”, earning it a measly 5/10.
RockPaperShotgun found the game ran particularly badly on PC, suggesting “the stuttering and slowing down whenever anything moves is especially problematic in a horror game where your survival depends on quickly dodge-reacting to sudden threats”.
An enjoyable scary adventure? Yes. A game you need to immediately buy? Probably not.
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