The Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game developed by Striking Distance Studios and directed by Glen Schofield who previously co-created the brilliant Dead Space series and that’s why there’s a real “Dead Space vibe” to it.
You play as Jacob Lee, portrayed brilliantly on screen by Josh Duhamel from the Transformers movies and more recently the impressive, yet cancelled series on Netflix “Jupiter’s Legacy” (why do they keep doing that?).
Jacob is sent to the Black Iron Prison facility on the moon Callisto where he is forced into circumstances that put him against infected prisoners in a classic survival horror story.
Along the way, you must uncover dark secrets about the environment and the people you interact with while solving the puzzles in your path and gaining the right resources to protect yourself against various infected creatures.
This third-person game takes a lot of the features we loved about Dead Space and integrates it. Like the health meter for Jacob being a physical part of him as an implant on the back of his neck. These types of tricks really let your mind stay inside the game without the use of a traditional HUD.
The Callisto Protocol Review
There are multiple jump scares throughout the game that can be a bit hit or miss. Most of the time it’s on point, but every now and then it’s just an expected scare that’s a slow build-up and gives you no adrenaline at the end of it. The game does a good job of the horror element but it could be ramped up a bit for an even more enjoyable experience.
I played the game on the Xbox Series X where I found the graphics to really excel. The dark hallways had a brilliant mood and the haze throughout the infected areas felt tangible. The brown tones really added to the atmosphere creating claustrophobic encounters when “Die Harding” through all the vents on route to your next destination.
The Zombie creatures here are called Biophages and can be frustrating as they spawn in tight spots and end your life while you are finally making some progress. There are various types but nothing particularly new to the genre. Even so, there’s plenty to love with the animations of a decaying creature hell-bent on emptying it’s stomach contents on you before snapping your neck for the hundredth time.
The weapons cache is a quite small but focused selection. There’s a shiv, Axe and of course the stun baton for close combat that you’ll rely on quite a bit, to begin with. Once you upgrade to the range of weapons like the hand cannon, Skunk Gun, Riot Gun, Tactical Pistol or Assault Rifle the game changes a bit.
These are all good but it’s the GRP that sits as a glove that allows you to be really creative with your kills. By pulling enemies towards you it allows you to inflict melee damage on a creature that might otherwise be too agile to hit.
Using the objects around you will also enhance your experience with the GRP and there are so many other features I don’t want to spoil for you, learning them as you go will be a satisfying experience.
Guns can only get you so far into the game, the skill you want to hone into perfection is dodge. It’s a simple and effective movement, but it will keep you alive.
I really enjoyed my time playing The Callisto Protocol. My affection to the Dead Space titles really allowed me to adapt to the title quickly and be able to experience this game for what it is. Don’t go in thinking it’s a Dead Space clone though, more Dead Space Adjacent.
The twists and turns of the story will keep you intrigued as you play and having an extremely charismatic lead like Josh Duhamel involved gives the character a depth it might not otherwise have.
The Callisto Protocol is a solid Survival Horror game that is an enjoyable experience and great fun to play in the dark with the sound up. Its an 8 out of 10.