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Preview The Callisto Protocol, the worthy heir to Dead Space?

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We take you with us behind the scenes of Black Iron prison with this preview of The Callisto Protocol.

On December 2, survival horror and space opera fans will be delighted to welcome a new addition to the family. The Callisto Protocol, an adventure title that’s shown up several times over the year, promises to scare your life away by transporting you to a space prison on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons. The peculiarity of this game is thatit was created by Glen Schofield, which fans of dead space know well.

Indeed, the developer is behind the horror franchise, which he designed with Visceral Games years ago. From now on, it is within Striking Distance Studios that Glen Schofield intends to terrify his players. Le Journal du Geek had the honor of being able to test the game and interview its developers. so here’s our opinion on The Callisto Protocol in preview.

Credits: Striking Distance

A well-appointed solitary confinement cell

During the preview session, we had access to a level called “Habitat”, located in the middle of the game. Please note that the following lines could contain spoilers concerning the story, the level design or even the characters of the game. The Callisto Protocol takes you to the heart of a prison, the scene of disturbing events since a strange phenomenon transforms the prisoners into terrible monsters.

This penitentiary is the starting point of a horrific story as imagined by Glen Schofield. The developer tells us that this place is the keystone of the title supposed to make us feel fully the isolation of the main character. A feeling well supported by the level design and the narration which completely encloses the player in his adventure.

The levels of The Callisto Protocol have a very linear feel, driven by the game’s story most of the time. Exploration is therefore not very present but often rewarded if you linger on it. This choice of level design, the studio thinks it necessary for the player to experience the game as the developers have imagined it. They also state “do not want to guide the player, but push him to move forward“. A decision that we can only approve as it turns out to be effective in immersing us completely in the adventure.

A superhuman dread

An adventure that does not go crazy in the field of horror. The Striking Distance Studio teams describe their own game as being a “handcrafted” product from “horror engineering”one of the main cogs of which is definitely represented by the characters in the title. The Callisto Protocol presents us with creatures based on genetically modified humans, for more proximity to the player.

Indeed, Glen Schofield likes to believe that there is “nothing scarier than a deranged human“, and we couldn’t agree more when we see the work done on the game. We won’t reveal more about the character design of the antagonists, but we will end up saying that each creature has its own characteristics and finishes. , which give character to each enemy and give them the power to scare you in several ways.

But warped adversaries aren’t the only humans in the game. The Callisto Protocol. Jacob, the hero, is also a victim of Black Iron prison, but in a way that makes us feel more empathy for him. The developers also reveal to us that if Jacob has a transparent visor, it is above all to humanize the character and thus make us feel his fear more effectively. A choice that we respect but which does not really fit with the personality of the character, not very talkative and hard to likeat least with the little experience we have had.

Image from the cover of The Callisto Protocol with the protagonist kneeling
© Striking Distance

New generation fear

But then, with all this, a question arises. The Callisto Protocol is he a clone of dead space ? Although the two games share common roots, and are definitely cut from the same wood, this new entry into the world of space horror games has the potential for a small revolution, especially in terms of gameplay. Indeed, the developers have redistributed the combat system so that the melee techniques and the use of weapons is very balanced.

The system is globally ingenious and favors all styles. We very often found ourselves combining ranged combat and close combat, by necessity (limited ammunition) but also by strategy (opponent’s strength, position, speed, number). Except that in practice, the hand-to-hand combat animations are so slow that once started, it’s rather complicated to go from a distance. We therefore prefer the opposite.

Developers tell us that their experience on dead space taught them a lot and visibly influenced the artistic direction of The Callisto Protocol. Despite everything, the game transports us to an unprecedented modernity, with a fresh look at horror and how it should be conveyed to players. In particular, this involves all the possible senses, from audio to touch and visuals.

It is moreover a game that lives with the new generation : ray tracing, haptic feedback, as well as the performance of the PS5 allowed us to immerse ourselves extremely quickly, and this even better than some proprietary PlayStation games whose development is supposed to integrate the DualSense as well as possible. This is also the case thanks to the3D audio which plays a crucial role, almost more important than the visualin the feeling of fear that awaits us at each end of the corridor.

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