7 Changes To Make The Callisto Protocol Go From Good To Great

Striking Distance Studios delivered a spiritual successor to Dead Space with The Callisto Protocol. As Jacob Lee, you're thrown into a prison on a dead moon where a mysterious infection turns people into monsters. Its identity is between a new sci-fi survival horror experience and an homage to Dead Space, with plenty of similarities, from its environment to its gameplay.

Nothing is perfect, but flaws stand out easier when standing in the shadow of one of the most beloved survival horror games of all time. From small design decisions that don't hit right to core mechanics, there are plenty of elements that could be improved to make The Callisto Protocol from a good game to a great one.

7/7 Improve The Wonky Pacing

Callisto Protocol is both slow and fast-paced at the same time. Its story goes by quickly with its low runtime, and how the action kicks off shortly after Jacob's arrest. When it comes to the gameplay, some things do slow you down in frustrating and unnecessary ways that get in the way of the best parts.

Two major things could be shaved off to keep the flow moving. For one, listening to audio logs could be altered to let Jacob move while listening, rather than standing still. Secondly, upgrading items would quicken the process if the machine did not have lengthy animation followed by another lengthy animation as Jacob admires his upgraded equipment.

6/7 More Fluid Dodge Mechanic

The dodge mechanic in Callisto Protocol is unique. Compared to most third-person shooters, instead of pressing a button at the right time, it is all about the sticks (or D and S keys if you use a keyboard). Press the key or hold the stick in the correct direction to avoid an oncoming attack; it is simple, different, and could be tweaked.

The divisive mechanic could be tweaked to work better to keep a flow of combat. It is meant to be challenging, but a better indication beyond enemy animations, or a way to remap it for more traditional dodging. At least, for people open to it, automatic dodging is an option in the accessibility menu.

5/7 Less Squeezing Through Tight Spaces

To find a way to escape from the moon, you must shimmy through lots of tight spaces and crawl in vents. Although other methods are introduced, like sliding down the sewers, the repetitive nooks and crannies to go through get old quickly.

Following the lines of the pacing, it would be more engaging not to squeeze through so many tight spaces, that are often not as scary once you realize not much ever pops out, and that you are safe going through tight gaps.

4/7 Consistent Death Animations

In some cases, death can be frustrating as you try to progress to the next destination. In other cases, it is spectacularly gory as you get ripped and maimed by the infected enemies and robot guards.

When you die, the animations can be a glorious way into the afterlife for you, and less so for Jacob. This is not always consistent, though. Sometimes, rather than getting your jaw ripped off or limbs removed, you flop over on the floor. If you are going to die, then let it be memorable.

3/7 Improved Checkpoints

New areas that give you a checkpoint sometimes kick off with combat shortly after entering. If you die, it is no big deal, because you are moments before the fight to get yourself ready to give it another try. Sadly, this does not always happen.

In some sections, the checkpoints are far away. Some chapters are longer than others, so that you may come across long stretches without a checkpoint. Having some extra spots for a reset when you inevitably die would take the sting out as you crawl through vents repeatedly after constantly dying.

2/7 Less Clunky GRP Controls

The GRP is a glove that gives Jacob telekinetic powers to lift enemies and objects, much like the Kinesis Module in Dead Space. You can use it to open up blocked areas or pick up enemies to throw them into hazards that can rip them up for an easy kill. It is an essential tool to survive and escape from Callisto.

The control scheme is clunky and could be streamlined. To use, you hold down the aiming button, press the action button, and shoot them with how you attack. With so many buttons involved, it can lead to some flustered players when multiple enemies are attacking. Having a single button or getting it down to two would make it easier to utilize effectively.

1/7 Expanded Photo Mode Options

For a studio that opened in 2019 and released its debut game in 2022, The Callisto Protocol manages to be one of the most impressive-looking games around. From characters managing to leap the uncanny valley, to its grimly gorgeous environment, everything looks grotesquely beautiful in this slaughterhouse of a prison.

The photo mode captures that beauty, but with restrictions. Only a handful of filters are offered, the camera movement feels stiff, and the zoom could go in and out more when needed. As much of the game is in tight spaces, a more freeing camera would greatly help take the best pictures to share on your social media accounts.

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