As long as the player can demolish an ungodly creature while also being in a spur of unfavorable odds, the game will turn out amazing!
This is most probably what the creators of The Callisto Protocol and Dead Space were thinking when they uploaded the first teaser, which led to a spike of intense hype, but the hype is like a prestige chandelier; the real question is, can it light up the room?
Well, Dead Space was able to light up an entire house; The Callisto Protocol, on the other hand, did not deliver as such. The game starts on a good note and sets up the general gist of what to expect, gruesome monsters, a lot of blood, and a setting far from Earth to really hit the image of disparity, pretty good stuff.
But those expectations are pretty short-lived. For 10 hours, you are stuck in an offspring of unbalanced difficulty, great visuals, and if you were one of the first people to play the game, some of the worst framerates mankind has ever seen in a AAA game, well, unless it’s Cyberpunk 2077.
After seeing the success of AAA first-person shooters, many publishers realized that a more action-filled experience is much more successful rather than one that follows a narrative experience, you know, one that has an enjoyable and engaging story and actual terror.
If someone needs to implement a horror game with as much shooting as in Dead Space, there are 2 routes one can take.
The first is the Bioshock way, where the game is advertised as a shooter experience with disturbing contexts, or The Evil Within the format, which is extremely terrifying in enemies, bosses, and visuals and makes players remember its horrifying world, basically a better Callisto Protocol.
Now let us take Scorn for example; although The Callisto Protocol took a more explosive approach, Scorn took a much more complicated one, and it did not end well. Depending on how fast you give up and go to YouTube, the game is effectively a puzzle simulator with the most disappointing ending I have ever seen. But even that’s not the worst part.
Scorn is such a drag on the horror genre that it took the scary parts and devolved them by adding more blood, more limbs, and a more horrific ambiance filled with blood and gore. But unlike Dead Space, which never sticks because Dead Space had certain aspects like its weapons and forcing the player on a specific style, hence having more of an impact.
The only game that makes me remember it solely because of their excessive gore is DOOM and Ultrakill, and for a good reason, because those titles focus on that aspect. Scorn acts too much on what it is weak on, hence the reviews. One Steam reviewer had this to say about the title,
The user had a lot of unique points in his reviews, focusing on the awful pace and extremely sluggish movement mechanics. The game also had atrocious combat, something I wish it had taken from Dead Space, but the good thing was that avoiding the combat was pretty easy because, just like you, the enemies barely knew how to walk.
Many other reviewers also had the same problems with the title. If you want to implement a Dead Space stylized world, it needs the proper combat and pace. The game gives you all the tools for a good experience, but it never truly lands.
The factor to take in is money, and these publishers want a lot of it, so following successful trends is always in their favor. Even if a game is negatively scored or just average, as long as its sales are good, for them, it’s a score, and you can’t argue with that logic.
Although sales matter for preserving a franchise for further sequels or any form of media, it is also important to show the community which genre of games is most successful, and while The Callisto Protocol did not have exploding sales, they showed that studios behind games like these need to up their game if they want to keep up in an industry this competitive.
Unique ideas are something every creative director for these games strives for, but many never get close, but some games take the horror genre to new heights by taking it to a completely new approach.
Introducing Phasmophobia, an actual terrifying multiplayer horror game that will have you screaming.
Running around a haunted mansion trying to catch some proof of some supernatural force of nature doesn’t go well. The game features proximity voice chat and is among the best games to have been released in the horror genre. A bit of creative drive and uniqueness is all a game needs.
But the game also takes repetitiveness to a whole new level. Fighting the same enemies while doing meager puzzles really does not strike me as a fun way of doing things. Sure, sometimes you fight a weirder enemy, or sometimes the mission is actually fun, but it gets old, fast.
This is where the Callisto Protocol fails, trying to be like Dead Space or, in short, trying to be like someone else. Imagine a more Alien Isolation feel to the game, a much more ammo-restricted and enemy-conservative game; that is where the game would have exceeded.
Many argue that the setting of the moon of Jupiter gives the game at least a unique location, but if you are bound to the space station for most of the experience, then the location might as well be the ocean for how little it is actually integrated into its being.
I am sure many people will see my assessment as “incomplete” or “inadequate,” but the fact remains that these games have a clear representation of Dead Space in their veins, even if that is on purpose or not. These games just took the identity of a previous IP and decided to bank on that.
All in all, I did enjoy both these games at moments, Scorn did provide some scenes of intense gore that I will at least remember for a while, and The Callisto Protocol also had its share of tense moments.
There is a place for these games, and the upcoming Dead Space Remake will most definitely fill that place, so yea, too many Dead Space games pretty much make up the entire horror market right now.
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