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The Callisto Protocol's PC patches restore it to full "yeah, it's alright" glory

Fixes to the shader compilation stutter mean you can now play an adequate game

Since release last Friday, The Callisto Protocol devs at Striking Distance Studio have been, I can only imagine, catastrophically hard at work on the PC build. The game was almost unplayable on PC because shader compilation was causing stuttering whenever anything new happened for the first time, which is not ideal in any game, but especially not an atmospheric horror game with jump scares. It's hard to be terrified by something if the game pauses for over a second when it happens.

Anyway, the point is that a patch was released over the weekend, and another yesterday. I'm out of town right now, so I haven't been able to install the second, but I did play test the first one, and whaddaya know? The Callisto Protocol ran smooth for me, using a PC with the recommended specs.

This place has a way of changing you, like, metaphorically but also literally, like how people have mutated into - y... You see what I'm saying? What I'm getting at here?

This effort has at least meant the game has climbed up to having a Mixed review status on Steam. It's always a shame when something like this happens, because on PS5 The Callisto Protocol looks really impressive. You put your work out into the world, you want it to be judged on its merit. You don't want people to not even be able to find the merit because of technical issues.

Thing is, on its merit I still think The Callisto Protocol is just allllright. The merging of movement and combat controls will remain divisive, it isn't getting NG+ until next year, and it's just kind of given itself airs, really. Like I said in a supporter post, The Callisto Protocol seems to think it's a prestige horror like, you know, Hereditary or The Babadook when it's actually an Eli Roth movie.

That's not to make a value judgement over different kinds of horror, because one of the most annoying things about the term "prestige horror" is that it undervalues other horror subgenres. I am an inordinately fond of many different kinds of horror. A gory, tropey horror can be just as good as one that reli make u think - but not if it's embarrassed about what it is. You need a consistent tone to create a consistent experience

Jacob enters a room in The Callisto Protocol that is full of murdered guards strung up on the ceiling
But what does the room full of hanging dead bodies and viscera represent?

The Callisto Protocol is a game where you stomp on dead bodies like balloons! You throw mutants into mulchers and it rains blood! One character does many monologues, the content of which might as well be replaced with "I am evil"! Lean into it. Enjoy it. Don't be ashamed! You don't have to pretend it's anything more than it is. It's why "new experience" rather than "new game" in the title menu struck me as being quite silly. The Callisto Protocol actually does some cool things with its systems, and even the combat doesn't have to be as tortuous as you'd think, but the game is so focused on being prestige-y and spooky that it doesn't want to ruin the experience with mundane shit like robust turorialising.

So, update: The Callisto Protocol works pretty well on PC now. There are some good things about it, but. You know. Yeah, it's alright. Decent. Pick it up in a sale, maybe. You'll have fun.

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

RPS's dep ed. Small person powered by tea and enthusiasm for video game romances. Send me interesting etymological facts and cool horror games.

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