Call of Cthulhu Review PS4
key review info
- Game: Call of Cthulhu
- Platform: Playstation 4
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
The first Call of Cthulhu game based on Chaosium's RPG board game is a narrative adventure that focuses on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Having already previewed the game early this month, I didn't have high expectations graphics-wise, but Cyanide's take on the Cthulhu universe did spark some interest.
In Call of Cthulhu you play as Edward Pierce, voiced by Anthony Howell (Johnathan Reid in Vampyr), a World War I veteran turned private detective who looks for his luck at the bottom of a bottle. It's pretty clear right from the start that Pierce's anxiety and disappointment in humanity can only be availed by something truly unusual.
The Hawkins case he accepts to investigate at the behest of Sarah Hawkins' father, a rich industrialist, sends Pierce to Darkwater Island off the coast of Boston. Going forward, Pierce will be faced with decisions that presumably influence his destiny and could potentially affect the ending.
Based on the number of points you have in each of the seven categories (Investigation, Spot Hidden, Eloquence, Strength, Medicine, Psychology, and Occultism), you can bypass various puzzle much easier or obtain more information about your case. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that any of my decisions had any impact on how the game ends.
Sometimes, when you're presented with an objective, there are multiple ways to reach that goal, although most of time they are limited to forcing your way forward through sheer strength or convincing people to help you using your investigative or eloquence skills. The first three chapters are also among the best that game has to offer, probably because they only present the investigation part and none of the stealth and action aspects.
It's the bleak atmosphere and spooky tone where Call of Cthulhu really shines, but the pacing and the visuals are a complete disappointment. Some of the chapters seem artificially inflated with unnecessary content, not to mention that the stealth and combat mechanics are some of the worst I've seen in a game.
Moreover, some of the puzzles don't make sense at all and you'll have to rely on luck to solve them and advance the story, while others are surprisingly well done. If you don't pay attention to the Clues tab, you'll miss important information that could potentially help you with some of the puzzles. However, you might not obtain some of the clues that are hidden behind awkwardly implemented puzzles, so it all becomes a vicious circle.
Although the story is the backbone of the game, the pacing leaves to be desired. There are sections of the game that feel forced and unnecessary, whereas others need more development. Call of Cthulhu is a 10-hour game, but much of the gameplay time will be spent on solving bad implemented puzzles or getting used with the awkward stealth system.
To top it all off, graphics and animations are lamentable, even for a budget-priced title. Lip-syncing is completely off and many of the character animations are right down hilarious, which is really bad for a game that relies on immersion. Disappointingly, the sound is muffled during many intense scenes.
Call of Cthulhu seems like a half-baked game featuring a good story and some bad gameplay mechanics. The visuals don't help either even though Cyanide did try to recreate the Lovecraftian hallmark using green tones just about everywhere in the game. They did, however, create a distinctive mood specific to Cthulhu's mythos, and that's the most important thing for a game that wants to be the first official Call of Cthulhu video game.
Story-wise, Call of Cthulhu isn't as terrifying as the developers wish to suggest, but the horror aspect is delivered through some gory scenes and the sense of urgency that drives Pierce to unravel the truth behind the disappearance of the Hawkins family.
There are no memorable characters that you may feel attached and, most of all, there doesn't seem to be right or wrong decisions. Most of the time you won't be able to tell if something is real or everything happens in Pierce's mind, which is what makes the Cthulhu universe so interesting.
- Good story
- Bleak atmosphere, spooky tones
- Decent voice acting for the protagonist
- Outdated graphics
- Terrible NPC animations
- Bad stealth and shooting mechanics
- Some awkward puzzles
- Choices don't affect the ending
Bad implementation of stealth and shooting mechanics, some awkward puzzles and outdated graphics make Call of Cthulhu an unfulfilled experience. Although Cyanide perfectly sets up the tone for a true Lovecraftian adventure in the first three chapters, what comes afterward leaves to be desired.
Of course, fans of the Lovecraftian universe shouldn't skip Cyanide's take on the Cthulhu mythos, but don't go in with high expectations or you'll be terribly disappointed. The least Call of Cthulhu can do is quench your thirst for Lovecraftian fiction until The Sinking City releases in March, 2019.