Fans of the survival horror genre have a new hellscape to dive into. Stirking Distance Studios’ The Callisto Protocol is here, and it takes players to Jupiter’s titular dead moon, Callisto, where you find yourself in a maximum security prison that’s been overrun by nightmarish undead creatures, with not many survivors left. Obviously, you’ll be facing plenty of ordeals as you play the game, so to make the going just a little bit easier for you, here, we’ve compiled a few handy tips and tricks that you should keep in mind.
The Callisto Protocol is a linear game, and there isn’t a ton of room for exploration- more often than not, you’ll know where you have to go to progress further in the story. Even so, exploring is important, so definitely keep an eye out for alternate paths, rooms, ladders taking you to offshoot locations, and the like. From Callisto Credits to health injectors to audio logs to other useful loot to, of course, precious ammo, there is usually plenty to find.
Melee combat is a core component of The Callisto Protocol’s gameplay, and dodging, in turn, is a crucial mechanic on that front. It works a little differently than you’d expect in this game though, with dodging being done by holding the left stick in either direction before an enemy’s attack is coming in. It’s a little finnicky, so remember to get the timing right- essentially, you just have to make sure that you’re holding the stick in a direction before an enemy lands an attack on you. Also remember that more often than not, a single dodge won’t be enough, because enemies might attack you with two or three quick swipes. In these situations, always remember to alternate the direction of your dodges, and never to dodge in the same direction twice in a row.
In addition to dodging, The Callisto Protocol also lets you block incoming attacks by holding down on the left stick before an attack hits you- in most cases, however, blocking can be counterproductive. For starters, it’s tricky to pull off, but even if you do get the hang of it, it only lessens the damage you take rather than avoiding it completely. You can upgrade your block to reduce the damage even further, but in our experience, it’s better to stick with dodging and save the credits for more useful upgrades. There are some specific situations where blocking can be useful though, like against enemies who spit acid at you, so don’t completely ignore it either.
One of the first upgrades that you should unlock (once you have the ability to do so, which happens pretty early in) is the heavy attack for your stun baton. The baton will be a crucial part of your arsenal more often than not, and using melee attacks on enemies if often preferable so you can save your limited ammo. Heavy attacks, as their name suggests, let you unleash greater damage with your baton strikes, and can also be used in conjunction with light attacks, making melee combat even more effective.
The Callisto Protocol revels in how violent and brutal it is, and while most of that is unleashed using the weapons that you have at your disposal, often, your surroundings can also be used to your benefit. From giant metal fans to spiked walls, you’ll regularly find environmental hazards while you’re playing The Callisto Protocol, and finding ways to shove enemies into those hazards can be very useful in tense encounters, especially when you’re being mobbed by multiple foes. The gravity-manipulating tool known as the GRP is obviously the best way to do that.
TARGET THE LEGS AND THE TENTACLES
The Callisto Protocol takes more than a few keys from Dead Space- for instance, you will be rewarded for being smart about exactly where you’re shooting any enemies you face. If a tentacled monstrosity is headed your way, targeting and getting rid of the tentacles first and foremost is of the utmost importance (which is made abundantly clear by the game itself). In addition to that, it’s also a good idea to target enemies’ legs. Shoot them in the legs to make them stumble and fall, then pull them towards you using the GRP, then stomp on their heads to finish them off. That’ll also help you conserve ammo.
You’ll also cross paths with a number of enemies that’ll attack you from a distance, and while you can always use up your bullets to take them out from a distance, as is the case in any survival horror game, that isn’t the best tactic. Instead, you can simply pull those enemies toward you using the GRP and then melee or stomp them to death.
We’ve mentioned stomping a couple of times, and while it is a useful tool in combat, it can be just as useful (if not more) outside of it as well. Once enemies are dead, it’s recommended that you stomp on their heads, because more often than not, they’ll drop loot, including smaller quantities of health and credits. Every time you kill an enemy then, make sure to also stomp on the corpse.
Speaking of dropped loot, not all dead enemies will drop those useful bits and bobs. We mentioned earlier how useful environmental traps and kills can be, but they do have some disadvantages. For instance, enemies who’ve stuck dead on spiked walls or those that you’ve flung off the map will not be able to drop any loot, because you can’t stomp on their bodies, which is worth keeping in mind at all times. If you’re being swarmed by multiple foes together, using the environmental traps and using the GRP to push enemies off a drop might make things easier, but you’ll also be sacrificing those loot drops- which aren’t that sizeable individually, but can begin to add up sooner or later.
Appropriately enough for a survival horror game, The Callisto Protocol forces you to think about how to use your weapons in various ways. Preserving ammo is the most obvious way of them all, but reloading is something else that will sometimes demand your attention. How exactly? Well, for starters, it’s not always easy to find the time to reload your weapon in the middle of a fight, especially if you’re fighting multiple enemies in a tight space. More importantly, The Callisto Protocol also has a quick shot mechanic, which essentially lets you punctuate your melee combos with a rapidly fired bullet that does extra damage. The caveat here is that you can’t use the quick shot unless you have a bullet in the chamber, so it’s recommended that you keep your weapon reloaded at all times. As soon as you’re out of a skirmish, make it a habit to reload your weapon.
Healing in The Callisto Protocol requires some thought from the players, as you’d expect from most survival horror titles. The primary way of healing is using health injectors, which is done by holding down on the d-pad (as long as you have one in your inventory). That’s not exactly straightforward though, because it can be a pretty long animation- which means healing in the middle of a skirmish is far from ideal. Our advice is to treat it the same as reloading- do it when there aren’t any enemies around. And if you have to heal in the middle of a fight urgently, well, make sure you put some distance between yourself and any enemies before you use an injector.