Developer: Cyanide Studio
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Gene(s): RPG, Survival Horror
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: Oct/30/2018
Are you ready to test your sanity and flirt with madness? So let´s dive-in in one of the BEST adaptations, so far, of the claimed book “Call of Cthulhu (by: H.P. Lovecraft)”, this game definitely brings you to a great immersion in its world. So let’s start with the basics, the plot…
You play as the war veteran from the Great War, Edward Pierce, now he is a private detective and an alcoholic addicted to sleeping pills (Trying to run away from his thoughts). Edward needs to get any job, otherwise he´ll lose his license at the detective agency WentWorth. The big problem is that there are many cases appearing, but Edward is waiting for something that is worth his time, one day a man called Stephen Webster sends him to a place called DarkWater, to solve a mystery behind the death of his daughter Sarah Hawkins, who died in a fire, apparently drove by her madness. Your mission is to investigate whether Sarah´s death was related to “illness” or if something else happened to her. The only clue you have is a strange picture painted by Sarah a few days before her death.
Call of Cthulhu is a FPS game that mix different kinds of mechanics, like stealth based missions, it´s more of a Hide and Seek kind of thing and it can be a problem if you’re not a big fan of the style, I myself found these parts a bit of a challenge (And I must warn you, there is A LOT of it), but if you like the style you´re going to have a handful of joy by playing it. The game also brings puzzles for you to solve, unfortunately, I was bummed by the fact that they were very easy, but it was interesting to see that in some points of the game, you have more than one way to solve a problem, bringing a cool dynamic to the experience. One of the best things about the game is the RPG part of it, every time you finish doing something big you earn some CP or “Character Points”, those points can improve your skills as a detective, each skill has something that will help you solving the case, these skills are:
–Strength: Helps you to move/use heavy objects
–Eloquence: Unlocks different dialogs during the game
–Spot Hidden: Allows you to find hidden objects
–Investigation: Allows you to piece information together more easily, as well as pick more advanced locks.
–Psychology: Can help Edward uncover mysteries behind the case.
–Medicine: Helps you to understand more of a subject when investigating a crime scene for example.
–Occultism: A dangerous but most appealing skill, this ability allows Edward to embrace his madness and reveal more of what´s hidden in the darkness. This also affects another thing in the game, which is your insanity level, so be CAREFUL.
REMEMBER: Medicine and Occultism can only be upgraded by doing things during the game, like reading books for example.
The important part about those skills is that they can change the story line, get you new allies, turn someone into an enemy, help you when interrogating people, giving you extra information about the case, as well as the end of the game itself but keep in mind that some points are immutable. That gives you a big dynamic of where the story takes you, bringing different histories and experiences.
Another important feature of the game is the “Investigation mode”, you can recreate and analyze a crime scene showing you what could have possibly happened in that scene and helps you to understand more about the crime that you are investigating. It is a lot more realistic than the one we have in a certain game with a bat as a detective.
In Call of Cthulhu, we have some things that deserve a highlight, like the music for example, the game music along with the ambience creates an incredible atmosphere that only leads to a total immersion into this chaotic world. Each place you visit has its own characteristic, from an old bookstore to a dark claustrophobic cave (Tip: Get yourself a good Headphone and turn off the lights, if you have the guts to do so). Truth must be told that the characters are all unique and have their own personality but during the game you are going to face some poor level of graphics and design, like when the characters are talking to you, they seem to move their arms and head like one of the power rangers, that can break your immersion a little bit in that moment, but only for a sec, so nothing that would ruin your experience.
Another great surprise was that EVERY SINGLE FILE is worth being read and I really mean it, for the first time in my life I didn´t want to skip reading a document/file or even read just bits of it, they are all awesome and bring something to the history. A good thing to keep in mind is to give yourself some time to observe the paintings on the walls, they are nicely done and some of them could even be a big part of the story.
Tip: Do you know that thing that is always on the corner of your eye when you are scared or afraid and feeling like you are being watched? Well… in this game I suggest you pay attention to it, because depending on how much Edward is accepting “the reality”, you might see something there even for just a frame or two.
The end of the game is incredible! But if you don´t follow the story carefully, the way that the game leads you to the final moment could seem a little rushed with all the revelations and twists, but take it from me, the end is breath-taking and you are going to need a few minutes do “digest” all the info. Remember that depending on your choices during the game your end could be A LOT different from mine. However, one thing is for sure, I´ll definitely play it again to see the different story lines.
Final Considerations: Being a diehard fan of Lovecraft´s work, this game definitely gave me an extra pleasure while playing Call of Cthulhu, it is one of the best adaptations of the matter (“Video Gamely” speaking), but if you are not familiar with the subject, it is a perfect introduction to what is coming if you follow this path of reading, playing the board games or any other Lovecraft stuff.