Dead Space vs The Callisto Protocol: So what’s the difference?
The Callisto Protocol and Dead Space share inevitable similarities. We review things they have in common and some that clearly differentiate them.
The Callisto Protocol comes with the intention of making us feel afraid in space again. It’s been quite a few years since the last installment in the Dead Space series, and with its remake out next month, it’s impossible not to think about the similarities and differences between the original and this spiritual successor. After all, one of the minds behind both projects is the same, and that leads us to similar ideas… and very, very different ones.
The first in the front and sponsored by Captain Obvious…space gore. Both games are unpleasant, in terms of the fact that the enemies are grotesque and the deaths hyper-violent. Inspired as they are both in Event Horizon, which continues to leave us with anecdotes 25 years after its premiere, it is inevitable to see brutal moments.
This of course applies to the aberrational appearance of the monsters and death animations (including decapitations, dismemberment, empty eye sockets, and tentacles), which have led to the game not being released in Japan.
At the time, Dead Space was quite surprising by featuring a HUD with no life bars or ammo counters in the corners of the screen. Instead, we saw the health bar in the form of a light column on the back of the suit. The ammunition was seen on a screen in the sight of the weapon, so the view did not need to deviate to check the state of the charger.
The Callisto Protocol uses almost the same system. The ammunition of the weapon is seen on a screen in the scope, and Jacob’s health is seen on his neck, in a holographic bar, which also has a plot justification: the device is called the Core. It is a system to check the vital signs of the inhabitants of Black Iron, and to control the areas to which each individual has access.
Dead Space presented us with a fundamental combat mechanic: dismemberment. Each creature could be split in two, stripped of limbs, you could cut off legs, arms and tentacles ending in sharp points. Isaac ‘s legendary plasma cutter came in handy for this . It was the efficient way to kill enemies , since simply aiming at the body meant that you needed a lot more ammunition. Also, once on the ground, we could stomp the enemy to death.
This system returns in The Callisto Protocol, but with a different concept. This time, dismember is used to prevent the enemy from combing and using certain attacks. For example, ripping the head off an acid spitting enemy prevents it from doing so. Breaking (can also break without amputating) an arm from aggressive enemies prevents them from using dangerous combos. As the main difference, the stomp here serves to drop items from a downed enemy, rather than to finish it off.
Callisto also adds a new mechanic with which enemies can mutate under certain circumstances. But that is a detail that you will discover on your own when you meet a certain enemy .
This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but few games get it righ . It is very easy to tell that your game has a “horror” setting by removing lights and putting a couple of stains of rust and blood. But few can make you not want to turn on the flashlight so you don’t have to see the environment. That is in the hands of the privileged few and both Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol comply.
We are not just talking about corridors infested with pustules or blood . The difficult thing is to make you distrust a simple hallway . Is there something waiting to attack me around the corner? Is that noise like a bug crawling through a duct? A game of those in which you avoid running through most areas, because you don’t know if something could hear you. Quite an achievement, really.
The last point in common is a small criticism, similar situations. Clearly the mind behind both games would visit platitudes, but there are a couple of moments in The Callisto Protocol that feel a little too Dead Space-like to us. For example, there is a moment that is impossible not to associate with the beginning of Dead Space 2, and another key scene in the plot uses almost the same camera angles to achieve the same effect as in another Dead Space scene.
Where Dead Space bet on keeping your distance, The Callisto Protocol invites you to fight hand-to-hand. From the beginning the game offers a melee defense weapon with which to do combos, although not very varied (but even with its own execution animations, we have seen five different ones) with which you could neutralize enemies.
The suit you wore had a lot of changes in Dead Space. Each one implies a series of characteristics: inventory slots, some health improvements, damage reductions… Obviously, in general terms this was a progressive issue, the more game progress the more suit improvements. This would later be exploited in Dead Space 2 with around a dozen different suits.
However, in The Callisto Protocol your suit has a plot function. At a certain point in the plot you will get the armor, your maximum life level will increase, the inventory limit will double… and that’s it. Without improvements and without further changes, if you have any DLC content, to apply cosmetic skins. The base game does not offer any additional skins for clothing. This can be either a negative point, or a way to avoid unnecessary content, it depends on the point of view of each one.
One of the plot characteristics of Dead Space was that our protagonist adapted work tools to use them as weapons. He’s not a soldier, but a plasma cutter or riveter doesn’t know metal from necromorph. However, in The Callisto Protocol we have weaponry designed specifically for combat.
From a pistol to a gravitational device for prisoner control, it is logical that in a prison there is this type of weapon . The downside, in this case, is that the weapon upgrades are somewhat generic . It is true that it can be justified by arguing that it is all 3D printing and, therefore, it can be understood that almost all weapons have the same improvements; but that the final improvements of each weapon are more testimonial than useful is a bit disappointing. That and that the riot baton is the weapon that you are going to use the most throughout the game, really.
The original Dead Space featured a mute character . While this is generally used to make the protagonist easier to identify with, it has the side effect of making it more difficult to get him to interact with his surroundings. In turn, this translates into a somewhat less cinematic narrative.
On this point, The Callisto Protocol differs markedly from the source material. Our protagonist has a defined personality instead of being a simple puppet in our hands, interacting with the environment and giving rise to numerous moments worthy of horror movies that you would go to see at the cinema. To be fair, Dead Space ‘s plot approach gave a greater sense of loneliness, of anguish, although Callisto ‘s plot is very well carried out.
As you can see, it would be a mistake to believe that The Callisto Protocol is a white label version of dead space . With its differences and similarities, Glen Schofield’s latest game has its own personality and identity, with a background with several unknowns that we hope will be resolved either in expansions or in new installments.
2 thoughts on “Dead Space vs The Callisto Protocol: So what’s the difference?”
It’s Event Horizon, that’s the movie BTW.
Fixed, autocorect got the best of me. Thank you.