Set in 1924, Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game follows the down on his luck detective Edward Pierce, a struggling war veteran who operates out of Boston Massachusetts is asked by a Mr. Webster to investigate the mysterious death of the Hawkins family on an island called Dark Water just outside of Massachusetts. While working on this case he discovers a cult that wishes to bring back ‘the old gods’ from the worlds of Lovecraftian horror lore. The game is in first person view and is a survival horror type game with very little combat, some stealth elements, and a heavy reliance on Investigation.
WHAT I HEARD
The voices, the music, and ambient background noises for this game were a mixed bag. The voice acting for the main character and a lot of the more prominent NPCs were particularly well done in my mind. The less essential NPCs sounded alright but just not as good as the main ones you would encounter. The music was definitely more background noise than anything. It helped with the mood occasionally but for me it didn’t really stand out.
It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t really exceptional to me either. The other background noises (water effects, moaning, flames, etc.) definitely helped set the tone at times but again they weren’t anything that was really of an outstanding quality either. Also, I have to add that the lip-syncing, as far as having the characters mouths match what they were saying, really didn’t mesh well, I had subtitles on and focused more on those when I was speaking to people because it just looked really off to me.
WHAT I SAW
Visually this game was really hit or miss. The cut-scenes looked great. Everything was clear and you could tell what was going on but in the game itself things started to get a little murky. The graphics definitely look a bit dated but in my opinion that actually kind of helped in certain areas as it made it seem an older, creepy vibe.
The background settings (the town, building interiors, etc.) seem fine but are basically just a lot of static having no real way to interact with anything other than stuff you were supposed to examine for clues. Where the game’s visuals really took a hit though was in character animation. When talking to some of the NPCs, a lot of the times they were twitching and moving. It was rather distracting, as if the characters had way too much energy, didn’t want to be standing still talking to you, and didn’t know what to do with themselves.
WHAT I FELT
I absolutely enjoyed the storyline of Call of Cthulhu. It kept me interested for the duration of the game. I wanted to see how it would play out and what different twists would come about as I am somewhat familiar with the Call of Cthulhu setting. The insanity aspect of it worked well when it affected the game and maybe it was just this particular play-through but there was only a couple of times where it made a difference in what I was doing. It would have been nice to see that further fleshed out, as it was very intriguing.
This is something I would definitely have to check on in future play-throughs though, to see if it makes more or less of a difference. I thought the protagonist was well done and a couple of the main characters that you interact with the most were represented fairly well. There were a couple of other characters I would’ve liked to have seen have a bit more to do with the story or at least shown more of their background and what they were all about. Overall, I feel that the game was a bit short for the price you pay for it. Total time for me from beginning to end was about 14 hours.
The gameplay was fine as I’ve mentioned. I really enjoyed the storyline. I thought the main character was well done, but there were definitely little things here and there that didn’t really help my reception of the full product. For instance, when investigating and looking for clues you can definitely miss things if you move on too fast. There was more than one time in which I was searching for something and ended up stumbling upon a cut-scene that moved me into the next area before I could really finish what I was doing.
While I was still able to complete the game there were a couple of places where it was a little harder than it needed to be because I didn’t explore it fully. As far as the skills go, you can definitely miss clues because of not having a high enough skill and the same goes with questioning other people. You won’t get to ask certain questions if your skill is not high enough. This didn’t keep me from completing the game. In fact, at no point was I concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to complete the game because of how I placed my skills.
If you’re a completionist it will definitely take more than one play-through to get everything and to see this title’s various different endings. Another point to note is that the game uses an autosave feature and only one save slot. So think carefully before making even the smallest decisions on anything because short of actually starting over completely you won’t get to change your mind and try something different. I have to say though that I think this really helped the game play experience in a way, as it adds intensity and pressure.
The biggest negatives for me with Call of Cthulhu would be that the stealth was usually very uninspired. Stealth in this game definitely could have been done a lot better but thankfully there weren’t a lot of times where you had to use it. The combat was also not very well done. Again, thankfully, it was only used in one or two situations but I think they definitely could have done a little better with the aiming / hit detection of this game’s stealth segments.
I have to say I definitely enjoyed the game and will give it another play through to find out what, if anything, I missed the first time around. However, having said that I also think that $60 USD is a bit too high of a price tag for the shortness of the game and for some of the issues it did have. If Cyanide and Focus Home decide to make another game set in this universe I would be very interested in checking it out.
The story was engaging, the protagonist and some of the main NPCs were interesting, and overall the gameplay was fair. On the downside it was too short to be a full priced game, the stealth and combat were less than what they could have been, and the twitchy nature of some NPCs while in conversation was distracting at times. Call of Cthulhu earns a 7 out of 10 rating from RealGamerNewZ making it one of RGN’s Bronze Games of 2018.