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Call of Cthulhu Review: Does It Answer the Call?

Since the announcement of this game back in 2017, Lovecraft fans around the world have waited for Call of Cthulhu to arrive on PC, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. But now that it’s arrived, the one question that plagues everyone’s mind is: does it actually live it up to being Lovecraftian? Did Cyanide Studio manage to capture the Lovecraftian spirit with the game where so many others before them have tried and failed? Let’s take a dive into the depths of madness.

We’ll be keeping this a very minimalist review because this game keeps you second guessing yourself every chapter – just when you think you solved a piece of the puzzle, it throws you another loop.

Story and Background

The game is based on HP Lovecraft’s short story Call of Cthulhu and also takes elements from the Dungeon and Dragons-style RPG of the same name. In this point-and-click horror game, you play as Edward Pierce, a war veteran turned private investigator. After falling on hard times, complete with clear alcoholism and nightmares, you are visited by Steven Webster, the father of the deceased Sarah Hawkins. The death of the Hawkins family is well known, but the father believes there’s more to the death of his daughter and wants Pierce to restore her name. Agreeing to do so, Pierce heads off to Darkwater Island to investigate the residents and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the dark island.

Controls and Graphics

In the first bit of Call of Cthulhu you’re introduced to the basic game mechanics: walking, looking at items, and interacting with the characters using A or B on your gamepad. I swapped back and forth between PC keyboard and an Xbox controller. I found a lot of the time my keyboard wouldn’t work, as there are situations where you have to be quick on your feet. Having my keyboard glitch out made things difficult, but after switching to the Xbox controller I didn’t have any problems going forward.

The game’s visuals are dark and gritty. Numerous green shines scattered about, though, remind you that Darkwater isn’t your typical Island. Although the environments were pretty, the people and things that moved through them looked out of place. When I streamed the game last Tuesday, sailors were “drunkenly” swaying about awkwardly. Shadows and textures struggled to load properly, resulting in a visual mess at times. Lip syncing was terribly done, and there are even misspelled and missing words in the subtitles. And it can be hard to focus on what’s happening when someone blinks and you see their whole eyeball.

Character Points

Then you’re introduced to Character Points, used to upgrade your character skills. There’s Eloquence to talk your way out of things; Spot/Hidden to see things that are out of the way; Psychology with the ability to people’s physical state. You also have Investigation, which is rather self-explanatory, along with Medicine and Occultism. You’re given 8 CPs at the start, which can max out two of the character skills presented to you if you wish. Every time you interact with an important character or finish a chapter, you’re rewarded with a Character Point.

For those wondering, I tried my hardest to max out Occultism, which turned out to be super difficult. Medicine and Occultism were challenging to max out because you need to find certain items that allow you to get those Character Points. Whether it’s books on medicine or something about the occult, I found that these were the hardest to gather.

During your first encounter at the Stranded Whale, you are given the option to act tough and show off your fighting skills or talk your way through the situation. Depending on how you’ve spent your CPs, you can approach situations like these in different ways. You may choose to solve problems with your fists, but investing Eloquence gives you the chance for a more diplomatic solution. During my first play through, I didn’t bother maxing out Eloquence, which led me to earn the reputation of “trouble maker” and stopped me from being served a drink.

One thing to keep in mind is that every time you put CPs in, you’re set on a different path with different end results. Choose carefully how you spend them!

In this game, your actions, even the small ones, will have consequences. If you have a drink of whiskey or a bite to eat, if you choose to look at something, if you speak a certain way to another person… all these things have consequences that will impact the game. These choices are also meant to affect your sanity, which alters gameplay. That said, I did a lot of things that were supposed to impact my sanity, and I was never completely sure if it really did or not.

Investigation and Scene Creation

Investigation is the core gameplay mechanic, as you’re searching for clues about the events leading up to the death in the Hawkins Family. Some clues are left in the open, but others leave you looking around a room or area for hours. They can be either in your face or hidden to the point that of frustration. I often found myself wandering around looking for clues that should’ve been more obvious.

You also have the recreation scenes, triggered when you encounter something that just doesn’t add up. These interactive scenes have you piecing past events together, but they’re already laid out for you. You don’t have to put them in any specific order. Going through each scene and uncovering the past would have been more rewarding if I was actually doing my own detective work. These scenes were interesting, but they could have been more immersive, and I would have liked to have seen more of them.

Suspense and Horror

In Lovecraft, one of the key ingredients is that towns are supposed to be rather mundane at first, and the story unravels as you talk to people and get information out of them. If you’re familiar with Lovecraft’s short story The Shadow Over Innsmouth, you know it starts out rather slow, but thing start getting weird after speaking to a drunk guy. In Call of Cthulhu, however, you’re thrust right into the weird and the macabre. Because of that, it takes the suspense a while to build. It won’t be until the later chapters that you’ll find yourself being creeped out and checking if there is something moving behind you. Or, you know, that you’re not going to be hit with a random jump scare.

The darkness in the game can be super unsettling in the early chapters. You’re constantly worried, looking over your shoulder, and using your lantern to make sure there’s nothing hiding in the corners. Be careful with using your lantern, though. I’m not gonna say if there’s something that will jump out at you from the darkness… But you know never! I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you…

The Lore of Lovecraft

As a Lovecraft fan, this game left me wanting more, but I think the question on everyone’s mind is: did it manage to use the source material in a correct manner and expand on Lovecraft’s world? The game captures the lore of Lovecraft, expanding on it further and adding more than just Cthulhu himself. Without spoiling too much (you’ll want to discover these things on your own), Darkwater was like Innsmouth (The Shadow Over Innsmouth) but turned up to 11.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip into Lovecraft’s world. It has its flaws, as most games do, but as the first Lovecraft game by Cyanide Studio, it was a brave attempt. I honestly wish to see more from them, and I want them to tackle more Lovecraft games in the future.

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7
Our Verdict
Call of Cthulhu
Dark atmosphere makes you feel unsettled and vulnerable; story has that “Lovecraft” feel
Ending feels rushed; spelling errors and missing words are common; technical issues
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The Great Old One Lies in Wait in Call of C’thuhlu’s E3 Trailer

“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!”
H.P. Lovecraft,
The Temple

Last year’s E3 gave us a trailer that would stun audiences, with a story that will dive into the depths of HP Lovecraft’s beloved story
The Call of C’thuhlu. Staying true to the investigative spirit of the story, the title brings us face-to-face with the cosmic beings outside our human understanding and plunges us into the mystical horrors of the Lovecraftian universe. A new trailer released on YouTube provides a surprising treat for Lovecraft fans of this day and age, while also giving us a look at the powers that be.

Our first glimpse of the
The Call of C’thuhlu in this newest trailer shows Investigator Edward Pierce slowly slipping into madness. It also introduces us to the town/island of Darkwater, the manison of the deceased Hawkins Family, an old looking hospital, and the cult that lurks over the town. Throughout the trailer we are shown the color of green, which is known to represent the The Great One. Pictures throughout the Hawkins mansion shows that they are harmful to the inspector’s sanity, and the trailer ends with Pierce looking at a photo of himself.

The trailer also takes a deeper step into the lore of Lovecraft, as
The Call of C’thuhlu now borrows from other works. Quotes are pulled from Nemesis, the dying words of Karl Heinrich that Graf von Altberg-Ehrenstein found in the manuscript off the coast of Yucatan in The Temple, and the terrifying speech of the mad scientist Crawford Tilinghast in From Beyond. Not only are the quotes a bonus, we get to see a creature come from within the one of the paintings in the trailer, and a quick peek at the cult, with what looks to be a Priest of the Great One.


Call of C’thuhlu
‘s awaited released date is set for later 2018.

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Metro Exodus Returns to Grim Post-Apocalyptic Russia in the New E3 Trailer

Metro Light and Metro 2033 brought us a terrifying experience in post-apocalyptic Russia, and from the looks of Metro Exodus, we’ll be returning to those roots. With its stunning game cinematic game trailer that graced us today at E3, we can see two characters walking around without their masks on to protect from radiation left over from the bombs, and it looks like there are only a few areas where you can fully walk around without a mask. Bigger, deadly monsters lurk within the waters and now have giant wings, but they shouldn’t be an issue with your now-customizable weapons.

Pre-orders are now opened with a set release date of February 22nd, 2019.

Source: Microsoft E3 2018 Press Conference

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Wolf Among Us Season 2 Delayed Until 2019

Telltale graced us back in 2013 with its stylized version of Bill Wilingham’s Fables, entitled The Wolf Among Us. The story follows Sheriff Bigby Wolf and his quest to keep the peace among the fairy tale folk of Fabletown. When a murder takes place in Fabletown, it’s up to Bigby and his partner Snow White to set things right.

With Telltale’s beautiful graphics and amazing story telling, it left fans of the game wanting more, and in July 2017, Telltale did indeed announce The Wolf Among Us Season 2, set with a release date later this year. However, with recent changes in the company and the layoff of 25% of employees last year, Telltale announced today that Season 2 is being pushed back to 2019.

Telltale says they would like to explore new ways to tell their stories, while allowing them to experiment and craft something special. The extra few months provided by the delay will allow them to put forth their best work, and they are very pleased with how development is going so far.

Source: Telltale

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John Bain, TotalBiscuit, Dies at 33, Leaving Behind a Legacy of Game Criticism

Fans received the tragic news that John Bain’s, aka TotalBiscuit, cancer wasn’t going away when a Reddit post titled “My Future…” appeared on May 1st, 2018. The post stated that his options for cancer treatment had been exhausted and that he had little time left. He chose to retire from the game industry and spend time with his family for however long he had left. How much time that was, he did not know, and reality came crashing in last night when his wife Genna Bain took to Twitter to say “Rest in Peace my Dearest Love.”

Before his career as a YouTuber, Bain ran a
World of Warcraft radio show that won over the attention of Blizzard back in early 2005, which led him to later be invited to Blizzcon to cover the event. There he met his wife, Genna. In 2010, he was laid off from his job as financial adviser and around that time World of Warcraft: Cataclysm came out; seeing it as an opportunity, he began to make videos about it on YouTube. His career took off from there, and he joined Polaris in gracing us with videos such WTF is…, 15 Minutes of Game, and Totalbiscuit Suggests Trying. He also ran The Co-optional Podcast, a weekly podcast with Dodger and Jesse Cox about video games, with a special guest each week.

Bain was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014, and by 2015 he announced that the cancer was terminal. Even with the cancer Bain did not let it slow him down, continuing to work on his
YouTube Channel and The Co-optional Podcast until his retirement earlier this year. In the Reddit post, Bain stated that he wants his wife to take over his work and continue his legacy.

Source: Twitter

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