'The Callisto Protocol' Being Slammed With Negative Reviews On Steam

"The Callisto Protocol" is a story-driven, survival-horror sci-fi game that launched on December 2, 2022 on Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam. The game draws inspiration from gaming classics in the genre, like "Dead Space," as well as cinematic pieces, like "Alien." 

The plot centers on a pilot wrongfully incarcerated in Black Iron Prison, located on one of Jupiter's moons, shortly before the inmates of the prison start to turn into violent monstrosities. The game was highly anticipated before its launch, adding fuel to the survival-horror renaissance that seems to be happening.

There are many reasons why video games get bad reviews, but the main focus of bad reviews usually relates to poorly executed gameplay and mechanics, an in-game currency that turns it into a pay-to-win experience, bugs and poor performance, or simply failing to deliver a complete game. Some of these problems are, of course, fixable after launch through updates and patches. In recent years, game studios have become notorious for abusing the live-service model by delivering an incomplete or buggy game at launch, only to send out an update a few weeks later correcting some of the biggest problems. 

Disastrous performance issues that might have a fix

Despite its $59.99 pricing putting the game right in AAA territory, and the story and overall gameplay being quite well-executed and engaging, according to reviews, "The Callisto Protocol" for PC is riddled with performance issues. The game's Steam Store reviews tell a story of users frustrated with frame dropping and hitching, which make the game virtually unplayable, despite some of the reviewers playing on low settings, using some of the best gaming hardware out there. 

Curiously, one user, Ace of Karasuno, found that disabling VSync and motion blur "stopped the game from stuttering all the time," which is by no means a scientific result or a perfect solution, but it should at least give PC players anxious to play the game a ray of hope and a way to experience the game without suffering meager performance. 

These performance hitches seem to be an issue related to the game's PC optimization — perhaps a consequence of the development crunch that was widely reported shortly before the game's release. IGN's review of the game on PlayStation 5 makes no mention of the performance issues that seem to plague the PC edition, and neither does Windows Central's review on the Xbox Series X. While it's disappointing that the game couldn't get it together before launch, hopefully, the developer can rectify the performance hitches for PC in a patch soon.