GameItAll's review of the game Call of Cthulhu
Oct 31, 2018
Recommended
The Call of Cthulhu Table Top RPG by Chaosium is unique for multiple different reasons. While combat and action pieces can occur, the game is mainly focused on detective work and keeping your sanity in the face of otherworldly creatures from Lovecraftian lore.

The series has never really translated over to a video game well, with the last attempt being Bethesda’s Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, which while attempted to be faithful to the source material, had major bugs that pulled out of the immersion. Since then the franchise has been rather dormant but Focus Home Interactive and Cyanide studios have attempted to bring it back with a new call to answer.

Players take control of Edward Pierce, a war vet and private detective, who is down on his luck as he has not been able to take on new cases and has turned to alcohol to ease the pain. That is, until a major case comes in and he is charged with investigating the death of the Hawkins Family, who died in a mysterious fire.

The Hawkins were a big name in their small fishing community of Darkwater – just off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts. The wife – Sarah Hawkins – was a well-known painter who was being treated for mental issues. Her paintings showed dark and disturbing creatures, which brought her plenty attention in the art world. Her death brought on a shock to those around her and the community and Pierce is asked to find out as much about her and the fire as possible.

Pierce agrees to the job and travels to Darkwater, here he finds an old whaling station which has its own problems, a group of bootleggers have taken over most of the port, the police are almost powerless to do anything about it, the sailers of the town are drunk and jobless. As Pierce gets closer to finding out the truth behind the fire of the Hawkins mansion, the closer we get to learning of a dark force set to release on the world.

There is plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep you interested in solving the case, this is mainly thanks to how well paced the gameplay is. Call of Cthulhu is a detective game first and throws itself into the land of stealth gameplay where hiding is really your only defense, and psychological horror as you begin to question your sanity against as you battle against the occult.

Thankfully the game gives you multiple ways to tackle these situations thanks to a specialized character upgrade system. Players can upgrade specific stats that will allow them to choose different outcomes to situations, for example, someone with the who has an improved Hidden Spot stat – players can find hidden clues in the world much easier, better Investigation skills will allow you to pick locks, and so on. Only two stats cannot be upgraded via normal means, which will be the Medical and Occult, these can be upgraded instead by finding Medical books and Occult items in the levels.

Despite this, Call of Cthulhu is a slow burn, focused more on telling a good detective story than delivering a game full of jump scares. Intense moments where the need of stealth feel far and in between from the predominant investigation gameplay that tends to be the focus point of the game. That being said, I’ve never found myself bored of my investigation as every aspect was filling in (or adding) blanks to tell the story.

While the environmental work is beautifully done to bring Darkwater to life, its residents I find could have used more work. I’ve found a lot of characters experiencing clipping issues where their hand went through their legs, or the mouth refused to open while the characters body convulsing and almost had a seizure motion (in my case he was also brandishing an axe). Sadly, my time with Call of Cthulhu was filled with these technical issues that will hopefully get repaired with a patch.

The sound quality of the game is also questionable, during my playthrough with important events, I found that important sounds like ripping and tearing, or blood splatter was unfortunately missing out of these scenes which really took the power away from it. Like with the visual issues I experienced, these happened frequently enough that it became noticeable but will hopefully be patched up.

Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu does a great job at staying true to the source material even if it takes things slower than most horror games. It tells a great story and presents enough choices that makes it interesting for multiple playthroughs. It’s unfortunate that some graphical and audio glitches keep occurring throughout which ruined my complete immersion.

If you’re looking for a different type of horror game, a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work or fan of the Table Top, Call of Cthulhu is definitely worth your time.

Review from https://gameitall.com/call-of-cthulhu-2018-review/
Based on the review copy on PS4 provided by Focus Home Interactive