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Call of Cthulhu review
by GameItAll

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

Other reviews4

Gameplay is pretty simple, this could've been a walking-simulator. To my surprise, the game is not even scary. I encountered two cheap jump scares though. Some of your choices don't seem to make any difference and exploring is just for the sake of finding more background information. The different skills you can put points in can change the path a bit. The investigation parts are also easy, as everything you need to find to proceed will be highlighted. The only action sections of the game, stealth and shooting, feel very glued on and shallow. Both pose very little challenge and just slow down your exploration a bit. Although I prefer that the game is more about exploring and investigating rather than shooting your way through hordes of enemies.

The graphics are good, as long as there are no characters on the screen. Animations are pretty bad and don't look very natural. But the areas you move through are well designed. For some reason having your current objective in the corner of the screen all the time was annoying to me, especially since the game is linear and not that difficult and no other UI elements are shown. Voice acting, music and sound effects are ok, but nothing memorable.

Since there are not too many games about cosmic horrors and I very much like the theme, I enjoyed this one even after all the complaints. The story is not complicated, but kept me interested and wanting to know how it ends (although, for lovecraftian horror there are usually only a few possibilities how the journey ends).
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Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Call of Cthulhu (no Spoilers) Foreword: I'm a great Friend, and especially Fan of H.P. Lovecraft. But this applies primarily only to the Bücher/stories. Story: The Story about the Protagonist is generally well told and cleverly Weaves the "Thread of Madness" to The end. However, the Game is bossing In front of Logic Gaps and suffers from the "hybrid" Gameplay. And yes, the Cthulhu mytos are "ripped on." The Story itself is told from a new, alternative Perspective. And the Story is really good. Get on top of it! Gameplay: The Investigations are Fun and tempt you to Explore. Explore, however, is not to be understood here as "OpenWorld." Call of Cthulhu is a "Hose adventure," which doesn't hurt the Game per se. "Brothers in Spirit," like the Sherlock Holmes franchise, show that all too well. And that's exactly what the Problem seems to be here. One notices too much to the Game that there were 2 Studios at work here (Frogwares with the Expertise "Sherlock Holmes" and Cyanide with the sneaking "STYX"). This is where 2 Worlds meet. Frogwares scores with the Series "Sherlock Holmes" with Immersion, Suspense and Puzzles. While Cyanides are the Experts in "Sneak Adventures" (STYX 1 and 2). Frogwares allegedly started the Development, which was later continued and completed by Cyanide. Unfortunately, you can see That very clearly in the Game. The sneaking And Hiding Passages are absolutely unnecessary and seem like a Foreign Body in the Game, that you are glad to have left them behind. Fortunately, these Scenes are rare in the Game. Skills: In Short – you can't "skill-" yourself;) There are always alternative Solutions. The Skills here act as a means to An end and do not say anything at all. Graphic: The Game is fueled by the Unreal Engine 4. However, the Developers seemingly did not understand how to use them. The Figures seem wooden, almost like wax Figures. I have to say in fairness that the Graphics here also vary greatly. In large Areas, the Look is consistent and fitting. In Buildings, however, the Charm fades very quickly. Does that Hurt the Game? Definitely not! To this day, "Sherlock Holmes" is Jack the Ripper "one of my favorite Adventures, which was not visually up to the Times even before (by then). Even if the Graphics are not comparable, of course, I also have this Flair. In general, the Game ran quite briskon on max. Details. Lovecraftian: And that's why I think this Game is good. "Lovecraft disciples" know what I mean. The Atmosphere is dirty, sinister and yes, it is in any Case "cosmic Horror." I Must also contradict the other Reviews: Yes, the Game has (so-called) tentacle. Other: The German Translation (Subtitle) is, in my Opinion, to be improved. The Description of the "Skills" is questionable. Nouns, case and Case do not seem to exist. It is the same with the Subtitles themselves: The Protagonist Says (Voiceover) something completely different from what can be read in the Subtitles. This confuses and is unnecessary. If you have connected a 360/XBO pad here, you may no longer be able to confirm In-game choices. I had the Problem for the first time on the "Globe." In this Case, Pivot briefly to the Joypad. Playing Time: About 12 Hours Of Ph 'nglui mglw ' nafh Cthulhu R 'lyeh wgah ' nagl fhtagn
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Sure, it isn't actually all that great - mostly because every technical aspect is incredibly rough around the edges - but if you'd watch a cheesy half-assed Lovecraftish movie even if you knew it wasn't great you'd probably play this game too.