I’m not taking much notice of videogames here, but the new Call of Cthulhu, released today, is so big it merits an exception to the rule.
The first reviews are out, for the major new videogame Call of Cthulhu (Cyanide Studios, 2018), which makes a serious attempt attempts to embody and package Chaosium’s Cthulhu table-top RPG game into a single-player narrative-driven mystery-horror videogame.
Big ambitious games such as this are best played on the PC desktop about 18 months after release, when multiple bug-fixing patches and mods have fixed their inevitable release-day problems. At that point there are often DLC expansion chapters to be had, and the overall price is cheaper.
But, on initial release today, the fan-boy and magazine reviewer sentiment seems to be broadly favourable. Though many of the (often spoiler-packed) reviews chafe at the usual Big Game gremlins…
* Unconvincing and stiff character animations, on characters that have to be low-poly so they can run on consoles.
* Characters are generic, and sometimes tell you about stuff that hasn’t yet happened in the game.
* Decent voice-acting, but some East Coast Americans may notice inconsistent dialogue accents.
* The stealth mechanics could benefit from a buff up.
* Some tiresome ‘key collecting’, a couple of annoyingly obtuse puzzles.
* Lacks ‘action’, for gamers who expect machine-guns and monsters every 30 seconds.
* The muted and gloomy colour palette and environments of the New England coast (Darkwater Island in 1924, standing in for Innsmouth) also spur some gripes, from those who might have preferred a more vividly-hued game.
But gamers are used to such things, and for a big RPG none of the gripes are really specific to this title. Generally the game looks like it’s made a fairly good landing on its first day, and is getting healthy amounts of praise. If the PC Windows version can be modded, and/or gets heavily patched (Cyanide Studios are good on that, I hear), infrequent game-players may well find that it’s worth a look this time next year. It’s probably likely to be more impressive to those who only play three games a year, than to the jaded seen-it-all-before types who play three games a week.