The Callisto Protocol

The Callisto Protocol: Final Transmission

Striking Distance brings the story to a close with this expansion, and we make a verdict...

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I really like The Callisto Protocol. I like Jacob as the main character, I liked Dani, I liked the dark past of the space prison, I liked the atmosphere and the mood.

I also liked playing The Callisto Protocol. The game's mechanical dedication to heaviness, to weight and to meaningful yet responsive movement was something I enjoyed throughout, and the combination of sparse ammunition, solid upgrades along the way and the game's GRIP system was also something I really appreciated.

Not everyone felt that way, though, so I played through it again on New Game+ after that update came out, and I was only confirmed in my subjective praise, so there you have it.

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I start this way because Final Transmission is mechanically and structurally more of the same, so if you don't like the base game, there's really nothing here to convince you that the game is anything other than what it still is. Yes, the new Kinetic Hammer replaces the old Stun Baton, and it feels great to use. There's more punch behind every blow, and it also works pretty well on the new Biobots, which are a solid addition to a relatively versatile arsenal of enemies.

The Callisto Protocol

Now that the game can switch between Biobots and different kinds of mutants, there's a slightly more varied pace too, and combined with a number of hallucination sequences here and there, Final Transmission seems to have addressed the concerns some players had after completing the campaign back in December.

You once again play as Jacob, who is still trying to escape from the Black Iron Prison, which is still filled with bloodthirsty mutants and is about to explode. Dr. Catherine Mahler offers Jacob a way out, and that's all I want to spoil.

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And yet...

You know what? I'm going to have to go a little deeper into the ending of the expansion, which also serves as a kind of overall ending to The Callisto Protocol in general, because I was so angry, so insulted, so disappointed after watching the end credits run across the screen.

So now I'm giving you an opportunity to turn your nose the other way, to experience Final Transmission for yourself, or just do something else.

The Callisto Protocol

Are you still here? Okay, so even though Final Transmission takes place after the main game's actual ending, this isn't actually an "extension" of the story itself, because it's all, it is all one, long, dream.

Jacob was torn apart in the Warden's Tower at the end of the main game, where he sacrifices himself for Dani. His mutilated body is used as a last resort for Mahler to upload data from Callisto, apparently so that the Warden or some vague authority can find out what happened so that the same thing can't happen again elsewhere. Jacob just hangs suspended, half dead, and the final scene of the expansion closes with the rest of the Black Iron prison falling down around the ears of a now satisfied Mahler, and half of Jacob's body. It's so utterly unsatisfying that it's almost comical. The hours you've just spent, the whole marketing behind the expansion - that Jacob is alive and you can save him - is just a big cop out, a lie. This isn't brave storytelling, it's a total undermining of the player's journey. There's a reason why you generally never do the "oh, it was all just a dream" thing, because the player, or viewer, feels like their engagement has been used against them, and that's certainly the case in an expansion that lasts at least 4-5 hours.

Final Transmission is more of the game I really like, but Schofield and company's way of exiting Jacob, of closing the story, is depressing to say the least, and if you're more cynical, it's actually shameful. I'm giving it a 5 because it's still more content, which I enjoyed towards the end, but then again, it's really worth no more than that.

05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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