Game Review – “Call of Cthulhu” (2018)
|Based on Chaosium’s RPG of the same name, “Call of Cthulhu” quickly gets to grips with its main theme – your character’s slow descent into madness.
In the finest of pulp traditions you play an alcoholic PI, Edward Pierce, and it is your role to investigate the mysterious death of the Hawkins family at their imposing mansion in 1920’s Boston. Based on a point-and-click mechanism, much of the game suspends disbelief by building ever-increasing levels of madness, and this directly affects your sanity.
Despite a great pitch and eldritch build up, this is a far from perfect game. There are no other characters to play other than Pierce and the RPG element comes from slotting bonuses to his skill tree. The result is that the voice acting comes across as somewhat wooden and stilted, and doesn’t always match the facial animations.
Replayability comes in the form of conversations that have selected questions that cannot be revisited. On the one hand this does promote replay value, but on the other hand, it is frustrating as you cannot exhaust all the options on a single playthrough.
The plot is fairly linear, and given that this is supposed to be showcasing the current generation of games at their apex, the world feels constrained and narrow – this isn’t Skyrim. In a similar vein, there are not a myriad of side quests – I completed this game in a little under 16 hours, which for $60 is a bit of an ask when I know the Red Dead Redemption 2 will keep me going for months for the same price.
For those criticisms, there is much to praise here. The environments are finely detailed and labyrinthine in design. The music score is simply phenomenal. The sense of mystery lingers long after the final credits have rolled, and I did find myself wanting to play again almost immediately.
However, in an era when Triple-A titles are hotly contested, “Call of Cthulhu” just misses out with both a boring and fiddly control mechanism, some wooden voice acting, and a short campaign time.