Friends, in all honesty I played around with the idea of writing this entire review as a case file, similar to what you experience in the new Call of Cthulhu game by Cyanide and Focus Home Interactive. Then I realized you having to read what would amount to fan fiction would strain your sanity far more than my usual articles on the site. So this review for Call of Cthulhu will be a little more straight forward and if you wish to avoid minor spoilers I’ll sum up my feelings on the game itself – If you are fan of Chaosium Inc.’s exceptional pen and paper role-playing game you will be very happy. If you love the type of slow burn ghost story like in 1980’s The Changeling, you will again be happy with Call of Cthulhu. If you however are looking for an action game where you find yourself slinging lead at Deep Ones – you will be disappointed – fighting against monsters isn’t what Lovecraft tales were all about.
Image courtesy of Chaosium Inc.Chaosium Inc.
As for the story in Call of Cthulhu you take on the role of Edward Pierce, a private investigator in 1924…who has had better years. Not only is he a veteran of the first World War but he has resorted to abusing sleeping pills as well as alcohol to help quiet the demons within his tortured psyche. Although the horrors of the war have nothing to do with the bizarre and frightening dreams he has begun to experience – a cavern…cultists and otherworldly dangers.
When we are first introduced to Edward we find out that while he may in fact be a crackerjack private investigator – he has spent more energy in drinking and trying to get sleep than taking cases. So much so that the Wentworth Detective Agency he is with threatens to fire him if he doesn’t start landing some paying cases. Which is naturally the perfect time for a high-paying gig to land in his lap, an investigation from the Father of the celebrated artist Sarah Hawkins. An artist known for her disturbing artwork as well as how she and her Family were tragically killed in a house fire. Stephen Webster will pay a good deal of money to Pierce if he will travel to the island that his Daughter lived on with her Son and Husband and find out the answer to the mystery of her death.
Edward takes the case and soon travels to Darkwater Island where events of the artist’s demise are thrown into question. From the islanders who all but openly shun newcomers to the less than pleased Police force of the island who aren’t too happy you are doubting their reports of the accident – there is much for Pierce and the Player to try and uncover. The menacing mood, the slowly building vibe of something not being quite right with Darkwater Island as you investigate the Hawkins Family in the game is superb. Cyanide really delivered a video game that captures that delicious feeling of dread you get from reading Lovecraft’s best work.
However, that isn’t to say that the game is 100% perfect – although few games are, right? Call of Cthulhu has an incredibly strong story, the Player will probably feel like they are actually revealing the truth of Darkwater Island and the Hawkins Family like peeling a rotting onion. I’m playing the game on the Xbox One and to be blunt some of the graphics for the characters are rather weak – if I’m forced to choose one nit to pick. Thanks however to a skill list that affects certain exploration or dialogue choices and the addition of puzzles (None too challenging) you will have plenty to keep your attention occupied off the graphics of the characters. The truth of the matter is with all of those elements coupled with the strong story narrative and multiple endings – the game in mine eyes is a definite winner. If you are a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft you should think about picking it up on Xbox, PC, or the Playstation 4!
Now then, why not see if this trailer for Call of Cthulhu doesn’t…ahem…call to you?
[Via] Focus Home Interactive
For what it might be worth – in my playthrough as Edward Pierce, I had him confront the dangers and cosmic horrors as a sober soul…who traded the pills and alcohol for the more tantalizing knowledge hidden within the forbidden…and sanity-shattering lore of the Cthulhu mythos!
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