Trust me: Play The Callisto Protocol on its easiest difficulty setting

The Callisto Protocol is out today and it’s receiving a very mixed response. Reviews criticized the survival horror game for a host of issues, including its messy combat system, weak story, and performance issues. I highlighted those issues in Digital Trends’ own review, though I ultimately enjoy its Xbox 360 throwback feel. However, if you’re jumping in this weekend, here’s a word of advice.

Don’t be a hero; play The Callisto Protocol on its lowest difficulty setting.

Before the “get good” chorus fires up, that suggestion isn’t about making the game easy. In fact, easy mode is going to feel like hard mode in this game. While you can start on one of its two higher settings, the game experience is going to feel much better and more balanced if you swallow your pride and dial it down.

Jacob Lee fights an enemy in a water treatment facility in The Callisto Protocol.

That’s due to the game’s somewhat messy and complicated combat system. In The Callisto Protocol, dodging is key. It’s so key, in fact, that it overrides your movement. When you’re close to an enemy, your left stick turns into a directional dodge that you’ll need to perform to duck attacks. The timing on those dodges isn’t easy to get the hang of, which can make the earliest encounters hard to get through initially. Switching to easy allows you to learn that system with a lot less hair-pulling.

Once you do learn it, though, I still don’t recommend boosting the difficulty back up. The combat system works well for one-on-one encounters, but it isn’t nearly as smooth when there are multiple enemies on screen. You’ll often find yourself surrounded by monsters, unable to run away because you’re locked into a dodge. You end up taking a ton of damage in The Callisto Protocol because of that and there’s not much you can do about it. Switching to easy at least allows you to tank more of those hits.

Don’t be scared that you’ll breeze through the adventure that way. I played the game on its easiest difficulty and still found myself dying to certain bosses and enemies dozens of times. The challenge is still there; it’s just more of a fun challenge than a frustrating one.

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