It’s no secret, I’ve been waiting to wrap my tentacles around Cyanide Studio & Focus Home Interactive’s game “The Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game”, I’ve waited patiently for the game’s release but the good folks at Focus Home Interactive gave me a copy, and all I can say about this game is wow!
First, let’s get the basics of the story out of the way. You play as a private detective named Edward Pierce from Boston. Pierce is tormented by constant nightmares that may be a result of the action he’s seen in the First World War, his lighter hints of his trauma with the engraving “Lost Battalion 10-7-18” implying Pierce is one of the 194 survivors from one of the most intense battles in WW1.
Self-medicating with bootleg hooch and sleeping pills, Pierce is approached by a wealthy industrialist to investigate the death of his daughter and famous painter Sara Hawkins. Hawkins died along with her husband and young son in a fire. She mailed her Father one of her paintings but the date postmarked on the package was AFTER her death leading the Father to suspect something’s amiss.
Pierce is now on Blackwater Island, a factious island off the coast of Boston. As soon as he arrives, there are clear signs of unease on the island as fishermen discovered a mangled corpse of a killer whale (that’s not native to the waters around the island) seeing it as a bad omen. To add to the tension there’s a gang of bootleggers on the island and as Pierce digs further…something more sinister lurks in the shadows and is at the center of his investigation.
If you’re someone that likes mystery, adventuring, and finding clues, this is your game! As Pierce, you have to find clues that will help you interact with characters which in turn can give you points towards upgrading some of Pierce’s skills that will, in turn, help you further your investigation.
At times Pierce will have to use a special ability that will allow him to piece together events at certain locations that will help him understand what he’s up against. Also during these moments, Pierce may be able to locate certain items involving the fields of Medicin and the Occult which add points towards these skills that can only be upgraded by finding these items in the world.
Due to Pierce’s fragile mind, he’s prone to panic attacks at certain moments that make it hard to control him, when this happens you must get him away from what’s triggering him as fast as possible.
The world is pretty dark so you’ll need to rely on Pierce’s lighter that provides a little bit of light or an old hurricane lamp, which has a limited time of use as it will burn through oil (which you’ll need to refill) while the lighter is unlimited but will burn Pierce’s hand putting you back in darkness for a couple seconds.
The only complaint I have the of the game is the character models of the extras, they look a lot alike, almost as if they’re clones and during cutscenes, the mouths don’t seem to be animated for the dialogue.
The game is amazing! The story is intriguing and keeps you wanting to play. The atmosphere is pure Lovecraft. The music makes the mood perfectly, the sound effects add the tension. Controls are easy to learn and not complicated making it easier to spend more time enjoying the story than fumbling around with your controller.
As I played I’ve noticed some Lovecraft Easter Eggs relating to some of Lovecraft’s other words. There’s a reference to the Chief of police on Blackwater, his surname is West, as in “Herbert West The Reanimator”, while investigating you find a copy of “Frankenstein” which Lovecraft wrote “Reanimator” as a homage to Marry Shelly. After discovering these I’m looking forward to finding others!
Overall I’m pleased with this game, it’s a literal dream come true. There have been Cthulhu games in the past but this one I feel digs deeper into the murky depths of the Lovecraftian lore than others. With the unease atmosphere, easy controls, maddening visuals, investigative gameplay, and keeping true to Lovecraft’s works and building up to meeting with the great dreamer himself; Out of five stars it’s a 4.5 but if you’re like me and are willing to look past the character model issues and animations, it’s a 5!