User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 201 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 201
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  1. Jul 9, 2014
    1
    With Call of Cthulhu (COC) appearing in so many "Top 100 Games Of All Time" lists, and as a huge Lovecraft fan, I was eager to play this game.

    Many people have discussed the game's instability and bugs, particularly on newer systems. This is all true, but the game's most major problem is poor design, pure and simple. The game commits numerous cardinal sins of game design that make the
    With Call of Cthulhu (COC) appearing in so many "Top 100 Games Of All Time" lists, and as a huge Lovecraft fan, I was eager to play this game.

    Many people have discussed the game's instability and bugs, particularly on newer systems. This is all true, but the game's most major problem is poor design, pure and simple. The game commits numerous cardinal sins of game design that make the whole experience a frustrating mess for the player.

    When the game works, as it does occasionally, it is extremely eerie and atmospheric. In particular, the hotel escape is an excellent recreation of a sequence from Lovecraft's writing. Some of the gameplay choices, such as the sanity system, are also quite daring. Unfortunately, the game's moments of brilliance are all too few and do not make up for its horrendous failings.

    Additionally once you acquire weapons the game attempts to become Half-Life, but without Valve's finesse. The shooting destroys the game's tension and the dialogue and design also seem to go downhill from this point. That parallel is not accidental by the way - if you know Half-Life, you will see some *very* similar areas and puzzles in COC.

    Here are some of the major flaws with this game that will make you tear your hair out:

    > Poor level design: A non-intuitive mess that will leave you wandering around levels aimlessly for hours. For instance, doors that you have previously tried and were locked will suddenly become open-able after you complete a seemingly unrelated task (e.g. turning the gas on in the next room).

    > Poor game design: Jumps that can only be completed from a precise angle. Objects that take five clicks to be picked up and added to your inventory. Traps that require in-human micro-second timing to avoid and are instantly fatal.

    > Poor puzzle design: Puzzles frequently require items to solve them. That sounds simple, but the game doesn't tell you what items you need, or even that what you are looking at is a puzzle at all. For instance, you might come across a heavy grate. If you have missed the crowbar earlier in the level (easily done thanks to poor level design and muddy textures) then you cannot open the grate. You will simply think this route is a dead-end and have no idea you need to find a crowbar, unless you read an FAQ. It's even possible to progress to a point where you cannot backtrack to get an item you need, making the puzzle unsolvable!

    To illustrate just how appalling these design problems are, here's an example of a typical COC experience. At one point in the game I spent about two hours trying to move past a street with several enemies in it. I tried sneaking. I tried fighting. Nothing worked. The reason? One of the enemies was invulnerable. Deliberately. This was how the designers chose to stop the player progressing in that direction. Instead of blocking off the street, they created an invulnerable enemy that looked like any other. As a result, many players will literally be throwing themselves against a brick wall. It turned out that I needed to pick up a certain object earlier in the level and then progress through a different area - but there was nothing to tell me this - no hint that I needed the item and no sign that the other route was the correct one. Welcome to COC!

    Add to these issues a waypoint saving feature that forces you to replay large sections when you die, unexpected game crashes and plenty of unavoidable "instant death" moments and you have a recipe for pain and frustration that will test your sanity more than your character's.

    All this leaves you facing two major irritations. One is that you will simply become lost, not knowing where to go or what to do next, and wander aimlessly until you stumble on the way forward by chance. The second is that you will know what you need to do, but the game's poor control systems will not allow you to do it. For example, you may need to crawl under a broken fan with split-second timing that takes 7-8 attempts - and each attempt requires you to reload and replay through the entire previous area.

    Bottom line: COC is not a diamond in the rough. It is a diamond in the septic tank, and I wish anyone who wants to try it the best of luck digging it out. If you are eager for the plot, watch a play-through on YouTube. Avoid this game at all costs.
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  2. Dec 30, 2011
    4
    It had a fantastic story but was ruined by frequent crashes. The no HUD is good for immersion but it would have helped so much during the times when i was getting shot at.
  3. Dec 26, 2011
    0
    I despise giving a game based on Lovecraft works a 0, but that's all I can do for this miserable pile of bugs and nonsense. Usually I can ignore bugs and compensate to deal with tiny issues, but this game was full of (as much as I hate this term) game breaking bugs. First off: CRASHES GALORE! I have never seen a game crash this much, even when it was patched. You can't alt+tab and comeI despise giving a game based on Lovecraft works a 0, but that's all I can do for this miserable pile of bugs and nonsense. Usually I can ignore bugs and compensate to deal with tiny issues, but this game was full of (as much as I hate this term) game breaking bugs. First off: CRASHES GALORE! I have never seen a game crash this much, even when it was patched. You can't alt+tab and come back or it crashes. I know this because of the many times I had to (regrettably) look at a guide for the game because what you were supposed to do was so incredibly unclear and ridiculous that I had no other option. A random crowbar the same color as the texture it's sitting on in a random location that is necessary to progress? Check. A conveniently carved out hole in the middle of a solid wooden crate for you to crawl through to get behind an enemy gunner? Check. The final blow for me was at the first appearance of a real monster: a Shoggoth. Straight out of Lovecraft, terrifying as hell, aaaaand bugged. To pass it, the monster must attack you with it's tendril, which is supposed to stick in place so you can run past the spot it was blocking. Instead, half of the time it will one shot you, the other half it won't stick, it'll just go back to the default position instantly and get you stuck. After 3 days of constant frustration, this is where I quit. The shooting is also absolutely horrendous (I felt like I was playing the first Medal of Honor game, but worse), and unfair (instant death by headshot is incredibly common and unpreventable). The only good thing about this game was the horror elements; The sanity effects, the eerie mood, the sounds, everything was pure Lovecraft and it was fantastic. Sadly, I never got to experience it in full, because between every 5 minute horror sequence was 2 hours of frustrating, buggy shooting and nonsense. So disappointing. Expand
  4. May 13, 2011
    2
    I couldn't figure out what the heck this game wanted me to do and was confused and frustrated right from the beginning. The art design seems great and the inspirationg from HP Lovecraft is awesome, but this game is just not any good. It's a real shame that it has to be such a vague, confusing, and bland adaptation of great ideas.
  5. ave
    Feb 11, 2015
    3
    I bought this game years ago and never finished it. I bought it back on Steam and played it again, confident in my ability to finish it.

    Since I read all Lovecraft novels as a teenager, and I appreciate today both first-person shooters and adventure games, this one started with the exciting promise of a truly horrific adventure game. The first 2 hours of the game put me in the mood,
    I bought this game years ago and never finished it. I bought it back on Steam and played it again, confident in my ability to finish it.

    Since I read all Lovecraft novels as a teenager, and I appreciate today both first-person shooters and adventure games, this one started with the exciting promise of a truly horrific adventure game.

    The first 2 hours of the game put me in the mood, with some thrilling and engaging moments in the retired city of Innsmouth. Unfortunately, I reached the "wake-up-in-the-hotel-at-night-and-get-the-hell-out-of-here" sequence in which I had to perform an escape with a non-human level of cold blood and accuracy.

    At first I told myself "Now, that's pressure! These guys aren't joking!" but after a dozen of attempts (assorted with the pain of viewing the preliminary cinematic) I ended up thinking it was a mix between sadism and sabotage.

    In a wicked way, the developers prefered to humiliate me instead of challenge me. Maybe some players do have the necessary level of insanity to pass this point, but this kind of test is not for me. The sad thing being that I could consider myself the target audience.

    So if you're a masochist gamer looking for a game that can torture you, this one is probably a great start.
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  6. Sep 3, 2012
    3
    I only dream of what this game was supposed to be. Originally, this game was supposed to be a much larger, non-linear RPG-type storyline, including more characters and locations, as well as a co-op system for up to four players. This would have enabled players to pick one of four characters and carry out their own investigation independently or team up with the others. A multiplayerI only dream of what this game was supposed to be. Originally, this game was supposed to be a much larger, non-linear RPG-type storyline, including more characters and locations, as well as a co-op system for up to four players. This would have enabled players to pick one of four characters and carry out their own investigation independently or team up with the others. A multiplayer version of the game would have allowed for on-line deathmatch battles in specifically designed levels. A lot of other features, such as high environment interactivity, were also scrapped due to budget and time constraints and problems with the level design. Multi-player would have drawn a larger interest from the PVP/PVE crowd who don't like single player games to enjoy with their friends. A larger RPG element and environment interactivity, along with editing tools would have created a community continuously willing to improve game play, graphics and providing new content to explore. This game has neither element. It's heavily scripted and very linear, with only one path through the chapters from start to finish. Lots of good things can be said, its scary, eerie and creepy. The sound quality is nice. Lovecraft's work in it. The graphics look nice. It has a small fan base to patch it well enough for playability, relative to other games currently available. The vanilla version is buggier than Virginia, USA in the summertime. The learning tutorial is non-existent, so you simply have to dive into the key mapping to know what you are doing. It's not the next best thing to propel the thriller/horror based video game genre to a whole new level. I am sad that Bethesda Softworks had anything to do with its release, because it's nothing like Skyrim or Fallout. It's Bethesda 'light'. No light deserves to be in a Cthulhu game. Expand
  7. JackH.
    Jun 11, 2006
    0
    If you want a terribly linear game with unskippable and extremely long cinematics that doesn't allow you to save, this is for you.
  8. TheMagicalHippieKiller
    Aug 9, 2007
    3
    This game was not very well thought out at all. First off, the sanity level was completely useless most of the time. At first it was entertaining, but then you realize that most of the shocking imagery that you must avoid to keep your sanity detracts from the over all feeling of horror. You find yourself walking by corpses, not looking at them, and that actually makes the whole scenario This game was not very well thought out at all. First off, the sanity level was completely useless most of the time. At first it was entertaining, but then you realize that most of the shocking imagery that you must avoid to keep your sanity detracts from the over all feeling of horror. You find yourself walking by corpses, not looking at them, and that actually makes the whole scenario seem not as intense, not that I am a sicko and like to stare at mutilated corpses. I just feel that instead of the screen going crazy and the character killing himself, I feel that I myself would feel freaked out enough. Not to mention, this character has every single phobia in the book. He is afraid of heights, which is annoying because there are some parts where you need to look down to figure out on how to get back down to ground level. He has claustrophobia, which is a pain because you have to travel through vents. Had this been toned down in some areas and peaked in some areas, it would have been more enjoyable and freaky, rather then terribly annoying. The game is also easier to play on the x-box, being that the aiming is much easier. On the computer, the aiming is much harder, and very annoying. The ironsights aiming in other games, such as Red Orchestra, are far superior. It seemed as if I was playtesting a basic, earlier version of the game, in which all the bugs were not worked out yet. Trying to shift your aim slightly is near impossible, not to mention you cannot aim to great when leaning around corners, something that is possible, and I have done it while playing paintball. It can be done. The stealth would be better if you could move faster, instead of crawling slowly, and the stealth is near impossible at points because the game is so linear that you find yourself trying to hide while you and an enemy are both in a very tight hallway. It is much easier to overcome the whole idea of not killing every creature in a survival horror, which makes you not feel as fearful, being that you just blew away everything you are supposed to be afraid of (Food for Thought: Wouldn't killing everything affect your sanity more then looking down a ladder that goes down about ten feet? Wouldn't that kind of make you a gun toting psychopath? Especially if you beat them to death with Gordan Freeman's crowbar?) Many people complain that the NPC's are morons, and not the greatest fighters, even when armed, but this actually makes sense, don't you think? This is not some well trained army that you are fighting, just a bunch of idiot hicks. However, I did not think there be would be much gunfighting, more like shooting hordes of insane monsters with needle teeth and curved claws. And now, THE DAMN WALKING!!! What the hell?! There are man times where all you can do is hope that you are lucky and that you be able to run, ahem, WALK out of that collapsing building or away from the monster that can kill you with one hit. I could not beat the game until I read on how to hack the game and turn up the movement speed. Seriously, I think that is the only way to beat this game. The no HUD thing is pretty cool, as well as the health system (medkits only contain medical supplies such as splints, stitches, bandages, morphine, etc. which must be applied to a specific wound; your arm gets cut, bandage of stitch it, broken leg, limp to a safe spot and use a splint), but the game is far from realistic. First, why the hell can you not pick up guns from dead enemies?! How many times can I break my arm in a day?! I thought the damage through the whole game would accumulate or something, but now, once stick a splint on a broken limb, it magically is fixed and good as new, which is ridiculous. And back to the game be linear: it is annoying, and if you manage to do something very small yet outside the script, the whole game just freaks out. The game is loaded with an insane amount of other bugs, which can severely limit your experience. If this was a mod, I would be very surprised and more approving that a small independent team managed to make this on almost no budget. However, this was supposed to be a professional and well made game, and it simply wasn't. This is a game for people who are not associated with any of Lovercraft's work (because even so-so fans would s*** themselves at some of the more insane happenings later in the game) and want to have more of a semi interactive horror movie experience. That's how I think of it, as a movie, not a game at all. Expand
  9. Aug 1, 2013
    0
    So many bugs and the gameplay is boring and agonizing. I'm not sure how anyone could rate this game above a 1, with the amount of times you die because you go into an area with no escape due to bugs it's plain unplayable. I completed the game only because it was highly recommended by a friend, but I hated it all the way through.
  10. Aug 4, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I see this game as practically a prototype for survival horror games that have come since penumbra, amnesia, etc… although not in a good way but it does win points for it, like the first types of aeroplanes. The graphics are good for its time of release (but if you’re using a newer graphics card you might want to read up on installation) however the light effects are in summary “dark and light” this ruins a few of the stealth elements when there’s a light on and your staring eye to eye with an enemy that doesn’t notice you 2m in front of him. The gameplay is hit or miss depending on the level, the stealth and shooting is fine but without a sprint options all the chase scenes look like a corny silent film chase. Once you get the crowbar/guns it goes from being a Lovecraft survival horror game to Half Life in 1920’s New England, start off with the crowbar companions the die off all the time government conspiracy with alien portals better weapons industrial facility stationary claw/arm monster alien sea world vs. alien space world alien tech final boss that’s both easy and a letdown.

    Also there’s a game breaking glitch at the boat level when you need to shoot the island’s sages on PC with new graphics cards.
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  11. ChrisP.
    Oct 25, 2006
    0
    Too dark, too frustrating. Maybe if you like HP, but I never read anything by him.
  12. Espltd
    Feb 23, 2007
    2
    DISSAPOINTING with a capital D When I found out Bethesda had an action survival horror type game out I jumped on this. I was immediately encouraged by the look and eerie feel of everything the lighting ,sound, intriguing story, all seemed to work real well. Then I waited and kept waiting for some action to start.... waited some more... through horrendously long cinematics. Then ohh cool DISSAPOINTING with a capital D When I found out Bethesda had an action survival horror type game out I jumped on this. I was immediately encouraged by the look and eerie feel of everything the lighting ,sound, intriguing story, all seemed to work real well. Then I waited and kept waiting for some action to start.... waited some more... through horrendously long cinematics. Then ohh cool some action starts but wait.... I have no way to defend myself, not even my bare fists. oh well I ll just run from the fishmen for know I m sure I ll find a knife or stick or something soon..... I gave up when I was a third of the way through the game still without any means to make all this running and hiding more fun, though at least they load you up on bullets for the oh so non existent guns. All I can imagine is that some fairly talented game designers worked on the graphic / story portion, and a crack team of baboons was put in charge of the actual gamplay / control portion of it all. Don t get me wrong I enjoy a solid story immersed within a game, it definitely makes a game worth playing. But when it makes the thing so linear I feel more like I m watching a movie than playing a game... well thats just not enjoyable. Far and above worst game I've ever played! Expand
  13. TadasN
    Jun 19, 2009
    3
    Terrible shooting, very, very weak main character, the little variety of enemies. Disapointing. The beginning was interesting, but later game become clownade.
  14. Sep 13, 2014
    0
    Lots of ppl recommended the game, despite lots of awful bugs that happen often. Funnily enough, I didn't encounter any, except for some crashes (handful through entire playthrough). But that's not the problem: the whole rest is. Pretty much everything, from mechanics, controls to "brilliant" inventions (sanity meter isn't much more than pointless curiosity) is **** up. Game is so horribleLots of ppl recommended the game, despite lots of awful bugs that happen often. Funnily enough, I didn't encounter any, except for some crashes (handful through entire playthrough). But that's not the problem: the whole rest is. Pretty much everything, from mechanics, controls to "brilliant" inventions (sanity meter isn't much more than pointless curiosity) is **** up. Game is so horrible I practicaly had to force myself to finish it, and uninstalled it instantly afterwards. This is pretty much Chaser of the horror games. Yes, I am not exaggerating. Disgrace for this pile of turd to even mention H.P. Lovecraft as the source material! Expand
  15. Nov 27, 2016
    0
    I intentionally created an account to add one more negative feedback and write this:
    It's not worth even a minute of your lifetime.
    I don't want to dive into details. It's all written above in the Negative section. And be sure it is all true.
    Do not create another Gestalt. And if this game is already one — just read Wiki or watch some youtubers.
  16. Apr 14, 2018
    0
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaf
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. PC Gamer
    55
    Fans of the Cthulhu Mythos may go straight to heaven with such a faithful adaptation of Lovecraft's spine-chilling years. Others may find that Call of Cthulhu drives them to the mountains of madness. [July 2006, p.55]
  2. An undeniable effort. It can be fulfilling and mightily rewarding, but there are too many frustrating moments to say it’s a classic.
  3. 70
    Despite the occasional missteps, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a more than fitting tribute to its literary inspiration. It's also a great way for fans of real horror to give themselves the heebie-jeebies for a dozen hours or so. Just don't play it late at night, alone.