The Callisto Protocol was already criticized before today's release: the accusation was that elementary content of the survival horror game was hidden behind Season Pass and DLCs from the start. At the start, however, negative reviews address a different topic: the game just stutters on the PC.
In terms of content, it's okay, technically one Catastrophe
On Metacritic, the first game from Striking Distance Studios, newly founded by publisher Krafton, achieved a metascore of 75 points in the case of the PC version; the user score won't start until noon tomorrow. The horror title is generally said to offer a dense atmosphere and opulent gore effects and to be seen as the spiritual successor to the Dead Space games. However, The Callisto Protocol fails to convert this potential into an actually outstanding horror game, in particular the combat system is not fun at all. In addition, the story isn't particularly compelling. Since the game is also of rather short duration and offers hardly any replay value, most reviewers refrain from recommending it.
The verdict of Steam users is much more drastic. On Valve's platform, just under 30 percent of the approximately 3,000 ratings are currently positive; The Callisto Protocol is “mostly negatively” received. The reviews also highlight the aforementioned weaknesses in the content of the title and, in the case of the German voice output, translation errors and unemotional speakers, but technical problems are decisive: “The Stuttering Protocol”, it is sometimes said, just stutters along. It doesn't matter whether ray tracing is used or not and which graphics options, which API or which hardware is installed – even with a GeForce RTX 4090 (test) the game is simply not fun due to the poor performance, angry buyers explain.
This is probably a known problem
The frame rates are obviously not even bad – with a GeForce RTX 4080 (test), for example, in the Ultra preset and in UHD, apart from isolated frame drops, three-digit frame rates can certainly be achieved. The Callisto Protocol still stutters, among other things, the shader compilation is held responsible. The problem with frame pacing is a constant companion when Unreal Engine 4 is used and has often caused frustration in the past.
It is not a problem on consoles to add shaders that have already been compiled to a game, since the hardware on the systems is always identical – accordingly, players of the PlayStation or Xbox versions do not report such stuttering. As is well known, things look different on the PC, so the shaders are usually always compiled on your own system during the game. In the case of The Callisto Protocol, this is evident in some disruptive hackers, which recently also affected Stray (test), for example. At that time, a patch after the release made things better.
Without such an update, The Callisto Protocol on the PC is currently not only not worth recommending, but de facto not playable, numerous Steam users complain. It is currently still unclear whether and when such a patch will follow – developer Striking Distance has not yet commented on the problem.