Call of Cthulhu E3 Impression

I normally detest scary or jumpy games, but I adore Lovecraftian mythos, and I have been looking forward to the upcoming Call of Cthulhu game. I sat down excitedly for the hands-off demo of the title, where we were introduced to the private investigator we would be playing in the title and shown his otherworldly powers. Edward Pierce can slip into a “dream-like” state, where he can see slightly into the past and he uses his skills to figure out what the heck is going on.

Examples used during the demo was Pierce noticing a painting that should have burned up in the fire which was instead found whole; a bottle on the floor, indicating someone had been drinking; and a smear of blood, indicating someone had fled the room before the fire took hold. Discovering these critical story beats unlock future conversation options — but in the world of Cthulhu, you can know too much, so deciding when to quit is crucial as well. In fact, at one point the presenters were keen to impress upon us that Pierce will go mad by the end of the game, and that there is no way to regain sanity; it is all about managing how quickly you go around the bend.

The game has an experience system as well as a skill system, and which clues you can track during the dream-like state will depend upon the skills you have invested in. There are ten skills in total; ones mentioned in the demo included Forensics, Psychology, Lockpicking, Strength, Eloquence, Spotting, and Investigation. During the searches, a question mark will appear in the bottom left corner, which indicates there are still clues to find — but the player can still back out at any time and continue with the story.

  

How you speak to people can change your relationship with them; as the demo proceeded we met a police officer, who we could politely suggest that a recent fire was an arson, or rudely tell that him that the police had botched the investigation. This would directly affect our relationship. Depending upon which clues were found while investigating, other conversation options are unlocked to bring up with him as well (such as the alcohol bottle or the blood). The game also autosaves at very regular intervals, so you are locked into your choices — no save scumming allowed!

With four endings total, including a definitively bad ending as well as a “happy” ending, RPGamers can expect to spend 10-12 hours per playthrough making a variety of choices while going slowly mad. Though the game doesn’t have a release date currently, it is due to arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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