Norah is ill, and her husband Harry is missing after having gone searching the world for a cure. After receiving a mysterious package, Norah decides to go to the place Harry was last known to be — an island off the coast of Tahiti. Call of the Sea bills itself as a Lovecraftian mystery game, and whilst the first person adventure puzzler is clearly influenced by the writer's work, it falls short on the mystery front.
There are six chapters that have you traversing the island, finding clues to solve puzzles, and ultimately reveal the whereabouts of Harry and the secrets behind Norah’s mysterious illness. The puzzles themselves are really what sell the game, the ideal blend of challenging and achievable. As Norah explores her environment, she’ll scribble notes that'll help solve puzzles for each chapter. It’s quite frustrating that you can’t look at these notes while in a puzzle; you have to exit to see them each time. It's not an issue for more simple puzzles, but for the more complex ones it’s a bit of a headache.
The travel logs that Norah collects add a lot of context to the story, unravelling the fate of Harry and his crew and giving life to the island. It can be a lot to read, and it doesn't feel like the best way to unravel such a rich story, especially with so many missable items. The story itself is entirely predictable, and the characters are largely forgettable — you don't spend enough time with them to really care about their fates. At the end, the game gives you a choice, and there’s a kind of "so what" feel to the decision. It ultimately makes for an irrelevant choice, as it’s hard to care either way you go.
Aesthetically, the game looks really pretty and is totally evocative of its 1930s setting. The game is plagued with hammy dialogue that makes it feel totally campy and like an old B-movie, but not altogether terrible when coupled with the Lovecraftian influence it draws on. Call of the Sea is a mostly fun puzzle game that falls short on the mystery it tries to have you unveil. While it looks aesthetically pleasing and ticks a lot of boxes for its period setting, the story is lacklustre and predictable.
I did enjoy The Witness so will give this a try when i finally catch up on my other games.
@The_New_Butler I agree, contextually, this is a solid 8 for fans of walking Sims with light puzzle elements. If only review scores were variable depending on player preferences, much like Metacritic user reviews only in a perfect world without the 'extremes/review bombing/trolling'.
I enjoyed this on Xbox earlier on in the year. One or two puzzles can be head scratching but overall not too bad. If you like walking sims and Lovecraft you'll get a kick out of this.
It's a fair review - I possibly liked this game more than the reviewer, I think its setting and story/lore were intriguing and it had a very neat spin on lovecraftian horror. It also never outstayed its welcome. Personally I'd put it at a 7 but I can understand some of the criticisms made.
I need to play this before its removed from GamePass. It looks gorgeous, and I find it intriguing.
I enjoy these kinds of games and find the review and 6/10 score accurately reflects my experience. There are plenty of better and more interesting games in the genre.
Just picked it up, currently 20% off if your a PS+ member 😎
@Kang81 It shouldn't leave for a while yet but it is definitely worth giving a go for "free". If you are into achievements/trophies, once finished you can replay chapters to pick up anything missed.
@TJ81 @The_New_Butler A 6 isnt that bad isnt it? But then again it reads more to a 7 if i hear the critici but in the end a reviewer only puts his personal opinion out and thats something we need to accept.
I’m interested in this as a pretty walking simulator. I don’t care about the puzzles, which are just obstacles to me, not the main course. This has a 79 meta critic score on PC so I think it’s safe to say I’ll enjoy it
Edit: Hoo boy do I wish they let people know what the differences between PS4 and PS5 versions were. Can’t find that info anywhere.
Wow, this score feels waaay to low for me. The story that unfolds, the beautiful landscapes. I loved every second of it and completed it 100% on Xbox.
Some keep saying is too slow, but for a predictable puzzler 6-7 is perfectly fine.
Also agree a 6 is slightly on the low end for me too, but not outside the ballpark, can easily see why someone else could score it that. The review is accurate though, I enjoyed the plot more and liked the characters via the good voice work.
A solid 7 - 7.5 here. Enjoyable while it lasts, well judged puzzles, not too easy or hard and an interesting, if predictable, plot that doesn't outstay it's welcome. A promising first game for the studio, look forward to seeing what they do next.
For reference I played it on Game Pass - I feel it's easier to rate games like this more favourably when it's included/"Free" but the £12.79 with PS+ is fair.
@Total_Weirdo It's far smaller and more plot driven than The Witness, it's not in the same league imho. But it's also not as obtuse as the Witness, the puzzles are larger and less numerous here, but much easier. Not too difficult or too hard.
@The_New_Butler Then again i found some fun in Dear Esther esspecially the second walkthrough with commentary. 😁
I actually loved Dear Esther, and I'm not even sure why. Walking through the caves was hypnotic, though.
@themightyant I also played on Gamepass and it is true that maybe that affects your opinion since I thought it was a nice little game. I obviously wouldn't consider price. All in all though I think the game is above average but these type of story games are all about connection. I liked it but I can totally see otherwise.
@Flaming_Kaiser Dear Esther is still a masterpiece. The combination of story, location & voice acting wrapped up with a memorable score still make it stand out even today. The icing on the cake is the visuals and world, it still feels stunning almost a decade after release. A more unique and real place to explore than most games nowadays.
@LordSteev Totally agree , Dare anyone to name me a more memorable cave
All in it's a bite sized movie length experience that, as the final words in the game prophesized, I will continue to "come back" to.
@themightyant My favorite is Days Gone and if you try a good one try is Blackwood Crossing i loved that one so much.
@LordSteev I liked the game a lot but would have loved a little bit more interactive gameplay. The story was great and the i loved the developer commentary a lot somehow it was quite nice to play through it again.
It's weird. The game engine was not at all what I'd call state of the art, but the memorable vistas they produced with it were truly amazing. The caves were my favorite caves of any caves I've ever walked through in any game, and games seem to have a thing for caves in general, so that's saying something!
Also loved the slow-motion freefall at the end.
Yes, it definitely was a walk-a-thon, not really any interactivity to it, but it was short and at least remained interesting to me. I've played through it twice, but haven't done it with dev. commentary on yet. I'll give that a try.
@LordSteev 100% agreed the engine was not revolutionary but what the team at The Chinese Room did with it was simply breathtaking. Pure artistry.
Artistry, indeed! After I finished it, I was impressed enough to look into The Chinese Room and see what else they've made. Have you ever played Everybody's Gone to the Rapture? I've seen mixed reviews/thoughts on it, but I've seen it on sale for as low as 9 bucks on the playstation store, and I think I'll pick it up as soon as it's on sale again.
Love to hear your thoughts if you've played it, and as for Dear Esther, best $2.99 I've ever spent!
@LordSteev As you liked Dear Esther there's a good chance you'll like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture too.
It's visually even more stunning, photoreal in many ways of a fictional English Village. In terms of place it is truly memorable and wonderful. Like Esther it has an interesting story you have to piece together (no spoilers), great voice acting and amazing music again by Jessica Curry.
That said it's a harder sell than Dear Esther which was mockingly called a "Walking Simulator" on release, a term that stuck and has become a positive to some, and spawned the genre. However if that is true Rapture is a crawling simulator, the movement speed is painfully slow, probably true to life.
To be clear there are sensible reasons for this; to let the story be told, to let the score play, to let you actually experience the space rather than just move through it, but it is frustrating at times when you just want to get through the gate in the distance. I still really enjoyed it despite those caveats, but I can see why some wouldn't have the patience for it, definitely worth a play for the right price.
@LordSteev Just checked the PS store and in the UK at least it's on sale for 50% off - £7.99. Worth a punt! It's another piece of game Art.
Thank you much for the skinny on Rapture. I think I've found a space in my make-up for games like these, just have to be in the right mood/frame of mind to enjoy them. Sometimes, you just want to sit and let the game play itself and take a break from all the action. I played Dear Esther at a time when I was burned out by what I was playing, and it was almost therapeutic in nature. I'll pick up Rapture and see if it does the same. The price is right, and I feel like you're almost getting something besides a game with The Chinese Room. Thanks again!
@LordSteev "and I feel like you're almost getting something besides a game with The Chinese Room."
You most definitely are, it is more akin to an experience or art.
The devs spoke about this pre-release, how they knew they were making something many wouldn't like but were confident in their vision to go ahead and make something different. While it's not without it's faults, or detractors with fair points, I hugely applaud that conviction. We need more visionaries in gaming who want to break the mould, even if it fails you learn.
And I wholeheartedly agree about the therapeutic nature of games like this.
All this chat... I've actually just redownloaded it and will get back to it in due course. Apparently it runs great on PS5 as it was an unlocked 60fps running at 25-35fps on PS4. Now, supposedly, a locked 60, winning!
Enjoy, and let me know how you get on, whether good or bad.
"You most definitely are, it is more akin to an experience or art."
Yes. Or a mood, or even a frame of mind, which is where good art takes you. I have lots of respect for what TCR did in Esther. It wasn't about mashing buttons, and really I don't even know that you could call it a game. They were just able to set such a perfect tone...it was a demonstration of mastery. Music, visuals, monologue, all coming together to do exactly what they wanted it to.
I hope 60fps doesn't ruin it, sort of like 'colorizing the classics', lol.
Good chatting with you, and I'll let you know what I think of Rapture, although it may be a few months since I just finished pre-downloading the Mass Effect Trilogy, which I look forward to re-living in one go over the foreseeable future!
@LordSteev Agreed and no worries, you too.
And fully understand the backlog, am on the fence about dropping a hefty chunk of Microsoft rewards points on the ME Trilogy, but not sure I have the head space right now.
@LordSteev Try Blackwood Crossing that one is great and Days Gone i loved that one.
Blackwood Crossing looks interesting, I'll look for a sale on the PS Store and give it a try. Days Gone, I tried twice. Bought it when it was first released and tried it again when PS+ gave it away to see if I liked it any better after the patches, but I just couldn't get in to it.
@LordSteev Find all the notes it makes the story way better.
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