"This title seems to be hitting every aspect of the tabletop game and could prove quite rewarding for fans of horror and mystery games. "
Adapting the pen-and-paper RPG Call of Cthulhu into a video game has already proven rather difficult. Bethesda gave it the old college try years back, but many agreed it was severely lacking and forced you into too many combat encounters that ran counter to the evocative world of H.P. Lovecraft. Thankfully, developer Cyanide seems to be on the right track if the preview for Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game during E3 2017 is anything to go by.
You play as Edward Pierce, a private investigator seeking answers related to an entire family's demise in Boston, Massachusetts. Your investigation leads to Darkwater Island, probably the creepiest and most gothic environment this side of Bloodborne's Yharnam. Our preview laid the dark colors on thick, with lots of eldritch greens to keep you guessing at what might be lurking in the shadows. Cyanide clearly nailed the aesthetic associated with H.P. Lovecraft's best tales, and that goes a long way toward selling this specific brand of horror.
Pierce's profession was on full display during our hands-off demo. You'll want to take your time and observe your surroundings, both because it will add to your understanding of the story, and because it will provide you valuable information that can be used in various situations. Pierce was able to avoid a potentially dangerous groundskeeper thanks to some useful knowledge about the deceased family and a few brash dialogue options. Players are rewarded experience points based on their findings and can use them to upgrade Pierce's deductive abilities just like the tabletop game. Maybe you should enhance your occult knowledge to keep you abreast on the devilish Old Ones, or maybe another point in "smooth talker" will let you bypass citizens standing in your way. Every NPC will have an opinion on Pierce based on your actions, and several can help in your investigation should you befriend them.
Our previewers shifted us forward a bit to a more "action heavy" section that, thankfully, didn't betray the classic roleplaying game in any way that should concern fans. We found Pierce in an art gallery surrounded by ominous paintings (of course), and eventually a not-very-nice creature came crawling out of the twisted nether with a hunger for private investigators. Call of Cthulhu doesn't feature any kind of combat, so you'll have to rely on your knowledge and investigative skills to overcome such obstacles. Our demo drivers assured us that you'll have multiple ways of getting through a situation, though I'm slightly nervous that things might prove a bit frustrating if you end up dying over and over again at the same point. Pierce also has to watch out for his sanity and any phobias that might end up killing him before some creature has the chance. In our demo, Pierce took refuge from the creature in a closet, but his claustrophobia could result in a fatal heart attack should he spend too much time cowering in such a small place. You won't be able to regenerate lost sanity, either, so it's a precious resource that must be managed carefully.
I was extremely impressed with our demo of Call of Cthulhu. This title seems to be hitting every aspect of the tabletop game and could prove quite rewarding for fans of horror and mystery games. It remains to be seen if the story holds up or just how dynamic the investigations can get, but color me intrigued about Cyanide's little experiment.