The Callisto Protocol

Posted:  Dec 02, 2022
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Disclaimer: This is an initial impression of the game. Our review and recommended settings will be updated when we've completed a full and thorough analysis of how it performs on Steam Deck. Check back soon for our full analysis!


The Callisto Protocol is a new horror game helmed by one of the co-directors of the original Dead Space series. As Jacob Lee, you are thrown into Black Iron Prison, for seemingly no reason, right before it is thrown into complete chaos. Now, you must battle with ranged and melee combat and escape to safety, all while uncovering the secrets behind Jupiter's dead moon, Callisto. Will you be able to scavenge and upgrade enough to survive this hell?

You might, but you probably won't want to on the Steam Deck.

The Callisto Protocol is a bit of an enigma currently. If you look on Steam, there are definitely performance issues, which at first made me think this game won't run well. But the kicker actually can. For whatever reason, there are a decent amount of stutters as you play the game. This usually pops up when going into new places or getting into combat. I was able to reduce some of them by using Proton GE and the launch command that you can put in preferences:

DXVK_ASYNC=1 %command%

I actually do believe The Callisto Protocol will be playable decently on the Steam Deck in the future. With settings dialed down, and FSR 2.0 on Performance, I was able to keep 30 FPS, apart from the stutters, and battery drain around 12W - 17W. This makes me believe that this could be something patched to help with optimization or possibly the shader cache that will be built in a couple days. I will be coming back to check on the game in a couple days or once patches hit to update this.

There are a couple of other little grievances I have. You can't change graphical settings while in-game (you have to go to the main menu), the save menu text overlaps, tutorial text goes off the screen a little, vaulting or climbing requires semi-precise player positioning, and when you are pushing Y to open doors, it feels like it takes a bit too long to open the door. Once in awhile this is fine, but when it is 3 doors in a row, it can be a little annoying. It is most likely the game loading in the next areas, as some loading takes a bit, but it is a bit obnoxious regardless.

Overall, The Callisto Protocol has all the makings for an enjoyable title on the Deck, but the stuttering and a couple of the weird issues put together make this one I would wait a little for. This is another one of the games that, if I could, I would give 2.5 stars, but since I would wait on this one before purchasing, I am rounding down to 2. I do firmly believe the game can run and will be hopefully fixed through patches or the shader cache though.

The Callisto Protocol Screenshots:

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

The Callisto Protocol has the potential to run well on Deck, but can't quite do it yet.

Build Score

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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