The Callisto Protocol is officially out today, and that includes the PC version. As PC players know too well, playing games at launch on their favourite platform can feel like a roll of the dice.
The technical state of PC ports is hard to ascertain ahead of launch, and many typically find out how the game is going to run on their system on release date. In this case, at least, it hasn't gone well.
As you'd expect, The Callisto Protocol owners on Steam wasted no time sharing their frustrations about the PC port, even before they get into any gameplay or design issues they may not enjoy. At the time of this writing, the game has close to 3,000 reviews with an overall Mostly Negative rating.
As it stands, 68% of reviews of The Callisto Protocol are negative, hence the rating. Considering the game has been out for less than a day, this is not a good start.
The main culprit appears to be the game's performance on PC. A number of reviewers claim they're running the game on optimal hardware that should net better results. Outside of the frame drops themselves, the game appears to stutter randomly and often, leading one player to call it The Stutter Protocol.
Stuttering issues are typically CPU-related, which is interesting in this case given that the game uses the much derided Denuvo DRM, which has been proven to cause similar issues with other games.
For GPU-intensive scenarios, The Callisto Protocol does offer a form of image reconstruction in the form of AMD FSR 2, though not Nvidia DLSS. According to a number of reviews, FSR 2 does not appear to offer much of a difference.
This is especially true when enabling ray tracing, which many have opted to disable to achieve a stable performance, despite having the hardware to run it.
"I am running a 3080, and this game constantly drops frames all the way into the 20s. The very first cutscene i was getting constant frame drops and only got worse from there. During gameplay got even worse," one review reads.
"Currently I can't even walk through the opening area and turn a corner without stuttering on a 3080 with ray tracing off. Performance is not good at all right now," another found.
One player recommended turning off motion blur and v-sync for a stutter-free experience, while others suggested playing using DirectX 11 rather than 12.
The worst part of it is that the game may not be worth the trouble (and troubleshooting). In our Callisto Protocol review, Dom called it a "dead frustrating space," and it sounds like many others in the press agree.