Call of Cthulhu Switch review | Switch Re:port
Switch Re:port covers the Nintendo Switch port/version of a game newly released on the platform. Call of Cthulhu originally scored 6/10 on PS4 Pro in October 2018.
When I played Call of Cthulhu originally, it was a promising psychological Lovecraftian horror. It didn’t quite deliver, but there were still an intriguing story and setting to explore, and now the Great Old One has made his way onto the Nintendo Switch. Assuming he is a he, given that he’s a massive tentacle monster. Anyway…
As private detective Edward Pierce, you are asked to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths of painter Sarah Hawkins and her family on the island of Darkwater. The police appear to be covering up something and Sarah’s father employs you to work out what really happened in the fatal fire at the Hawkins estate.
Upon reaching the island, complete with all the clichés of a 1924 whaling village, including the foggy coast and the hateful locals, you’ll have to explore the area and speak to the police and fishermen to gather information about the Hawkins family. It all looks like it did on the PS4 and Xbox One, just with lower resolution textures and a slightly worse framerate, which dips in more crowded areas like the starting area and more action-packed scenes. Honestly, considering it didn’t look or run particularly well even on the PS4 Pro, it’s hard to really complain about minor issues on the Switch version. It’s a fairly robust port really, given the difference in console power.
Having said that, the game really shines in handheld. On a TV it looks a little low resolution and even blurry in places, but on that small Switch screen it looks sharper where it counts and there’s a depth-of-field effect (whether intentional or a technical limitation, I’m not sure) that combines with the impressive lighting and just makes things look good. Well, as good as it can, when you’re looking at whale entrails and assorted fish guts. I also noticed the framerate wasn’t quite as choppy either, though it’s still not great, probably sticking somewhere in the 20-30fps range. As I said earlier, it does dip in some busy scenes, with one notable example being the end of chapter 4 when a chase scene might induce some motion sickness due to its lower framerate.
There are more than just framerate issues unfortunately, as its load times are really quite long. While you do only really see them at the beginning and end of each chapter as it transitions between locations and scenes, it can still be a good couple of minutes. Not particularly great anyway, but especially poor if you’re playing in handheld, where time means battery drain.
Call of Cthulhu is still a decent game though, with plenty of atmosphere and an intriguing story that does a good job of twisting and turning, keeping you guessing until the very end. Its detective mechanics work well and there are multiple paths, depending on how you level up your character traits. You can concentrate on Strength to force through puzzles, or Investigation and Spot Hidden to be more thorough and seek out extra information that may help later on. It all adds up to a game that feels more intelligent and thoughtful, even if its execution is lacking.
Long load times
Frame rate drops