Combat in The Callisto Protocol is brutal and fast, and can be a real challenge for new players trying to get to grips with its “up-close and personal” style. There are many mechanics to keep track of, all while managing your ammo, health, and GRP, and failure to keep track of any of those could spell gruesome doom for Jacob against the tough, dangerous biophage menace. Because of this, we’ve created this guide to explain how combat works in full and give you some helpful tips that will ensure you do more than just survive Black Iron, but dominate it.
The Basics: Dodging, Blocking, and Attacking
At its core, combat in The Callisto Protocol consists of only two actions: avoiding attacks, and attacking.
The most mechanic to master is the dodge. By successfully dodging enemy attacks, you can avoid damage entirely, and it opens them up to deadly follow-up attacks that can make quick work of them.
To dodge, all you have to do is hold your left stick to the left or right before an attack would hit you (or W/D on PC), alternating back and forth between directions.
You can’t press left or right too early, so you should basically always be holding left or right when in combat.
You cannot dodge in the same direction twice, so alternation is critically important.
Most enemies have combo attacks that will require you to dodge several strikes before they finish before you can punish by counter attacking.
Dodging can also make enemies vulnerable to your “Strategic Targeting System,” which allows you to get a free skill shot against the enemy which deals extra damage.
The other way to minimize damage is by blocking.
By holding down on the left stick (S on PC), you will block, and take drastically reduced damage from incoming attacks.
This will also prevent you from being knocked down or staggered.
Because this action can be held, it doesn’t require proper timing (unlike dodging) to perform, and so is a safer option.
After a successful block, you can immediately perform a low attack, which can knock an enemy down, giving you a huge advantage.
But Jacob is not a passive, reactive character: he can also go on the offensive. When attacking, you have a few options, but you only need to master two to start: your melee attacks, and your ranged attacks.
Melee is the most effective way to take on single combatants.
In melee, you can perform basic attacks by pressing the attack button, damaging and staggering enemies.
You can perform higher-damage attacks with your heavy melee attacks, which take longer to do but result in much more devastating damage.
They are risky to perform against groups of enemies, but are a very effective way to finish off biophage when you are one-on-one.
Ranged attacks are most useful against groups of enemies, or when you have an excess of ammunition.
To use these, you simply need to aim down the sights and then press attack to fire.
Different guns have different damage, stability, and ammo capacities.
In addition, you will unlock powerful “Alternate Fire” modes as you upgrade your guns.
You can swap weapons with either the left or right buttons, giving you great versatility.
Advanced Tactics: Alternate Fire, Skill Shots, and GRP
Once you’ve gotten to grips with the basics of combat, there are a number of things you can do to improve your deadliness even further, such as mastering your “Strategic Targeting System” (Skill Shots), using the Alternate Fire modes on upgraded guns, and — most devastatingly — using GRP to quickly eliminate enemies.
Strategic Targeting System
The “Strategic Targeting System” activates after you’ve successfully dodged a biophage’s combo.
After you have, a targeting reticle will appear on them, at which point you can aim and then fire.
This automatically locks on to an enemy’s weak point, dealing massive damage.
Since this takes only a single round of ammo, it is the most ammunition-efficient way to use firearms.
This ability is predicated on your ability to master dodging.
Every gun has an Alternate Fire mode, purchasable at the ends of their respective upgrade trees.
These can be performed by aiming with the weapon and pressing heavy attack button.
The Alternate Fire modes are, universally, extremely powerful, with each providing specific utility and increased damage potential.
While these modes often consume more ammo or have some drawbacks, they are useful in a pinch.
None of the Alternate Fire modes should replace a gun’s regular use, instead, they should complement its purpose.
Finally, there is your single most powerful ability: GRP.
GRP allows you to aim at an enemy or prop and simply pull it towards you, restraining them as you do.
Then, with another press of a button, you can fling the held object at tremendous speeds.
With upgrades, the launch velocity, amount of time you can hold objects, and rate at which GRP can recharge will all increase.
You can use this ability to chuck enemies off cliffs or into spikes and grinders, or to lob sharp objects and explosive canisters at enemies.
Since GRP recharges over time, you should be using it frequently.
So long as you remain aware of how much GRP charge you have left.
Tips and Tricks for Mastering Combat
Avoid using your ammo. Most enemies can be taken out with GRP or with your Stun Baton alone, and others can usually be taken out with one or two shots after being weakened by your other strikes. There are exceptions, such as against the Two-Head enemy type or when you really are stocked up on ammo, but generally speaking , you should avoid firing whenever possible.
Practice dodging. Even if you are stocked up on ammo, even if you can take out enemies without them getting close, that will not always be the case. Many enemies, especially later on, will demand precise dodge timings, and learning how to dodge will help you preserve ammunition and avoid damage. Because of this, you should spend the early game getting up close and personal with the biophage, getting the timing for the dodge down. It will serve you in the long run.
Upgrade your Stun Baton, GRP, and one weapon of choice. While Callisto gives you access to many different guns early on, and it might be tempting to upgrade them all in parity so you can easily switch between them, the fact of the matter is that your most powerful tools will always be your Stun Baton and GRP, and their upgrade trees are larger and provide more utility than any of the guns do. While you will need to keep at least one gun up to par with the enemies you encounter, you will get the most out of prioritizing those two powerful tools, at least until much later in the game when you begin to have an excess of credits.
Don’t Underestimate the Block. While blocking might seem like an inefficient way of avoiding damage compared to dodging, blocking allows for less precise timing and is a less risky choice. If you are surprised by an enemy, or feel your timings start to slip, successful blocks are far preferably to failed dodges, after all, and can still allow deadly follow-up attacks.
Prevent Mutations at All Costs. While you are fighting enemies, they will often sprout tentacles and begin to mutate. If they complete this mutation, they will come back faster, dealing more damage, and with more health. However, shooting those tentacles (remember all that ammo you should be stockpiling?) can kill the biophage instantly, preventing this transformation. Always be on the lookout for enemies trying to mutate, so you can stop them.
Stomp the Bodies. After you’ve dispatched your enemies, don’t just leave their bodies in your wake. Stomp them! This not only ensures they are actually dead, but it can also cause them to drop ammunition and other valuables. It is always worth stomping the bodies of your opponents, even if you have to GRP them over to you first.
Now that you know how to tackle combat in the Callisto Protocol, you might just survive long enough to escape Black Iron Prison. Best of luck, inmate. And happy stomping!
Share this article:
Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he’ll try. When he isn’t working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.