After the first trailer I was immediately intrigued by Call of the Sea. The first-person game combined with a daring and striking artistic style immediately caught my attention. And then, of course, there is the dark and irresistible mystery at the heart of the game. After months of screaming, my call was finally answered.

Call of the Sea is a first-person reconnaissance adventure set in the 1930s. You play the role of Nora Everhart, a brave woman suffering from a mysterious illness. Her husband, Harry, had gone on an expedition to find a cure for her illness and never came back. After receiving a strange package containing a picture of Harry, a ritual knife and the coordinates of a small island for Tahiti, she goes back on the trail of her husband and his crew. But she soon realizes that this island has many secrets of its own that only wait to be revealed.

Scattered photos and papers give Nora an idea of what happened to Harry and his team.

Being a first-person shooter, Call of the Sea reminded me of the Myst. Although most puzzles are quite natural and not so difficult. Puzzles are by far the strongest part of the game. Everyone feels like they really belong in the game. During her journey Nora will encounter ancient structures and ruins with which she will have to interact in order to open a path to the future. She will also have to try to overcome the obstacles and attitudes left behind by her husband and his team. By solving the puzzles in this way, they feel like a natural extension of their journey, rather than a misplaced obstacle that prevents them from continuing.

The ancient ruins are both beautiful and fascinating.

However, it is important to remember that a game like this is only as good as its plot. Fortunately, Call of the Sea as a whole remains intriguing. I was a bit nervous at first, when Nora basically just resets the exposure every time you have to deal with something, but fortunately that only happens during the prologue. As the game progresses, she makes comments and observations about things, but they seem much more natural to her. She even records important information in her diary, which makes solving puzzles much easier.

In each chapter there are secret elements that all refer to something of H.P. Lovecraft’s work.

Call of the Sea wasn’t quite what I expected, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It is a game steeped in the history of H.P. Lovecraft, but surprisingly it is not a horror game. There are moments of discomfort and obvious deterioration in mental health, which is a staple food for Lovecraftians, but for most it is a mystery, a love story and a journey of self-discovery. After a while I discovered that I didn’t care that there were no strong horror elements, because I was still invested in finding out what had happened to Harry and his team. Not to mention to solve the mysteries of the island itself. Even though the result of their adventure is clear from the beginning, it is so well written that one remains interested in losing it until the end.

The story also sells itself through strong vocal performances. Sissy Jones and Yuri Lowenthal play the roles of Nora and Harry respectively, and it is their acting that makes their deep connection. Cissy Jones in particular has a more difficult task because a large part of the game is carried on her shoulders. In addition to the richly illuminated introduction, she paints Nora beautifully as an intelligent and tenacious adventurer whose independent spirit and keen observation make her a charming heroine.

Much of what Nora learns about the history of the island is represented in the murals.

The mysterious tone of the game is due to both the music and the artistic design. The music fits well with the atmosphere of the other world of the game, creating an atmosphere of fantasy and wonder. The artistic style is brilliant and daring, each chapter is very different from the others. Although technically it’s not exactly a graphic miracle, the slightly caricatural artistic design helps to hide some of the areas where the developers have had to reduce their efforts. There were a few times I got stuck in the area and had to reset my last checkpoint, but these were rare. It should also be noted that Call of the Sea suffered from framerate drops during the first release, but a patch corrected this problem and my reading remained at a stable 60fps.

And I know where it leads.

The call of the sea wasn’t quite what I expected, but it’s not bad. It surprised me in many ways. If the end was preconfigured very early on, the writing was so strong for the rest of the story that I still find it fascinating. The voice playing is very well done, as is the background music and artwork. The puzzles weren’t too difficult, but they were a lot of fun and made you feel like you were part of the game. I strongly advise you to try Call of the Sea, especially now that it’s on Game Pass. This is a call that must not go unanswered.

The bold and dynamic artistic design is striking and varied throughout the game. You could say that they had to take the bend in some places, but the slightly caricatural work of art hides many weaknesses. This is a first person adventure game with a variety of puzzles. The puzzles look organic and are not unfairly difficult. However, there are some insects that will leave you in the area.
The music corresponds to the fantastic, extraterrestrial tone of the game. The most important vocal performances of Sissy Jones and Yuri Lowenthal are of first-class quality. Call of the Sea is a game that catches you from the start and won’t let go until the credits. The puzzles are fun and varied.
Last block: 8.0

Call of the Sea is now available for Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X.

Tested on Xbox Series X.

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