Wii

North America

Calling

by Neal Ronaghan - April 20, 2010, 7:57 am PDT
Total comments: 1

4.5

Is this slow-paced horror title fun or boring?

Hudson has decided to throw their hat into the Wii horror game field with Calling. With a plot styled after The Ring and other Japanese horror films, it's focused on creeping you out with a spooky atmosphere, ghosts, and low-light settings. While the game succeeds on setting an unsettling, scary scene, it doesn't bring fun gameplay to the table, as most of the game is spent slowly wandering around different areas that all look suspiciously the same.

From a first-person perspective, players guide five different characters across different locales as they try to get to the bottom of The Black Page, a mysterious chat room that drags its chatters into the Mnemonic Abyss - the place between life and death. There is an entertaining story lying underneath everything, with requisite twists and turns along the way.

Unfortunately, the game is paced about as briskly as a snail crawls, since loading screens interrupt potentially creepy moments and ruin the momentum of frightening scenes. The puzzle solving, which is a big part of the game, also suffers from the same slow tempo. There are a few points in the game where it flows well, but these moments are few and far between, and you'll spend too much of the game waiting for something to happen as opposed to actually doing something.

Calling does make interesting use of the Wii Remote as a cell phone, though. The speaker on the Wii Remote is used to represent the phone's speaker, and you use the phone to perform many different tasks throughout the game. You'll be taking pictures and recording white noise with the best of them by game's end, but the phone isn't fun when you have to use the clumsy D-pad-controlled interface to dial a number while ghosts are attacking you. When ghosts attack you, all you have to do is shake the Wii Remote and press A to ward them off. This isn't scary or fun; it's just lame.

Ultimately, Calling falls flat. Its redeeming qualities, such as the interesting story and atmosphere, are neutered by its meandering gameplay. Horror fans might have a little fun with it, but it doesn't offer enough thrills or entertainment for anyone else to come out and play.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 8 6 4 6 4.5
Graphics
7

The lighting is good, and the characters animate well during cut scenes. However, when you control your character, everything looks very bland and unpolished.

Sound
8

The sound design is rather good, as the music takes a welcomed back seat to spooky noises that range from white noise to phone calls from ghosts.

Control
6

The first-person controls work in gameplay, but menus, maps, and the phone are all weird to navigate since you eschew the pointer for regular D-pad control.

Gameplay
4

The puzzles are sometimes fun, but it takes too long to complete them, and even longer to get to them. The slow pace kills whatever good will the decent puzzles create.

Lastability
6

If you get into the story, you can work your way through the game to see two different endings and collect all the unlockables along the way. However, that's assuming you can get past all of the game's faults.

Final
4.5

Calling is scary and has occasional flashes of goodness, almost escaping the game's Mnemonic Abyss, but its sluggish pace and boring gameplay send it right back into the abyss and a "Game Over" screen.

Summary

Pros
  • Interesting story
  • Scary atmosphere
Cons
  • Clumsy controls
  • Ridiculously slow pace
  • Unfocused gameplay
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

NinGurl69 *hugglesApril 20, 2010

Yup, it's on-par with Survival Horror's best, and is actually strong in atmosphere.

Survival horror games inherently aren't great, but specific audiences do get a kick out of them either for some non-gameplay qualities or its mediocrity; entertainment via witnessing trainwrecks.

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Calling Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Hudson Soft
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Calling
Release Mar 2010
PublisherHudson Soft
RatingTeen
jpn: Calling
Release Nov 19, 2009
PublisherHudson Soft

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