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5 Ways The Callisto Protocol Is Different From Dead Space

The Callisto Protocol
Image Source: Striking Distance Studios

5 Ways The Callisto Protocol Is Different From Dead Space

Now that The Callisto Protocol is here, we take a look at what makes this stand out from Dead Space.

Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield and his veteran team at Striking Distance Studios’ first big project, The Callisto Protocol, is finally here. Serving as a spiritual successor to Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol looks to tell a story focused on alien zombie creatures in the dark Black Iron Prison on Callisto. At first glance, it’s almost impossible to distinguish the two titles as they nearly run and play the same.

However, after spending extended time with the game, there are notable differences that separate the two from each other, and no, we’re not talking about the PUBG universe tie-in that got canned. Let’s take a dive into the horror and focus on five ways The Callisto Protocol is different from Dead Space.

Setting and Story

the callisto protocol in game screenshot

Right off the bat, The Callisto Protocol features an entirely different setting than what Dead Space veterans have experienced. Rather than being Isaac Clarke traveling through the haunted corridors of the USG Ishimura or the Sprawl, The Callisto Protocol throws players into the role of Jacob Lee, who manages to get thrown behind bars in Black Iron Prison on the planet Callisto. 

Everything is not as it seems as soon after he becomes an inmate, all hell breaks loose, and the prison becomes overrun by vicious mutant zombies. The setting itself breathes life into many different areas of what separates the two titles as players will find themselves entrenched in the theme of trying to survive the horrors held inside Black Iron.

It also leads to the difference in overarching plot points; Dead Space evolved into a fight for humanity due to the nature of the fearsome Necromorphs and their origins, while Jacob Lee is ultimately fighting to survive his horrific prison experience.


how to get the skunkgun shotgun in the callisto protocol
Image Source: Striking Distance Studio via Twinfinite

Strictly focusing on the experience outside of combat, the gameplay loop is much more condensed in The Callisto Protocol. As a former prisoner, Jacob Lee isn’t exactly equipped to take down mutant armies.

This is most notable in how the game has been designed; this experience is much more linear as Jacob’s sole goal is to get off of Callisto. Puzzles are less frequent than in Dead Space, although there are sequences where he’ll need to power up fuse boxes. One area that is vastly different is the upgrade system, as Dead Space fans will remember that Isaac Clarke could be customized to great lengths via different suits and node collectibles that would power up his different gameplay mechanics. It was an Iron Man fan’s dream come true.

The Callisto Protocol doesn’t have that, although there is a slightly similar mechanic where Jacob can upgrade himself via in-game currency called Callisto Credits. Take those credits to a 3D printer called the Reforge, and Jacob can 3D print weapons he finds via schematics, or print new chips to upgrade his GRP device. He’ll need all the upgrades he can get, as the combat is ferocious and punishing.


Is There a Difficulty Trophy & Achievement in The Callisto Protocol? Answered
Image Source: Striking Distance Studios

When Dead Space launched in 2008, the game heralded the idea of dismemberment and strategically severing Necromorph limbs to weaken them. Isaac would also manage to amass an arsenal of mining and standard military-grade weaponry to clean up. In The Callisto Protocol, Jacob is not granted that luxury due to his nature as a prisoner, and combat is a pure reflection of that sentiment.

Battling the killer monstrosities that lurk in Black Iron turn into a sort of dance of death. Foes will swing multiple times, and you dodge their attack by pressing the movement control either left or right. You do this for a few swings, then you will use your baton to unleash your combo at them. Provided you have a weapon, a well-executed combo can stun them and can be followed up with a quick shot from your equipped weapon. Combat is notably harder, as enemies are tank-like and can mutate into meaner variants if given a chance. There’s less off a focus on dismemberment here, and more of an all-out prison brawl.

Mastering said system is rewarding, as it feels like a more horror-inspired take on what similar titles like The Last of Us produced years ago. You can also expect to use Jacob’s GRP device to hurl enemies into spike-plated walls, spinning fans, or meat grinders that are abundantly, and conveniently, found inside the prison walls. Finally, there seems to be a much higher emphasis on stealth as you attempt to avoid some confrontations with the hellish foes and finish them off with a shiv to the head.

Necromorphs vs Space Invaders

All Achievements & Trophies in The Callisto Protocol
Image Source: Striking Distance Studios

***This part will contain story spoilers for Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol. If you have not played either title, please do so before you read this section or skip ahead. Otherwise, proceed through this section at your own risk.***

The most glaring similarity between Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol is that both feature a variant of killer space zombies looking to take over. Funnily enough, in-game, Callisto’s monstrosities function nearly identically, as they’ll scurry into vents if they aren’t finished promptly. 

Dead Space’s story begins with the Necromorphs taking over the USG Ishimura as Isaac is sent to the planet-cracker on a twofold mission: figure out the cause of the accident and find his girlfriend, Nicole. It later becomes apparent that the Necromorphs are part of something bigger and are connected to a mysterious religion called Unitology, who basically worship a strange artifact known as the Marker. The lore behind it is well-done; the Marker was supposed to save humanity, but it ends up nearly terminating it through the Necromoprhs.

The Callisto Protocol follows a different story path, although it’s nearly identical to what Dead Space created. In what turns out to be a government conspiracy, the higher powers wiped out a colony that discovered an ancient alien species. 

Following the previous event, the government built a prison on top of said colony and began experimenting with the aliens until an outbreak occurs. The prison’s warden is part of a cult that seeks to advance human society as a biological weapon, and it’s up to Jacob Lee to stop him.

Provided The Callisto Protocol spawns more entries, the story can significantly expand beyond the realms outside of the prison and explore the different colonies. 

Post Launch Support

Post launch support in The Callisto Protocol
Image Source: Striking Distance Studios

Finally, The Callisto Protocol takes advantage of the most convenient part of today’s service which is post-launch support. Leading up to the game’s launch, a Season Pass was announced, adding content such as new death animations and story DLC. The previously mentioned DLC is set to hit sometime in the summer of 2023, while confirmation on when the new death animations will launch is still up in the air.

Fear not those without the pass; you can take advantage of the New Game + and Hardcore Mode set to launch in February.

Any notable differences that we missed out on? Leave us a comment below, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our review of The Callisto Protocol.

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