Review copy provided by the publisher
Calling is a Wii game that was released in March of 2010, and must have gotten lost in the shuffle of some of the bigger titles released that same month. But really, how well can a Rated T horror game possibly do? The Answer: Mediocre at best. When I first started playing the game was creeping me out, but after about an hour nothing was grabbing my attention. The gameplay, story, controls, and graphics all fall short, and ultimately we end up with a bad game.
Calling is about four people who wander around various rooms trying to figure out why ghosts keep calling them. The game is tied together by numerous cutscenes that everyone would probably care less about. The voice-over is awful, but this doesn’t make or break the game. At least the game has voice-over which I always appreciate.
However, the terribly voice acted calls come through the Wii remote speaker, which is where the problem lies. The low quality of the Wii remote speaker prevented me from getting into the atmosphere of the game even if I tried. There’s a bad phone calling scheme on a game based on phone calls called Calling. That’s a real shame. The only time the game succeeded in scaring me were during the initial ‘jump at you’ moments and some of the creepy Japanese imagery. After that wore off, there was really nothing left Calling had to offer.
The whole time playing through the game I felt no sense of danger. There is no challenge, except for maybe staying awake long enough while you wander aimlessly looking for doors and objects to trigger cutscenes. And the T rating made me feel that it’s not going to get any better. The game already creeped me out, how much more horrifying can it get with a T rating? I quickly realized I reached the climax of the game during the first chapter. Calling also tries to scare you with random faces in the mirror, faces after you unpause the game, and moving shadows. All of that is up to you all to decide if it’s scary or not.
The controls are fine when moving your character around. You basically have a dual analog set-up with the Wii remote IR pointer and nunchuck. It works well and you can make a quick turn around when pressing Z and C at the same time. Although, the controls do get a little iffy when doing some of the pointing and clicking stuff. Some of the click-able objects mesh too close together and cause a lot of unwanted clicking. You also shake and swing the Wii remote for certain moments. Shaking attacking ghosts off of you is simple enough, but the door swinging is a bit awkward.
The graphics are bad. The rooms are poorly lit and slightly better when you get a flashlight, but I rarely know what I am looking at. It’s a really ugly looking game, but it somehow plays into the atmosphere (if any) of the game very well. Most of the time I found myself asking ‘was that a ghost or just bad graphics?’ It was usually both.
For most games I have some words of advice to help get the game right for the next title, but this time I don’t. A Calling sequel would need to be started from scratch, and some blood would do some good for a horror title. Not a good game at all.
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Platform Reviewed: Wii
Release Date: Available Now
Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided by the publisher to DualShockers Inc. for reviewing purposes