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What The Callisto Protocol doesn’t teach you about its vague melee combat

When all else fails, turn on the auto-dodge

Jacob swings a baton at a weird mutated human in the Callisto Protocol. Image: Striking Distance Studios/Krafton via Polygon

The Callisto Protocol puts a strong focus on melee combat. Your baton is your most trustworthy tool, especially with how quickly you can run out of ammo. That said, the sci-fi horror game’s dodging mechanic can be quite confusing at times, and it’s hard to predict exactly how each enemy is going to behave.

What follows is a rundown of how melee combat works in The Callisto Protocol, alongside some pointers that’ll help you dodge properly in almost every situation. Bonus: You’ll get some general tips about The Callisto Protocol’s combat too, coming from a seasoned player who has been killed in dozens of gruesome ways before sitting down to draft this article.

Jacob gets eaten by a mutated human in The Callisto Protocol. Image: Striking Distance Studios/Krafton via Polygon

How to dodge properly in The Callisto Protocol

Yes, the dodging mechanic in The Callisto Protocol is explained to you with a quick tutorial screen. But that’s just the theory. In practice, things are a bit more complicated, especially when you’re surrounded by multiple enemies.

If you need a refresher, here are the basics: Every time an enemy is about to hit you, you can hold the analog stick to either the left or right side for a chance to dodge the upcoming punch, kick, or slice. You don’t have to time this in any way — as long as you’re moving to either side, and you’re holding down the stick, it will count. If you hold the stick backward, you’ll block instead, which is an action that can be upgraded in different ways, too.

Yes, it may not always work as intended. It’s hard to know exactly where to move on each occasion, as some enemies will interrupt your action regardless of direction. The strategy I found, if you’re able to actually pay attention to the enemy in front of you before the attack, is to move toward the direction of their strike. So, if the enemy is throwing their arm toward Jacob’s right, dodge to the right as well, accompanying the attack so you can dodge alongside their movement.

The problem with dodging is that you don’t always have all the time nor health in the world to stand around and avoid all enemy hits carefully. While you can learn the patterns of each enemy type after a while, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and some hits come at you faster than you can react to them. Blocking is a good alternative — depending on the upgrades you’re using, you may only get a few scratches out of a tough encounter. If you’re going against just one enemy, try to practice for a while and see what their patterns look like. If you look at their legs, that’s usually a good indicator of where the attack may come from.

Now, you can also dodge in the opposite direction of an attack, and it almost always makes for a successful avoid maneuver. But if you want to make sure, just follow the enemy attack. That being said, depending on the difficulty you’re on, some foes are really predictable — for the Two-Headed, for example, you can just keep on dodging to the left to avoid all of their attacks. So long as you’re actually facing them when they happen, that is.

Jacob shoots a mutated human in the Callisto Protocol. Image: Striking Distance Studios/Krafton via Polygon

With combat, even though fire weapons have a clear advantage, I found that melee is often a great offensive. Going for a heavy attack to an enemy will give you a brief window to chain a few light hits right after, and you can then dodge and repeat the steps, or finish the enemy off with a few shots.

That said, with some foes, you need to keep the distance before going for that powerful but slow heavy attack, as you may leave yourself open to an enemy hit. Sometimes it’s best to wait for the right opportunity, or to start off an encounter by shooting an enemy once before storming in with your baton.

Or… you can just enable an option to dodge automatically

If you want a more straightforward method for dodging in The Callisto Protocol, you can opt to always dodge automatically. This option is available in the accessibility menu of the settings screen, and makes it so you’ll always dodge every upcoming attack as long as you’re moving to either side.

It’s not a complete advantage, as you still need to be facing an enemy and holding down the stick to either left or right. But, at the very least, you can rest assured you won’t be harmed when you do so. If you’re stuck in a bad situation with scarce ammo or healing items, activating this option might help — plus, you can switch it on and off at any time, and it won’t affect anything. Listen, the game’s sense of dread is overwhelming enough on its own.

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