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First Impressions: Calling

Posted by Corbie Dillard

One call you might want to take.

For those of you who love a good scare or just enjoy a playful romp through the latest survival horror title, Hudson's got just the game for you. In fact, they were even kind enough to send us over a preview build of their upcoming horror release Calling to check out and we have to say, this is easily one of the spookiest titles to hit the Wii console to date.

As the game begins, you'll see an internet chat playing out with various people talking to each other about a mysterious black web page that will supposedly allow people to speak to the dead. The next thing you know, you're waking up in some abandoned and rather rundown bedroom with no recollection of how you got there, or even where there is. You know, your typical survival horror storyline kicking into action.

You're quickly given a tutorial on how the various gameplay mechanics work in the game, along with a cell phone that you'll be using on a fairly regular basis. You move around using the analog stick on the Nunchuk attachment. You can hold down the "Z" button to run or give it a quick double-tap in order to turn around quickly. The "C" button will allow you to crouch, although you cannot run while in the crouched position, something to keep in mind as you're creeping through the many dark hallways in the game. You pan around using the Wii Remote pointer that appears onscreen as a red dot. You can look up, down, or side-to-side, and once you have the flashlight in your hand, you can point it around to help you see in the many darkened areas you'll find yourself in.

When the red dot is placed on certain objects, it will turn into a magnifying glass that will allow you to examine them in more detail. You can also use the pointer to open doors, even having to shake the Wii Remote back and forth in order to pry open some of the doors that are stuck and don't want to open upon first inspection. Of course you can give a quick press of the "-" button for times when your cell phone rings, something that plays a very key role throughout the game, at least if you want to survive.

The main goal of the game is survival. You won't be carrying around any type of firepower to speak of, rather you'll be forced to rely on your wits and some very crafty Wii Remote wielding in order to survive. As you roam around the areas in the game, you will be attacked by ghosts and spirits. Your character has a Horror Meter, closely resembling that of a heart monitor, displayed on the screen. Each time you're attacked by a ghost, your Horror Meter will begin to climb. If it turns red and reaches a certain level of horror, it's game over.

There are two ways to get away from a ghost. You can press the "A" button at a specific moment when an icon appears onscreen, or if you miss this, you'll have to shake the Wii Remote from side to side repeatedly in order to scare the spirit away. Of course, you'll have to hurry before your Horror Meter climbs too high. You can make your Horror Meter go down, but you'll have to stop moving and rest in order to do so. Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done once the ghosts start coming at you more frequently and aggressively.

The control of the game is very intuitive and easy to pick up, even with only the basic tutorial at the beginning of the game. You'll be running around the various areas of the game in no time, and the challenge ramps up quite smoothly as to not overwhelm you with too much too soon. There's also never a shortage of things to examine and areas to explore, so don't expect much downtime throughout the adventure. There's definitely a deliberate pace set by the game and it aims to keep things moving along, and that includes you.

Visually, Calling is a bit streaky. There are some areas that look very detailed and others that look a bit bland. As weird as this might sound, given the game's setting, it tends to work quite well to display the dismal and dimly-lit areas of the game quite well. Truth be told, you're not going to have too much time to sit back and admire the surroundings anyway, so it's certainly not really anything to complain about in the overall scheme of things.

If there's one area of Calling that truly stands out, it's the audio presentation. Not only is it some of the absolute best Dolby Pro-Logic II surround sound available on the console, but it's also some of the spookiest. The thundering bass and rear sound effects will make you just about jump out of your seat every time the game tosses a surprise your way. And when you couple this sense of surprise with the quiet and creepy ambience of the game, it can make for a rather nerve-wracking experience and one definitely not for those who are easily startled.

Calling is a game that's flown under the radar for the most part since its announcement by Hudson, but after a few hours with the game, it's safe to say that this game will likely be quite popular among survival horror game fans and those who can appreciate a scary, but rather gripping adventure. About the only thing we could find to complain about was the fact that the preview build eventually had to end and we found ourselves left wanting more. Now comes the grueling wait for the March release, but one that will likely be well worth the wait if this preview build is any indication of things to come. It's definitely an upcoming Wii release to keep an eye on.

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User Comments (17)

Objection

#1

Objection said:

Sounds like an intriguing approach to the genre, and it does sound scary/suspenseful but I'm still not sure if it sounds fun to play.

kevohki

#2

kevohki said:

Hmmm. Reminds me of Fatal Frame. Looks interesting, but I'm not digging the quick-time events (Press BUTTON now or fail) or excessive waggling for ghost escaping. Good sound design is essential though, I'm glad that is shaping up nicely.

Ravage

#3

Ravage said:

It might be a little scary for me, I can watch the movies, but can't play the games lol

odd69

#4

odd69 said:

Is having no weapons and a cell phone the newest trend for the survival horror genre? Didn't Silent hill for the Wii do the same thing? Though this game sounds like they might have tweaked the formula a bit.

Vendetta

#5

Vendetta said:

Thanks for the first looks, Corb. Sounds like you enjoyed it. I'll look forward to more info as the release date nears, and will pick it up if it stays on track.

Donatello

#6

Donatello said:

I have a feeling this game will get nailed with a 7,
And honestly, the whole long haired asian ghost thing is getting stale.... The Grudge movies and Ju-on films may have had some creepy moments(and lame ones), but it's seriously played out.

. Anyways, you wanna know what's freaky? Rachel's deformed scary looking sister off of Pet Cemetary, not that's creepy! ;p i couldn't sleep after experiencing that when i was a kid.lol

Sean_Aaron

#7

Sean_Aaron said:

Sounds pretty cool. I'm not a big fan of Adventure games, but games like this Cursed Mountain and Silent Hill are my exceptions to the rule.

outrun2sp

#8

outrun2sp said:

looks good. Another one to add to my horror collection. If its better than ju on its already gonna be good.

Definately gonna be getting this one.

Sneaker13

#9

Sneaker13 said:

I love adventure games and I love survival horror games. So this is a perfect match for me. Can't wait.

BlueFlameBat

#10

BlueFlameBat said:

I'm gonna be honest: I hope this sells well so Nintendo will be persuaded to release Fatal Frame 4 (and maybe Sadness) internationally.

ejamer

#11

ejamer said:

I love how Wii seems to be the console of choice for these off-beat games. The Calling probably won't be a hit, but it looks like exactly the kind of game that appeals to me - creepy, unusual, and hopefully shorter than 12 hours (because anything longer is unlikely to get played).

Magicpegasus

#12

Magicpegasus said:

@donatello: blanch? oh my god, she was scary. that whole move scared the crap out of me when i was a kid. i wonder what i would think now? now that i'm a man, i have to agree the soil of my heart is stonier. come to think of it, blanch looks exactly like ju-on, except she's not asian. maybe you're just not afraid of asians.

darklinkinfinite

#13

darklinkinfinite said:

I'm glad this game is looking good so far. I'm really surprised that the Wii has become such a hub for horror titles. So far it has gotten games like Cursed Mountain, the two Resident Evil Chronicles games, RE4, the two Resident Evil Archives games, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Dead Space Extraction, The Grudge, Obscure: the Aftermath, Dead Rising, House of the Dead 2&3, HotD: Overkill, Fatal Frame IV (Jpn), Imabikisou (Jpn), the never-found-a-publisher Winter, Manhunt 2, Alone in the Dark, and coughescapefrombugislandcough.

Quality may be all over the place but that's still quite a pretty big list of games in a genre you wouldn't expect a lot of development for on Nintendo's white box.

BleachFan

#14

BleachFan said:

"...definitely not for those who are easily startled."

...Well, I'm screwed then! :)
...But I'm still gonna get it... >.>

brandonbwii

#16

brandonbwii said:

I hope this game is $30 like most of Hudson's Wii titles. I'm intrigued yet reserved. I think I watched a hands-on from Giant Bomb and all they could joke about was how bad (both cheesy and BAD bad) it was.

Kirk

#17

Kirk said:

Now that I've heard and seen a bit more about this game I'm interested in giving it a wee go to see what it's like.

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