Call of the Sea (video game)

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Call of the Sea
Call of the Sea cover art.png
Developer(s)Out of the Blue
Publisher(s)Raw Fury
Director(s)Tatiana Delgado
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows, XONE, XSX/S
  • December 8, 2020
  • PS4, PS5
  • May 11, 2021
Genre(s)Adventure, puzzle
Mode(s)Single-player

Call of the Sea is an adventure video game developed by Out of the Blue and published by Raw Fury. The game was released for Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on December 8, 2020. The game also released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on May 11, 2021.

Gameplay[edit]

Call of the Sea is an adventure video game played from a first-person perspective. The game is set in the 1930s, and players assume control of Norah (Cissy Jones), who must explore an island set in the Southern Pacific to find her husband, Harry (Yuri Lowenthal), who has gone missing after embarking on an expedition.[1] The game does not feature a combat system, and players progress in the game by solving various puzzles.[2]

Plot[edit]

Norah Everhart receives a package with a picture of her husband Harry, detailing coordinates to an island east of Otaheite (Tahiti). Harry had vanished after embarking on an expedition to find a cure for Norah's mysterious family illness, which is slowly killing her. Norah journeys to the island, which she had had recurring dreams of. Moving inland, she finds a camp used by the expedition, which consisted of Harry, reporter Cassandra Ward, mechanic Frank Dayton, dermatologist Ernest De Witt, stuntman Roy Granger, and their Tahitian guide Teaharoa.

The expedition had found a well used by the islanders for a ritual involving a black ichor. Impatient, Roy had used dynamite to blow open the well, accidentally killing himself and splatting De Witt's arm with the ichor. De Witt then started losing his sanity and developing skin blotches similar to Norah's. The team had attempted to replicate the ritual, but abandoned it after the ship that brought them, the Lady Shannon, had washed ashore nearby. Norah replicates the ritual, causing the well to fill with ooze with her inside. She experiences a vision in which she walks off a cliff into a river, while watched by a giant amphibious-looking creature, and finds herself transformed into a sea creature.

Norah wakes up near the crashed Lady Shannon, and finds it torn apart with claw marks, with its crew missing. Norah finds the expedition had set up another camp, and De Witt, now insane, had stabbed Frank, but was stopped and tied up, later disappearing. The team had discovered an organ carved into the rocks and used it to open a passage to a temple on the island's peak. Norah travels to the temple, where the expedition had employed loudspeakers to use the organ's music to open the temple door. This caused a rockslide, while Frank had succumbed to his stab wound. After restoring power to the loudspeakers, Norah is knocked out, and dreams of a desert surrounded by the bones of sea creatures, and of her mother's music box, which played the organ's music. Singing it, Norah opens the temple, and finds a note by Harry explaining that she is not ill, but instead changing into something new.

Norah finds gateways that allow her to transform into her amphibious form. She arrives at a village, used by the island's inhabitants, who were 'slaves' of unknown masters. Norah finds a note by Harry explaining that the masters took their slaves to a 'sanctuary' to complete their transformation, which he intended to undergo to become like Norah, so they could be together. This led to arguments between Cassandra and Teaharoa, leading to the latter leaving the island. Norah journeys to the sanctuary, finding sea creatures which treat her with familiarity. Norah also feels more “alive” in the island than she ever had.

At the sanctuary, she finds a note from Harry in which he seems to be losing his sanity, with blood leading into the building. Norah enters the throne room, and finds a mutated body, with Harry's glasses beside it. Norah realizes the body is Cassandra's, who, coveting the sea creatures' immortality, had shot Harry, attempted to transform into them, and died in the process. Harry understood that the ritual would not work on him, and left. He sent Norah the package, faking his death in an attempt to get her to undergo the transformation and save herself.

Depending on player choice, Norah can either complete her transformation or reject it. If she transforms, she abandons her humanity and journeys to an underwater city for a seemingly joyous eternal life, at the cost of never seeing Harry again. If she rejects it, she lives out the rest of her remaining years with Harry. During the credits, Norah and Harry sing their favorite song, Dear Old Pal of Mine, together. Depending on the choice, the couple will either finish the song, or be interrupted by Norah's illness. Regardless of the ending, Harry is left alone, and years later, now working as the Dean of Archaeology at Miskatonic University, contemplates whether he made the right decision in lying to Norah.

Development[edit]

Call of the Sea is the debut title for Out of the Blue, an independent studio based in Madrid, Spain.[3] The team consisted of about 12 people.[4] According to Tatiana Delgado, the founder of Out of the Blue, the game was heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. However, she added that they only took inspirations from the "surreal" and "oneiric" part of his work, and asserted that the game would not be a horror game. She added that "Call of the Sea isn't a descent into madness but a rise to sanity".[5] The game was a narrative-focused game, with the team working to ensure that the puzzles featured in the game are fully integrated with the story. The game also drew influence from other adventure games such as Firewatch, Myst, Soma, and Subnautica.[2]

The game was announced on May 7, 2020, during a digital event hosted by Xbox Game Studios. Call of the Sea was released for Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on December 8, 2020.[6]

Reception[edit]

Call of the Sea received positive reviews from critics, who praised the narrative and the island setting, but criticized some of the game's puzzles as being obtuse. The game has "generally favorable reviews" on Metacritic.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolding, Jonathan (June 13, 2020). "Call of the Sea looks lovely, here's a breakdown of the trailer by the devs". PC Gamer. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  2. ^ a b West, Josh (June 13, 2020). "Call of the Sea is an otherworldly exploration of love and loss on a mysterious island". GamesRadar. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  3. ^ Purchese, Robert (May 7, 2020). "Gorgeous 1930s tropical adventure Call of the Sea announced for Xbox Series X". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  4. ^ Carter, Chris (July 5, 2020). "Raw Fury announces intriguing fish adventure Call of the Sea". Destructoid. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Ramee, Jordan (August 28, 2020). "Call Of The Sea Is A "Twist On The Traditional H.P. Lovecraft Works," Says Dev". GameSpot. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  6. ^ Romano, Sal (May 7, 2020). "Otherworldly adventure game Call of the Sea announced for Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC". Gematsu. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "Call of the Sea for Xbox Series X Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "Call of the Sea for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  9. ^ "Call of the Sea for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  10. ^ "Call of the Sea for PlayStation 5 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  11. ^ "Review: Call of the Sea". Destructoid. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  12. ^ "Call of the Sea Review". IGN. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  13. ^ "Call of the Sea Review - A Puzzling Island Escape". Game Informer. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  14. ^ Henley, Stacey (10 December 2020). "Call of the Sea review: escape (room) to a tropical paradise". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  15. ^ Purchese, Robert (5 March 2021). "Call of the Sea review - eerie puzzles in paradise". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  16. ^ Sayers, Jade (11 May 2021). "Mini Review: Call of the Sea (PS5) - A Pretty But Predictable Puzzler". Push Square. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  17. ^ Keeley, Joe (8 January 2021). "Call of the Sea review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  18. ^ Wise, Josh (5 February 2021). "Call of the Sea review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  19. ^ LeClair, Kyle (8 December 2020). "Review: Call of the Sea". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Call of the Sea". Metacritic. Retrieved 2021-03-24.

External links[edit]