The Callisto Protocol: Final Transmission DLC Review

A double-edged sword lost in transmission

Credit: Krafton, PlayStation

Striking Distance Studios’ has released its first DLC ‘Final Transmission’ for their survival horror game The Callisto Protocol. The final chapter of Callisto follows Jacob as he locates and attempts to get Mahler’s data files off-planet.

Warning: Spoilers below for The Callisto Protocol and the Final Transmission DLC

The base game follows Jacob, a contract United Jupiter Company freight transporter, as he embarks on his last delivery to Callisto. However, shortly after leaving Callisto, his ship, the Charon, is attacked by the Outer Way. As the alleged terrorist group searches the Charon for evidence against the UJC, a fight breaks out, causing the Charon to crash-land on Callisto. Jacob and Dani (the Outer Way’s leader) are taken prisoner at the Black Iron Prison.

Soon, Jacob finds himself in the midst of a biophage break out in the prison. As Jacob navigates Black Iron for answers and an escape, he teams up with some unlikely allies including Dani and Dr. Caitlyn Mahler – the doctor responsible for the prisoner experimentation. After discovering the horrific past of the UJC, Jacob and Dani work to get evidence off-planet to expose the truth.

However, during their escape from Black Iron, Cole, the prison warden, sets a mutated Alpha-DNA-containing monster against the duo. After defeating the Alpha, Cole activates the self-destruct sequence as a last-ditch effort to stop Jacob and Dani. With only one functioning escape pod left, Jacob shoves Dani and their proof inside. As Jacob watches the escape pod leave, Mahler contacts Jacob with a possible escape in mind. But just as the message completes, the Alpha returns, cutting to black.

Final Transmission DLC

Credit: Krafton, PlayStation

Final Transmission picks up shortly after the ending of the base game. Jacob wakes up in another part of Black Iron with no memory of how he got there. Mahler tells Jacob to hurry to get to their last option for escape – a transport ship. But he must collect her data drives first since they will further incriminate Cole’s crimes.

After fighting severe hallucinations, Jacob recovers Mahler’s drives and encounters a new enemy, the Biophage Robot (Biobot). Shortly after reuniting with Mahler near the transport ship, one of the Biobots attacks and kills Mahler. Jacob hurries to the ship only to find out it’s the Charon and leaves the planet.

However, Jacob wakes up from his dream – truly wakes up – in Mahler’s lab. Mahler reveals that Jacob is on life-support after his encounter with the Alpha. After Mahler finishes transmitting the last of her research data and evidence to Dani via Jacob’s C.O.R.E. device. Finally, once the data is sent, Jacob succumbs to his injuries while Mahler accepts her fate as Black Iron collapses.

A New Story

Credit: Krafton, PlayStation

DLC’s often give studios a second chance to address player concerns and introduce unique new mechanics to give players a new experience. While Final Transmission gives players new experiences and new outlooks on the base game, it also comes with a few shortfalls.

Narratively, the DLC helps to wrap up Jacob’s story in a roughly two-hour gameplay time. Most of the story relies on Mahler guiding Jacob through Black Iron, reminding him of his deadline. In between, the player comes across similar puzzles and actions from the base game, but there isn’t a lot of new story. The base game leaves on a hopeful yet bittersweet note as Dani escapes with the evidence and Jacob stays back to die on Black Iron. However, the DLC also ends with the same notions but Jacob is now definitely dead.

The horror elements of the DLC bring a different kind of scare than the base game. In the DLC, the horror comes from a place of uncertainty. From the start, there’s a feeling that something isn’t quite right. As you progress further, hallucinations of allies and enemies push players to the edge. When facing a group of biophage, it makes players question which enemies are truly there or if they’re figments of Jacob’s imagination.

New Weapons, Same Fights

Credit: Krafton, PlayStation

The Kinetic Hammer, a new weapon Mahler gives Jacob to fight the Biophage Robots, brings a new combat experience for players. Watching Jacob smash open biophage’s heads or ripping into the biophage robots is grotesquely fun. While encountering enemies, you can feel the encounters were made for this weapon. Even in the short-lived time you can use it, the Kinetic Hammer is a great addition to keep combat fresh. Although it won’t be introduced to the base game, it would have been interesting to see how different a playthrough would be utilizing the weapon against the Two-Heads and Alpha.

When looking back on the combat from both the base game and the DLC, there isn’t much of a change. Which is both great and not-so-great. As you approach enemies, single or in groups, it feels like you get into a certain rhythm. Dodge right, dodge left, melee when the time is open, shoot a shot or two when prompted, and finally the finishing move. In groups, it could feel repetitive, only to be broken up by a cheap shot from an enemy you couldn’t see behind you. While this may prove to be a complete negative for some players, for others, the rhythm can be a positive. For players completing another playthrough while challenging themselves with different playstyles, this rhythm can act as a sweet spot.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Krafton, PlayStation

Although the DLC feels like a storyline ripped straight from the game, it, unfortunately, falls into some similar problems. Even with a few steps in the right direction, the shadows of the missteps takes over.

The world created for The Callisto Protocol is decadent in lore and visuals. It’s a world that warrants more exploration into the characters’ lives and the repercussions of the events on Europa and Callisto. But with no further content besides patches for the game, the Lost and Dallas style reveal may leave a bitter taste with fans. Whether or not Striking Distance Studios will continue the universe of The Callisto Protocol feels pretty uncertain. Whether it’s following Dani, the initial outbreak on Europa, or a new story, this universe is begging to be explored further.

Moreso, getting back the fans who felt slighted by the base game or the new DLC may prove to be the bigger challenge.


The Callisto Protocol: Final Transmission DLC is now available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and for PC on Epic Games and Steam.


Check out the trailer below:

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