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Horror reaches for the next phase of human evolution in The Callisto Protocol, a survival horror title developed by Striking Distance Studios. Created by the prolific veterans who gave us the Dead Space trilogy, The Callisto Protocol attempts to capture that revolutionary vibe they showcased front and center in the original Dead Space. Glen Schofield, the creator of Dead Space, helmed a team of sci-fi nerds who created a visually stunning albeit noticeably familiar experience in The Callisto Protocol.
Not everything in Callisto is ripped from the pages of Dead Space’s storyboard. Combat, for example, takes entirely new directions in Callisto thanks to their dodge mechanic. Players have more than a few complaints about the difficulty of Callisto’s dodge, its combat, and its gameplay. And if you’re finding Callisto’s enemies challenging to put down, I’m here to help.
I’ve beaten the game on Maximum Security difficulty on PC before they patched it.
Not to brag or anything, but you try beating a game with inconsistent mechanics on its hardest difficulty while it stutters so bad you can’t rely on visuals.
The key to survival in Callisto is to get comfortable with your weapons. And with this Callisto Protocol Weapons guide, I will transfer all my hard-earned, death-filled experience to you.
Key Points Up Front
If you want the bare-bones breakdown and nothing more, here you go:
There are seven weapons in Callisto, but the ones that matter most are your GRP module and your Stun Baton. Yes, pick a gun you like and roll with that. But listen to me: GRP and Baton. That’s it.
Tools of the Trade
It would be hard to survive in a sci-fi prison set on one of Jupiter’s moons during an alien viral outbreak without protection. So, when The Callisto Protocol finally lets players loose in Black Iron Prison and wants them to make their way off-planet, they give you some weapons to make the journey easier.
While Callisto takes most of its cues from the Dead Space series, it doesn’t when it comes to weaponry. The weapons of Callisto feel subdued compared to Dead Space, which came with memorable weapons like the Ripper, a tool that held a rotating saw blade out in front of the players to tear apart enemies.
The Callisto Protocol first gives players a Stun Baton and introduces more melee mechanics into gameplay. Then it gives them their first gun, the Hand Cannon. As players progress, they’ll unlock the GRP module, a combination of the stasis and kinesis modules from Dead Space, along with schematics for other guns.
- The Stun Baton
- The Hand Cannon
- The GRP Module
- The Skunk Shotgun
- The Riot Gun
- The Tactical Pistol
- The Assault Rifle
Callisto Credits, the in-game currency, is not easy to come across. You will not fully upgrade more than two of these weapons; it costs too much. My final save on Maximum Security saw me with a fully upgraded Hand Cannon, Riot Gun, and nearly upgraded GRP and Stun Baton. That combination worked the best for my playstyle.
But as I break down each weapon, I’ll go over strategies for each and why different playstyles will gravitate towards different weapons.
The Stun Baton
The first upgradable weapon in the game and your new best friend, the Stun Baton is nothing more and nothing less than a sturdy stick with electricity coursing through it. It’s the primary weapon used by Black Iron’s guards and packs a punch.
The Stun Baton has three tiers of upgrades, which should be filled out sooner rather than later. The Stun Baton requires no ammo or energy; pairing it with the GRP module or a well-placed shot is all one needs to progress through Callisto’s combat.
Because the Stun Baton uses no ammo, you’ll find yourself relying on it when guns aren’t an option. For that reason, you should ensure it can help you hold your ground.
The Stun Baton is relatively weak and useless until you get the breaking perk. This upgrade allows you to break off an enemy’s arms if they try to block your attacks. And the fewer arms an enemy has, the fewer attacks you’ll need to dodge. Upgrading the Stun Baton’s block ability opens up new combo options and reduces the damage you’ll take from incoming attacks.
I’d recommend this, as once you’re fighting end-game enemies–and even the final boss–you’ll often be blocking and want to keep as much health through each block as possible.
Upgrading the Stun Baton’s damage output is a no-brainer, but it only helped a little. It doesn’t matter if it’s upgraded once or three times; I was still entering into unnecessarily long combos to kill enemies in the end game.
Using the Stun Baton to its fullest is tricky for some people. It’s not best on its own; it shines brightest when paired with other weapons for combos.
Use the Baton to open up an enemy to a precision headshot, then GRP them so they come back into your attack range, then finish with a Stun Baton heavy attack. Just beating on enemies with the same combo over and over again is not using the Baton to its fullest. Use a combo, dodge, shoot them, then another combo. Or heavy attack, GRP them, heavy attack, headshot.
Using this strategy, you’ll conserve the most ammo and GRP charges, and you can still consistently rely on it during the final engagements of the game.
The Hand Cannon
The Hand Cannon is Callisto Protocol’s attempt at the iconic Plasma Cutter from Dead Space. Spoiler alert: they failed. The Hand Cannon feels just like all the other guns in the game, just another tool.
That tool is, however, a kickass handgun that packs the biggest punch of the game when upgraded fully.
In The Callisto Protocol’s future, guns are 3D printed en masse. So upgrading your weapon is as simple as 3D printing the next feature. Upgrading your Hand Cannon will still cost you many Callisto Credits, but it’s more than worth it. Every Two-Head, and even the Alpha at the end of the game, will bow before your awesome firepower if you treat the Hand Cannon properly.
Unlike Dead Space, Callisto’s guns don’t come standard with a secondary fire mechanism; you’ll have to purchase it later on. And also, unlike Dead Space, Callisto’s guns can only be upgraded four times.
Yep. That’s it. Please hold your disappointment until after the show.
The good thing: you can upgrade the Hand Cannon reasonably quickly if you focus on nothing else.
The bad thing: Credits are still sparse and the combat of Callisto doesn’t let you use just one weapon; you’ll have to focus on others.
So get to work upgrading the Hand Cannon. The sooner you do, the sooner you can pair it with other weapons for combos.
Using the Hand Cannon with the Stun Baton will be your bread and butter for several chapters in Callisto Protocol. Beat the enemy with a combo, get the quick-shot animation, then beat them some more. Oh, look, another quick-shot animation. Then more physical violence. Then another quick headshot. Then back to the violence.
When you obtain the final upgrade for the Hand Cannon, you’re ready to face Two-Head and the Alpha. The last upgrade unlocks a secondary fire–thankfully–which causes an enemy’s head to explode no matter where you shoot them. Pretty gnarly, right? Shoot the enemy in the chest, the stomach, the leg–their head will erupt in a fiery spectacle. The secondary fire will cost five bullets. So the damage comes at a price. Be careful.
The GRP (Gravity Resistant Projector) Module
The GRP module is a combination of the stasis and kinesis modules from Dead Space, and it is the most valuable weapon in the game.
At the beginning of Callisto Protocol, the game pits you against various enemies to teach you the basic mechanics. Dodging and melee and quick-shots, etc.
But once you unlock the GRP module, you’ll notice the environment take on a different look. There are spikes everywhere in Callisto Protocol. Turbines are running at full speed, drills are drilling unprotected, and the amount of catwalks that don’t have safety railings is appalling.
If only something could, gee, I don’t know, push enemies into those safety hazards. Why, that would conserve the most amount of ammunition and would make most encounters easy as pie. Easy pie.
The upgrades for the GRP are all worth the investment as early as possible. The upgrades increase the recharge rate, the maximum amount of charges, and the strength of the GRP’s throw. All useful upgrades to have.
Having the GRP is like having a cheat code in Callisto. In literally every room you enter, in every engagement you’re tossed into, look for environmental hazards you can chuck enemies into. They exist and they are just about everywhere. It was rare that we entered a room without spikes in Callisto.
And even if we walked in and felt the need to shoot and bash our enemies to death, upon reaching the far corner of the room, we’d find spikes or a drill. Sometimes we’d reload that room just so we could run past all the enemies and throw them into the spikes, saving all our ammo.
It’s almost too easy once you get comfortable with the GRP module. So get comfortable with the GRP module early on.
The Skunk Shotgun
The Skunk Gun, while not my personal favorite, is a weak shotgun you can unlock early on in the game. It can come in handy if you’re having a hard time with combat or don’t like the GRP or Stun Baton. But I found it not entirely to my liking. I saved my Credits for the Riot Gun.
Upgrades & Strategy
That said, the Skunk Gun has its uses. Its final upgrade gives it homing bullets that swarm enemies. It costs a lot of ammunition, like all alternate firing modes, but it’s the coolest alternate fire in the game. The Skunk Gun fires a wide spread of bullets, and to watch them all zip around like little murder hornets is the sci-fi feature I was looking for.
The Riot Gun
The Riot Gun is the only other gun in Callisto Protocol handed to players free of charge. Players will receive it about mid-game after they start to help Dani. The Riot Gun is great because it’s essentially the Hand Canon with a broader spread. It’s relatively weak when you first get it, but you can make it devastating with a few modifications.
The Riot Gun’s final upgrade is the same as the Hand Canon’s, a guaranteed head explosion if you hit your enemy. It does take half of your clip each time you pull the trigger, but the damage you output is well worth the high cost.
I found the game generously giving us Riot Gun ammo once I unlocked the weapon, and I wasn’t going to say no. I used the Riot Gun and Hand Cannon equally for the second half of the game, and both came in extremely handy for boss fights. Yes, I’d have to stock up on ammo before the fight, but it allowed me to put down Two-Heads before they had time to work me into a corner.
My favorite thing with the Riot Gun was to use it to blind enemies. How did I do that? I just shot their heads off. The Riot Gun’s close range and damage made it a clean shave for most enemies, unlike the Hand Cannon. Once the enemy was blind, they were slightly less of a problem.
The Riot Gun differs from the Skunk Gun in that it’s a more advanced, focused spread. If you happen to know anything about guns, this is an easy way to differentiate between the two:
The Skunk Gun is birdshot.
The Riot Gun is buckshot.
Birdshot is wide and spread out to catch flying birds.
Buckshot is concentrated in a smaller area, meant to take down a deer, not a whole flock of birds.
The Riot Gun, therefore, offers better accuracy and control during combat.
Understand the difference, class? Good.
The Tactical Pistol
The Tactical Pistol is a weaker Hand Cannon.
But Victor, why would I want a weaker Hand Cannon?
The trade-off is that you get a faster firing rate, higher ammo capacity, and a burst fire mode. So essentially, the Tac Pistol is a submachine gun. It shoots rapidly and compensates for weak bullet damage by increasing how many bullets it fires.
When upgrading the Tac Pistol, you’ll get the standard upgrades all other guns enjoy: increased magazine size, increased stability, increased damage, and secondary fire. The secondary fire mode is nowhere near as impressive as the Riot Gun or Hand Cannon. For the Tac Pistol, your secondary fire gives the gun a burst fire mode. Three shots in quick succession. That’s not much of an alternate fire compared to the massive damage increase you can expect from other guns.
The Tac Pistol is the weapon Dani uses throughout the game, but it was one I avoided. I’ve never been a fan of wasting more ammo in survival horror games, and the prospect of downgrading from the Hand Cannon was unacceptable. That said, the Tac Pistol is a sweet little gun. It packs a solid punch for being a weaker gun and still interrupts some enemy animations and attacks. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.
If you don’t like the Hand Cannon clunkiness and want something quicker, lighter, and more maneuverable, then opt for the Tac Pistol. You might run through ammo quicker than other weapons, but it should all balance out if you’re utilizing your Stun Baton and GRP module.
In the end game, however, the Tac Pistol was primarily useless. It didn’t do enough damage to impact Two-Heads, dark versions of enemies, or the Alpha. Heck, it just annoyed the Alpha. So while the Tac Pistol is excellent for weaker enemies and clearing rooms, it’s not a boss-killer.
The Assault Rifle
The Assault Rifle is the only other weapon in the game I would consider using…
If they didn’t wait till the final chapter to give it to you.
And since there’s no New Game+, I can’t go through the game and enjoy its glory. So, it’s a waste of a weapon, in my opinion. Once you finally unlock the Assault Rifle schematic, you won’t have enough time or Credits to upgrade it fully. And all those Credits you used to purchase and upgrade it should’ve been used on ammo and health for the most challenging fights in the game.
It doesn’t make much sense. If the Assault Rifle were some all-powerful God-killer weapon that came fully upgraded, then I’d understand. But it’s just another gun. Why wait till the game is essentially over to give it to me? I can hardly use it, and certainly not to its fullest. It would’ve been nice to have it three chapters ago, though.
The Assault Rifle fires in three-round bursts that collectively do more damage than the Hand Cannon. And when you upgrade it fully, it gains smart bullets, similar to the Skunk Gun. But instead of those bullets being small shotgun pellets, their large caliber rifle rounds. This feature is absolutely incredible for clearing swarms of enemies and can pour tons of damage into a Two-Head. But it’s a feature only a few gamers can experience since the gun is such a late-game unlock.
The Assault Rifle mimics the Seeker Rifle from the Dead Space series. It’s a powerful, precise rifle that can tear off an enemy’s limbs with a single bullet. It’s not best for hordes or when attacked by several enemies at once. But if you can spot an enemy from a distance and they don’t see you, the Assault Rifle is a fantastic option. It drops enemies when they’re still across the map, keeping you safe from harm.
The Best Combination of Weapons
If you ask me, the two best weapons in the game are the Hand Cannon and Riot Gun, and the most used weapons in the game are the GRP module and the Stun Baton. The Stun Baton wrecks enemies, and it’s something you can always fall back on. It doesn’t use ammo, does serious damage, blocks incoming attacks, and stuns enemies so they drop their guard. Do not sleep on the Stun Baton. Without it, you can’t do any combos in Callisto Protocol.
The GRP module, again, is like turning on God mode in Callisto. Nearly every environment in the game has a hazard that will kill enemies if you throw them into it. Off buildings and railings, onto spikes and turbines, into walls and the dark abyss of space. And that’s just from manipulating enemies, to say nothing of grabbing giant batteries, carts, and explosive canisters and tossing those around.
The GRP module is like having the Force in The Callisto Protocol. Why would you not want the Force in Callisto Protocol? Why would you not want the Force in anything?
The last chapter of The Callisto Protocol is brutal. That’s a fact—no two ways around it. The enemies are formidable, your surroundings are harsh, and the time limit you have to do everything is unforgiving. Not having fully upgraded weapons in those areas would’ve been my downfall.
I know I was able to breeze through Two-Head fights and take down the Alpha on Maximum Security difficulty because of my Hand Cannon and Riot Gun. Their alternate fire modes just do so much damage. I’m positive that any speed-running strats for this game involve both those guns.
I breezed through the Alpha fight with my Hand Cannon and Riot Gun. Before the fight, I dumped 2,000 Credits into ammo. Then I went in and straight unloaded into the Alpha, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando. I dropped the final boss in only a few salvos. 10/10 recommend the Hand Cannon and Riot Gun.
What You Learned in Dead Space Carries Over
If you played Dead Space on Hardcore difficulty, you know the key to success is all about using your kinesis module to the fullest. You can take limbs off one enemy and use them to kill another. It’s the ultimate way to conserve ammo. Not to mention the explosive canisters, turbines, and hazards in the levels to kill enemies.
Callisto is similar in that the key to survival is in your GRP module. Two chapters near the end of the game require players to use stealth to get past blinded enemies.
Except it turns out that area of blind enemies is entirely optional. If you’re strapped for time–or you’re like me and don’t have patience for stealth areas–you can GRP all the enemies and toss them into spikes. There are spikes every ten feet in those chapters. There isn’t a room without spikes in that area.
And the same goes for most other engagements in Callisto Protocol. Is this a challenging area because there are so many enemies? Well, did you notice the gap in the railings over there? Did you spy that open window over yonder? How about you grab an enemy and toss them in that direction? See what happens.
There Is an Eighth Weapon…
Oh damn, did Victor pull a twist ending on you?
Yes. Yes, he did.
Technically, there is an eighth weapon in the game, but it’s not a weapon you can upgrade. The Shiv, the actual first weapon you get in the game, is given to players by Elias. And though you can’t use it to Shiv as much as you’d like, or swap your Stun Baton for the Shiv and get stabby, you can still use it to stealth kill enemies. Any enemy.
The game will pit you against many blind enemies, and it’s almost sad how easy it is to sneak up on them and kill them with the Shiv. But you can also do that to just about every other enemy in the game; it’s just harder to get the drop on them.
Remember the eighth weapon in Callisto Protocol. It can and will save you ammo.
Question: Will there be any extra weapons in the DLCs?
Answer: As of right now, nothing has been announced. If you purchased the season pass, there will be a New Game+ mode, a Contagion mode, a Riot mode, extra skins and outfits, and a new story chapter. But there are no additional weapons listed as extra content.
Question: How do you unlock each of the weapons in Callisto Protocol?
Answer: The schematics for the Tac Pistol and the Assault Rifle are given to your character throughout the story. The Hand Canon and the Riot Gun are issued to your character free of charge. The only gun schematic you have to hunt for is the Skunk Gun.
Question: What’s the most powerful gun in Callisto Protocol?
Answer: Probably the fully upgraded Assault Rifle. Its bullets collectively do the most damage. But if you want to know the gun with the highest damage output, it’s probably the Hand Canon’s alternate fire mode.
Question: Why not just give us a Plasma Cutter and call it a day?
Answer: Technically, the Plasma Cutter does exist in the Callisto Protocol universe. Striking Distance Studios released a five-episode audio drama podcast to hype up the release of the game Callisto Protocol: Helix Station. Some big-name actors are in it, and it has a better story than Callisto itself. The characters of the podcast carry Plasma Cutters on their tool belts. So why the developers only added it in the podcast and not in the game is beyond me.
This is absolutely everything you need to know about combat in The Callisto Protocol. Guns, melee, and sci-fi Force abilities galore.
While The Callisto Protocol manages to incorporate some new features into its gameplay–like dodging and GRPing enemies–those features feel built on top of the legacy of Dead Space. No matter where you go in Callisto, you’ll always have one foot squarely rooted in Issac Clarke‘s story and one in Jacob Lee’s, never quite in either.
Are you looking for more horror based around survival? Look no further.