Dead Space Review
Dead Space is a new IP created by EA (yes, you read that correctly) that is a survival horror game set in space, ala Aliens. Dead Space pits you, Isaac Clark, as an engineer on a space ship. Following events upon discovering/crashing onto an alien (as in foreign) space ship, you discover the ship is infested with necromorphs. I would like to mention that this is one of the bloodiest and goriest games I have played in a while.
The gameplay is set from a 3rd person perspective. You will have access to about 6 different weapons in Dead Space, with the twist being in how you use these weapons. Rather than picking up guns and shooting enemies, you find weapons such as the Ripper, which emits a saw-blade and allows you to dismember the enemies or the Line Gun which fires a wide horizontal beam that cuts through anything in the way. Dismemberment (I love that word) is the key to survival as it allows you to not only slow down your enemy by cutting off their limbs, but it deals additional damage and allows you to conserve ammo (and makes for some gory and bloody visuals). If stuck in close quarters you have a melee weapon swing and a foot stomp to take out close up enemies, although they are not terribly effective and are a last resort. You also have access to Stasis, which slows down time for a brief period, and Kinesis, which allows you to move certain object to solve some puzzles.
Throughout investigating the ship and trying to find a way off of it, you will encounter Workbenches which allow you to use power nodes to upgrade your weapons. Similar to Resident Evil 4, you can upgrade the damage the weapon causes, the fire rate, the weapon capacity and so on.
One thing that really stood out in the gameplay for me was your HUD, or rather, Dead Space’s take on the traditional HUD and cutscene. When a fellow crew-mate contacts you, a hologram will project from your suit, allowing you to see a video feed of the person talking to you. Even better, the ammo of your weapon is shown in an indicator that is directly on the weapon. Your health is displayed by bars on the back of your suit. Effectively, there is no HUD in the game, and I simply love how this was implemented.
One complaint that I read in previous reviews that I wanted to address was that some reviews mentioned the game can get a bit repetitive due to backtracking. I actually disagree with this statement in that it is all part of the story and fits in just fine. You spend almost the entire time on the ship but it fits just fine with the story and I did not personally feel that it got repetitive.
It’s obvious right away that Dead Space’s visuals were extremely polished before release. Everything looks absolutely gorgeous in the game and it’s one of the better looking games out on the PS3 right now. Everything is full of detail whether it’s the character models or the environment.
The sound is where Dead Space also excels. It features classic horror moments that will make you jump and keep you on edge for most of the game. It will have false sound effects to make you think something is there and will couple it with real ones so that you never quite know if something is lurking ready to rip you to shreds. Also, while wandering through the ship, you will hear necromorphs running in the vents above you, filling you with the fear of knowing they could pop out of the vents at any moment.
There is no online mode to Dead Space but it does feature numerous trophies. The majority of the trophies can be earned on the first playthrough. However it will definitely take at least two playthroughs, more likely three, to get the platinum (looking at you Maxed Out Trophy). For a fun time, try what I did and try to get the One Gun Trophy (only using the Plasma Cutter) at the same time you’re trying to get the trophy for beating the game on the Impossible difficulty.
There are some extras in the game such as finding text and audio logs that fill you in on more backstory to the game. It is good news that the game does have some replayability as I played through it three times already to get that platinum trophy. If it’s any indicator, I hardly play through a game twice, let alone three times, especially so quickly.
The one complaint I do have though, is that after you beat the game, you are offered an opportunity to keep all of your weapons along with the upgrades and play through the game again. The catch? You can only play it on the same difficulty, meaning you can’t keep your items for the Impossible mode. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means but it would have been a nice feature to have.
Dead Space is an incredible effort from EA and in addition to Burnout Paradise has completely turned around my negative opinion of EA. If you were lucky enough to log into the PS Store the first two weeks of the game being out, EA rewarded you with a PS3 Exclusive Obsidian suit which looked incredibly cool, withstood more damage, and featured extra inventory slots.
The game itself is a must-play for anyone who is remotely interested in survival horror games. This game easily beats out Siren for the creepiest game I’ve played in a while and kept me tense throughout the game, particularly elevator rides. I really can’t find anything negative about the game itself. I didn’t notice any glitches, the graphics and sound were top notch, the controls were responsive, etc. This is the result of one extremely well made video game that I think everyone should definitely check out.