Dead Space Review
Looking for a game to give you a little adrenaline rush and scare your pants off? Then Dead Space is a perfect title for you. If you’ve ever played Doom 3, then you can imagine this game with a similar fear factor, except heightened… by a lot. Doom 3 became a regular shooter real fast during your time playing it. You realize that nothing gives you a scare especially the enemies, because you pretty much expect a random enemy to spawn behind you at any given moment. But Dead Space delivers you the goods a bit differently, and does things much better then Doom 3. Shall I make another game comparison? How about Resident Evil 4! You will find some parts of Dead Space oddly similar to that of Resident Evil 4, but with a heightened fear that Doom 3 gave you. Everyone who doesn’t understand these references will be in luck, since I am reviewing it, so read on.
So you’re flying in a space ship and you notice this gigantic ship much larger than yours, stationary with the lights out. Your shipmate calls in and none of the thousands of people on that ship answer the phone. The captain decides to check out what’s wrong and of course something hits your ship, causing it to crash inside the bigger, larger, spooky space ship. Everyone on board decides to explore and you seem to be the tech guy who fixes things electronically. You get separated from the group and unknown enemies start to attack your friends; you run like hell. So unlucky for you, you’re a tech guy being given orders from the survivors to fix various parts of the ship your on to escape. Lucky for you depending on how good you are in shooters; your character turns out to be vicious with his weapons. Well whatever the rest of the story is, let’s just kill some things.
To change this game from a regular shooter and this is a 3rd person shooter/horror survival, instead of shooting at the chest or the head of enemies, this game focuses on the limbs. Almost every gun you get is designed for the job, for example cutting off the legs to make the enemy fall, and then killing them off by removing the arms or the neck. If you concentrate on the chest, you will do minimal damage. You can also use guns like the flamethrower that doesn’t concentrate on limbs. Also every gun has a secondary fire, so you can use some nice mines to explode the enemy. Playing on hard mode, you constantly become low on ammo and health, which is where the horror survival part kicks in. You’re expected to get almost every shot to count, or you might be swinging away at the enemy doing almost no damage with melee. Also keep in mind to heighten the fear factor, every time you open up your inventory or map, it does not pause the game, and you can still get attacked. What you mainly do in this game is basically make your way from point A to B while doing various tasks, some of which are very easy puzzles, to fighting hoards of enemies. Once you reach point B you ride away on a tram and finish the chapter. Every start of a chapter gives you the ability to save your game and buy items at a shop. Though of course throughout the level, you will be collecting items in containers/enemies, finding recharge stations, save points, a work bench, and the shop.
Now let me explain how every one of these spots you find helps you. The items you find are either cash, health, ammo, or upgrades. You use the cash in the store to get more ammo, health, or upgrades. You can also store items in a storage box here, or buy new weapons. There are two recharge stations, one being that of your stasis, the ability to slow down objects and enemies. The other is your oxygen tank, only needed when you enter parts of the ship that have been torn apart, leaving a vacuum without any air for you. The work bench lets you upgrade each one of your weapons, abilities, or health. You specifically get to upgrade different parts of the weapon such as its reload speed, damage, capacity for bullets, etc. (Sounding familiar to Resident Evil 4 yet). But the catch is you use items called Nodes to upgrade. You either find them or buy them for 10,000 of the games currency. Now you have to imagine how this works with nodes, start by imagining a line. It has 4 slots, the first being damage, 2nd and 3rd being empty, and 4th being reload speed. If all you want is reload speed then that’s too bad, you have to have 4 nodes to get to it. You start from the 1st slot, and work your way down the path. You even have to place nodes in the empty spots, which do nothing, to get the reload speed upgrade.
The game looks outstanding but you will definitely get your money’s worth playing on an HDTV. The lighting they use is of course important since it’s a horror game. You don’t get as good of a show on a standard television. I also would recommend playing this game with your TV volume pumped up. It uses a lot of sound to give you a scare, although it also helps to know that you can hear an enemy crawling up from behind you. Aside from the massive amount of gore displayed in this game, you also see a couple of psychologically messed up things, which I guess is still in the gore category. Everything is of course set up to be futuristic, which makes things pretty and shiny. Even your inventory and map looks cool. Also I have to give a big round of applause for removing and muffling the sound of the game when you enter space. There is no sound in space; more producers should be getting this right!
Once you beat the game, you might realize that your character is only half way upgraded throughout everything that you can upgrade. You also unlock a very hard mode and a final suit upgrade, which increases your defense and ability to hold more items. You can start a new game on very hard from scratch, but the fun part is starting from the beginning of your game mode with all your items and upgrades. (Another RE4 reference). Now you have the ability to overkill all the enemies in the beginning of the game, and go about fully maxing out your upgrades to become truly unstoppable. The game has a fairly nice amount of achievements but nothing to go crazy about. There also isn’t any xbox live except for downloadable content, which you of course have to pay for.
This game is definitely going in the right path; the atmosphere you roam around in was made fantastically. Unlike in Doom 3, your weapons have flashlights attached to them and not everything is a cheap POP OUT OF NOWHERE scare tactic, there are some generally creepy things you will encounter. It is fun and challenging game, though aside from starting a new game with all your stats, it’s not really a game everyone will want to play again. The story did not keep me interested, it’s a typical “what’s going on? What are these things? Oh that’s what they are but how will we make it out alive? Ah who is this strange person? Do I sense betrayal?” I compare this to RE4 just because of the inventory you have, the map you look at, how you upgrade your weapons, and being able to make a new game with your stats. But it still falls short, not coming close to the epic level that RE4 is. Pick it up or at least rent it, your choice.