The Dead Space franchise has been growing strongly ever since it first hit our consoles in 2008 with the eponymous game. A fresh take on survival-horror and when played in the right environment could be truly terrifying. With it’s eerie soundtrack, dark lighting and claustrophobic environment you truly felt alone on the U.S.G Ishimura. Oh, and let us not forget the fact that necromorphs could burst out of hidden vents and various other places, intent one doing one thing, rip you apart. An outcome that could be discovered in several dazzlingly gory death scenes.
Various animated films were released, one a prequel and one a mini sequel. Several smaller games, as well as books were also released. Then Dead Space 2, an updated version but comfortably familiar, was granted to us. The developers expanded on their previous formula and delivered a more in depth and crazy story, however some of the horror elements were no longer as scary.
Dead Space 3, is a great balance between the horror of the first, and the story of the last.
DS3 is a great evolution from DS1&2. With the game mechanics nothing much has really changed, the map on your in game menu is no longer present but story-wise that kind of makes sense, it was also never really needed. The ability to pull limbs of dead necromorphs and throw them at your enemies is present again, Isaac even sends the original tutorial video to the rest of the team. You can only carry two guns at once, as well as a number of new scavenger bots. This may seem a hindrance but adds to the survival element. You can find a decent combination, for example a burst machine gun with a grenade launcher and on the other weapon slot a simple gun similar to the original in DS1. Ammunition is no longer weapon specific, but this doesn’t stop you from running out a lot. The stores have been replaced with work benches and suit stores which sometimes are not near to one another. It’s hard to think of many other differences as any that are present are almost not worth talking about because when you play you’ll adapt easily.
The gameplay is as brilliant as ever. Isaac is incredibly responsive and reacts as you do when the enemy burst from underneath the snow, it’s brilliant how attached you will get to your alter ego. Carver (remember this is a single player playthrough) is a ruthless member of the team, the typical soldier with a back story, one much more turbulent than usual however. Ellie is great again as are the other members of the team are great additions and you truly feel bad when particular members are lost (not a spoiler, it’s a survival-horror, someone’s going to die). The game’s human villain, imagine Daniel Day Lewis playing an evil Austin Powers, is dastardly and ever so annoying. His team are the thorn in your side that slowly begins to grown, then you realise it’s not a thorn but it’s a claw to one of the necromorph bosses that’s the size of a house!
Some of the action scenes are incredible. Watch out for when you descend to the planet, so impressive. The space missions are longer than initially expected, taking up a decent third of the game. There are still several zero-gravity missions once on the planet however so it’s not a trick that’s thrown away quickly. There are numerous side missions, a lot of these result in a box of loot at the end, these are definitely better with a second player as you’ll obviously have more stuff to take between you, also some of the missions are incredibly hard and horrifying so added company is always a benefit. The boss fights are fun, one towards the end having a similar vibe to God of War, not in a hack and slash way but merely how it’s set up.
The story is much deeper, as is the planet you explore. The history of the markers is unveiled in much greater and understandable detail than before. The relationship between the characters is more accessible too, though there were scenes in DS1 & 2 where you met your friends, a lot of these were behind glass windows or wire mesh. Seeing Isaac actually interact with these people is much more warming and gives your a closer connection with these other characters as well as your own player.
The whole experience is amazing, though not wholly terrifying. Perhaps if more effort was made to make it a horror regardless of your play style it’d hit the mark, though it only missed by mere fractions. A longer story, and one that is much more in depth and furthers your Dead Space knowledge. There is less back tracking and fresh, new environments are very pleasing. A truly enjoyable game and one that is a great way to get lost for a few hours
Despite lacking in a definitive horror element, only being used as a brief ornament, the game is still solid. Great story, great characters, amazing scenery, great mechanics & AI. The game is a great way to start 2013.
8.5/10 – Not as good as the original, DS3 to DS is Aliens to Alien. Some may enjoy it more, some less. But at the end of the day, it’s an action game.
Just like to say this is my first game review. The structure will get better and the next one will be much easier to read. Pratice makes perfect.