Ok. I’ll admit it. I’m a firm believer that EA is the Mother of cannon fodder videogames. Maybe you agree with me. Maybe you were just as much a skeptic as I was when I first set eyes on Dead Space. Maybe you didn’t even play it. Those who didn’t moved on to the stack of other Q4 releases that flocked store shelves Those who did….well…we got spooked out of our seats, blew off limbs and worked our butts off to either fix the US Ishimura or get the hell off that ship. All while having a blast doing it. Dead Space is, in my opinion, the “ Sleeper Hit ” of 2008!
I’m sorry I doubted EA Redwood. I expected a clunky 3rd person shooter with no innovation, no scares, no frame rate and no story. I got the complete opposite. The story here was actually very compelling to me. You play the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer sent to fix a mining space vessel called the US Ishimura. All is not well when you arrive and Clarke now has to fix the Ishimura….or else. I’m not big into knowing a lot about the game plot before I play it so I’ll stop here. All in all the story left me satisfied. It did drag along before the final chapters but not enough to make me stop moving forward.
Dead Space is very well designed. The Ishimura, enemys, weapons, menu system…it all works and is done accurately well. The limb mechanic (you kill enemy’s by cutting off limbs with mining tools!) is very good for adding another level of intensity in tight situations. Not to mention all the menus are in-game and seemless to the 3rd person perspective. Zero gravity and vacuum areas added a tiny bit more tension in their areas and while not doing anything amazing in scope of design, didn’t hurt it either.
I am, also, very pleased with the visuals. The game looks great from the opening scene to the closing credits. No complaints in this department, which is not to be said if your looking for some type of multiplayer component. The only thing LIVE about Dead Space is DLC and I didn’t have a problem with that at all. This game is all about the single player experience and the polish here shows these guys knew what was up.
As far as audio goes, I played Dead Space through my X4 5.1 headphones and it completely blew me away.( ign.com ) The surround sound was very accurate and the atmosphere of the US Ishimura was completely engrossing. Engines hummed to the crack of sparks flying out of broken fuses. Pressure valves hissed as the thud of your running feet boomed with big room echo in giant empty locations. A+ accurate. Enemy’s sounded awesome screeching a few corners away and the singing voices and whispers that lightly fill the soundscape are extra creepy ( twinkle, twinkle little star….)
Controlling Isaac was not at all a hassle for me. It took me about 30 minutes to really slip into the control scheme and I was chopping limbs from there on out. Some picky folk might think this moves slow and clunky but I’d disagree. Dead Space controls 3x better than past Resident Evil games…EASY! Don’t expect to be a limb chopping expert in the first few hours….that comes with a bit of practice My only complaint is I’d like to see a quick turn 180 button. Turning around is a bit slow.
I had a lot fun in the 9 hours I put into fixing the Ishimura. I jumped out of my seat a handful of times and had moments of suspense that had me inching around corners in fear. I’m not “to cool for school” and will openly admit this game spooked me just as much as a great horror flick. Surprise scares and cheap scares…I’ll take them all. If you’re a gamer who has more than 10 horror DVDs in your collection, stop reading this and go buy Dead Space.
I probably sound like a “fan boy” by now so I will say I am disappointed that there isn’t at least some type of LIVE survival arcade mode to play and climb online leader boards on. That would have possibly been a nice component to have for a little more replay-ability. About the only thing keeping you from selling Dead Space after a play through, is the unlockable level 6 armor RIG and game finishing extras you acquire. Which really isn’t saying much considering the survival horror genre isn’t strong on replay-ability on the flip side.
In Conclusion: I haven’t played a survival horror this good in a while. It does everything expected, very well. Solid. Again, if you’re a fan of “space horror” your going to enjoy this game. If you’re a skeptic, rent it. The demo on LIVE doesn’t do the game any justice. Dead Space is awesome! Kudos EA Redwood. This is a perfect example for your future projects.
- Turning around is a second to slow.
- Not even a LIVE leader board
Awesome Honorable Mentions :
- The remaining survivors killing themselves
- Zero gravity areas
(Notes : Single player, Released by EA Redwood, ON Win/PS3/360) (Screenshots taken from Gamespy.com)