Dead Space, Space Dead, Dad Space? A futuristic sci-fi horror epic, apparently, set in the future (as I’ve just said) where everything is nice and dandy. That is until EA goes back in time and tells themselves about some made up incident on a mining ship. There’s a strange feeling that it’s all an historical adaptation or something, but twisted and turned into something fictional. Just so the majority of the audience could relate to it. In 2150, I’m sure that would be alright, but as it is now… well… Dead Space isn’t the worst game in the world, but it isn’t exactly the smartest.
You play as Isaac Clarke, some engineer on some ship sent to another ship. A mining ship. The Ishimura. The crew hasn’t contacted anyone for over a billion years, so the… space police (??) send in a small crew of engineers and people to check on them. In other words, they do the most cliched thing in the book and send everybody to their doom. Especially you, oh boy do you get doomed… not exactly death… but I won’t spoil it. Thing is, on this mining ship, they’ve hit some minerals which caused everyone to mutate into aliens who like to eat people. So it’s up to you to GET TO THE CHOPPER! (Get off the ship.)
As a plot, it’s alright. Nothing revolutionary or philosophically awesome, it gets the job done. One complaint I have to make though is why is Isaac mute? We see his face at the beginning, we see his girlfriend, we see over one hundred people talk to him and he doesn’t actually even nod. What a complete ponce. Unless he’s physically mute, at least he could nod along. I hear him scream, shout and pant when he’s being attacked so he must have some voicebox. I think that EA ran out of money, and instead of hiring a voice actor, they hired a bowl of rice.
On the gameplay side of things, it’s messy. Oh so messy. You have to stop and cycle through your weapons to equip, or go to a store to equip another weapon to replace one of the four you can carry. The inventory happens in real time so you can never get health when running from the ghoulie about to chew your face off. Dead Space also happens to have an aspiration to be a RPG as well, so you’re constantly swapping weapons, upgrading weapons, swapping armor, dancing around like a butterfly and doing what a normal RPG PC would do.
The developers decided to be complete nuances too, and made it so that each of the aliens can’t be killed, only slowed down. You have to shoot their limbs off, which is actually kind of a fun thing, but these aliens have so many limbs they might as well be giant centipedes. It doesn’t help that the aiming and camera is out of whack, and when your face is being chewed off, you have to tap a button to slap the alien back. Some weapons do different things to fend off aliens – shoot them, blast them away and set them on fire. Which I have to ask, what is a flamethrower doing on a MINING ship?
There’s no real problem with Dead Space, just small little niggles, it’s not exactly scary either. Just disturbing. The story is OK to get through, and the final few chapters are worth it. Some little gameplay mechanics save the combat, like zero gravity and kinesis, and it can be quite cool to just carve your name into alien’s limbs. The whole main game is actually quite long too, plus there’s a heap of downloadable content to enjoy (some free, some paid). All in all, I’m going to say that Dead Space is alright… in fact I might even say that it’s highly alright.