Dead Space 3 continues the tale of Isaac Clarke as he battles the Necromorphs in this title brought to us by Visceral Games and EA. In this iteration we follow Clarke as he tries to once again survive the Necromorph threat and put them to rest. Fans of the franchise will feel comfortable in the shiny new return, but for those that were unable to “get into” the series with the previous installments due to controls, lack of interest, or time, aren’t going to suffer this time around. You can pick up Dead Space 3 and enjoy it without having played the prior titles, even if elitists or completionists argue otherwise. This third-person shooter looks and feels leaps and bounds better than its predecessors, giving it the opportunity to reel in new fans.
So what does it have to offer that makes it stand out?
Dead Space 3 is proof that there is no longer any excuse for an action, adventure, or shooter title not to include drop-in/drop-out co-op integrated into the main storyline. Put simply, it takes an evolving story that is already powerful and memorable in its own right, and adds a new dimension to it. It supplements an already fantastic story, with the integration of John Carver. When you’re knee deep in a story of survival and horror, can you imagine a better partner than an EarthGov Sergeant suffering from dementia?
The ability to share blueprints, hunt Necromorphs together, and proverbially fist-bump your partner is made leaps and bounds better by how well integrated the features are. This isn’t some last minute addition that was “tacked on” because fans wanted it – they relaunched the direction of the franchise by building it from the ground up.
Developers should heed this call. Your fans want drop-in/drop-out co-op that does. not. suck. No one wants a “mini” campaign added on to the side with 4 missions you can play with your friends, or co-op based objective missions that are completely irrelevant to the story. Fans want to play the game they love, and have the chance to drop into a buddies game when they feel like it. It shouldn’t be a chore, and thanks to Visceral Games we now know it can be done, and done well.
Which leads me to the next train of thought.
The first Dead Space was a major turnoff to many gamers for the same reason some people hate Resident Evil. The survival-horror aspect of a game, shouldn’t be horrifying because of the controls, or lack thereof. It’s not about scaring fans because they feel helpless about not being able to respond, but because there is something truly horrifying about what is going on. The implementation of the roll was a huge boost to the series, an unusual leap in gameplay mechanics, but one that will be pleasant to new and old fans alike. What’s fascinating about the gameplay is that the new layout feels like a mix between a refined Mass Effect and Resident Evil blend.
The brightest side?
The supplemental actions in the game, such as puzzle-solving, cut-scene actions, and even door opening are such a smooth transition that you enjoy the actions, rather than becoming increasingly frustrated with something that is hard because of mechanics, instead of being challenged by something challenging. It might not make sense, but there is a redeeming factor to pulling the left trigger and holding down B to spin open a gate, or moving a battery block into the right slot to power up a bench. Yes, it’s simple, but it’s also enjoyable. Isn’t that the point?
On the subject of benches, the gunsmithing in Dead Space 3 is not overtly complicated to the point to where this is a pinnacle or key feature (ie: Ghost Recon). What the bench provides is an opportunity to customize your gameplay to your own style. The best part? You can share your style with friends in co-op. Whether you’re the type of gamer that specializes in heavy and slow sniper-esque rifles, or if you’re a burst-fire twitch gamer, you’ll find a gun that you can customize to cater your needs. There are certain firearms that will specialize for specific enemies, but you’ll have the option to carry two at a time – giving you the flexibility you’ll need to face your foes well armed.
So where does this adventure take you?
You’ll start the adventure on Tau Volantis, an frosty planet where Tim and Sam are attempting to recover “the Codex.” Shortly after reaching the downed ship, you’ll come across your first dose of Necromorphs – first of many. It’s a one-two punch of action right off the bat, getting the player acclimated to the design of the game, as well as the controls.
When it hits the fan, left joystick to roll.
You’ll thank me if you don’t know what I’m talking about yet. If you don’t – you will soon.
Shortly after reaching the commanding officer, it all hits the fan, and the story begins. To avoid spoilers, I’ll leave this portion blank for you to enjoy, and understand. This is what launches the theme of despair which is pervasive across the rest of the story.
[Keep an eye out for an upcoming character analysis. Too much information if you haven’t started playing the game might spoil some character development – stay tuned]
Some will argue that graphics don’t make a game, but don’t be fooled by this train of thought. Dead Space 3 is a visual stunner that will catch you freezing in place just to get the right angle on an environmental view. That bloom effect on a distant moon, with the city in the background? Hang on. Let me give this a few minutes to sink it.
The artistic architects at work did their jobs well, shifting between vast “open” spaces that are beautiful, and rapidly sinking you into a tunnel of despair, horror and fear. You’ll find your emotions shifting rapidly as you jitteringly respond to Necromorph attacks, and suddenly find yourself rock-climbing and dodging falling boulders. Fear isn’t in the Necromorph alone, the environment is just at terrifying.
So the question then becomes: is Dead Space 3 worth your time and money?
If you have a pal to go through the game in co-op you’ll have an entirely new experience. But as a stand-alone solo title you’ll be just as enthralled – this is no longer a game just for Dead Space fans. The franchise has evolved, and it has done so with ease and success.
You can watch the introduction to Dead Space 3 below:
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If you’re wondering what the gameplay looks like, here are the first 15 minutes of gameplay footage:
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Learn more about the game at http://www.ea.com/deadspace/
Also published via GameFob