EA and Visceral Games have been kind enough to allow gamers expressing an interest to play Dead Space 3 enjoy a demo up to one week earlier than its public launch on January 22nd 2013. ThisisXbox has had a tinker around the environments and are pleased to say that both solo and co-operative gameplay from the demo was pretty impressive to say the least.
During the menu selection screens within the demo you are only able to play the campaign preview on Normal difficulty with the remaining Casual, Survivalist and Zealot options blanked out. The three key areas the demo is aiming to impress is with what looks like it could be the opening chapter, a drop-in drop-out co-operative mode for the first time as well as weapon crafting mechanics to allow you to build your ultimate in-game weapon. There are no other Multiplayer modes accessible other than co-op.
Whether starting co-operatively or solo, the first tutorial is the Inventory Screen which displays itself impressively in line of sight of your characters eyes rather than your own, so as you move around the camera angles the Inventory Screen so it is not in your constant view (very futuristic) – and it is here that you learn about your objectives and select your weapons and resources. If you have Kinect, you can easily call up the screen by using a specific voice command which can save a lot of precious time when battling with an on-coming enemy.
The chapter starts with you (Isaac Clarke) emerging from the ruins of your crashed spaceship as it has landed on the frozen planet Tau Volantis. The sky is filled with falling snow and the winds in full blizzard around your location; alone (unless in co-op) you start your journey of exploration where for the time being you are unable to see what is in front of you. It’s an eerie start of not exactly knowing where to go next or what could possibly rear its ugly head from around any corner unexpectedly, but you eventually find your way through the debris and battle the on-coming horde of Necromorphs after your blood. It’s quite an instinctive chapter where you can during some of the location scenes see the route to follow, doors than need opening, enemies that need downing and ladders that need climbing, so on and so forth – but the sense of being alone and stranded (unless in co-op – again!) adds to the nervousness you feel for exploring. It’s a little creepy, not quite on the level as Condemned from SEGA, which scared the shit out of me, but it’s that feeling of not quite knowing what could happen next when you’re roaming around isolated environments where the enemy can see you, but often you not see ‘it’ until it’s up close.
Part way through the chapter you get your hands on the Weapons Bench where you can not only upgrade your weapons, but totally construct brand-new ones from the parts that Isaac can collect throughout the game in the environment. You see these parts often in boxes or lying on the ground and they are stored in your Inventory until you need them. You can create weapons from scratch using your parts or build upon existing blue-prints to fine tune it the way you want. Often not too far from the Weapons Bench is also an area where you can step in and change your armor and head-gear from accessible pre-sets. The downside to the Weapons Bench is that it all looks a bit too technical and you end thinking how the hell can I exit this thing – or just not be bothered enough so long as your gun can shoot!
Further into the chapter and almost at the end of the demo itself – it really doesn’t last all that long, but one hell of a taster to get you in the mood for more action by the time the game is released – you encounter some form of gate that looks like a huge mechanical heart. Not only does this beast of metal try to kill you, but a horde of enemies are coming at you from all directions until you shut the thing down. It’s an epic, action-packed moment of sheer panic and survival where you use Kinesis to move things like Carrie in the Stephen King novel, slow an ememy down so it moves in slow motion and frantically switch your weapons. Then the demo sadly cuts off to an end, and you really, really wish you could have played more. What a tease EA…
Almost everything that you see in the demo is exactly what was shown at the E3 2012 conference by Visceral Games (if you can remember it by now) and since co-op in Dead Space 3 is a first for the Dead Space franchise, it’s quite remarkable how the whole gaming experience changes with the introduction of another on-screen character – John Carver. As well as the extra character now appearing in cut-scenes, certain events not happening until you’re both present and completely new dialogue. It doesn’t feel as scary in co-op, but maybe you just psychologically feel more ready for anything and don’t want to scream like a kid down the mic when a huge Necromorph comes chomping on your head?
The demo just is not long enough, but more than enough to show exactly how Dead Space 3 is going to shape up to be one hell of a great game. Definitely worth trying when it goes full public access on January 22nd 2013.