Visceral Games and EA deliver an intense and action-packed survival game with Dead Space 3. It’s not all about the chills and suspense you might have experienced with previous instalments of the Dead Space universe, but nonetheless it is an epic encounter as you journey through a deserted world with a trail of blood-thirsty Necromorphs on your tail.
Leading up to the Dead Space 3 release I wasn’t over familiar with the complete story of the past two titles in the franchise, but I was under the impression that Dead Space was something of a ‘fright’ – a game that was dark and eerie enough to make you jump with its surprising twists and unsuspecting enemies. I didn’t feel this element of shock or horror with Dead Space 3, and that many of the scenes which looked as though it was designed to surprise you – were actually quite predictable. The music loudens, the cut-scenes introducing some freakishly ugly double-jointed beast play and then comes the hardest part; surviving the objective! This is every bit a survival game, but more so due to the difficulty of killing, limited ammo resources and often being cornered across nineteen chapters.
Dead Space 3 is certainly no walk in the park either; even on its easiest casual setting you will encounter many deaths and overwhelming rage at all the arms and legs thumping you from all directions. It is in many ways a horror themed setting with some amazing designs and attention to detail on the characters, but the suspense comes through being a lonesome trek in solo mode with your buddies mostly nothing more than a voice in the distance. The game doesn’t feel original, it’s traditional of the “I’ve-been-here-before-many-times” as you walk down corridor after corridor, open door after door as Dead Space 3 is bloated out with unnecessary annoyances that include twiddling the direction pads to make some blocks move or press a few buttons in the required order. This annoying semi-puzzle scenario that pops up here and there doesn’t add or take anything away from the main story, but you just get to stand still for an extra few seconds to make unlocking or visualising something more interesting – but it’s NOT that interesting…
Confusing at first, but better once you’ve mastered the art of it is being able to create your own weapons from scratch or with the help of blueprints and any old bit of scrap junk and parts you find lying around the environments. In every chapter is a ‘Bench’ and at the Bench you open up an intuitive options screen where you can upgrade your current weapons, create new and store items in your safe. It’s a pretty amazing deal as your unique weapon type has an impact on how well you are going to take down the oncoming Necromorph horde that soon follows. Certain parts and upgrades require you to have found an X amount of materials so the more you look around the chapters you play, the better you might be able to make your next weapon for the next chapter. If you fancy skipping the collecting part, then you can buy points from the Xbox Marketplace to obtain all the materials you need. Not only does this take the fun out of searching and collecting within the environments, but why would you want to pay any more money to make a gun when most of what you have and find is more than adequate? Don’t you dare buy Microsoft Points to make a weapons!
Sadly, in some of the earlier chapters, Dead Space 3 felt a little repetitive – in the same way that Halo CE re-used the assets over and over and over, Dead Space 3 has a similar approach on some of the outer-space environments, but it’s not until about half way through that it really feels as if the game has finally started when you eventually reach the frozen planet of Tau Volantis with Isaac Clarke. Your immediate mission is to track down your lost ex-girlfriend who has gone on the hunt for a Marker, a tool that turns Humans into the Necromorphs, so its destruction is obviously of some importance for the survival of the Humans and maybe the long journey to rescue his ex-girlfriend would bring them closer together?
Level design within Dead Space 3 is awesome on a spectacular scale. I’d say the majority of it is faultless except for the reused same-old-same parts in the space station scenes. It is every bit complimenting to the story line and a pleasure to see how the world within Dead Space 3 can take you to so many great places with vast detail and impressive effects, but the best and most greatest gift this game can give you is the drop in, drop out co-operative mode – and then your gameplay experience comes alive!
Playing online with randoms or friends on Xbox LIVE greatly improves the fun-factor, although as a compromise for ‘fun’ you do lose out on even more of the creepy moment, as it becomes less scary than the less scary it was before, but you’ll never go Solo again! Dead Space 3 is the first title in the series to feature co-operative gameplay and offers new sets of missions to complete as a duo and requires teamwork, such as sharing weapon resources and not being able to progress in some parts without the other player. We all know how annoying it can be when you’re just getting stuck into something and a co-op partner runs on ahead, cutting the scene out to his/her current location – well not in Dead Space 3, it takes two to tango (and open doors). Dead Space 3 is one of the best co-op games of this generation (so far in my opinion).
By now you should have learned that Dead Space 3 is not some shocking horror game that will have you on the edge of your seat, but it is instead heavily action-packed with some horrific creatures to shoot at as you aim to survive in a universe where it seems everyone is missing! It is a long old road and a journey where your actions have a sense of responsibility. It’s a serious plotline which gets deeper and more intriguing with every chapter. Although I have mentioned a few negatives above because the game is not as ‘great’ as you may think or expect, but it’s neither all that bad – I just wish it was a bit more scary and a little less predictable. Thankfully as a newcomer to the Dead Space story, the game feels complete on its own and even though I had read up on some of the past titles and kept in the loop with some of the design and characters through the recent release of ‘The Art of Dead Space’ hardback book – anyone who is unfamiliar will not feel lost or intimidated by the plot. As a continuation of the Dead Space series it is also a story in its own right where you would not need to have played any past title to understand what is going on around you and why it is happening in the first place.
Dead Space 3 is a fantastic game that has a more than adequate campaign length over nineteen chapters and extra longevity with its brilliant co-operative mode. It could have been better with a more mature and scary horror theme, but as it goes for action – it will not disappoint.