Dead Space 3 Review

Dead Space 3 d The Dead Space series is among my absolute favorite in gaming, having pretty much stumbled upon it back in Halloween 2008 I have been completely hooked ever since.  I personally thought the torch had been officially passed on from the last leading survival horror series (Resident Evil of course) and everyone had made way for the new kid on the block.  It made up for all the short falls in recent horror games and delivered what was not only a survival horror but a survival terror game. I still now revisit the USG Ishimura but still, even after whats got to be pushing 20 play throughs I can still not sit comfortably while playing alone at night.  The original Dead Space has since been scientifically PROVEN to be the scariest game ever made.  Rebel gaming revealed this little fact to you all some time ago (catch up).  Visceral games seemed to know exactly what they were doing from the get go, they had gamers peeing their pants and refusing to game with the lights off.  Then of course came the long awaited Dead Space 2, everyone wanted to know what happened to Isaac after he turned off that monitor.  Well as it happened he had been creating yet more markers in his sleep, only to wake to have to deal with them.  Dead Space 2 was not like the terror game we were presented with in DS1, but it still had a lot of the same ingredients and they still tasted mighty good.  Isaac really came into his own in this squeal  for one he could talk and had his face on show for a lot more of the time.  Allowing gamers to better connect with him as a character.  In the original you were basically shitting yourself the entire way through, you feared running as that caused too much noise and youDead-Space-3-12 didn’t want to alert what ever was around the corner.  It was very task orientated and suspenseful.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say DS2 was an action game as such but there was a much greater sense of urgency in the whole format.  The terror aspect of the game was still present just not as much of the time, in particular the Ishimura levels where right up there with the biggest gaming scares I have encountered.

So its pretty safe to say that Dead Space 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill, the wait for the third installment was long and treacherous but I’m pleased to say that we all made it.  As expected the story line centers around Isaac and Ellie, their relationship has gone a little south since their meeting on the Sprawl and Isaac has fallen upon bad times.  The fact that they had already broken up by the start of Dead Space 3 was quite upsetting really because to be honest, Ellie is hot.  Isaac is once again convinced to help save the world although this time round he is a little less willing to get involved and who can blame him?  But sure enough the plasma cutting is loaded and the suit is donned for a third time.

Dead Space 3Right from the start its clear that Dead Space 3 is pure and simple a stunning game, I would say even close to next gen graphics here.  I played this one out on PS3 but I think I’m right in saying that this bad boy is a double discer for you Xbox gamers.  The game is incredibly atmospheric , particularly in the later levels.  Viceral games attention to detail is now legendary and that attention to detail is in full swing in Dead Space 3.  Every suit, every environment and back drop has been carefully and painstakingly designed right down to the last nut and bolt.  Both of which move by the way.  It really is one of those games where you can spend minutes just checking shit out, looking out the window and moving the camera around etc.  Stunning.  Dead Space 3 wastes no time at all showing itself off to you, almost immediately you’re facing huge explosions, fire fights and space flights.  Again nothing has been done half hearted, the developers of this shooter went to town on making sure this game looks and sounds perfect.  It truly is a totally interactive movie that you play.

One of the main villains of Dead Space 3 is an English gent by the name of Jacob Danik, yes he is a full on unitologist nut bag (I still love the fact that even though no one has said anything, unitologists are basically Scientologists).  He wants the whole of man kind to be ‘reborn’ and will stop at nothing to reach his goal of being an undead zombie.  Well you got to have goals I guess.  You will be taking on Jacob himself as well as his merry band of crack heads along your way through the game.  This does bring a new level to the game play of Dead Space, not only are you fighting your way through Necro hordes but these total nut bags as well.

Once you are past your first set of Unitologists you get to face your first set of ‘upgraded’ Necromorphs.  While still on the planet surface (where you live), you have to fight your way through your newly dead neighbors.  You quickly see the upgrades the Necro hordes have had since your lastDead-Space-3-04 encounter.  They are now faster, more violent and tougher to kill.  Think of the movie ‘The Thing’ where every part of the bad guy is a whole, once you blow it apart once, small parts still come after you and move just as fast.  All the while looking just as good however so even getting creamed by a bad guy is awesome here.  As you play through the game you will come across many new types of Necromorph, some of which do resemble those found in previous games but they are no longer in the same league.  Some of the Necros are simply newly taken over bodies out to kill you, these guys are fast and almost always have a couple of axes to show you…  They tend to hunt in packs so make sure you are always topped up with stasis as you will use more of this than ever before.   If you don’t, you’re dead.

Dead Space 3 offers by far the most varied game play than ever before seen in the Dead Space series.  Its crammed all the best parts of previous games into one, which can sometimes back fire but not on this occasion.  Suspenseful gaming, action gaming, problem solving, space walks even piloting a space ship and more.   The piloting mission by the way is honestly some of the best gaming I have ever experienced.  Dead Space 3 truly has it all.  Now don’t get me wrong, I will admit that the terror element present in the first games is no longer here as much.  But there is a good trade off and if you want that type of game play then just play Dead Space 1 again as its just as awesome as it always was.  If a franchise doesn’t move forward and put more on the table then whats the point?  The trade off for terror is fantastic action the entire way through, it doesn’t let up.  Plus the new ways that Dead Space 3 plays out is epic.  Have we mentioned the weapon crafting stations?  The ‘store’ has been completely removed from the game, and replaced with the crafting stations.  So there is now only a couple of ways to make sure your arsenal is up to scratch.  Either stomp your items out of your kills or make them yourself.  But the great part is you can make your weapons the way you want.  Ever want to stick a shotgun to your javelin gun?  Well now you can, the combinations are practically limitless.  Literally most anything you can think up you can make as long as you have the right parts.  For me this is what survival horror is all about, you make your own destiny and go balls to the wall.  You can also make your own health packs and even create blueprints for your favorite weapon constructions, send them to your mates and go to town.

As with all Dead Space games there are plenty of suits available for you to earn or buy.  If you are lucky enough to get yourself a limited edition then you will start the game with at least three suits to choose from.  All of which are designed to withstand the arctic conditions of the new planet Tau Volantis.  Suits are noticeably more bulky and furry. Of course they all look great and is just one of the reasons you will keep on playing though the game again and again to earn them all.  I have already gone through the game a couple of times and I must say I prefer the Dead Space legends suit.  Everything has been upgraded, even though Dead Space one still looks completely epic its nothing compared to this one.  You will find yourself constantly spinning the camera around yourself to get a good look at your suit.

dead-space-3-1 (1)I found the story of Dead Space 3 very strong, even for a third installment.  Normally corners are cut and you find yourself disappointed this far into a series with the story but not here.  You keep playing to find how the story unfolds, the character development is excellent, you want the heroes to win and the villains to have their asses handed to them.  There are so many new and varied environments that no two are the same, I mean you know your headed for a new planet but you don’t even get to go down there until a good hour into the game and that’s if your rushing.  You have the option of playing as fast or as slow as you like.  Dead Space 3 has even introduced some optional missions, some you will stumble across others your made aware of by your crew which Isaac will say ‘if I get chance I’ll take a look’.  There is more to do on this title than ever before.

Now Dead Space is well known for its ‘impossible modes’.  In Dead Space 1 it was pure and simple no health, no ammo and bad ass Necro’s.  This was beatable for veteran Dead Space players, all that’s needed here is plenty of time and patience.  They upped the anti for the squeal with Dead Space 2’s impossible mode by only allowing you to save three times over the course of the whole game.  With at least 4 or 5 points in the game where you’re pretty much guaranteed to die this was not for the faint of heart.  Dead Space 3 has now delivered another impossible mode that’s really going to take some serious doing.  You will be happy to hear that you can save as many times as you like and come back to the fight, however.  YOU CANNOT DIE!  Not even once, you die and that’s it.  You have to go right back to the very beginning and Dead Space 3 has some serious ‘taking no shit’ bosses to contend with.  Without giving you any spoilers there are bosses that just don’t let up even a little.  You panic even once or reload at the wrong time and that’s it, its game over.

Once you are through your first play through you are given plenty of choice on how to play through again.  These modes are;

  • Classic mode – the only weapons you are allowed are the classic dead space weapons.  You cant build any of your own arsenal and enemies are bad ass.
  • Pure survival – for the purest of survival horror lovers, enemies give you nothing upon their death.  Everything you have has to be constructed yourself.
  • Hardcore – You die and its all over.

On each completion of these modes you will unlock something for your next play through.  Either new suits or even a whole new mode including retro mode which I am going for as we speak.  You also need to choose how hard or easy you want your play through to be, casual (fuck off), normal (gay), Hard (now your talking) and Impossible.

My only complaint with the game is the new ‘puzzle aspect’ of the game.  Yes it adds yet another level of game play to the title but it can at times really stop the flow of the game in its tracks.  It does serve a purpose at times where you must kill every mother fucker in room before  you can attempt the puzzle (for all you run away, run away gamers) but I have never been a fan of this type of game play.  I mean I think the only other time there were this many puzzles in a game was in Onimusha for the PS2.  Of course the other little annoyance of the game is where Isaac is sent to fix everything and fetch everything while the rest sit nice and comfortably in the secured but that’s all part of the fun.  But in fairness, the epicness of Dead Space 3 still shines though.

Of course Dead Space 3 main new feature is that of Cooperative play, many gamers were not so sure about this seeing as what made Dead Space so dead space 3 eleterrifying is that you had to do it all alone.  Well that is still the case but you simply have the option to share the terror and action with a buddy.  The story does take a few different turns when you play in coop but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Just trust me that you wont be disappointed.  The Coop mode does seem to concentrate on just how crazy the marker is making you and your partner, again just added to the flavor of Dead Space.

Dead Space 3 brings back the peoples hero in Isaac Clarke, hes no super human type just a regular Joe who constantly wakes up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Dead Space 3 piles everything we have come to love from the series and introduces a few more features that we will all enjoy.  The graphics and sounds of the game are the best I have seen for a long long time and you will be completely immersed in just how stunning it is.

 

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Barrie Matthews

Head & Official PSN Writer - No one tells it like it is, like he does. Follow him on Twitter @Bazil81

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