Developer: Visceral Games
Release Date: 2/5/2013
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Dead Space is one of my favorite franchises of all time. The first game was the most memorable with its deformed and twisted monsters, a very deep and intriguing plot, and revolutionary HUD that was very minimal. Dead Space 2 was more of the same, but not enough new to make it as memorable. It also had so-so multiplayer that was fun for a few hours then quickly got boring. Dead Space 3 is here with co-op and a new more open design. Is it better than 2? In a way.
The story is pretty epic and is told on a larger scale now. You are no longer stuck on a derelict ship or space colony. You start out on Earth in your run-down apartment where we find out Isaac has turned himself into a depressive bum. Ellie has recently left Isaac for another man, but they soon get brought back together to save humanity once again. A crazy man named Danik is trying to find a way to bring humanity to “Ascension” and “rebirth” by wanting the Necromorphs to destroy everything. You and a team cast off to the Marker homeworld to stop all this once and for all. The problem here is that the game is stretched out so much that the story is hard to follow during the first half. Cutscenes are too far apart and so little is told because it is saved for the end. The story is a bit disappointing and the ending doesn’t have the wow factor that it should. You just finish it and think, “That’s it?” It’s one of those trilogy endings.
The gameplay is pretty much the same and untouched. Things feel a bit more smooth and streamlined, but nothing has changed there. The first big change you will notice is that you can create your own weapons. A crafting system has been implemented where you get loot off of dead bodies to craft various items. You can build weapons from blueprints or build your own. You start out with a frame, then add an upper tool, lower tool, then a tip for each tool. After that, you can add chips that increase the guns stats than two support modules such as more ammo, stasis coated bullets, and various other things. This is really awesome and allows you to combine your favorite weapons. Stick a flamethrower under your shotgun. How about a blade gun under your plasma gun? Do whatever you want. The problem here is that you can only carry two weapons now. This really sucked. I guess they thought that each gun had two weapons so it really was four. Doesn’t really work that way. It also takes a really long time to gather enough materials to craft anything. I couldn’t really do much until I was nearly halfway through the game. This is to encourage people to spend money in microtransactions and sucker them into buying materials. Taking advantage of impatient gamers isn’t a nice thing to do, but what can you expect from a greedy corporation like EA?
The crafting system is similar to your suit because you can gather materials to upgrade them like air capacity, stasis, telekinesis, health, and armor. Another major addition is side missions. There are only 7 of them in the game, but three additional ones are added for co-op only. I found these side missions boring because they are all the same. Go through the same identical compound killing hordes of Necromorphs to find a chest of stuff. The stuff isn’t even that good. The loot packs don’t give you much, so these side missions were disappointing. At least the main missions are fun and varied with some fun scripted events. You can set out scavenger bots to help find loot if you want, but that’s just a distraction than a mission. I felt EA really tried too hard with this game. Instead of making the game memorable like the first one with scares they just make it completely action based and stretch out the world.
The first half consists of you floating around several ships in space trying to find information and various other things. Humans are a new enemy in this game and were a nice change of pace, but the same old Necromorphs pop up. Sure they are cool, but there weren’t enough new ones. By the end of the game, I was so sick of these damn things. I honestly don’t want to see another Necromorph again, not because they’re scary but because I’m tired of seeing them. The game just isn’t as scary as it used to be. In the beginning, it felt a bit eerie, but after that, it was just the same hordes of monsters coming at you. Once you are done being in space you crash land on an icy planet which is the “homeworld” but things just feel the same here too.
The game just suffers from fatigue at this point. Fans will enjoy this game for sure, but you long for a good scare or something to really change. There is a lot of backtracking towards the end of the game with you running back and forth through the same area several times. It is almost like the developers ran out of ideas towards the end. I would have loved a shorter more solid campaign, but what is here is fun. The graphics look good on PC, but the textures still suck. Up close shots really show that this is a console port. There are some nicer lighting effects, but they are subtle. Even an older rig can handle this game maxed out.
Should you buy this game? If you are a hardcore fan sure, but I just suggest waiting for a price drop. When you finish this 15-hour campaign you will be slightly disappointed. Sure, it’s fun and all and crafting weapons is neat, but the scare factor that people expect when they play a Dead Space game is nearly gone.