Dead Space 3
Developer: Visceral Games
North American Release Date: February 5, 2013
European Release Date: February 8, 2013
Trophies: 41 , 7 2 . 1
After two blood-soaked and nightmarish adventures of slicing off limbs and stomping on corpses; Isaac Clarke returns yet again to the next installment of the terrifying Dead Space franchise. Can the series maintain it's scares with co-op without the action taking over? Can you play the game without shitting your pants? Let's see.
The first rule of Dead Space 3 isn’t “don’t talk about Dead Space 3”, or “it’s too quiet in here” or even “aim for the f##king head!”. Rather, the first rule is “cut off their limbs”. It was the rule in the first two games and it sure as hell is the rule in Dead Space 3.
Dismembering limbs results in some gory and satisfying ends to these necromorphs. However, sometimes chopping off a certain limb, or even worse, their head, will result in the necromorphs morphing (no pun intended) into enemies that have three tentacles that shoot poisonous darts from the other side of the room, and you’ll need to spend even more ammo to put them down again after you’ve already done so. In the last two games decapitating a necromorphs results in them going out of control. Now they evolve into something much more dangerous. The required level of thinking to survive Dead Space has drastically risen.
In saying that, the game has been slightly dumbed down. No longer will you have to balance your suit inventory, ammo stacking, nodes, credit count and weapons. Instead all ammo is universal, meaning that whatever ammunition you pick up will be useable with any gun in the game, which well and truly sucks. Worse still, there are no credits in the game that you use to buy weapons or upgrades. Instead you craft these by yourself using various particles that you’ll find in the game. You can use these to craft new weapons and build new attachments and modifications, so your shotgun may end up being a submachine gun with a force gun as an alternative fire. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much I enjoyed using the weapon crafting system and being able to construct my own toys to use against the necromorphs. You may think that it subtracts from the horror experience, but in a way it enriches it. You’ll be at your wits end, desperate to have something useable, and in order to survive you can’t cough up cash; you’ll need to make your own guns and weapons independently.
The downside to this aspect of the game is that you can just use one weapon the whole game and just breeze through by crafting as much ammo, health packs, upgrades and statis packs as you could possibly need. Worse still, you can use micro-transactions to buy your way out of a difficult situation. This is well and truly EA’s piss-stained (maybe not just piss if you catch my meaning) watermark brightly shining across the screen in our faces. How they can call Dead Space 3 a horror title when you can just spend real-life money to survive is beyond me. Of course, me and other sane people will not use the micro-transactions, but it’s the fact that they had the guts to put it in there that pisses me off big time.
You will also be up against human opponents for the first time, along with re-animated necromorphs with guns. This really kills the horror aspect on another layer, but it does give you an important decision to make: who do you take out first? You’re confronted with necromorphs and Unitologists. Taking the wrong group out first spells death. Then again, one side is ranged, the other is not. It’s another layer of complexity that adds to the crusty cake that VG has baked for us.
Another thing in Dead Space 3 that can be quite annoying is that you are now able to roll backwards and forwards. This gameplay mechanic allows you to roll around the room like an idiot, avoiding all dangers and hazards that you may come across. The game gives you the option to take cover and blind fire or even peek over the edge and shoot. Seriously, when did Isaac Clarke become Daniel Craig? However, you’ll likely forget about the mechanic and just play Dead Space like you normally would.
Necromorph encounters are tense and terrifying.
For those of you who fear that the game has evolved too much to be a Dead Space title, worry not! You’ll instantly feel at home with Dead Space 3 as you explore the dark corridors and dismember limbs as your heart attempts to rip itself out of your chest. Dead Space 3 may have some added quirks that prevent it from being as good as it could be, but Dead Space 3’s gameplay is smooth, tight and very responsive.
When it comes to the third instalment in a series or so, you can guess what the single-player will be like; you know what you’ll be getting and how long the game will be. In the case of Dead Space 3 that is mostly true, but not completely. Sure, much like the previous two games it’s linear and is narrated mostly through radio contact. You go down dark corridors with flickering lights. You fight tarrying bosses. Dead Space 3 has all that, and more.
The game itself starts off with a short prologue 200 years prior to the events of Dead Space 3, and sheds a little light on the game for you. Next the game jumps to where Isaac is having serious girlfriend problems with Elie as he is drawn once back in the world he thought he left behind. I’m not going to go into detail for the sake of spoilers, but it’s safe to say that this time Isaac isn’t alone or with one or two other people only like in the first and second games. Now he’s got a whole crew on his side, with an awkward love triangle to match.
As you slice off the nercomorphs’ frighteningly pointy limbs and solve puzzles too progress you feel like you’re getting in the swing of things. The game thinks that it’s amusing that you could be so naive and throws something difficult and expected your way, like a lockout, a desperate stand to get to safety, or even a tumble through space. These events are very memorable and get your heart racing as you’re low on heal and desperately trying to use your few final shots to make ‘em count.
The biggest and best difference between Dead Space 3 and the games before it are side missions. These missions lead you to tall towers, abandoned homes, broken ships and other locales. Often they revolve around you finding out what happened to the people that previously inhabited these places. Logs – both in the forms of text and audio, assist you along the way. These side missions give you great rewards, but you will need to work hard to get them. One peculiar side mission has you playing a Jigsaw-like game with a sadistic survivor as he throws necromorphs, puzzles and other shocks your way. Prepare for a lot of raging in these frustrating moments.
However, despite calling itself a horror game, Dead Space 3 doesn’t genuinely match up to where it should be to earn itself a badge in the horror department. It’s not so much as scary as it is disturbing and frightening. Most of your yells will come not from fear, but from frustration as you are stabbed in the back by a bastard necromorph for the hundredth time. If Isaac had rear-vision mirrors attached to his helmet this would not be a problem. But these guys – much like sexual predators – come from behind to screw you until you’re well and truly dead. They hit in the air vents and ceilings, and do everything in their might to piss you off.
Not to say that this is a bad thing. As a hardcore trophy hunter, I enjoy a challenge, and I am looking forward to adding Dead Space 3’s platinum trophy to my shelf along with Dead Space 2’s (once I do hardcore mode), but this will not appeal to everyone. Then again, neither will Dead Space as a whole. I say take it or leave it. You don’t like how hard the game is? Play it in an easier mode. What’s that? You’re already in that mode? Then shut your damn mouth and either get some skills or stop playing the game at all.
Like I said before, Dead Space 3 isn’t exactly a horror game .Then again, Dead Space has never been a horror franchise to me. It doesn’t even match up to Silent Hill’s degree of horror, or even come close. This game does not rely on sub-messages, symbolic effects, twisted characters and the messed up minds of people in the mist world. This game relies on blood, guts, bile in your face and down your throat, and lots of dismembering limbs. Any game that uses these elements for its foundation and basis for building their world upon is not horror. This applies to many other titles such as Resident Evil as well.
However, Dead Space can pack a scary punch at times when you wonder down the dark hallways and snowy landscapes. The variety in which you encounter necromorphs is quiet staggering and surprising. In some cases you won’t even see them until they creep up behind you, whereas in the other two games each encounter was signified by a musical score or a sound effect.
Another thing I noticed about Dead Space is that the game itself is a lot more difficult than the previous two. The game doesn’t have credits or nodes like in the previous two games, and finding enough health packs can be quite a challenge at times. However, this really keeps you on your toes. And with the addition of Classic, Survival, and return of Hardcore mode (seriously, f*ck you VG), you’ll be playing this game for a hell of a long time.
And here we have the latest technique on tentacle porn. Except these go directly down your throat and rape you from the inside.
One must also note the insane amount of easter eggs and references to other sci-fi works in this game and the series itself. The name Isaac Clarke is from two famous sci-fi authors, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke. Coincidentally, Clarke’s most brilliant work, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is one of the trophies in the game, as is Adolf Huxley’s Brave New World. This is also a pun on the irony of the title, as “Brav” means “Good” in German. This plays out on both sci-fi worlds. And did I mention the trophy in Dead Space 1, “Don’t Get Cocky, Kid?” I honestly don’t even need to say where that one’s from.
Overall Dead Space 3’s single player campaign is a blood-soaked and thrilling ride that you’ll want to experience right to the end. It has everything you could want from a Dead Space game, and with the optional missions you’ll be playing for quite a while before you reach the end of the game. Brilliant and fabulous, Visceral Games deserves a well rounded applause and the tip of the hat for their amazing execution
One of the biggest things that shocked me about Dead Space 3 was the fact that co-op was going to be a big part of the game. “It’ll ruin the franchise” I thought. These words were echoed by many others as well who all were disappointed with the latest development. However, I was even more shocked to discover just how much enjoyment you can get from playing co-op.
I’ll make this clear straight away, though: playing co-op with a random stranger is not fun. Playing with a friend whilst you take the terror down together is. It does take most of the horror away from the game, but it is still a fantastic way to spend your time with a friend.
Even better; playing co-op opens you up to many more side-missions, dialogue and styles of cut-scenes. You’ll really have to play through it multiple times to see everything there is to see. What’s even more enthralling is that John Carver – Isaac’s partner – sees things that Isaac does not. For instance, if you go into a certain basement Carver will see giant toy soldiers everywhere whilst Isaac will not. When you play an audio log Carver will hear a completely different message than Isaac. It makes you wonder; which alternative reality is actually real? Or are they both wrong? It’s a fantastic experience to have Carver’s story thrown into the mix as well. It provides another angle of the game previously locked away. In fact, it reminds me of Silent Hill’s multi-verse dimensions a tad. Not that they’re anywhere near as scary, though.
Playing co-operatively in Dead Space 3 is fun and well worth the effort. It’ll open up new doors with treasures aplenty, and the extra aspects revolving around the overall arcing story and Carver’s past will keep you intrigued for many hours to come.
Dead Space has a long history of fantastic visuals – both technically and artistically – that bring this creepy sci-fi world to life. The jump between Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2 was the greatest, so there isn’t that much difference between the second and third games. However, the visuals are undeniably better in Dead Space 3. Light is also a major part of the game, just as it was in Dead Space 2. From what I know the developers set themselves a goal to make light a character in the game. (And not a friendly one, either.) I can say with the upmost confidence that they well and truly succeeded. The hues of white, blue, red and black give Dead Space 3 a distinct and ominous overtone.
If you’ve never played Dead Space before, then you’ll likely notice the lack of a heads up display (HUD). Your health is integrated into Isaac’s spine, along with your statis level. If you want to see your ammo count and clip, simply aim the weapon. If you wish to read a log or get mission details, those are locked into Isaac’s rig as well. It goes to show that VG really tried something different, and since we’re at the third game in the series, they certainly succeeded.
The sound simply cannot be praised highly enough. The tense soundtrack is beautiful in a very creepy way, perfectly suiting each and every situation. The sound effects send chills up your spine and blood pumping through your veins. Often you will have to use your ears to determine when a necromorph is hiding. That chilling screech you just heard? It came from right behind you. Prepare your angus, Mr. Clarke.
I’m not going to sweeten it for ya; if you’re going for Dead Space 3’s platinum (like I am) then you’re gonna have one hell of a ride. A minimum of four playthroughs (three of which all on high difficulty levels and modes), a shit-load of collectibles, co-operative trophies and side mission requirements are going to be a pain in the arse. Also, our best friend hardcore mode is back. As one of the people who did Dead Space 2’s hardcore mode, I thought I knew what I was going to get.
I was wrong.
In Dead Space 2 you got three saves. If you died between any of those you didn’t have checkpoints; you went right back to your last save. In Dead Space 3 you don’t get checkpoints or saves. Oh no, if you die in Dead Space 3’s hardcore mode, you go straight back to the very start of the game. It’s like the Witcher 2’s Insane mode; one death means to the start of the game. If you’re going for platinum then I wish you the best of luck. It’ll be a brutal journey.
Dead Space 3 may not have done everything right; but it has given us an incredible blood-soaked journey that reeks of thrills, scares and a fantastic story. The downsides, such as universal ammunition and crafting, will be soon forgotten as you blast in the glorious game that you will soon be playing.
Altman be praised.
Great. Dismembering limbs has never been more fun. Except when you've got separate ammo for each weapon, that is.
Could not ask for a better experience. My only wish is that it could have been scarier. Otherwise, brilliant.
Surprisingly unique and entertaining, you'll be having a lot of fun here.
One of the most incredible experiences you'll have on the PS3