Dead Space 3 review – In space no one can hear you sigh

Pd9teDead Space has been one of the biggest Survival Horror franchises in recent history. Some would say it has far surpassed its predecessors like Resident Evil. Having played and reviewed the last 2 installments, I can honestly say that each title has been grade “A” and has gotten progressively better with each title.  With the third installment in the franchise, fans and myself can only hope that EA and Visceral Games can continue to build on what has made this game series so great with Dead Space 3.

Story
Dead Space 3 picks up not too long after the events of Dead Space 2. Isaac Clarke’s life is in shambles and what’s left of his sanity has driven away the only person that loved him. We learn that Ellie from the 2nd game and Isaac became a pair somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd game, but their relationship fell apart shortly before the Dead Space 3. Naturally, Ellie is now in some Marker related trouble and the only one who can help save her is Isaac Clarke. Too make matters worse, Ellie’s new douche of a boyfriend is also tagging along for the ride.

Everyone’s favorite crazy Marker church wackos are back and they’re even crazier than ever, complete with head wacko, Danik. Danik looks like the twin brother of Dr. Octopus minus the mechanical arms. In Dead Space 3, the Unitologist now targets Marker factories around the world in order to free them from the experiments that are trying to harness their energy. Of course, freeing the Markers means turning everyone in the nearby vicinity into a necromorph and spreading death and mass destruction.

During this round, the game takes us to Tau Volantis. It’s an icy tomb of a planet that is orbited by a very ominics moon. While much of the game is about finding out about the planet and who made the markers, the real story is Isaac’s relationship with Ellie and how fucked up it is. Ellie left Isaac because Isaac no longer wanted anything to do with the Marker, and who could blame him. So setting out on her own she discovers the supposed Marker home world. Finding herself in trouble again, she sends her new man out to retrieve Isaac. During the course of the game, she finds out that her new man is a dick and over the course of a few missions she falls back in love with Isaac. It’s almost as if Ellie has to stay in constant danger and be rescued by Isaac in order for her to be in love with him.

Graphics

Fans will notice a pretty big sizable difference in the graphics from the last game, and the this one, you will quickly notice just how vast the world of Dead Space has been expanded. The previous titles had you cooped up in the dark corridors of the spaceships. It was a nice change of pace to see a much more wide-open space. You travel from spaceship to spaceship in Dead Space 3, and there is one moment where you are just floating through space that is absolutely breath taking. You can see pieces of debris from other destroyed spaceships floating pass you as you jet along through space. Even the icy landscapes of Tau Volantis are amazing. There is one big establishing shot of the layout of the base that literally made me say, “Shit, I have to go through all that.”

There are some really big key moments that will literally have you clinging to the edge of your seat. In one intense, Isaac must navigate the ship through a field of debris. Each hit you take begins to pull the ship apart. There is one point where one of the crew members is literally ripped out of the ship into the vacuum of space. There are even small little details like the fact you can now see the light emitting from Isaac’s helmet on the wall now. At first I was like, “What the hell is that?” Then I was like, “Oh, it’s me!”

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Gameplay

Anyone familiar with the previous Dead Space titles will find there are no big changes as far as controls. A new feature however gives players the ability to craft your own weapon from spare parts you find in the game. Creating your own weapon can be quite fun, but at the same time it can be as awkward as taping an eggbeater to a supersoaker. The game will give you schematics for weapons you can create once you’ve found all the parts. What I found out when playing through the game is that creating other weapons was completely unnecessary. Receiving the Limited Edition version of the game, it came with The Evangelizer, among other DLC available for those who had pre-ordered the game. I ended up using the Evangelizer throughout the entire game, and there wasn’t many moments where I had to change my weapon.

Maxing out the Evangelizer with upgrade nodes, the gun became my go-to weapon. Even if I took the time to create other ones, I found myself rarely ever using them beside just to see what they actually do. The Evangelizer was perfect, as it is part SMG for mid-range attacks and part shotgun, just in case a few of those necromorphs got a little too close. I think one of main factors that kept me from using other weapons besides it being overpowered is the fact the game no longer has a variety of ammunition. In the previous titles, you would find ammo that was specific to a certain type of gun. Now, not only can you create ammo but it works for every weapon. There were only a few times that actually ran out and it wasn’t because I had completely overrun by necromrophs. It was because I just became use to it being so abundant that it didn’t even cross my mind to create some more.

Surprisingly the biggest drawback to this installment is franchises is the downplaying of the real star of the series, the Necromorphs. Being what I consider an avid fan of Survival Horror, I always loved that Dead Space always kept me on my toes. As if it were playing a game of chess with me, and just when I thought I had it figured out, it would throw a curve ball at me and take me totally by surprise. Sure they were mostly jump out scares, but they were well crafted. The development team knew exactly when you had become just comfortable enough to walk around, thinking that you were completely safe. The Necromorphs themselves are a sad shell of what they use to be. There is no cool introduction for the new baddies, unlike in the previous titles. Remember the Day Car Center with the lady and “the baby?” Dead Space 3 give you none of that. It merely goes through the list of necros you’ve seen before and just throws them in front of you. The Infectors are completely missing this time around (okay, so they can be seen but are rare). This could be why it seemed like I was stomping on dead corpses that were lying around for no reason. I mean it has been common knowledge since the first game to destroy any dead bodies just in case an Infector or one of the Swarm wanted to try to attach itself to it. That way they could not bring the deceased crew back to life.

Having recently reviewed The Art of Dead Space book, I have to say that the character models for the Necromorphs seemed a bit repetitive. It seemed like I kept running to the same angry Eskimo with glowing yellow eyes. There was also this one necromorph that I could only describe as a man with Outback Steakhouse Blooming Onion for a face. Terrifying, I know. Another big loss in this title is that there are little to no boss battles and the few times there are, the bosses are complete push overs and are usually defeated in the first try. It’s noticeable differences like these that you can see that Dead Space 3 has jumped the franchise on the Action Shooter bandwagon. This is exactly what I disliked about Resident Evil 5 and why I have completely shunned Resident Evil 6 after playing the demo. Once the Survival Horror title goes Action Shooter, it loses everything that made it great. DEAD SPACE, PLEASE TURN BACK! IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

0450c4fbfc7a593ff56e493895343Co-Op

Borrowing another page out of RE’s playbook, Dead Space 3 has opted to included a two-player co-op mode. The only downside to co-op is it completely removes any and all threats from the game. I mean right from the beginning me and a friend jumped into a game and we were already mowing down wave after wave of necromorphs. The co-op also creates some very awkward moments. In one cut scene, you can clearly see Isaac fall entirely by himself into a area below. Upon picking himself up from off the ground, Isaac finds Carver magically standing next to him. Is Carver a ghost? Has Isaac really gotten that crazy?

The only upside to co-op is you can really get to see how Carver and Isaac’s relationship improves over time. In the single player, it is more Carver just has to kind of deal with the fact the Isaac is their only hope. Sadly, Carver doesn’t get his own ending to his story other than the one that is already available in Single Player.

Final Verdict

As much as I love Dead Space, it is by far the weakest installment in the series. The franchise re-wrote what I’ve come to expect from Survival Horror. When RE made its misstep with Resident Evil 5, I was more than happy to put Dead Space right on top of the pedestal I placed Resident Evil 4 on. Even I didn’t think it could get any better than the first game and I was completely wrong. I’m not entirely sure why the team decided to take the Action Shooter approach, but I can only hope they re-discover what made the first 2 games so great.

Grade: C

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Mike Villarreal
Mike Villarreal 1360 posts

Mike once killed a man with a plastic butter knife. True story. #ViolentGentlemen

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