Right, forget 1 and 2, strip Dead Space 3 to the core and what do we have? A spaceman controlling, monster killing, gun building, gravity defying beast of a third-person shooter, that’s what.
Dead Space (1)
was a mammoth of a survival horror game with tension lurking around every corner, so I expected a similar greeting from its successor. The first thing I noticed (surprisingly) as the first cutscene ended and I took control of my character was the graphics. They’re absolutely brilliant.
Now the reason this is surprising, is because I’m the type of guy who doesn’t give a shit how a game looks. If I make a positive comment on graphics, they must be outstandingly good.
So, there ya go – it looks lovely. That’s not what a game’s about though is it? It’s certainly not what this particular game’s about. We really get into the meat of DS3
when we first meet our protagonist; Isaac Clarke. Now, from what I understand, (correct me if I’m wrong) Isaac has absorbed the data from a ‘Marker’ in one of the previous titles, which gives him the ability to build or destroy other markers.
If you aren’t sure what I mean by a ‘Marker’, you’re in luck. I’ve done my research and I’m willing to share what I’ve learned. A marker is an alien artefact with an unlimited source of energy. Brilliant eh? Fuck you fossil fuels.
Well nope, as you might have guessed, nothing’s quite that easy. The markers are causing human mutations. Once the mutations have occurred, the reanimated clumps of flesh are known as Necromorphs. As you could guess, Necromorphs aren’t very happy with your presence and would love nothing more than to rip off your noggin.
The interesting thing about Necromorphs, is that as you blow of their limbs, they adapt the way in which they attack you. Blow off their legs and they’ll sprout tentacle-like limbs from their waist and drag themselves along the floor in a desperate attempt to end you.
That doesn’t sound very pleasant does it? Well, it isn’t. What're you going to do about it? Arm yourself to the teeth, that’s what! You start out with a basic pistol and SMG-type weapon. As you progress through the story, you gather materials - materials that can be used to build new weapons as well as upgrade old ones.
You find ‘Weapons Benches’ at certain intervals which are required to make these upgrades. That’s not all materials are useful for though. You’re also able to upgrade your suit. Suit upgrades come in the forms of extra armour, health, stasis energy etc.
Suit upgrades are fairly self-explanatory, extra health, extra armour etc. When it comes to weapons, your upgrades get slightly more complex. Some of them will give you some extra damage or fire rate. You can also modify your weapon parts – swap out one part for another with a different effect.
Furthermore, you’re also able to add a ‘lower weapon’ to your primary. Imagine that, an assault rifle with a pulse rifle underneath it. Well, yep, it’s doable. As well as this, you’re able to add attachments which might give you an extended zoom or collect ammo automatically as you walk past it.
Now you may be thinking “He’s just said suit upgrades are self-explanatory” – so, what the fuck is Stasis Energy? Well, I’ll explain; Stasis Energy is a beam of blue light that you’re able to shoot. It slows down whichever obstacle you hit. Whether that’s a huge monstrosity hunting you for its tea, or a drill that’s going to rip you to bits, life gets easier if they’re in slow motion.
Now at the start of this review, I asked if this was going to be a ‘mammoth of a survival horror game’. Well, mammoth isn’t really the right word. I’d probably describe it as more of a rhino of a survival horror.
It’s not quite ‘OHMYGODIMGONNADIE’ scary, its more ‘AGH’ every half hour when a Necromorph jumps through a window you’re walking past. It just doesn’t seem to have enough of an eerie feel considering you’re walking around dark space-stations while being hunted by a range of different uglies.
Don’t get me wrong, when those ‘AGHHHH!’ moments come, you really do jump. Hell, I dropped the pad at one point. The other aspects of the story that have you on edge are the regenerating Necromorphs. If they regenerate, they don’t die. This makes for some pretty tense escapes where your Stasis is your very best friend.
If any of you have seen any publicity around DS3
, you’ll already be aware that you’re going to end up on a snow covered planet. Hmm, snow covered planet, alien monster things as enemies, fancy looking suit. Haven’t we seen this before? Yes, yes we have. And yes, it really does have its Lost Planet
Now, at this point of my review, I’d usually start speaking about any co-op play or online options. Yeah, that’d be nice wouldn’t it? Well, there’s nobody playing online at this time, so I’m going to have a hard time writing about multiplayer. What I can tell you is that there’s no offline split-screen option offered, and there aren’t any competitive multiplayer game modes – bummer eh?
So, what do I think to Dead Space 3
? Well, put it one way, I’d highly consider going out to my local GAME and picking up a copy with my own cash. It’s not quite as survival horror as you’d expect. However, what it lacks in horror, it makes up for in many other areas. The graphics are brilliant, the Necromorph design is good, there's a good variety of different customisable weapons, and the game itself has a really nice overall feel.
I've had a late shot at the multiplayer, so what's all the fuss about? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there aren't any multiplayer game modes to speak of apart from co-operative play, so what's that like?
Well, it's exactly the same as playing alone, apart from, well, it's with two players. Now earlier on in the game, I came across a 'mini-boss' if you will. You know, one of those bad guys that just won't stop coming? Yeah, well, it gave me a real hard time.
While playing co-operatively, the fucker came back only to meet me and my partner armed with a shotgun/assault rifle combination. As you can probably imagine, this made the fight much more fair and generally more enjoyable.
Incredibly tense situations
Huge variety of customisable weapons
A little bit too ‘Lost Planet’ at times
No offline split-screen option
SPOnG Score: 8/10
(PS: The angry stomp is brilliant.)