Video Game Review: DEAD SPACE 3

A retrospective back into the world that is DEAD SPACE 3. Check out below for the pros and cons of the return of Isaac Clarke.

 

 

Dead-Space-3DEAD SPACE 3

PUBLISHER: EA

DEVELOPER: Visceral Games

RELEASE DATE:  NA – February 5, 2013

AU – February 7, 2013

EU – February 8, 2013

ESRB RATING: Mature 17+

 

Let’s start with the addition of the CO-OP system to this franchise. Despite a few continuity issues with the story, and the loss of foreboding isolation that used to be a DEAD SPACE staple, the CO-OP works great and is tremendously entertaining. One of the best features is the ability to transfer ammunition or health packs to help out your partner in a bind. Though with this addition, I had to turn off my Kinect input as it would send miscellaneous items to him and unwillingly fill his inventory, simply by chatting through the Xbox headset. CO-OP specific missions are also a welcome addition, and gives a deeper perspective to Carver and his backstory. With haunting visualizations and hallucinations, it adds what is missing from the main campaign, sheer horror. The drawback is, when playing as Isaac, none of these can be witnessed at all, leaving the other player to convey what he or she is seeing through Carver. Also objects in the environment are different through these missions, namely a toy soldier that keeps popping up in abundance, and in all sizes. To get the full experience, the player has to complete DEAD SPACE 3 a second time, playing on someone else’s save file as Carter. This will be a turnoff for some gamers who finish a game never to pick it up for another play through. And though CO-OP isn’t needed and the game itself can be completed in Single Player, you’d be missing a rather large chunk of a damn fine story. Visceral stated that they had wanted to include CO-OP in DEAD SPACE 2, but due to time and budgetary concerns, this concept was suspended for a later installment.

 

Dead-Space-3 (2)The atmosphere was very rich for me, as opposed to what many other critics have said on the subject. I found it extremely reminiscent of the 1982 film “The Thing” by John Carpenter, truly more than a homage, almost to the point of stealing. The environment, with its snow blanketed landscapes, eerily empty corridors, and debris ridden skies, justly set the mood and seals itself within the DEAD SPACE universe and legacy.

 

The weapons are enormously diverse and a new feature to this sequel is the ability to craft your own from miscellaneous items hidden throughout the campaign, complete with the capability to mix and match mods and attachments. Old Isaac Clarke’s engineering profession accurately shines in this installment, forgiving the fact that he can now craft full on assault weapons. Though all of this was overshadowed by the preorder weapons, namely the Evangelizer. It is a modified AL-2 assault rifle with an Emerson 2100 Shotgun under barrel secondary attachment. It is so overpowering that one could use this weapon the entire game, rendering the series favorite ‘planet cracker’ useless. Just don’t make the mistake of disassembling your preorder weapons as my friend did. An in-game feature fail safes and restricts the ability to reassemble, due to EA not wanting the gamer to replicate them, thus keeping them as true perks for preordering DEAD SPACE 3.

 

Use of universal ammunition here is a first for the series, but isn’t the first time EA has done this, the sequel to MASS EFFECT was plagued with dumbing down the RPG elements and changing to ammo that works in all weapons. I found that it truly put the final nail in the coffin of the horror survival game, and fully turned it into action horror. In the prior installments, you would run out of clips for your favorite weapon and be forced to compensate by using another that you might not be used to. Also it had played a role in preparation, as there are only so many inventory slots available. My Xbox friends that I played Co-Op with didn’t mind it as much as I did, and even preferred it. This seems to be a split disagreement between the community and the fan base as a whole.

 

Micro transactions in this game, and most other games, are useless, and could be a problem in the future of gaming if we let it. Useless in the sense that everything, in all quantities, can be found if you do even the minutest exploring. And problematic, in the sense that EA could be leading us towards a Pay-To-Play future scenario where we pay sixty bucks for half a game, then another sixty just to finish it. Which brings me to the Day One DLC, most notably the BOT PERSONALITY PACK, available for 400 MS points. My CO-OP partner had bought this and related to me that it enables a voice for the scavenger bots as they scoot around and ‘scavenge’ resources for you. He would often laugh out loud and tell me how funny they were, belittling and ridiculing him for deploying them in high combat situations and what not, much like the Claptrap of BORDERLANDS 2 and its sarcastic humor. If you ask me, this would have been just another cool little feature to strengthen the game and should have been included to begin with.

 

The lack of the ability to kinesis corpses, pick them up and toss them, as was seen in the prior two games, was severely disappointing to me. So far EA or Visceral as has given no statement or reason why this feature has been removed. In fact, the kinesis ability seemed to be entirely on the backburner to Stasis, which I used frequently to get myself and my CO-OP partner out of binds. Yet using Kinesis to joke around and belt severed heads instead of just ammo crates, would have been a nice touch.

 

DEAD SPACE 3 heavily boasts handfuls of new Necromorphs types to dismember and disassemble, most notably one that carries a pick axe that you can attain and lob back at him. With an achievement up for grabs, killing 25 of them with their own weaponries, this makes for a fun little scramble to find them among the mutilated limbs on the floor before your CO-OP partner can. Other new Alien Necromorphs can be found, without going into too many spoilers, one that burrows into the heads of dead soldiers and can only ceased by decapitation.

 

The save system is different in this game, the previous wall saves are nonexistent, and have been replaced by an automatic progress system. There were a few nights, during the hour of three, that both of us were ready to call it quits and retire, but without the necessary ‘Saving Progress’ title card popping up on the screen, we were forced to drudge on in fear of corrupting the save file and causing ourselves to replay an hour or two the next night.

 

The completed campaign registered in at 22 hours on my CO-OP save file, but I have heard from the community that it can be finished in 12-17.

 

Contrary to my dissatisfaction with a few subjects above, I truly had blast playing this game. From the midnight launch at GameStop and arriving home to unbox it, to modding weapons, to the frantic pace, to the reward of watching the final credits, the black-screened voiceover from Isaac to Ellie before the game kicks you back to the main menu, all make it worth the while. So grab a friend, suit up, and hop back into the universe that is DEAD SPACE.

 

 

 

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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420

 

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