Atmosphere & Sound
With the pending release of Dead Space 3, the internet was abuzz with bloggers, commenters, forum-goers, and gamers alike . All droning on about how Dead Space 3′s co-op mode and universal ammo would ruin the franchise and the game. These are valid concerns. A survival horror game should be single player, it should have limited ammo, and it should be you vs the world. Dead Space 3 on the other hand pits you, and a comrade vs the world.
Did these huge additions to Visceral Game’s Dead Space 3 destroy the franchise, add a new flavor, or strengthen the brand as a whole? I will answer these questions and more.
Isaac, cured of his insanity, has been living in recluse, hiding from EarthGov. The events that happened on Titan Station still haunt Isaac. To add insult to injury, Isaac’s love Ellie has moved on. A lonely Isaac sits stoic in his empty apartment, when suddenly Robery Norton and Sergeant John Carver burst in and request Isaacs help, on behalf of Ellie. Another mission involving the markers needs the only and only “marker-killer” Isaac Clark. Hilarity ensues and the melodrama we know as Dead Space 3 unfolds.
The backbone of the Dead Space franchise is its horror driven, brutal plot. Whether it is Isaac’s struggle to fight his way through an army of necromorphs or having to deal with untrustworthy allies, Isaac never seems to catch a break.
Dead Space has always had a high stakes, no bull shit mantra. Dead Space 3 might have lost some of these characteristics. While the story still follows our favorite unlucky engineer Isaac Clark, I was left asking for something more. The stakes were just as high as any of the previous Dead Space games, possibly higher if you take in the full scope of Dead Space 3.
The problem I had was with Isaac’s character. Isaac has always been driven by his love life or lack there of. In Dead Space 3, it feels as though Isaac’s one and only care in the world is Ellie. He has been so beaten, bruised, tested, and driven to the brink of insanity and back that the only thing he wants is love — a simple few moments of pure reciprocated love. This is shown by his actions and proves to be the only driving force in his character.
Dead Space 3 loses its roots or survival horror and replaced them with action horror. This being a giant hit to the survival horror genre becomes a huge up for the action genre. Many times during Dead Space 3, I felt as though I was playing levels that deserved to be in a Mass Effect game, it was action packed, cut sequences beautifully orchestrated on screen and giving a little depth to the otherwise shallow shell of a character.
The weapon creation in Dead Space 3 was a little more shallow than some would have liked, but I found it be creative and interesting. I cannot count the plethora of options bettween frames, tips, attachments, and such that add a different character to the weapon you plan on saving the world with.
You can go full custom and build out your own weapons, or you can use one of the blueprints that you find along the way. I personally found it more fun to construct weapons from scratch. I took a liking to the rocket launcher with a no-splash damage attachment. Basically, you just aim at the ground when things get to close for comfort. Pair that with a military automatic body, and you are good to go.
Universal Ammo was a controversial subject when talking about Dead Space 3. Hoards of fans protested against this “casual” method of ammunition. The previous Dead Space games did not have universal ammo. Each gun you would find would have its own specific ammo. You were out of fuel for your flame thrower… then good luck. I hope you find more ammo or have another killing utensils.
A player with better accuracy might find universal ammo a joke. One of my multi-player partners expressed the ammo that was given to him on top of the ammo that you can create at the bench made the game feel like more of a shooter than a survival game. While I may have had troubles landing every shot, he did not. This made the ammunition situation for him nonexistent.
While playing the game on hard, I never once thought that the ammo giving to me was easy to come by or that the addition of universal ammo ruined anything sort of experience for me. On multiple occasions, we would die 10+ attempting a boss or one of the larger pulls. One disappointing aspect to this is that the bosses never change, they just become more powerful and gain higher health or resistance. So a boss on easy will have the same phases as a boss on hard. There is no new phase or added attacks, they simply get buffs.
Who ever said “co-op is for kitty cats” surely has not tried to play Dead Space 3 on the higher difficulty levels. Dead Space 3 throws everything it can at you and is multiple waves of destruction. Never before have I had to sit through stranious amounts of deaths coupled with trial and error. Maybe I am just terrible, or maybe my partner in co-op is terrible, but I found that in co-op mode it was actually harder to accomplish almost all task.
I never felt the areas or chapters were dumbed down when facing a co-op situation. The game will increase its number of enemies in correlation to a second player jumping into co-op. This is similar to Diablo III but in a much different manner. Instead of dropping double or triple amounts of mobs on you, the game will add difficulty to the monotony of the hunt, gathering, and the trial quest aspects of the game. For example, there were many instance where a single player puzzle will turn into a single person puzzle with waves of necromorphs trying to rip your handy partner to shreds.
Dead Space does get one thing right, its ability to make both players rage in difficulty induced fits of anger. Crank Dead Space 3 up to hard or Impossible and you will find your self cursing at your glowing LCD screen.There are a few instances that my partner and me were brutally dispatched with, so much that us seasoned Dead Space players had to take a break and come back a few minutes to hours later. This game will kick your ass if you don’t know what you are doing… and often times we had no idea what we were doing.
“I cannot count the times I physically saw Carver literally glide to the right so that your first player/player playing Isaac would be in position for the cut scene.”
The one and somewhat small downside to the co-op are these strange instances that leave you asking yourself “where the hell did Carver come from”. There are too many cut scenes which do not deal with Carver and his physical placement. Many times a cut scene will place Issac to his most left position on the screen. I cannot count the times I physically saw Carver literally glide to the right so that your first player/player playing Isaac would be in position for the cut scene. Now is this a fault of the game? To some extend yes and to another it is honestly not a big deal at all. In all Dead Space 3 is one of the most entertaining muli-player experiences I have ever had the pleasure of partaking in.
Atmosphere & Sound: 4.5/5
This is not the Dead Space that you fell in love with. There are far and few jumps and scares and when they are they are somewhat predictable. The creepy atmosphere is somewhat lost and replaced with this huge, cold, ominous moon of winter and death. The sound design is still meaty and heavy. Your stomps, crunches, and smashes still shake the bass. The only difference here is the empty hallow feeling is now replaced with the heavy cold sounds of a mountain gone necromorph.
“The creepy atmosphere is somewhat lost and replaced with this huge, cold, ominous moon of winter and death.”
Imagine walking over to pick up a lone create begging to be stomped and longing to reveal its gifties insides, suddenly to be ambushed by three necromorphs hiding in the snow, wanting eagerly to rip your head off and stab you in the mouth — yes, the mouth.
The one sound that will haunt me forever and ever, and ever, for ever ever, is the cackling howl of an Exploder inching his way over to exploder all over me detaching each and every limb of my heavily armored body. These creatures truly strike fear into my heart, and their voice can be heard above all others.
Dead Space has never looked better. Gorgeously gritty and genius designs can be found throughout the game. Small details pull you into the world and plant your feet firmly with Issac and Carver. Let it be the writings on the walls, to the various engineer suits, to the in-depth lore, and cinematic cut scenes to this. Dead Space 3 has managed to pack all these fine little details into a AAA title, and Visceral did it well, they delivered on the same Dead Space visual/audio quality we have expected and longed for.
- Co-Op mode can still make you jump out of your seat and wet your pants. (In the case that you scare easy, I only wet my pants once)
- The atmosphere is fantastic, worthy of your money
- Hard modes are not easy
- Visually striking game that manages to push aging consoles to there limits
- Interesting crafting system that adds needed layers to the game
- Mass Effect themed N7 armor!
- Clunky in and out co-op modes leaves more to be desired
- How does Carver float? Why can’t he do it in-game?
- As a whole the games story is lacking any sort of depth
- The final boss fight could have been much better
- Increased difficulty only adds numbers not layers to gameplay