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Dead Space 3 on Survival Horror
Dead Space 3 Review
Dead Space 3 is the last of the trilogy of the Dead Space series and has some high expectations to meet. Fans have been wanting the same amount of scares the first two Dead Space games contained, while others have been wanting more action-oriented sections. People have been claiming that the game has been made into an action game that has been straying away from its horror roots, but the developer Visceral Games have been saying the game stays true to its roots. In the end, the result is a game with the best of both worlds that is a satisfying addition to an already fantastic series.
Dead Space 3 continues nine years after the ending of Dead Space 2 with the protagonist, Isaac Clarke, thinking he’s escaped most of his problems from the past like his hallucinations of his dead girlfriend, escaping from the necromorph threat from the Ishimura (a mining ship) and Titan Station (a civilian space station), and escaping the Markers. (The Markers are large structures built by members of a religion called Unitology. The Unitologists use them for “convergence” or to transcend into the afterlife, but the Markers cause people to turn into horrific, zombie-like creatures.) Isaac is soon thrown back into the fray when he learns that there is a way to put an end to the Markers, the necromorphs, and the Unitologists’ plans of “convergence” on the ice planet Tau Volantis.
The story in Dead Space 3 is definitely more prevalent than in the past two games which can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes I didn’t know what was happening in parts of the story or the reasoning for some objectives, but overall it, was a solid tale.
The new cast of characters added don’t really play a major role in the story besides two or three, but they definitely aren’t terrible by any means. Isaac is still the star of the story and continues his role of being a normal guy who was an engineer thrown into these terrible situations. But this time, he is more knowledgeable from his experiences in the past games. Isaac takes the lead in most situations by telling the other characters what needs to be repaired on space-ships that are failing or crashing, giving himself orders instead of the other characters, and giving all of the other characters strategies on how to fight the necromorphs. But Isaac isn’t the only one who has fought the necromorphs before.
With the addition of co-op comes with the new character John Carver. Carver is similar to Isaac in that he too had to fight off the necromorphs like Isaac’s done before, and he starts to have hallucinations after having come in contact with the Marker. In certain cut scenes, whoever plays as Carver sees things a bit differently than Isaac does, which is interesting. But that’s really the only highlight of Carver. His background story isn’t as good as Isaac’s, and it’s hard to have a connection with this character when players have just been introduced to him.
Dead Space 3’s gameplay remains largely the same with tight aiming, satisfying shooting, and purposefully slow movements. While the gameplay has stayed the same, there have also been a few changes.
With the addition of regular human enemies, there have been two new features to Isaac’s movements to make himself more flexible in these situations. First off, Isaac can now do a dodge roll which I didn’t use too many times, unless I got in really tight situations where I was either swarmed or cornered by a large group of enemies. The second addition was the ability for Isaac to crouch behind walls to take cover and pop up to take a few shots which I used every time I fought against humans. It isn’t the best cover system, but it’s still perfectly usable and functional.
Speaking of the human enemies, the moments when Isaac fights against them when compared to the necromorphs are completely different. The human fights aren’t very scary, suspenseful, or challenging but they are a nice change of pace from the chaos and stress that ensues when fighting the necromorphs. When fighting humans, there isn’t a main focus on any specific part to shoot to take them down as they are relatively easy.
Fighting the necromorphs, on the other hand, is focused on taking out their limbs and making them immobile. The necromorphs are more aggressive compared to how they were in the previous games. They take more chances to charge the player; this makes the necromorphs more overwhelming and causes a great sense of panic which is one of the themes that Dead Space 3 does best.
Another addition to the game is the addition of resource collecting to make items, upgrades, and new weapons. In past Dead Space games, Isaac bought ammo, weapons, and medpacks from the store and upgraded his weapons on a workbench, or bench for short. Instead, doing this now takes place altogether in the improved version of the bench. The bench now mainly focuses on granting the player the ability to create their own weapons with different combinations of parts found strewn about the levels. The weapon crafting system is very robust with countless combinations that Isaac can craft like a gun that can shoot saw blades with an attachment that shoots electricity, or a force gun with a shotgun attachment. While every combination might not be useful, it’s fun to create a random weapon to see how it works compared to other weapons.
One of the better additions is the addition of optional side missions. The side missions were fun to go through and rewarded the player with items at the end of each mission. They also provided a little side story within each new side mission which was very interesting and motivated me to play every side mission. One mission had Isaac going through an old tower that had traps set up inside with voice recordings of a man stranded there taunting Isaac along the way.
Finally, the biggest addition to Dead Space 3 is the new co-op mode with new character John Carver. Carver controls, looks, and feels the same as Isaac but is only different when he’s talking in cut scenes. Carver also get’s different variations of suits that Isaac unlocks at different points in the story. When playing the game co-op, it loses most of its sense of creepiness and dread of being by yourself when I’m talking with another person through a mic to exchange ammo or just to mess around. Besides that, it can still be fun to play through with a friend, it’s just not the best way to play through the game for the first time.
Graphics and Presentation:
The people over at Visceral Games know how to make environments that both look great and have a creepy atmosphere. The places that Isaac explores have been abandoned for many years and the game does a fantastic job of making that believable. The ambient sounds and noises that you hear also adds to the believability ranging from random machinery to distant voices speaking to Isaac. The game is still effective with making the player feel very creeped out and always dreading to see what’s around the next corner. One of the environments Isaac goes through near the end though feels like it over welcomed it’s stay and was monotonous to go through.
Isaac’s character model looks good and the various suits he wears are very intricately designed. They look almost like Iron Man’s suits with how Isaac’s helmet comes together over his face and how Isaac uses jet thrusters at certain points. The best part of Isaac’s suit is how the developer everything is incorporated onto the suit itself with Isaac’s health being shown on the back of his spine, his inventory being projected in front of him, and the amount of ammo left displayed on the back of his weapon when fighting the necromorphs.
The necromorphs look like twisted corpses of former alive beings that are absolutely horrific. They range from adults, babies, dogs, to unrecognizable creatures. Their appearance also change as you progress through the story in certain environments, which is a nice touch.
Dead Space 3 is a game that is able to incorporate new features not previously seen in previous entries with weapon crafting, co-op, and side missions, and pulls them off well. It does that while still doing what it does best with great gameplay, story, and atmosphere. It’s what the third game in a franchise should be in that it doesn’t stay the same as the previous titles but adds enough new features to make it feel fun to play. Dead Space 3 is a shining example of how to do a sequel.