JJ Reviews: Dead Space
Sooo I finally got my hands on a copy of the original Dead Space. If they're up to their third game in the series, the first must be a good enough game to play, right?
About an hour into the game I came across a bloodied corpse and it had flies sniffing and buzzing around it. Flies. On a space ship. In space. Flies on a space ship in space? And I thought to myself, ummmm if this seemingly anomaly wasn't thought about during the game's development what else have they screwed up?
Turns out that was just me being a dick.
If I had to describe what Dead Space is, it's an epic 'stuck on space ship in space' game that is up there with Doom 3 in terms of it's horror and scares and given some of the atrocities committed by the inhabitants of the USG Ishimura on each other - not to forget what the Necromorphs do, it's truly standout of horror game genre.
As I played along, I was reminded of the film Event Horizon which featured a space ship that became the embodiment of Hell and basically killed everybody that wasn't a Satan Worshipper. Kind of. There's hints of the original Alien movie in their too. Kind of.
The above was a terrible paragraph but I'm not gonna rewrite it. Arthur C Clark and Issac Newtoon, who share the name of Dead Space's hero, Issac Clarke both probably would have but given the trauma that Issac went through in this game, I doubt he'd really care.
So what trauma besets Issac? This is where Dead Space set it apart from Doom 3 (which was effectively a mindless romp on Mars) by having the game's plot come to revolve around the mind of Issac, so much so that his relationship with a person already on board the Ishimura almost transcends the whole game. Except that it's just way too obvious what's going on so it's hardly a revelation when the revelation happens.
Did that make sense? If not, refer to my comment about the flies above.
The game is not a 'thrilling non stop adventure' though. At about the two thirds point Dead Space has turned into a bit of a slog. Destroy these asteroids with the cannons, oh hey bud your oxygen has been poisoned so hunt down some undefended things that make the poison ... solve this obvious puzzle. You fix or find one thing and your guide Kendra gets you to fix another. It's kinda tedious.
In parts the game can be damn scary, which is fantastic fun. It's very much like Doom 3 in that regard. In addition the game play is fun, carving up attacking hordes of Necromorphs is a hoot.
Just quit with the mundane chores already....
So the ending? Well, I was reasonably confident I had worked out Issac's unspoken 'issue' but I have to admit I didn't see the double cross coming at all.....
The final ending segment was a final boss battle against the Hive Mind creature that came from the bowels of the planet Aegis VII. It was kinda fun and definitely more fun than shall we say the ending of Mass Effect 2.
Despite my gripes about running round solving dumb problems, the game's plot is fairly interesting and comes together nicely at the end. If you look for things and read them you'll get a good insight into the set up in which you've actually found it self. The game's Maguffin, The Marker, is effectively used to drive the plot and allows an amusing plot twist or two to occur.
I played the game on Easy setting. It was annoying enough (it's harder on that setting than say your standard Easy on a Halo game) - I'd have no interest doing the harder levels, you'd have to be a glutton for punishment for sure!
Spoiler Alert: The game telegraphs that Nicole is Dead - check the first letter of the level names.
- New Arrivals
- Intensive Care
- Course Correction
- Obliteration Imminent
- Lethal Devotion
- Environmental Hazard
- Into the Void
- Search and Rescue
- Dead on Arrival
- End of Days
- Alternate Solutions
- Dead Space