Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Viceral Games
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Platform Reviewed: PC
Oh how I’ve been waiting to review this game. The majority of reviews for this game on the net have given this game a thumbs down claiming it’s lost its horror elements, shoves micro-transactions in your face and has a boring storyline. Well I just finished my first play through last night and I have a completely different opinion to these critics.
I played this game on my PC maxed out and it looks stellar. Granted, it’s not that much of a jump from Dead Space 2 but I played the previous games on PS3 so the switch to PC influenced my opinion quite a bit. The graphics in this series have always been up to standard so no complaints here.
*SPOILERS* if you haven’t played Dead Space 1 and 2.
So you play as Isaac Clarke, an Engineer and the series protagonist who has been through a hell of a lot of sh*t. He maneuvered his way through the USG Ishimura space ship in DS1 while trying to find his wife (who he didn’t know was already dead) and fighting through hordes of Necromorphs. The Nercropmorphs are humans who have been “transformed” into alien-like beings by an old artifact called the Marker. He manages to fight them off and escape the planet of Aegis VII leaving the Market behind.
In DS2, Isaac is suffering from the side effects of coming into contact with the Marker. He was captured by Unitologists (people who believe the Marker is their savior and wish for it to transform all of humanity) and forced to make new Markers (the blueprints were infused into his brain by the original Marker). He is told that he is a on space station called Titan Station (also known as The Sprawl). After escaping captivity, he meets a Pilot called Ellie who initially wants nothing to do with Isaac but soon realises that she needs him so he can destroy the new Marker. In the end, Isaac manages to render the Marker useless and escapes with Ellie.
NOW we reach the events of DS3 and just two months after the events of DS2, Ellie and Isaac have gotten together and broken up already! A team, part of EarthGov (responsible for the Earth colony) come looking for Isaac. They tell him that Ellie is in trouble and needs to found. A large part of the game is set on the icy planet of Tau Volantis and Isaac soons finds out Ellie has moved on and found someone (also part of the EarthGov team). He then is informed that Danik, a Unitologist, has activated another Marker and all hell breaks loose.
Admittedly, the story is probably the worst out of the trilogy BUT calling it boring or pointless is a little harsh. It did keep me playing and I always wanted to know what happens next. Each character could have been given more attention as many of them are difficult to get attached to. The main focus was always on Isaac and Ellie though and I feel they did a good job in creating an intense atmosphere whenever they would meet face to face.
Now from the trailers, I can understand why many people might think the game is going to consist of shooting Necromorphs in snow and open areas but that just isn’t true. There are levels which you have to navigate for snowstorms and are in areas which a lot of space to run around in BUT that’s only about 5% of the game. Those only really occur when you’re travelling to another building. The same buildings which have your typical narrow corridors with Necromorphs jumping on you from out of nowhere. One thing that did take away from the original survival horror aspects from the first two games was that I always seemed to have a lot of ammo which made dispersing of the Necromorphs a bit easier. Other than that, the game is still as “scary” as f*ck. Play it in the night with headphones and the lights off for the best experience!
As for controls, they remain the same as previous DS games (pretty much standard third person shooter controls). You still have the kinesis and stasis abilities and a suit which displays your life and stasis charge on the back. New abilities include rolling in any direction and weapon crafting. In this new mode, you can literally combine any two weapons, add attachments and upgrade them. This was my favorite feature by far and I spent ages collecting and trying out new combinations. There’s been much criticism for the inclusion of micro-transactions which basically allow you to use real money to buy in-game items. Let me just clarify that these are totally optional. I didn’t spend a penny and still managed to create some awesome weapons. There is nothing exclusively available in the store that you can’t find in the game.
The game does contain a fair amount of set-pieces which are usually found in more action driven games but I believe they fit in well with the game.
There is also a new co-op feature which allows you to play through the game with a friend online. Bear in mind that the co-op is optional and if you choose to play single-player, you won’t get an AI partner watching your back.
The game took me about 15 hours to complete (including all side missions). There is a feature called New Game + which allows you to play through the game again with all your equipment, items and upgrades from your previous play-through. Not to mention playing through with a friend which drastically changes the games dynamics.
As mentioned earlier, I played this on PC which is obviously the best version of the game. You get a smoother framerate and better visual along with the options to play with a controller or keyboard/mouse. That goes for almost all PC games!
However, the game is still fine on consoles if PC gaming isn’t your thing. I didn’t notice any difference in gameplay or performance with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.
So were all those others reviewers/critics right? In my opinion, they were expecting too much. If they had kept it too similar to DS1 and DS2, they would have complained. Visercal tried to go in a slightly different direction to keep things fresh and I’m one of the few people who can appreciate that. I’m not sure what the critics expected but I’ve been a Dead Space fan from DS1 and this game is a respectable entry into the series. Yes it may contain more action elements than the previous games but that doesn’t mean that Viceral forgot about the survival horror aspects that drew people to this series in the first place. Give it a chance, I’m sure you will be surprisingly pleased.
My score: 8.5/10