First off why the rewind and review you ask? Well being a father of four and gaming on a budget. Does not give me the opportunity to buy the new releases or a lot of time to play them . With my love and passion for gaming I manage to find time whenever I can. So lets get this started shall we?
Dead Space is a survival horror third person shooter created by EA Redwood shores. The game was originally released October 14th 2008. Just in time for Halloween I’m guessing. Story behind Dead Space it all takes place hundreds of years in Earths future where humanity has exhausted most if not all of Earth’s resources forcing them to master space exploration to find new resources. They accomplish this with a fleet of mining vessels known as planet crackers. Their crown jewel the USG Ishimura which has preformed more planet cracks than any other ship. On a routine mission the Ishimura suddenly looses all communication with the Galactic Command. A Maintenance vessel in a ne’er by location is dispatched to find out the problem.
This is where you the player step into the boots of Isaac Clark, a system’s engineer that’s part of the dispatched maintenance crew. Outside of fixing the communication issues Isaac has a number of reasons to want to be on the Ishimura, He has several friends stationed on the ship including a special someone who had just sent him a cryptic hologram recently right before the ship went off line.
Shortly after you arrive a mass amount of problems start to arise. Your ship crashes into the landing deck disabling it completely. Leaving you and the entire crew stranded. As you make your way into the departure station this is were all hell breaks loose. There are obvious signs of trouble with suitcases and strewn about. The signs of a struggle are clearly visible. Right about now is when the real element of the game kicks in. The lights drop in and out during the flashing you catch sight of a horrific creature a Necromorph. These are the twisted creatures that used to once be human. As it attacks your group killing of a couple right at the get go Isaac gets separated from the group. Did I mention your an engineer? Your only hope is an outright dead run for you life through the dark and twisted tunnels. I sure hope your not claustrophobic because if you are this game is sure to send your anxiety into a full blown panic attack.
As the game progresses you figure out the crew of the Ishimura were attacked by the Necromorphs and what attacked you when you first landed was whats left of the crew. Its up to you Issac to wander the halls of the crippled vessel in hopes of finding your friends or any survivors all the while dodging giant tentacles various types of Necromorphs from exploding types to fast moving berserkers. These things literally come at you from everywhere floor hatches, air vents you name it. There are also small puzzles you must solve while doing your best to stay alive. The game from start to finish will take you 12+ hours to complete. I found this quite a great value since a lot of games these days are 6-8 hours.
Issac’s not your typical hero you find in many other games. He dose not show up packing heavy artillery, grenades or tactical training. Those guys were killed in the first 5 minutes of the game. His simply an engineer in the wrong place at the right time. Your starting weapon is a plasma cutter normally used in mining for horizontal and vertical cutting. Later on through discovering schematic Isaac is able to create and improve more tools to use as weapons as well.
Dead Space does not use your traditional heads up display (hud) instead all your character info is displayed on the back of Isaac’s Resource Integration Gear (RIG) space suit through holographic projections or like your health bar is directly on the spine. An example is a small display on your weapon the shows your ammunition count. There is a holographic display the projects in front of you with a menu for your 3D maps, Inventory, and journal entries. This display is semi clear so that you may be aware of your surrounding because the game progresses in real time and you are not safe while viewing these screens.
Combat in Dead Space requires a method known as “strategic dismemberment” in which you the player must cut off limb’s or sections of Necromorphs to defeat them. So as an example this is not a zombie game removing the head is not a kill shot you will need to cut off the legs to slow the Necromorphs charge thus allowing Isaac to fight another day.
Other than weapons Isaac has a couple tools he can use to solve puzzles and combat his enemies more effectively. Isaac’s stasis ability can be used to slow down enemies and objects temporarily. A kinesis module allows Isaac to move objects (boxe’s, crates, switches) or pick up items and throwing them. Which also can be used to impale necromorphs.
The over all feel of this game takes me back to the early days of basic survival horror games. They don’t cheapen the affect by adding a bunch of surprise scares where everything just bursts out at you like a jack in the box. Nore did they fill the game with mindless action sequences in hopes to panic the player into thinking the are scared. Dead Space is filled with ambient noises, quick moving shadows, low level lights that drop out all together, and the constant fear that you have no Idea what your about to get yourself into next. While the environment holds nothing back with its creepy atmosphere letting your imagination run wild at times with its blood scribed messages on the walls and the body’s strone about the ships wreckage. I really enjoyed the third person perspective over Isaac’s shoulder rather than straight behind him this to give that little bit more to tight space feel of the ship. At times a few of the 12 levels seem to get repetitive but also necessary since its Isaac’s job to hold the ship together long enough for him to escape with his life. You also might note there is no quick turn but I feel not adding this was a good touch to help add to the tension during combat. Although a quick dodge or side step might have been nice for a couple boss fights.
I really liked this game a lot it has revitalized my lost love for a good scare and its a title I recommend playing for the first time if you have not or replaying if you have a chance. So my final score for Dead Space is a 9/10.