Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts, Visceral Games
Category: Action, Horror, 3rd Person Shooter
Being a fan of the Dead Space series, I couldn’t help but pre-order the game (getting the free upgrade to the Limited Edition in the process) and making sure we got you the skinny you need as soon as possible. Many necromorph impalements later, we bring you Dead Space 3 in all its glory.
Dead Space 3 is rated “M” for Mature. Also note that, while I will keep spoilers to a minimum, there are a couple of things I will be giving away. I’ll try to make it only things that you will learn within the first ten minutes anyway.
It’s now two years after the events of Dead Space 2. The Unitology movement is as strong as ever and our hero, Isaac Clarke, has been laying low; trying to forget the markers and everything he’s seen. While we’ve been gone, Clarke has been hiding from the government, from the Unitologists and probably from himself too. All of that is about to change.
Isaac is cornered in his apartment by some soldiers claiming to be part of the last of the government’s military. We soon learn that Jacob Danik, the leader of the Unitology movement, has led a worldwide riot against the government and they are trying to release any and all markers in existence. Danik is played by none other than Simon Templeman, who has been awesome forever and has lent that awesomeness to videogames for years now. Some examples include Absalom in Darksiders II, Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, General Threnoldt in Star Wars: The Old Republic and the voice of Kain in the Legacy of Kain series (which I personally wish was still ongoing).
Gunner Wright and Sonita Henry both return to their roles as Isaac Clarke and Ellie Langford and Ricardo Chavira is the voice of Sgt. John Carver, who is the character the second player can use for cooperative play, which I also think is awesome. Coming from a guy who’s girlfriend is a Zombie Apocalypse Geek, being able to shoot space zombies (necromorphs, for purists out there) together is always a plus.
The interface is the same, though the opening menu screen has a darker, grungier look to it. That goes perfectly with the story once you get started though. The rest of the interface is quicker and just as easy to use. Because of the circumstances in the story, it allowed them to change the upgrading of the suits and weapons and they did it in a very modular and interesting way.
Instead of simply having set things you can add to particular guns, they’ve made Dead Space 3 much more customizable. To start, you can create your own weapons with seemingly endless configuration possibilities. My favorite creation was a semi-automatic machine gun with a shotgun attachment, that allowed for fast shots as well as a show stopper if needed or if a necromorph got too close for comfort. Not only is the creation innovative, but you also have improvement slots with circuits you find or create yourself. As you find different kinds of circuits or plans for different gun styles and types, Isaac learns to build different circuits out of spare parts found all over. While I didn’t take advantage of this as much as I would have liked, it was still much more imaginative and far more personalized than we could have expected from previous Dead Space upgrades. I thought it was pretty awesome. You can also create schematics for the weapons you create and then share those schematics with your friends online.
What can I say about the graphics? They are beautiful. Definitely a good notch up from Dead Space 1 and 2, while still retaining the style we have come to love and expect. Isaac is looking a little frayed, with a beard and a little age showing (probably all the stress), but that doesn’t stop him from getting everything done.
The space walks and space flights in zero gravity are still my favorite and they showcase the graphics especially well, but there are a few new twists with things like rappelling up and down cliff faces and fast-paced zero gravity flights with obstacles and enemies to avoid.
The necromorphs are even uglier than I remember and that’s saying something. The details are as beautiful as they are disturbing. For a horror game, I can’t give higher praise.
The music, as always with the Dead Space series, seems to thrill you, calm you, keep you exactly where you need to be and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, they throw in some heavier music and you’re ambushed by necromorphs you didn’t know could be that big; Or ugly.
There are so few truly co-operative games out there that let you go through the storyline together instead of just multiplayer online or capture the flag or things of that nature, that I’m always glad to see them. The only other truly co-op game that was memorable for me this year is Halo 4 and I haven’t even been able to Co-Op through it yet. More Co-Op, I say!
Are you kidding? I finished it and almost hit New Game+ right away. I had to pry my fingers off my own controller just to write this and once I’m done I have to force myself not to start a new game. So on Replayability, this one deinitely gets high marks. Now if I can just stop talking myself into starting the entire series over again…