by Jake Folsom
Dead Space Review: A Cut Above The Rest
Written by Podunker:lostfanatic6
* Strategic dismemberment
* Awesome audio and Amazing visuals
* Gruesome enemies
* Zero gravity combat
* Plenty of terrifying moments
* Upgradeable weapon system
* Somewhat of a predictable story
* Sometimes repetitive gameplay
* Not long enough
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
Genre: Survival horror/Third-person shooter
ESRB Rating: Mature
Release Date: October 14, 2008
Publisher/Developer: Electronic Arts/EA Redwood Shores
Story: 7 / 10
A massive deep-space mining ship (the USG Ishimura) goes dark after unearthing a strange artifact (The Marker) on a distant planet. You are an engineer (Isaac Clarke) embarking on the repair mission, only to uncover a nightmarish bloodbath. The ship’s crew has been horribly slaughtered and infected by an alien scourge. Now you are cut off, trapped, and engaged in a desperate fight for survival. One of the people that survived your ship’s crash landing on the USG Ishimura (Hammond) recognizes that many of the ship’s systems are failing, threatening the ship due to a nearby asteroid belt, and sends you around the ship to fix the core systems to keep them alive. During these treks, you discover various text and audio logs scattered throughout the ship and piece together the events that transpired before his arrival. The ship’s captain was actually an agent of the a large and influential religious cult, “Church of Unitology. You soon find out the Ishimura was assigned to retrieve this religion’s most deified relic, known as “The Marker”, from this planet under the guise of an illegal mining operation as the planet itself has been deemed off-limits by the Earth government. Soon after the Marker was extracted and brought to the Ishimura the civilians, first on the planet-side colony then the ship, suffered from mass hysteria brought on by violent hallucinations, before subsequently killing each other. The captain cuts off traffic and communications between the two sides and later goes insane as well, prompting Dr. Terrance Kyne, the Chief Science Officer, to relieve him of duty, only to accidentally kill him in a struggle. An alien organism then began ravaging the colony, infecting the bodies of the dead and turning them into “Necromorphs” (human corpses transformed and reanimated by an unknown alien organism who kill, trying to spread the infestation). It then spreads to the Ishimura via a colony shuttle that crashes into the docking bay, carrying several Necromorphs on board. Then the carnage began…
Gameplay: 9 / 10
Dead Space is an over the shoulder third-person shooter. Since your camera angle is not like a first-person shooter, your HUD (head-up display) is not a traditional one. All information is relayed to you via holographic projections and the features on the suit and the weapons themselves. For example, a small display on the weapon shows an ammunition count; also, the ‘health meter’ that indicates your condition is integrated into the spine of the armor Isaac wears. You can check a 3D map, your objectives, and access your inventory via floating holograms projected in front of you. Just be careful when you do so because your player is still in gameplay; accessing these menus does not mean that you are paused or safe, you are always in danger of being attacked.
Something very unconventional about Dead Space is the idea of strategic dismemberment. What I mean by this is simple; in a monster or zombie game, where do you always shoot your enemies? In the head, right? Not in Dead Space. In Dead Space they use this term of “strategic dismemberment” to express the way to kill your grotesque enemies. The already-dead Necromorphs do not simply die after receiving a certain amount of damage. In fact, depending on how they are wounded, Necromorphs can adopt new stances and tactics, even sprouting new limbs or giving birth to new enemies in the process. You must sever certain limbs on your enemies’ bodies to kill them as quickly as possible. How do you sever with bullets? You don’t use them in Dead Space. In keeping with Isaac’s profession as an engineer rather than a soldier, the weapons in Dead Space are mostly improvised from mining tools with some pretty sweet secondary firing modes, which are supposed to be used for cutting rocks. Oh yeah, you know its gonna be a bloodbath now!
Other equipment that you are loaded up with include Stasis ability (which can be used in the game to temporarily slow down enemies and objects), a Kinesis module (allowing you to pick up and throw items), a GPS laser that will point to the next point of interest, and a pressurized suit and magnetic boots for making treks into the many zero gravity areas in the game.
Graphics: 10 / 10
The graphics in Dead Space are something to brag about. From the way human corpses are detailed into their newly reanimated, grotesque Necromorph bodies to the stunning views of passing asteroids, moons, and planets. The details that went into the grossness of the enemies is phenomenal. The stunning views that are presented in this game are as well awesome. Just the way that the creators made the large set pieces like planets and the outside parts of the ship are amazing in themselves. Did I mention the boss battles are by far some of the prettiest parts in the game and maybe even some of the prettiest parts in any game!
Challenge/Difficulty/Replay Value: 8 / 10
The difficulty settings in Dead Space are just that of any other game with an Easy, Medium, and Hard with an unlockable “Harder” mode after completing the game once. If you are like me and like to beat the game on the hardest difficulty level then this game will be pretty challenging because of the lack of ammo and health. Another big reason this game can be so difficult is because it gets under your skin and into your head. This game is probably one of the top three scariest games of all time and that alone makes it more difficult by making you paranoid and panicky. The replay value of this title increases if you are a trophy hunter like myself. Along with these other things, the thing that made me play it over and over again was to see all the upgrades that you can make to your weapons, suit, and other equipment.
Overall Score: 9 / 10
Dead Space has brought back my much loved genre of survival horror and has done it perfectly. This game has stunning visuals, gruesomely innovative enemies, audio track that still makes my skin crawl, and some of the scariest video game moments ever. If you even have the slightest interest in this game, pick it up, close the shads, shut off the lights, and get ready for an unending night of jumping out of your seat.