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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sigh......why?, 15 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Dead Space 3 (PC DVD) (Computer Game)
I tend to write reviews for two reasons. One, because a game is just mind-bogglingly good; or two, because a game sucks.

I've made an exception to my own rule here because this game is not dreadful per se, BUT it's shockingly bad for a Dead Space title.

Bear with me here, this is my intro.....When I first discovered the Dead Space (DS) franchise I had no idea what to expect. Survival horror for me was restricted to the early Resident Evil titles. Well, DS certainly made an impression on me. The violence, slow movement of the protagonist, genuinely terrifying gameplay and weird weapons and locales made it stand out as something different. If I'm honest, it even took a little while before I really started to appreciate, and gradually love the game (still taking about the original DS game). Anyway, I played it through, dying with alarming frequency as I reached the end and completed the game. And once I had finished it, I knew I had to get the next instalment.
DS2 was superb. An improvement in every way. I loved it. Story, characters, locales, weapons, battles galore. Nigh on perfect.

Enter DS3. Maybe a little unfortunately, it had to live up to a considerable amount of hype as a result of the almost cult-like following developed through the success of the earlier instalments in the series.
And unfortunately, it falls short. Considerably.

Gripe 1: Dead SPACE. Geddit? It's meant to be in space. Why so much of the game is on a planet(s) is beyond me, and frankly peeved me off.

So the game. Well, the story starts off (after the intro) in an orderly fashion. Which in itself is wrong. If I wanted order, I'd be playing SimCity. I want chaos. Straightjacket chaos without weapons... Isaac is kinda older and more zen. Obviously a little upset about his love life (no seriously, this is an important part of the game - and we're not talking about zombie love, it's real flesh and blood). The plot improves slightly after this, but the thing I found peculiar is that there seem to be more human enemies than undead necromorphs for a large part of the game. Which would make it more of a notsodead space game (on a planet).....but I digress....

The graphics are still fairly good. Didn't feel as polished as DS2, but still good. The sound and voice acting is excellent, and the environments themselves are detailed and immersive. So in this respect I can't really complain.

The combat has not changed much. It's still slow and fairly ponderous (which is fine). The weapons have evolved somewhat, as has the crafting and upgrading (and this is not fine - frankly this sucks and takes waaaaaay too much time), which doesn't actually seem to do much to improve your weapons once you get them to a certain level. Kinesis and stasis are still there, and can be used very effectively. For some reason the developers have tried to include a `cover' mode. I really don't see the purpose of this, and more importantly it sucks big time. It's a `crouch when you're close to an object' cover theme which doesn't really work very well. You're never really in cover, nor are you able to shoot particularly well once your in cover.

The difficulty seems to have been toned down a bit too. I played on `hard' thinking I wanted a challenge. Well, there is no challenge. I think I died for the first time in chapter 8. Chapter 8!!! There is too much loot, too many medpacks and too much ammo. No need to impale anyone or anything. You're constantly stocked full of ammo. Whereas the DS and DS2 really had me doing everything I could to avoid getting killed because I genuinely grimaced each time I saw myself being dismembered or decapitated, this version doesn't carry the same survival desire. Not seeing yourself die regularly lowers the tension levels considerably.

The parts of the game in space, remain decent. The zero gravity bits are still fun although again, nowhere near as hard as they were before in DS2.

Gripe 2: I really, really didn't like the additional characters. Survival horror is based on the premise of trying to get yourself, and maybe a member of the opposite sex, out of a really tight situation with limited ammo and limited health. Getting communication through your rig from other characters spoils this completely.

So, the game is no longer really worthy of the Dead Space name. It's more of classic FPS with some gadgets and novel space flight. And as an FPS it's not too hot either. It pulls through as an ok game because it is novel in this respect (but this applies more to those that are not DS veterans). For those that liked or loved the first two DS games, I would seriously stay away, or wait till you can get it a looooot cheaper than this.

Gripe 3: Did I mention that this game is just not frightening at ALL any more. No seriously, it just isn't. Even necromorphs seem less intimidating. And the big regenerative ones from the end of DS2, you're actually encouraged to run away from.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Mar 2013, 11:51:26 GMT
Problem here is, how do you maintain the same level of tension after 2 games? I see this complaint about all of the survival horror titles and really it's a mix of both players rose tinted memories and developers realising that they have to do something different or else they get the opposite complaints about not "evolving the gameplay". Seriously these games become less and less scary as you play through them until the only thing that does give you a scare is when there is loud music and a monster spawning from the wall, and if it goes down to relying on jump scares then the developers may as well stop making Dead Space games.

I really enjoyed Dead Space, and really liked Dead Space 2, but after playing for a few hours on both the horror faded away and the gameplay became that of any other action shooter where I started messing around with powers and trying new shots against necromorphs. Since the games have no system for say procedurally generating foes to keep you guessing if enemeis will spawn behind you or something the tension just fades away completely. Also if you play these games right you rarely need ammo, and health can be carried around in abundance.

Honestly I am not criticising your review here, but how many times can you have Isaac Clarke trapped on a derelict ship/space station before it starts nagging you? "Oh come on, how many times can necromorphs infest a giant ship?" or "Isaac got stuck on another city sized space station?". Also I think it's good to see EA developing the setting more with the Unitologists and their cultish actions being the main cause of the outbreaks in all three games. Eventually you are going to come face to face with the more militaristic side of this cult and I guess game 3 is as good as any really.

On the point of Isaac being more zen now, well think of him as Ellen Ripley in Aliens who goes from terrified Nostromo crew member to ass kicker in the space of 2 movies. Yeah she is scared of these creatures, but she has dealt with them enough now to be able to combat them effectively without breaking down into tears or going completely insane. Isaac is the same, especially after surviving 2 horrendous, nightmarish outbreaks.

Also the name Dead Space is more likely to be applied to the Physiological term, like Half life which wasn't referencing how Gordon freeman was 50 or something like that :) Just because it says Dead Space doesn't mean every game in the series must be set in space, hell the end chapters of the first game was on the planet the Ishimura was orbiting and that is where the outbreak started.

Posted on 8 Jun 2013, 10:56:37 BST
NeuroSplicer says:
Good review. Thank you.

Posted on 29 Jun 2013, 14:00:23 BST
Last edited by the author on 29 Jun 2013, 14:05:37 BST
R. Wigginton says:
Thanks for your review. I didn't buy 3. Visceral probably need to go back to the drawing board and look at what made the first two games so good. Like being alone in dark confined spaces on an abandoned space hulk. It doesn't need to be a shooter. You don't need that many alien encounters. Just the tension building up to one is enough to keep you on edge. That's partly why System Shock was so great.

An idea, that would allow you to keep the same game environment; Dead Space prelude. You play as one of the crew of the Ishimura when the outbreak begins in a similar way that the original Half Life began. Remember, you read it here first! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013, 19:24:47 BST
Good review, but I still has to use the Plasma Cutter...But I will wait till it gets really cheaper...at least half the price :)
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