Dead Space 3 Demo Impressions: Hope the Game is Scarier

The Hope of New Monsters

That’s not to say the demo is all bad. In fact, while the monsters themselves in the demo moments haven’t really captured the frightening look of the models we’ve seen in past games, they still have some promise to them — namely, that necromorphs are growing more intelligent, and that they’ll be tougher to deal with on the whole.

Early in the demo, Isaac is accosted by human-like enemies who seem to be former miners on Tau Volantis. They stand and attack with blunt objects, moving like men, but as you cut them apart, they become more monstrous. In fact, these guys sprout legs to skitter after you in chunks, each part becoming a new creature itself. It reminds me of John Carpenter’s The Thing, one of my favorite horror movies, and that’s not bad company.

In fact, I’m hopeful that the arctic setting and the clear similarities between the necros and the things of the film will mean that Visceral Entertainment is channeling Carpenter more than Capcom’s Lost Planet franchise with Dead Space 3. That would definitely not be a bad thing, and I’d love to see necromorphs that are not only giving us new silhouettes to shoot at, but are changing the paradigm of what these creatures are and how you can fight them altogether.

Do You Like Crafting? There’s Crafting. Wanna Craft? Here, Craft Something

Weapon crafting. It’s a big part of the new Dead Space formula and it’s a big part of the demo, as well. Upgradeable weapons and inventory management has always been a big part of the Dead Space series, and the new weapon crafting system expands on that extensively. The demo shows that it has potential, but I’m also a little dubious about it.

On the up side, you’ll be finding weapons components all over the place, and these can be used specifically to create your own guns. From what I saw, the best part is that you can combine two weapons to make something even more effective; for example, a automatic rivet-firing rifle, with an under-slung force gun that’s great for crowd control. Using that baby, I was able to deal with necromorph threats by bouncing them clear whenever I got into trouble, then take them out at a distance.

It’s also nice that the ability to assemble and disassemble weapons greatly cleans up your inventory. You can create blueprints for any gun you invent, so you never have to hold on to crap you don’t need. Dead Space 3 reduces the number of weapons you can carry, so this helps to really keep things organized. You’ll also use universal ammo as well, which means that you won’t be inundated with ammo for guns you don’t use much, a problem in previous entries into the series. Finding weapons parts makes the loot aspect of the game a whole lot more worthwhile, too.

Here’s the trouble: First, you can craft a lot of stuff — in fact, it seems like you can craft just about everything. This may not actually be the case as we’re playing the full game (the demo notes that it has been “front-loaded” with stuff so you can try out crafting), but the ability to build any component you might need takes away from the idea of finding the parts and balancing strengths and weaknesses. This is a survival-horror game, after all: it’s better to leave the player a little wanting than overpowered (although Dead Space has, admittedly, struggled somewhat with this idea throughout the franchise).

I’m also torn on the universal ammo pool. On the one hand, yes, this is a big, helpful change to the way the game handles. I remember playing the first Dead Space and carrying huge amounts of rounds for guns I wasn’t even using, and that crowds out ammo you can actually need. The inventory management is balanced out by having to carry around weapons components, so at least you’re still weighing carefully what to take and what to drop.

At the same time, at least in the demo, I felt fully ready for everything I took on, as ammo was plentiful and enemies went down fast. This is something I’m waiting to see in the full game release — demos are usually made to be easier than their games, so the “Normal” difficulty we saw in the demo might not be indicative of what we’ll really be facing. If that’s the case, the ammo balance issue might not be an issue at all. But careful resource management by developers is one of the things that really works in horror, so I’m hoping that Dead Space 3 gets that aspect right in the end.

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11 Comments on Dead Space 3 Demo Impressions: Hope the Game is Scarier

Kyle

On January 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

It felt more like Army of Two than Dead Space. Im not saying that it cant be a great action game, but Dead Space is survival-horror. That means it could be the best co-op action game ever made but I still wouldn’t like it because Im buying Dead Space so I can play a new school Resident Evil.

The Defenestrator

On January 24, 2013 at 12:49 am

Well, according to Visceral’s own words, they “don’t make survival horror, they make Dead Space.” So I wasn’t really surprised at the lack of scares of tension or atmosphere in the demo. But, having pretty much written the game off months ago as a crass, lowest common denominator baiting money grab, I was probably never going to like it anyway.

Maybe the people who don’t have a history with the series will like it better. Or maybe it’ll appeal to the people who just want to shoot stuff in the face. Either way, as a survival horror fan, I’m out. Good luck to ‘em. Hope it works out. But considering they’re also saying that they need to sell five million copies to justify continuing the series… I seriously doubt they’re going to pull it off.

lol

On January 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

The whole tension thing I felt from the other games was still in this game. Which was NOT GETTING KILLED IN A HORRIBLE WAY. That in itself made Dead Space enjoyable for me and it’s still around in Dead Space 3.

Rob

On January 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I heard one chapter has a snow mobile gun chase that ends up in a freefall over a cliff with Isaac in a mid air death struggle with a necromorph for the only parachute . . . .. . You fight a ing drill in the demo so an action game cliche like that probably isnt far off. All joking aside doesnt dead space now with the co op and cover system very closely resemble one of EA’s other much less successful titles, army of two. Army of two, especially the second one, is absolutely terrrible and very few people liked it, so what does EA do, damand to force co op into one of their more successful and loved titles even though the fans very loudly voiced their opposition to it. Its like EA and visceral are trying to alienate the people that made the franchise as popular as it is. I personally know of no real dead space fans that are happy with the direction the game has gone now and while we all hope for the best i dont think anyone is expecting anything as amazing as the first 2 games

Hellblazer

On January 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Blablabla another too long article for nothing.

Wesker1984

On January 25, 2013 at 11:58 pm

I have a big history with Dead Space and i’m sure i will enjoy Dead Space 3 as much as the other two! Me, contrary to all the whiners around here, i will not let myself having a hole in one of my favorite franchise just because the developers decided to change some details or add new contents in this new sequel.

I doesn’t care if a sequel is more action packed than survival(RE6) or more action-shooter than RPG(ME3) or more linear than it predecessor(FF13). The only thing i care its a good game nothing else so if a game is good i will be satisfied and will not cry on it just because they changed something minor.

As a true gamer i’m in The Defenestrator.

Yeah i know my english is poor et je m’en fiche! Donc aller vous faire voire!

Soldier

On January 26, 2013 at 6:32 am

This game not scary no more, they ruined the series with this one.

The Defenestrator

On January 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Well, Wesker, I did say it was baiting the “lowest common denominator,” so by all means go prove yourself as a True Gamer by blowing $60 on a mediocre action game. :o )

Wesker1984

On January 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm

What make you sure the game will be mediocre just because they altered the theme? Every BEEP here in the comment section say Mass Effect 3 is mediocre just because the endings are bad while every reviewers say Mass Effect 3 is a good game, even the gamefront review say it.

What matter for me in a game is not its atmosphere but its scenario. If a game got a very good story i’m really satisfied no matter what! Even if the gameplay is BEEP. I hated games like Left 4 Dead or Borderlands 1 because those games have almost zero story development.

Dead Space: Extraction is a rail-shooter and is a very good game. Good story and fun to play. And if Dead Space 3 have a good story i’m IN.

To correct my previous statement i think is more appropriate for me to say i’m more a story lover and not a full gamer.

So as a true story-lover i’m in The Defenestrator.

MPSewell

On January 27, 2013 at 2:10 am

We all knew it was going to be crap, we saw this coming from every screenshot and game-footage released. A truly great horror series is dead, slain by the EA beast. She shall be missed.

Hellblazer

On January 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@MPSewell
I doesn’t care. I’m not a fan of the survival horror genre, i’m a fan of video games in overall and i’m sure i will enjoy this third entry. I’m will not cry like a girl before testing the product.