Dead Space 3 PC Review: More Than a ‘Straight Port’

Among the things that Visceral Games got right with the PC outing as compared to consoles is the PC controls. Dead Space and even Dead Space 2 feel a bit hampered when playing with a mouse and keyboard. The original Dead Space, specifically, feels very strange on a mouse; a gamepad is almost a necessity in order to really get the feel of how the game is supposed to control. Dead Space 2 is a marked improvement, but the game still feels shackled to a gamepad setup.

In Dead Space 3, mouse controls specifically have been greatly improved over what we saw in the original Dead Space. Aiming feels tight and keyboard controls are responsive — in short, Visceral nailed mouse and keyboard this time out, and PC players won’t feel like they’re playing a control scheme that’s been stripped out of a gamepad and roughly pasted onto a keyboard. On the other hand, plug a gamepad into your PC and Dead Space 3 handles just as well. The user interface adapts to your input device instantly, which is nice, so whatever your preferred means of Necromorph elimination, you’re well-supported here.

From a graphical standpoint, Dead Space 3 is impressive on PC, although as Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis has said, Visceral wanted all versions of the game to look more or less the same. That means that while you can crank up the textures higher with graphical controls on the PC version, don’t expect to go nuts — and even at its lowest settings, Dead Space 3 looks pretty great.

That’s good, because while it’s clear that Visceral has created more than a straight port of Dead Space 3, that doesn’t mean you should expect a great deal of options when tweaking the game’s graphical settings. Most everything is fairly pedestrian: the ability to switch off v-sync or manage lens flare and distance blurring when aiming your gun. The full list of customizeable controls isn’t nothing, to be sure, but neither is it so robust that you can really reach a customized graphics setting. The default settings, which encompass four steps from “Low” to “Ultra,” are about as good as it gets.

But with all that said, Dead Space 3 on PC is by no means an inferior version of the game. It’s tough to go so far as to say PC is superior, although it does offer better graphics in general, even if they’re not necessarily worlds better than their console counterparts. More accurate, probably, is that it’s just as good and fits well with the PC medium without really taking full advantage of it. This is a different version of Dead Space 3 more than it’s a better or worse one.

The good news there is that if PC is your preferred way to play games, Dead Space 3 is a perfectly serviceable PC game. It might not include a lot of bells, whistles, or adjustments, but it has more than console players are getting and you’ll still receive an experience that’s both fun and handles well. Playing cooperatively also fares just as well on PC as it does on consoles, with the limitation that you’re stuck using EA’s Origin platform, rather than the more popular (and thus more densely populous) Steam. But then again, anybody who wants to play Dead Space 3 on PC has to do it with Origin, so the platform isn’t that much of an impediment.

It’s worth noting that Visceral has paid attention to the needs of PC players this time out, and that Dead Space 3 is the best PC version to come out of the series, period. That’s a big improvement over where things started with Dead Space, and a welcome change. Sure, it’d be nice to see the kind of PC support title such as Battlefield 3 and Crysis 3 are getting, but Dead Space 3 is more than a straight port and still quite a bit of fun.

Pros:

  • Solid keyboard and mouse controls that won’t make you angry you’re without a gamepad
  • Some graphical controls give PC players more customization
  • PC version looks better than its console counterparts, even though it’s not a world of difference
  • All of Dead Space 3′s difficulty, new game + and co-op options mean there’s a huge amount of content here
  • More than the “straight port” many feared and criticized

Cons:

  • While there are some graphical customization options, the list is by no means extensive
  • Doesn’t present a significant gain over console versions in terms of graphical fidelity
  • Shackled to Origin, which is a deal-breaker for some players
  • While more open than other Dead Space games, suffers from repeated levels and some bloat
  • Co-op often feels a bit tacked on in terms of story
  • Much more of an action game than a horror one

Final Score: 75/100

You can get more out of your Dead Space 3 PC version with a little help from us: How to Unlock Your FPS and How to Unlock Your FOV.


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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3 Comments on Dead Space 3 PC Review: More Than a ‘Straight Port’

Jay

On February 23, 2013 at 1:17 am

I’ve no intention of buying this, nor do I own a Dead Space title, but two of your cons are one in the same and Origin isn’t really reflective of the game itself. You need to list a bit more than that for a 75/100 rating.

StevieB

On March 1, 2013 at 1:41 am

This is just reviewing how DS3 plays on PC. I was expecting a review of the actual game.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 1, 2013 at 1:58 am

@StevieB

We have two reviews of Dead Space 3, as mentioned at the top of this review. This one was specifically about the PC version and we didn’t want to repeat ourselves; try the original review for mechanics, story and more. http://www.gamefront.com/dead-space-3-review-good-but-more-shooty-than-scary/