Dead Space 3 Review: Good, But More Shooty Than Scary
NOTE: This is a review of the PS3 version of Dead Space 3. Being a PC-focused site, we also plan to review the PC version of the game. Stay tuned for that review in the coming weeks.
Greater than the fear created by any of the Dead Space games was the growing dread over the last year that Dead Space 3 would suck.
So many things appeared in the run-up to the game’s release that fans were, rightfully, very worried. A traditionally horror-infused game going cooperative. A huge, expansive crafting system that would include micro-transactions. Cover-based shooting elements added to what has been a monster-fight since its inception (like we don’t have enough cover-based shooters, right?). Many of us cried “doom” at the mention of these elements, forecasting the end of what’s pretty much the only remaining triple-A horror series going.
The good news is, Dead Space 3 is not the utter disaster prognosticators believed, by any stretch. It is not broken by co-op, mangled by a pay-to-win model, or a fat-free, darker version of Gears of War. Or rather, at times it can suffer from some of those things, but by some miracle, those missteps (and they mostly are missteps) do not send Dead Space 3 crashing into a planet and exploding into burning wreckage. There’s a huge amount of game here, and a lot to like for fans. While I have my quibbles with Dead Space 3, I cannot deny that I had much fun playing it.
Dead Space 3
Platforms: Playstation 3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: Feb. 5, 2013
We’re back to the world of Isaac Clarke, Marker killer and Necromorph plague survivor, who has gone into hiding after the events of Dead Space 2. The world of the game is in chaos — the Unitology religion has gone into all-out revolt against the government of Earth and her colonies, releasing Markers everywhere and creating monsters to destroy everything. While Isaac has decided he wants nothing to do with Necromorphs anymore, trying to stay out of dealing with the Marker threat, heroine Ellie has left in search of a way of stopping all the craziness.
But Ellie has gone missing at the uncharted ice planet of Tau Volantis, so her Earthgov boyfriend and his tragically family-less sergeant, John Carver, have been dispatched to bring back Isaac to help. The game starts with an escape from the now-militant Unitologists, culminating in Isaac and his new awkward co-op buddy Carver heading with the rest of the squad to the frozen planet.
While the game starts with the oft-lamented cover-based shooting portions as Isaac fights off the human enemies in the Unitologists, it quickly gets back into familiar territory with the arrival at Tau Volantis. The next several hours of the game are spent in space, with Isaac wandering through empty ships and fighting off ancient, centuries-old Necromorphs, and this is where the game really opens up.
For the first time in the series, Dead Space 3 allows a lot more freedom: freedom to explore the flotilla, freedom to create whatever weapons you want, and freedom to play with a friend — or not. Adventuring through the destroyed armada does a lot to evoke the original Dead Space, bringing players back to the cold, industrial hallways of darkened ships, with their vents exploding and spewing several different kinds of Necromorphs.