Dead Space 3: Bigger, Faster, Dumber

I’m not one to say ‘it’s different so it sucks now’ reflexively. My concerns weren’t a result of being confronted by change. But when I saw the Dead Space 3 demo at E3 2012, one thought kept popping up in my head:

The Dead Space series is survival horror… in SPAAACE. Right?

This is probably going to be on your mind too, if only so that later, when you’re wondering why you didn’t quite like Dead Space 3, you’ll know why. No, the 15 minutes or so of the Dead Space 3 E3 demo didn’t suck, exactly. At every turn, Dead Space 3 seems like a pretty b-grade game. It looked good, but not great; it had some sharp dialogue, but the lines felt stolen from a buddy comedy; it even had some rather neat gameplay mechanics, but they kind of nerf the single player experience.

The problem, naturally, is that Dead Space is not a b-grade series. Or at least, it didn’t used to be.

Uh oh.

***

“More enemies, more action, more environments.”

This is what EA Redwood Shore’s Paul Mathus said fans can expect in Dead Space 3, and he was right. Compared to previous entries in the series it is positively chaotic. The scenes in the demo featured far more variety than we’re used in Dead Space, ranging from caves to fortresses to cliffs, science fiction rooms, even giant drill sites, all in a relatively short period of game time.

A brief recap: It began with a cut scene in which Isaac, suspended upside down in an ice cave ala Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, calls our Ellie’s name, implying that they’ve become separated since the end of Dead Space 2 (your mission is in part to find her). We learn rather quickly that Isaac is on an ice world – and remember that, because it’s important for when I complain later. After the cut scene, Isaac wandered around some tight environments reminiscent of the first two games in their narrowness. Equipped with a very familiar weapon, Isaac killed several necromorphs. The scene then transitioned to an expansive ravine, where a collapsed path results in Isaac hanging off a ledge. Once Isaac saved himself via quick time event, we were treated to a rather spectacular view of the planet’s horizon, with what looked like a Gas Giant visible in the sky.

At this point, Isaac wandered into what looked like some kind of survivalist encampment. He interacted with a guard manning the wall of the encampment, and then had to defend the guard against a sudden necromorph attack. Isaac then went into an interior where he equipped himself with new armor, and then returned to killing necromorphs and, incidentally, newly badass members of the Church of Unitology (more shortly).

The Demo also featured several different kinds of necromorph enemies, and a demonstration of how the new co-op system will work (more on that shortly also). While the demo didn’t reveal much about the plot or how the final game will look, the suspense and survival horror aspects seem to have been replaced by pulse pounding terror-ish elements, with driving music and relentless enemies, not to mention standard shooting mechanics the new normal.

Yes, indeed there is lots of action, lots of enemies, lots of environmental variety. Does it work? Kind of, but when the demo footage hit the web last week, we asked if it was “too many bullets“. Yes. Yes there are.

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7 Comments on Dead Space 3: Bigger, Faster, Dumber

Tom

On June 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Dead Space 3 looks like crap. It looks too much like Mass Effect 3, both in terms of gameplay and the ending of a trilogy. DS isn’t about action, it’s supposed to be survival horror. The first 2 games actually did scare me. This is going to be about as scary as Call of Duty. Thank you EA, for ruining yet another franchise I (used to) love.

EA logic: “Final installment of a trilogy? Better force the developer to change everything up!”

SXO

On June 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Dead Space was a survival horror game. Dead Space 2 was a third-person shooter with lots of gore and some “shock” scares thrown in along the way. Dead Space 3 is just an “action adventure” with gore.

Tiagonal

On June 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Well, they could end Isaacs’ Trilogy to start another one of a completely new character…. solely on the name Dead Space refers to all space! Could have such a wide creative universe.. I’d call it the ultimate Cash Cow, kinda what they tried to do with Final Fantasy, it could be anything.

Axetwin

On June 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm

And yet, over at IGN, they publicly question why people hate EA.

You guys want to know what Dead Space 3 is going to be like? Replay the last 2 levels of Dead Space 2 and add Co-Op. In my opinion, those last two levels is where the game really fell apart. I am disappointed and yet completely and utterly unsurprised that EA has chosen to go down this road for this franchise.

Ive said this before in previous comment sections on this site and Ill keep saying it until my fingers fall off. This game looks more like Lost Planet than it does Dead Space.

R.J.

On June 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm

The good news is that you aren’t forced to deal with a dumb AI partner. The bad news is that another horror series has lost its way. Fighting humans? That isn’t scary. Lots of ammo and perhaps a universal ammo? Not scary because resources aren’t scarce. The devs for RE even admitted they aren’t making a survival horror game anymore, and it seems like Visceral is heading that way.

At least Game Front is willing to say that these changes are problematic and point out that the game is becoming derivative. I’ll expect sites like IGN to kiss EA’s butt and say how great this looks for the next year.

PS3Boy

On June 17, 2012 at 6:09 am

Dead Space 3 looks Bare creepy and i agree its all about action not Survival DS 1 started with a well something that looked like a base with no lights or electricty and 1,2 was BARE SCARY SCARY

Brad

On August 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

@Tom

I think that’s kind of the point. My theory is that EA has decided to destoy all of their IPs at the third release so they don’t have to make a fourth. If they can get the majority of their fans to hate it by the end, they won’t want a fourth.