Posted on February 22, 2013, Phil Hornshaw Dead Space 3 PC Review: More Than a ‘Straight Port’
This review focuses primarily on how well the PC version of Dead Space 3 plays, and is a supplement to our original Dead Space 3 review. We’ve already covered other aspects of the game like horror, story, controls and more, so if that’s what you’re looking for, check out our original review of Dead Space 3 for a more details.
Not too long ago, yet another controversy erupted surrounding Dead Space 3 when Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis made mention that the PC version of the game would not necessarily be a significant graphical improvement over its console counterparts.
Papoutsis said Visceral was doing its best to make all versions of the game look good, and didn’t want visual fidelity in one version to be leaps and bounds ahead of another. Roughly translated, however, that made it sound as though Visceral was putting together little more than a straight port — a version of the console game that was barely tuned to PC and had minimum effort put in to allow gamers to maximize the game with their hardware. Needless to say, people were upset.
Visceral has done straight ports before: The original Dead Space is a pretty dreadful port directly from Xbox to your PC, and the result is weak keyboard-and-mouse controls, zero graphical adjustment options, and the not-quite-but-kind-of requirement to play it with a gamepad. With Dead Space 2, there was significant improvement in the PC version, though the game was still specifically geared toward console.
In Dead Space 3, Visceral has done more than just port the game straight over from consoles. PC players have more options and the game looks and handles better on PC for the most part. It’s not nearly as bad as many PC gamers had feared; instead, Visceral has delivered an experience that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its console brethren, although it doesn’t quite blow the consoles away.
Dead Space 3
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: Feb. 5, 2013
As discussed last time in our primary review of Dead Space 3, this entry into the series is quite a bit larger than the previous ones, and it’s also a bit more action-oriented than horror-oriented. I spent my time with the PC version of Dead Space 3 with the difficulty cranked up to Impossible, and if you’re looking for a tougher, scarier experience, that’s a good way to get it. Every encounter takes on quite a bit more lethality on the highest difficulty, and resources are somewhat more sparse.
Dead Space 3 excels in a lot of great ways as an evolution of the series. There’s still a lot of action to be had here, even if the game is less scary than its predecessors. It’s also huge — probably around 20 hours when adding in all side quests and cooperative quests — so players can expect a lot of content for their buck, especially with unlockable modes like New Game +. The core gameplay that makes Dead Space fun persists, and surrounding it are a number of new features, most of which aren’t bad or at least don’t get in the way.
While Dead Space 3 might suffer from some bloat, the majority of its new stuff isn’t a detriment. Co-op is nice without really adding a whole lot for the most part, and the new crafting system offers a lot to players who are interested in that sort of thing. The title could stand to be scarier and many players will lament the loss of some of the more horrific material, but the game still manages a few tense situations. It’d be nice to see a tighter story and more variety in enemies and locations, though.