In the deepest regions of space, aboard a disabled mining ship, a new dimension of terror has been discovered. In the new game Dead Space, E.A. has crafted a truly gripping and immersive game that is truly frightening to play.
Cast as engineer Isaac Clarke, you and your crew arrive for routine repairs to a remote mining ship, the Ishimura. The docking procedures do not go as planned and Clarke and his team find themselves trapped aboard the ishimura, and if this was not bad enough, something has gone horribly wrong aboard the mining ship.
Very shortly into the game, Clarke becomes separated from his team, and under siege from a series of bizarre and deadly creatures that infest the station. Armed with a simple plasma cutter weapon, Clarke must not only survive the aliens that roam the station but he must complete several tasks such as restoring the ships tram service and unblocking vital areas of the ship.
As the story unfolds, Clarke is able to upgrade his arsenal through the collection and use of power nodes, and through collecting credits, is able to purchase new weapons such as military grade rifles and flamethrowers to fight off the Necromorphs.
Clarke is able to keep in touch with his team through the game thanks to the com system which allows for a holographic display to appear before the player. For those who do not want to have to stand in place to watch the messages, you can move around the ship and still watch the messages as the screen will travel with you as you move.
Players will also be able to gain access to various crew logs as well which will help fill in the back story of what happened aboard the Ishimura prior to your arrival.
The game has plenty of challenges moments aside from the deadly creatures as low gravity and zero air locales present new challenges that players will have to overcome.
In a very shrewd move, simply pumping several rounds into an enemy is not enough to bring them down, as they will develop new limbs and vulnerable areas as the game unfolds which forces players to adapt their combat style to an ever changing enemy. Players also have a stasis option which allows them to momentarily slow objects and creatures in order to pass them or gain a strategic advantage. Players also gain other skills as the game unfolds such as the ability to move large objects via a special option on the weapons.
Another nice feature is allowing players have numerous save stations throughout the levels which thankfully does not force players to repeat tough areas of the game trying to reach a needed checkpoint in order to save progress.
The game also has a great inventory system which allows players to use their health packs, examine their weapon and ammunition options, as well as see what is in their inventory.
The game does offer an automap via the display in the suit, but I at times find this tricky as I was not able to keep the map engaged and open doors, and with multi level sections, I at times become lost trying to discern if I should go up, down, or around in a new area.
I could not get over how immersive the game was as the designers are to be highly praised for crafting a game where you clearly have a sense of dread and are worried about things popping out of nowhere. I am not the easiest person to scare and on more than one occasion in the game, I found myself on edge thanks to the sounds and settings of the game, and also thanks to an enemy that appears often out of nowhere. During one early stage of the game, I was watching a set of machines operate after completing a repair. Since I had cleared the room earlier, I thought I was safe, so you can image my surprise when I was concentrating on a control board only to find a deadly claw appear over my shoulder with no warning or sound.
The story cleverly combines the best of science fiction and horror and reminded me of “Alien”, “The Thing” and “Event Horizon”, but not in a way that seemed to copy any of the films. The visuals of the game were amazing, as so much detail was paid to the look and layout of the ship. As I walked the dark and dangerous corridors, I was ever alert to the grids, vents, doorways, and shadows where my next attacker could appear at any time without warning.
The audio quality of the game is also a huge feature of the game as the clever use of sounds such as clattering metal, doors opening, and more are used to infuse a sense of dread into players, as well as keep you on edge as on more than once occasion I whirled in the direction of a sound ready to fight the unknown only to find that my enemies were waiting elsewhere.
Playing on the Playstation 3 system I was happy to see that the game was dual shock enabled and using the Dual shock 3 control allowed me for a new level of enjoyment thanks to the rumble features of the game which added a new dimension to the gritty combat of the game.
Rarely do I find a game that not only delivers a compelling and scary story with solid action and graphics as was the case with Dead Space which is simply one of the best games I have ever played and is destined to become a classic.
5 stars out of 5.
Rated M for Intense Action and Carnage.