With my busy schedule, we do not have time to cover all the requests we get as with film, games, television, travel, and hardware coverage, some titles just do not make the cut.
As such we normally do not review games where we did not receive a review copy of the game simply because we should not have to pay to give additional promotion to a title when we have done pre-release coverage in many cases, and because the time it takes to do the review can better be used on other coverage requests.
In the case of the new Dead Space game, I am making an exception but I want to be 100% clear that EA and their P.R. firm did not provide us a review copy or any review materials/assistance so this is not a hatchet job nor a puff piece but rather my honest opinion which is only what we post regardless of if we receive review material or not.
I was a big fan of the Dead Space series and was very disappointed with Dead Space 3 and the subsequent closures of Visceral which to me signaled the end of the franchise. Naturally when The Callisto Protocol was announced I was intrigued and the later reveal of a new Dead Space remake releasing soon after was news to my ears.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game; it follows an engineer named Isaac Clarke who is dispatched with his repair team to the massive USG Ishimura where his Girlfriend Nicole works. After a very rough arrival leaves his team stranded, it is very clear that something has gone very wrong as there are deadly creatures and carnage everywhere and Isaac must locate, repair, and use the ship systems as well as weapons and other resources he finds to survive.
Told from a third-person perspective, Isaac has the ability to freeze or slow objects and enemies with a stasis blast as well as move objects with a grappling field. Health can be obtained by locating kits or purchasing them at the store locales which often forces players to make a difficult choice in terms of ammunition or health packs.
Weapons and Isaac’s suit can be updated at workbenches but requires a Node for each upgrade but is well worth the effort.
The ship has a very detailed and massive layout and Isaac will spend loads of time in dark areas with only the beam from his weapons to light the way and only when they are brandished. This combined with the creepy sound effects and tense music will keep many players on edge; even those who played the original and have an idea of what to expect this time around.
The game looks and sounds great and the developers at Motive Studio have done an amazing job with the game. They have not only enhanced the look of the game but have tweaked the map and added side missions, dialogue, and even an alternate ending. I loved the lack of load screens as being able to load up at a save station and move directly into a new chapter without a wait was amazing.
The opening and ending of the game as well as points in between played out with no surprises as they were very much in keeping with the original and it was like a nostalgic trip down memory lane where I remembered playing the game with my PS3.
Players who are new to the series they will likely love the game as it is a Survival Horror classic and is still very tense, gripping, and engaging to all who play. Those who are very familiar with the game may have moments of Déjà vu but will enjoy updated moments such as now floating Zero-G to manually align the asteroid guns versus sitting in a chair for a tense arcade-style shooting gallery.
The mix of creatures is as deadly and menacing as ever and there are multiple skill levels including a story mode where players can experience the game without the frequent deaths the game is famous for. There are already rumors that Dead Space 2 is next in line for an upgrade and while I would welcome this, I would love to see a fourth chapter in the main series as it would be nice to have a new release every few years to carry the franchise forward.
4.5 stars out of 5