Game Review: Dead Space

WARNING

THIS IS NOT A GAME FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!

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Put in the game, turn the lights down, turn the surround sound up, pick up your rumble controller (please assure yourself that there are no young children peeking around the corner to watch), and you are truly ready to experience Dead Space…

If you are in fact scared easily you may want to play in broad daylight giving yourself plenty of time to get your adrenaline under control before you have to try to sleep. (It is completely acceptable to sleep with the lights on after playing this game, just don’t tell us about it or we will have to tease you) Oh yeah, you may want to empty your bladder before you start.

Proceed with caution there may be spoilers ahead…

The guys at EA have done a great job incorporating the ambiance and suspense from a great horror movie into a class act first person shooter without being too cliche or repetitive in their scare tactics. This is one of the few games that has really been able to put me into that heightened sense of jumpy awareness that you get when you watch a really good horror movie alone in the dark. You know the kind that make you go around turning lights on and trying to find something to occupy you while you try to calm down enough to turn out the lights and try to get some sleep.

The lighting impressed me so much that every chance I got I had to stop and just take a good look around and admire the scenery (I really like the leaking broken pipes in the zero gravity areas). They made it dark without being too dark to play, and it works! Even the dust motes lingering in shafts of light seem real. Your shadow isn’t the only one that moves the way it should. Things you throw and the necromorphs all cast believable shadows when interrupting a light source. That and an effective use of sound and sound effects augments the creepiness of of being on the USG ISHIMURA, in the first few levels of this game I wasted plenty of ammo on things like my own shadow and things that were already dead.

Unlike most of the shooter games that I have played, the main character isn’t some special ops officer or secret agent that has been called in to save the day, no you are an engineer who has come to the ship to fix it and when you get on board there is so much more wrong than some broken machinery. Staying in line with this scenario your weapons aside from the one rifle you get are all tools of one sort or another and they are excellent for taking care of all your dismemberment needs. That’s right the standard shooter rules don’t apply to the deaths of the bad guys either, necromorphs cannot be killed by the traditional bullet between the eyes (being dead to start with) you need to take them apart or they tend to keep on coming.

By the end of the game there are seven different weapons you have had available to you, but you can only carry and toggle through four at any given time so the other three will have to reside in your safe until you decide you need them more than the ones you’ve been using. Each of the weapons, the two weapons augmentations, and the armor can all be upgraded as you go. Each of these weapons has a primary firing ability and a secondary firing ability. I will give you a brief description of each of these but will leave it up to you to discover which weapons work best for you in any given situation.

1. Plasma Cutter – This is the gun or tool I should say that you start this adventure with, it shoots a wedge of destruction about the width of most the bad guy shoulders (good for taking off arms). It is accurate and powerful enough to do the job. The secondary fire on this weapon simply turns it on its side making it ideal for dismemberment.

2. Pulse Rifle – This is the only real “gun” you get in this game, it fires a rapid pulse which is really good for laying down a spray of fire. The secondary upward fire is really good if things are coming at you from above or as a last ditch effort when your trying to keep from getting grabbed.

3. Flame thrower – Does exactly that throws flame (this is really good for the little bitty ones), the secondary fire on this shoots a burst of flame that continues to burn.

4. Line Gun – This tool shoots a line of energy like a laser making it difficult for the bad guys to keep their legs. The secondary fire on this weapon is a timed mine that makes mince of any thing that happens upon it as it is going off. (I really like this one)

5. Force Gun – It will do exactly that, force them back. I haven’t used the secondary on this one much but it is a timed proximity grenade with a radial force blast.

6. Ripper – The Ripper is a saw that you shoot out in front of you and you can control the forward/backward/and side to side motion of the spinning blade by remote. The secondary fire is a straight shot with the saw blade.

7. Contact Beam – This weapon is very powerful but it is a build up blast so if you don’t have a few seconds for it to charge up it’s not going to do you any good. The secondary is really good if you need a second to figure out where they all are, it fires a pulse blast outward from your feet.

The action filled and ever changing environment that EA has created here kept me on the edge all the way through. I don’t remember any level being without some new mutated violation of the dead, each of them a new tactical problem for me to solve and each of them having a new way that they prefer to kill me. I have found that the satisfaction of stomping on their dead bodies is directly related to how badly they scared me and how hard they were to kill. Their ability to travel through the ventilation system of the ship makes them all the more dangerous because they can get into and out of any room that has vents. Just because you have cleared a room does not mean it will always stay clear! Putting your back to a wall or corner is only advisable if you know where all of these vents are. Don’t worry though there are save points quite often enough to do all the dying and re-analysis of your tactics and arsonal that you may need to get through any given area.

The overall story line in this game creeps me out as much as the opponents. I would recommend watching the six story board style animated episode downloads from the PlayStation network, then the fully animated Dead Space – Downfall, and then play the game. If you have already played the game then you should get the stories too. They fill in the spots that leave you questioning.

Just in case you haven’t figured it out I really enjoyed this game! In fact it has been a long time since I have enjoyed a game this much. I was planning my replay before I was half way through the first run. (I have to gloat just a little, I played my first time through on HARD!) I have finished it once and am working on the second run through right now. I believe I will end up playing this game beginning to end at least three times.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading the review.. and great mention of the lighting.. So awesome to hear when someone really appreciates all the time and effort that goes into this stuff. I’ve heard similar responses similar to yours regarding the satisfaction resulting from stomping dead bodies. Have fun on your 2nd and 3rd times through the game!

  2. […] Review – Deadspace: Downfall Lee gave you a review for the game. Josh told you about the graphic novel. So what about the movie that was released on […]

  3. […] gave you a review for the game. Josh told you about the graphic novel. So what about the movie that was released on […]


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