There has been a lot of hate going around about Dead Space 3. “Not scary, too much action, not enough space, microtransactions.” Really the list keeps going. But are these judgements fair or are they merely prejudice? After getting my hands on Isaac’s latest adventure, I want to put some rumors to bed.
I’d like to start off by saying that I’ve only experienced the single player campaign so my impressions do not reflect co-op (Mileson will tell you all about the co-op soon enough). Anyway, moving forward.
First off, is Dead Space 3 scary? You bet your ass it is! But I like to use another word besides “scary”. I urge you to replace “scary” with “stressful”, because that’s exactly how I feel when the Necromorphs come out. Stressed, in all the best ways. When I think of a “scary game”, surprisingly enough I always return to the original Bioshock. The atmosphere was creepy, the Big Daddys were terrifying, and every corner had a “BOO! I SCARED YOU!” moment. So with Dead Space 3, you KNOW that something is going to come out of that vent when you try to open the door. And sure enough, here come the Necromorphs. “One…two….three…four…Damn, five…six? THEY DON’T STOP COMING!” Every fight pits you against no less than 3 monsters simultaneously and they are tough this time around. So while you may not get scared when they fall out of the vents, your heart will definitely start racing after putting down 10 Necromorphs only to turn around and see 5 more speeding towards you.
So with 5x the Necromorphs from the last game, you’re gonna need a bigger gun. Luckily, Dead Space 3 gives you all the fire power you need! You start your mission with just a puny sub-machine gun (and a plasma cutter if you played Dead Space 2), but you quickly get enough resources to make your perfect gun. Where the weapon crafting really shines is through the use of Blueprints. Think Dead Island weapon mods if you will. These are unique upgraded versions of classic weapons with a twist. Unfortunately, most of these blueprints will be off limits until you gather more resources. “Well I’m not paying cash for more resources!” Don’t worry, I hear you, and so did EA. You can use those Ration Seals that your scavenger bot has been collecting to buy more resources without the use of real money. Honestly, you will never have to pull out your virtual wallet unless you want a cool new suit (which is just aesthetic) or want to give your bot a British accent (which is just silly).
And finally, does Dead Space 3 have too much action? It’s almost like that’s a bad thing. Now trust me, I love survival-horror and would love to pick up Dead Space 4 with an extra package of underwear, but let’s be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. Instead, let’s embrace Dead Space 3 for what it is because the developers are evoking emotions beyond just terrifying. Emotions like jealousy, guilt, pride, and even trust. You see more of Isaac’s true nature than ever before. He’s not just a badass engineer killing Necromorphs, nor is he anywhere near a “perfect hero”. He’s human and is full of perks and flaws. So yes, Dead Space 3 is more “action-packed”, but they use that as an opportunity to tell a much a deeper story this time around.
Whether you think Dead Space 3 is “true survival-horror” or not is beside the point. This is a truly amazing game with great storytelling, emotional characters, and dismemberment galore.