When you think of horror games, the one franchise that pops into everyone’s mind is the Dead Space series that began so surprisingly back on October 13th, 2008. Dead Space gained tons of attention pre-release for its copious amounts of blood and gore which, though very creepy, was created from photos of car crash victims that the art team studied. Then once the game finally released and we all got our greasy hands on it, it was quite clear that the game was more than a gore heavy third person shooter. It was instead a stressful and nerve wrenching horror experience that we had not known existed up to that point.
With that critical acclaim, it’s no shocker that a sequel was green-lighted and expected to be churned out within just two short years. One of the biggest worries that began to surface at the top of everyone’s mind was can Visceral do it again? Can they recreate the horrific experience in a new but still thrilling way? Not only could they recreate the experience, they could build on it and improve on tiny issues we hardly noticed in the first game. It won multiple Game of the Year awards and only furthered the franchise as one of the biggest media darlings of the past ten years.
And now, here we go again. Visceral Games revealed the third installment nearly one year ago and the vibe surrounding it has only worsened as time as time has continued to pass on. Story wise, Dead Space 3 is beginning to seem very similar to the previous installments. There’s a girl (Ellie), she’s lost, go find her, and don’t forget to go through ten hours of necromorphs. Thankfully, there will be some new necromorphs to strategically dismember such as the “giant insect-esque Nexus.” I don’t know what the hell that means but it sounds like I need to stay away from it.
One of the first major changes that had Dead Space lovers up in arms was the reveal that Isaac and newcomer Sgt. John Carver will be able to dodge around and take cover. This obviously contradicts one of the best things about Dead Space which was the heavy plodding movement that Isaac always performed so gracefully when exploring around an environment. Visceral Games has described the cover system as “organic” in nature; for example, the player does not need to “walk up to certain tagged things and press the cover button; Isaac or Carver just does the action that is appropriate for the given situation.”Simply put, that does not sound like the Dead Space I know and love.
Next up on the piss Dead Space fans off agenda was the fact that Visceral (or more likely, EA) decided to focus entirely on the new drop in/drop out co-op at the public E3 demo. They then slowly began to reconcile some of that negativity by reviling such nifty features as each character experiencing their own story elements due to the dementia both Parker and Isaac are suffering from. Similar to other co-op games, the story with your partner beside you will be a tad different than the story you’re experiencing by your lonesome. Visceral has said that if you do play alone, you will run into Carver at certain points within the story but for the most part, he will not be there.
Of course, those are far from the only new features being added to Dead Space 3. In particular, there’s a brand new weapon bench that will allow you to not only get your hands on previously nonexistent weapons, but also combine weapons to make an even more dangerous and disturbing murder stick. Also, instead of just purchasing the weapons with currency found throughout the game, you now have to build them with items scattered across the in game world. Visceral has also thrown in some human enemies and new, absolutely gorgeous visuals; if you need a good dose of eye candy, watch this developer diary EA released showcasing the co-op and single player aspects of the story.
I’ve always been a Dead Space fan, due partly to my uncontrollable love for the horror genre across all forms of media but mostly my love is all a credit to the back breaking work Visceral puts into their projects and there’s no doubt it shows. But you can’t help but wonder whether or not this new Dead Space will be what we want, which is just more horror in my mind. Visceral Games has stated over and over again that their focus on co-op will not affect the single player in any way, but who really knows? In all honesty, it’s hard to imagine EA and Visceral releasing a Dead Space product that they did not think met the high marks set by previous games in the series. Despite the questions surrounding it, no one can stop me from waiting on the edge of my seat for the new Dead Space to arrive at my house.
My excitement will culminate on February 5th when the game finally hits store shelves/lands inside a well packaged, bubble wrapped Amazon shipping box.