***Spoiler Alert for Dead Space and Dead Space 2***
The Dead Space franchise is known for its unsettling environments, creepy audio and terrifying enemies. Dead Space 3 fails to live up to its predecessors in regards of horror. You never experience the feeling of dread or terror fans of this esteemed franchise know and love. Dead Space 3 is filled with bland environments that don’t give off a sense of atmosphere. Players who are familiar with previous Dead Space games are a keen to the many terrifying set pieces like the Ishimura, the church, the child care facility and the infamous train ride. These kinds of environments are not present in this game. The planet of Tau Volantis is the center piece of where the game takes place. The snowy planet is as colorful as its environment, making it completely bland. A cave full of snow, a small laboratory and an underground facility just doesn’t live up to previous settings despite its good looking graphics.
We play as Issac Clark, an engineer that has gone through a lot the past few years of his life. After a failed attempt to save his girlfriend from a space station full of undead people in the first Dead Space, Issac developed a form of dementia. He then set out on a quest to look for answers to why the necromorph outbreak started. Slowly losing his mind, Issac started seeing his now dead girlfriend at every turn. After the events of Dead Space 2, Issac is now cured of his dementia and is now trying to live a peaceful life. But it doesn’t last long as two men drag Issac on another journey to find his friend in Dead Space 2 Ellie. This is where Issac’s third adventure begins. This is also where it starts to go downhill.
Issac quickly finds himself in some awkward sort of love triangle between him Ellie and some guy Ellie is now currently dating. Through multiple cut scenes you’ll have to listen to Issac argue with this guy on who is right for Ellie. Most of the time it will seem like this love triangle needs to be solved INSTEAD of saving the human race from the necromorphs. It’s painful to watch this story play out and it doesn’t help to have the other characters do absolutely nothing to help the story progress.
-No creepy set pieces
-Poorly woven story
To summarize the audio aspect of the game Dead Space 3 is filled with shifty voice acting, an uninspired soundtrack and plenty of screaming foes. The voice actors of the supporting cast are sub-par at best. One or two of them are just plain annoying. If you can ignore a bad UPS delivery of a poorly packaged story; you may enjoy the screams of the necromorphs. In terms of audio quality, the necromorphs in Dead Space 3 is the only thing on par with the first two games. The necromorphs will shriek and holler as they try to take your head off, they’ll screech as you cut off their limbs and they’ll moan while crawling towards your feet and won’t stop screaming until they’re dead. But every time you get attacked the convoluted soundtrack will amp up. Sometimes even drowning out the beautifully blood curtailing screams instead of adding another element to the horror. Stand still for more than a minute in Dead Space or Dead Space 2 and listen to the environment. You’ll hear moans in the distance, someone screaming and an eerie tune. You do not experience that at all in Dead Space 3.
+ Sounds of the undead enemies
– At times purely atrocious voice acting from supporting cast
-Music sometimes puts a damper on the necromorph screaming
Combat is more or less the same from the previous installments, just with a few added elements. You’ll battle a whole planet of necromorphs and Unitologists that will do anything to kill Issac. Battling the necromorphs is no easy task. If you’re familiar with the previous Dead Space games you know the basic rule: “Cut off the limbs.” This is easier said than done as the necromorphs come in a various different sizes and types. But the thing that bothers me is that you’ll ALWAYS see them coming and the necromorphs ALWAYS will attack you from both sides. In Dead Space 2 necromorphs pop up behind you OCCASIONALLY but in this game it seems extremely unfair that you have 6 necromorphs trying to kill you in the front while 3 more are behind you. It just seems cheap and unfair. A cover system was added to deal with the more “lively” enemies. Human Unitologists that want Issac dead will try to shoot you down. To put it bluntly, human enemies do not belong in Dead Space 3. Human A.I will just sit behind cover; who occasionally pop up to shoot at you until they are shot down. And when they do die, they are simply replaced by another person until the sequence is over. These sequences were you’re having a shootout with the Unitologists feel like you’re playing a totally different game.
The crafting system is also a new addition to the game. In previous games you purchase weapons but now you have to build your own weapons. You can also craft to upgrade health, powers and armor bonuses but you have a short amount of resources so you’ll have to choose which one you want to upgrade over something else. This is the problem I found with the crafting system. It is simple enough but if you don’t have the right amount of parts for a certain weapon, you’re screwed. Which means you’ll only have access to certain guns if you don’t explore optional missions. You can get through the game without the weapons but you’ll miss out on a lot of fun mixing it up with weaponry. This basically punishes those who decide to ignore optional missions and limits them to certain weapons, which seems unfair.
Another new addition (and the most controversial) is the ability to play the entire campaign cooperatively. This basically eliminates all aspects of horror in the game, but the game is relatively better with a buddy. If you look closely at the core game play and environments you’ll see that this game was designed to be played with a buddy. Solo players will miss out on having someone watching your back and a few co-op only missions.
*** Co-op is online only and if you buy the game used, you’ll have to purchase an online pass to play co-op. ***
=Crafting can be rewarding or punishing
=Game is better if you have a buddy
-Backtracking through repetitive areas
Lasting Appeal: 7/10
Dead Space 3 is held down by its poorly woven story, sub-par voice acting, repetitive environments and lack of horror. It’s crafting system and combat is okay but exploring the world will seem boring at times unless you have a buddy. This is a mindless action game to play with a friend online at best. If you’re looking for a horror game look elsewhere (I recommend Dead Space, Dead Space 2 or Resident Evil 4).
Try this game if you liked:
Dead Space 2
Resident Evil 6
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