Review by Akheon

"Almost as good as the previous games"

Played through the two first Dead Space-games. I admired them for their production values and some thrilling moments, but I wasn't big enough a fan to purchase Dead Space 3 new when it came out. Instead, I waited and got it much later when it became cheap... so here's what I thought about the game after finally playing it.

As you know, Dead Space is a series of action-horror games where you fight against monstrous beings called necromorphs in futuristic, yet dark and claustrophobic locales. The series has a bunch of interesting mechanics that set it apart from other shooters, like having to shoot off enemy limbs instead of doing headshots. These games typically have magnificent visual and audio design and are also probably among the most gory games that have come out in recent years.

I didn't touch the co-op mode, so for me Dead Space 3 played pretty much exactly like the previous games in the series. I was not (very) disappointed: another classy, horrifyingly violent adventure in the Dead Space universe awaited me.

Dead Space 3 is somewhat more action-oriented than the previous games, featuring enemy waves that are longer and more intense than before and gameplay that is more tailored for action - like being able to crouch or combat roll. Many people have complained about the series taking a turn towards being a more generic shooter. For example, you now also fight human enemies with firearms from time and again. Personally, I thought it gave the game more variety, and I didn't mind it. Mostly it's still the same old Dead Space - don't fix what ain't broken.

But yes, the horror factor is slightly lessened here. While everything about the game world is delightfully grotesque and dark, the monster waves do grow a bit redundant eventually in their sheer number. The impact of the game seems to drop the further in you go, and eventually it almost overstays its welcome. Killing the enemies becomes a dull routine.

You can now customize weapons. It's a great idea in principle, but it has some flaws. One is that you can craft yourself a really powerful universal weapon very early on in the game and lose the incentive to try out more specialized weapons after that. Another thing that discourages trying out different weapons is that you can now only carry two weapons with you. Having three weapons means that at least one of them shall remain gathering dust in your safe, and this approach can also stretch out your finite weapon power ups pretty thin. But on the other hand, assembling and disassembling weapons whenever you want to try out something new is a bit of a hassle. Let's just say that... the system works, but it can be abused easily and the weapon limit is bad. In any case, it's always a good thing for the player to have more choice.

This time you can do optional quests. These quests are usually just as good as normal gameplay, and they are pretty plentiful as well, with new quests popping up even towards the end of the game. It's a good new addition if one wants more story flavor and resources before continuing with the main story. Although not all of the optional content can be accessed unless in co-op mode, which is a bit of a shame.

As for the game's story. It is... adequate. While the Dead Space-universe itself is intriguing and hopelessly dark, the characters themselves are not that great. Some of the twists can also be seen from far away. Story is definitely not the strongest point of the game.

Like in the previous games, the presentation is excellent. Graphics are of high quality. Levels have many beautiful, picturesque sights in them, and the way lighting is used is very effective. Sound design is also spot on and futuristic, and the entire package becomes complete with the symphonic soundtrack that gets quite dissonant and shrieking when it wants to. This game is a treat for the eyes and ears, even though the action in it can get quite gory.

My playthrough of the game (where I did most of the optional missions) lasted for a little under 16 hours. After playing through the game, you unlock some pretty cool new difficulty modes, which grant the game some replay value. Although the fact that you can't skip the occasionally very lengthy cutscenes is problematic...

So, Dead Space 3 is almost as good as the previous two games. The action can feel a bit tired (or tiresome) at times, but generally you should enjoy the game if you liked the previous games in the series.

Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/21/14

Game Release: Dead Space 3 (EU, 02/08/13)

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