Review by Bkstunt_31
The Good, The Bad, and The Re-used Content you are paying for again...
Dead Space 3: Awakened is the first real DLC for Dead Space 3. I say "real DLC" because Visceral (and, well... EA in general) just LOVES to get you to buy all sorts of crap you really don't need, which is especially prevalent in the Dead Space series with their weapon skins, "survival" packs, resource micro-transactions and bot "personality" packs. None of that stuff really enhances the game in any appreciable way, so in every real sense of the word Awakened is indeed the only DLC worth buying for Dead Space 3. Here's what you can expect out of this add-on.
The story puts you back in Isaac (or Carver's) shoes, sometime after the final boss fight in Dead Space 3. Now, if you've played through the game (and if you are even considering getting this DLC you really should have beaten Dead Space 3) you are likely asking yourself "How is that possible!?" given the ending to Dead Space 3. Well, good question. Heck, even Isaac and Carver ask that, but no answer ever comes.
Despite the... questionable logic used to start the story, the actual in-game story is quite good. It emphasizes Isaac and Carver's need to survive and makes good use of Isaac's mental instability (which means that there's quite a bit of game play after going into Isaac's mind). The game also contains plenty of "orange-screen" moments which are basically Isaac's warped visions of reality. Seeing Isaac break down like this is really intriguing, story-wise. The story eventually works its way to a crescendo where friendships will be tested which frankly makes this some of the best story Dead Space 3 has to offer.
In most of my reviews I go through the game play, graphics and audio but since this is merely an add-on for Dead Space 3 there's really no need to go THAT in-depth. To be short, all of those categories are exactly the same as the main game (which is a good thing as Dead Space 3 plays well, looks good, and sounds good respectively). The game adds in additional Upgrade Circuits and Weapon Parts for you to find which are stronger than anything you can pick up in the main game (which is nice). You start out with whatever weapons and load-out you had when you finished the main game and there are plenty of suit kiosks and weapon benches to play around with your equipment as you go. Note that there are really no new weapons or suits in the DLC, for whatever that means.
One thing that I'm always wary of when I buy a DLC (and you may be too) is recycled content. This mainly manifests itself in the graphics. I remember Dead Space 2: Severed essentially had you running through levels from Dead Space 2 backwards, which is honestly very weak and just screams "lazy" on the developer's part. Well... Dead Space 3 is better, but not much. It still re-uses a lot of the previous areas such as Tau Volantis and elsewhere (I don't really want to spoil it for you). They added in a few new areas and a couple of new enemy-types, but overall there is a lot of recycled graphical content here. Developer laziness is still alive and well it seems (even if they are way less lazy than they were on Dead Space 2: Severed). On a positive note, the voice actors for Isaac and Carver return and do a SUPERB job, so the DLC at least has excellent voice acting throughout (much like the original game).
Since this is DLC we are talking about the content itself is, of course, rather short. You essentially get three more chapters to add on to the story of Dead Space 3 and they are fairly short chapters as well. You can probably expect around two hours of additional play-time. If you re-play it for the trophies, play it using the other game modes and difficulties and/or replay the last chapter to make a different decision you can of course expect that time to double or triple.
Overall, the story (while being arguably nonsensical) is fantastic and a great addition to the series, perhaps even setting up Dead Space 4. The re-used graphical content makes me feel taken advantage of though, as well as makes the developers appear to be lazy. Despite the re-used content, the experience as a whole was rather fun. The real question here is: is this worth your $9.99? It's a hard call, but in the end if you're a big Dead Space fan it's worth it. If you're only a casual player, you may as well just go watch a video on YouTube or something. Hopefully this review gave you all the info you need about Dead Space 3: Awakening. Have fun and keep playing!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Dead Space 3: Awakened (US, 03/12/13)
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