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Dead Space 3 + The Awakening (an update)

Dead_space_3_awakenedI just replayed Dead Space 3 (plus the DLC) in classic mode.. it was quite fun, but I suddenly remembered one of the biggest disappointments I had with the game, there is no scary song… in the first game (which is brilliant even after all these years) had a haunting cover of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Dead Space 2 had Ring around the Rosie However Both Dead Space 1 & 2 were horror survival games whereas Dead Space 3 is more of an action survival game. This may have made it more difficult to incorporate such a song as there is no longer a true feeling of isolation during the gameplay. Nor any sort of long scary stretches where a song might be played to in the background and give the same chilling experience.

There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it feel like a natural progression of the story line, which is a good one..

But I miss the feeling of horror and terror I had when first playing through Dead Space 1… but the rule of diminishing returns applies, and so in my mind progressing over to an action segment in the third game is a good way of keeping the game experience “fresh” in this franchise, had they attempted to make it a horror game it would, I think, only be a horror game to those who had not played the previous games.

So if you have not yet, I recommend playing Dead Space 1 & 2 & 3 + Dead Space 3: The Awakening… the latter a DLC which most definitely should not have been a DLC but rather included in the game as it is the “true” ending of this story arc.

My original review of Dead Space 3

Review: Dead Space 3

Published on: Feb 11, 2013 – Updated 23/01-2013

Please read this first: Dead Space 3 + The Awakening (an update)

This will be a review of Dead Space 3. As such if you have not played Dead Space 1 and 2 there will be spoilers, also why have you not played them ?

First off, I have played through Dead Space 3 on PC on hard difficulty, this review is based on that experience.

Secondly, a bit of background. The Dead Space series is a sci-fi survival horror game, Dead Space 1 introduced us to Isaac Clarke, an engineer who is one of the crew responding to a Mayday call from the USG Isimura. Horror ensues, frantic combat and scary stuff. The isolation is driven home by very few interactions with other NPC’s in the game, and the ambiance is well creepy. Take the haunting rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star.

The setting is brilliant, the audio the details in the environment adds to the suspense. The key here is that there might not be encounters with monsters that often, but you never let yourself believe that becuase there is always some noise of something or something sinister written on the walls that keeps your guard up, and still you get freaked out when something appears. This is what makes Dead Space 1 a great game. So onward…

Moving on to Dead Space 2 we again assume our role as Isaac Clarke, this game is still quite creepy, but there are now some action sequences going as well. But still very good, the lack of resources such as ammunition, health packs and upgrade components is still present, managing and conserving them is vital on anything other than the casual difficulty and this adds to the horror and scary aspect. Picture this..Monster pops up, and you frantically shoot it dead then relieved that you not only survived the encounter but it didn’t even get close…suddenly it you realise.. how many shots did I just waste …. crap. Sometimes this might acually not only tempt you to reload a previous save, but actually get you to do it. The story line still holds, and we get deeper into the Unitology religion  (think Scientology of the future, with guns) and their link to the Markers.

Dead Space 3, The Review:

Update 23/01/2013:

While I still stand by most of my review, I have since replayed the game including the DLC. read the following section of the review with this in mind: When I first played through the game I expected a horror survival game with strong emphasis on character development, and I reviewed it as such. What I should have done was to take a breath and step back… realize it has evolved into a action survival rather than horror survival. In addition the DLC adds sufficiently to the story line (it should not have been a DLC but rather included in the game as it is the true ending of this installment of Dead Space)

So, I still think that Isaac Clark character development was not to my taste, for reasons listed below, also the scary / creepy still holds, but as mentioned this is an action survival game, so I should not have been so harsh.

Updated conclusion is: Dead Space 3 + Dead Space 3: The Awakening is well worth its purchase price, the time and effort you will put into it without question. But do not expect to be to scared or terrified by the experience.

end of update, original review follows:

Dead Space 3 takes place sometime after the conclusion of Dead Space 2, Isaac Clarke  has now gone from the mentally unstable Isaac to the pathetic apathy Isaac. It seems that they (story writers) tried make it him appear as someone who honestly believe he has done enough to help others, that it is time for someone else to face the madness of the markers. Which if they had pulled off, would be awesome and great for the story, but what they instead achieved is portraying Isaac as a person who just lets people walk all over him, without as much as a comment. He should atleast have some anger issues, possibly some psychotic flashbacks as he did in Dead Space 2. But no, he is now reduced to a whimpering  pathetic shell of his former self, even his rage outbursts seems lackluster.

The storyline itself is not quite up to par with the two previous games, it feels forced and quite unbelievable, at certain points something magically appears and solves a puzzle that propels you to the next stage of the story. It is not all bad, but is seems patched together from several fragmented ideas on how the story should continue onwards from Dead Space 2. And rather than sticking to one of those ideas, they where all put in a blender and out of that came the finished storyline to Dead Space 3.

Combat, Horror and Creepy;

There is more combat and enemy encounters in Dead Space 3 than in the two previous games put together I think. The combat is still quite entertaining and good. The plasma cutter is still the baddest weapon in town space, with the possible exception of my line-gun shotgun combo. But I get ahead of myself, In the two previous games you could equip 4 different weapons, now that is reduced to two. But you can craft dual weapons, two weapons it works great. You have a long range primary, add a shotgun barrel under it for those pesky critters that somehow managed to creep up on you. So weapons are still good. Mind you though, there is a classic mode where you are restricted to the classic (duh) weapons of Dead Space 1 (and 2 I think) just if you want that extra bit of nostalgic feel to your experience.

However good the combat, weapons and crafting of such is; Dead Space 3 lacks the same horror feeling, it doesn’t even feel creepy. Don’t get me wrong there is still a few moments of “F%&¤K THIS S%&t  DIE DIE you stupid piece of… get it off get it off” But they are not as abundant as in the previous games, neither is the suspense, it is almost entirely gone, you still peek around the corners in the corridors but that is more out of habit from playing the previous games than anything else.

The final verdict, it is a good game, not as good as the previous two, not as good as it could have been. But still interesting enough to warrant a recommendation, but please play Dead Space 1 and perhaps 2 first so you get the full horror and scary experience.