Dead Space 3 review

Dead Space 3 review

T3 4
  • Dead Space 3 follows the trend in survival horror games like Resident Evil 6 and Silent Hill: Downpour, by trading scares for action-packed content

    Dead Space 3 review

    Love

    • High-octane action
    • Making our own weapons
    • A decent Co-Op Mode

    Hate

    • Not being frightened at all
    • Micro-transactions
    • Convoluted plot

    Dead Space 3 is the latest game to continue a disturbing trend in the survival horror genre. Like Resident Evil 6 and, to a lesser degree, Silent Hill: Downpour, Dead Space 3 sees an attempt by developers to widen the appeal of a horror IP by toning down the scares and ramping up the action.

    The result is an inarguably well made and engaging affair, but one can’t help but be left with the impression that something rather dark and special about the series has become irrevocably lost.

    Dead Space 3: Plot

    Dead Space 3 begins with a plot re-cap of the last three games – in case you didn’t know how convoluted the Dead Space universe was – and then a brief scene that occurs 200 years before the plot kicks off.

    It doesn’t add a huge amount but it does prepare players for the new action-orientated direction Dead Space 3 has taken. Once that’s over, we join series protagonist Isaac Clarke in a dingy apartment on some lunar station.

    He’s contacted by a couple of burly soldiers called Preston and Carver who tell him they need his help to track down his ex-girlfriend, Ellie. She went off in search of something called The Marker – a device that turns humans into blood-thirsty monsters called Necromorphs – and was last contacted above the ice planet Tau Volantis.

    Clarke agrees, not least because Unitologists – a cult of Marker worshipping nutcases – want him dead because they believe him to be a heretic. Once Clarke leaves his apartment, it isn’t long before he’s being attacked by Unitologists and Necromorphs. Hilarity ensues.

    Dead Space 3: Gameplay

    If all of that sounds a little nonsensical, fear not: the action in Dead Space 3 comes so fast and furious that there’s little time to digest the story, let alone pick plotholes in it. In just the opening 20 minutes, players will find themselves blasting through a ship, rapelling down a mountain, waging a gunbattle in some streets, foraging for equipment and then racing along the top of a train, slotting bad guys.

    The action continues at a pace and the developers wisely vary the player’s activities. Players won’t feel the slow creeping hand of boredom until – perhaps – in the last two of the game’s 20 hour campaign, when most of the developer’s tactic at keeping them wrong-footed are all played out.

    Dead Space 3’s mechanics are geared more towards complimenting a third-person-shooter (TPS) style of play. Clarke moves quicker than he did in earlier iterations, players now have a dodge roll in their move list and they no longer need to decide between which ammo types to keep; Dead Space 3 issues only one ammo clip and it slots into every weapon.

    Dead Space 3: Features

    The reason for this is that players can now craft their own weapons and it’s likely a different selection of ammo types would have impacted horribly on this feature.

    Clarke can use workstations called Benches to create weapon combinations out of the bits of debris – tungsten, transponders, scrap metal – he finds lying about. It’s actually a rather decent feature allowing players to create customised and bizarre firearm combinations.

    This feature is, however, marred somewhat by EA sticking micro-transactions in it. Each Bench has a list of weapon blueprints and, if players don’t have the necessary salvage to make one, they’re offered the chance to pay real-world cash for the component parts.

    It should be pointed out that one need not do this to finish the game – we cleared Dead Space 3 without cracking open the T3 wallet, after all – but it does leave a rather bitter taste in one’s mouth.

    Dead Space 3: Multiplayer

     

    The other large addition to Dead Space 3 is the Co-Op Mode, which, unlike the micro-transactions at the Bench, is a complete winner. Unlike other games that ram Co-Op into the proceedings – such as Resident Evil 6 – players are free to ignore this mode and it won’t impact on their experience at all in single player; unlike Resi 6, there’s no AI drone trailing them around.

    If they opt to dive in with a mate, they’ll find the character of Carver becomes a bigger part of the proceedings and a new set of missions become unlocked. Communication is a vital part; it’s worth comparing notes on weapons and sharing resources in order to maximise the damage you and your mate can dish out.

    The player controlling Carver will also notice that The Marker begins to eat into his subconscious, delivering some rather spine-chilling scenes. The only drawback, really, is that in Co-Op, Dead Space 3 becomes far less scary an experience.

    Dead Space 3: Verdict

    Then again, that’s a complaint that can be levelled at the entire game. It’s a pity in a way, because in spite of its silly plot, there’s a lot to admire about Dead Space 3. It’s a slickly fashioned, exquisitely designed shooter packed to the rafters with action set-pieces and fun puzzles to wade through.

    But its new action-packed combat comes with a price; it means Dead Space 3 is nowhere near as frightening as its predecessors and anyone who has ever played the first three games in this series will know what a crushing disappointment that is.

    If you’re prepared to trade survival horror for action, Dead Space 3 is easily one of the best games you’ll play this month. If you’re after something genuinely terrifying, look elsewhere, because there’s nothing in Dead Space 3 that’ll cause you any heart palpitations.  

    Dead Space 3 release date: 8 February 2013

    Dead Space 3 price: From £29.99 (on PC)

  • Dead Space 3 is the latest FPS in the Dead Space series, first revealed at the E3 show in LA. Here are our first impressions...

    Dead Space 3 review

    Love

    • High-octane action
    • Making our own weapons
    • A decent Co-Op Mode

    Hate

    • Not being frightened at all
    • Micro-transactions
    • Convoluted plot

    Update: EA has announced the Dead Space 3 UK release date as 8 February 2013. At its Gamescom 2012 press conference, the developer also confirmed the North America release date as 5 February 2013.

    Dead Space 3 is an intergalactic suspense horror with a sideline in puzzle solving. As a thinking man’s FPS, it’s like a brain teasing Halo: Reach. Returning main man Issac Clarke is joined by cohort John Carver for the new co-op sections and a strong helping hand to end the alien invasion of Necromorph scum..

    Dead Space 3: Plot

    Issac Clarke is on a mission to destroy necromorphs, an alien breed not unlike the beasts from Ridley Scott’s universe of extra terrestrial renegades. This time around, he’s crash landed in a place called Tau Valantis and is in deep trouble.

    If you’re pondering whether Aliens: Colonial Marines will be any good, the plots of both games are similar but the alien virus that creates the necromorphs, kind of zombie and human hybrids, are unique and you’ll them evolve as Dead Space 3 promises to end the species once and for all.

    Dead Space 3: Features

    The co-op mode with military hard man John Carver is the standout feature. He’s a military man set on revenge for the death of his wife and son and his weapon skills mean he can customise weapons where Isaac Clarke can’t. Clarke can, however, made tweaks to his suit and the co-op mode makes the best use of this when dual boss battles kick off.

    New enemies Swarm Infectors take over humans as a host and you’re left looking at a skull attached to something deeply alien-like rather than a human skeleton.

    Dead Space 3: Characters

    Issac Clarke originally began life as a ship engineer before the plot of Dead Space made him an alien slapping hero, on a personal, one man mission to save the world, or at least part of space. His weapons of engineer tools have now progressed to proper guns.

    John Carver adds back-up and there’s the voice of marines directing you, grumpy types who offer insights which are really exclamations. That’s your lot - space is lonely and we’ve only seen necromorphs and a giant snow beast as company for Clarke and Carver.

    Dead Space 3: Gameplay

     

    Strategic dismemberment is still the key focus of the game which means, in short, you need to shoot the moving bits off aliens first and rip off arms when required. You can disarm doors with glowing, orb style power and use a rail gun and disc based weapon.

    The linear levels aren’t as straightforward as you may imagine and there’s a big part of the game which involves searching for power switches and backtracking to find out where you went wrong.

    Dead Space 3: Verdict

    Tense with stunning visuals, Dead Space 3 looks every inch the rival to the forthcoming Alien: Colonial Marines. It’s not as gung-ho as the new Halo but we don’t mind that. The co-op and puzzles add depth but we’re hoping that the strategy goes beyond simple search and rescue missions for power buttons. The snowbound level hints at this, so we have our fingers crossed...

    Dead Space 3 availability: 8 February 2012

    Dead Space 3 price: £44.99

    Preview by Richard Melville

    • E3 2012: Dead Space 3 trailer
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_Dead-Space-3-lead-624.jpg
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    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_Dead-Space-3-3-624.jpg
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    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_Dead-Space-3-5-624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_DeadSpace3_lead_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_DeadSpace3_1_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_DeadSpace3_2_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/de/xs_DeadSpace3_3_624.jpg

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