Dead Space is a science fiction game that served as the grounds for the survival horror series that developed after over the years. We follow space engineer Isaac Clarke as he and the rescue crew of the USG Kellion are sent to a distress call from a planet cracking starship called the USG Ishimura. What was intended to be a rescue mission quickly ended up being a fight for survival against waves of mutilated creatures called Necromorphs. Will Isaac be able to stop this infestation before it engulfs humanity?
Systems (s): PS3, Xbox 360 & PC
Developer: EA Redwood Shores (now Visceral Games)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 12, 2008
Price: $9-12 (Steam $20)
Dead Space is a third-person shooter that feeds off jump scares and exploits the Player being overwhelmed while following Isaac Clarke’s fight on the mining starship. Fueling the Player’s paranoia within the depths of survival horror, little to no breaks for recomposure are given throughout story’s progression. Throughout 12 chapters the Player accesses different parts of the USG Ishimura via tram, completing varying objectives and fighting.against relentless hordes of Necromoprhs. These reanimated monstrous creatures are the result of an extraterrestrial contagion that is spread when pathogens transfer and recombinant within the corpses they leave behind.
As the game progresses the Player will encounter several different types of Necromorph, each exhibiting different abilities and requiring different tactics and methods of execution. Using the different vents and other parts of the ships these creatures will hide in the dark and violently attack anyone that isn’t infected. The combat will generally be aimed towards dismembering the Necromorphs strategically, first by taking their legs out and then the arms. Shooting their head off will not stop these creatures from mauling the Player to death
Outside of the different stores places around the USG Ishimura, the Player will be left scavenging for items and ammunition left around the ship or dropped by Necromorphs. Isaac will find various weapons created from improvised mining equipment and every weapons encountered can be upgraded as well as features a secondary-fire mode. Blueprints for suit upgrades, ammunition and other items of importance will be hidden throughout the level designs, becoming available for purchases upon redeeming within the store.
Breaking away from normal HUD experienced within games over the years, the Player operates a holographic projection during real-time within the game. This will not only act as an Inventory grid but offers a 3D map, the game’s archive and shows current objectives, but the Player is ultimately exposed to elements of the game while in menu.
The Player’s health is indicated by a Rig on Isaac’s back while the ammo count for weapons are holograms that appear by the sights of the weapon. (At anytime the Player can press R3 and a Marker indicating the correct path will appear.) Isaac will also discover two special weapons that will be used to solve puzzles as well as aid in his survival aboard the USG Ishimura: the Stasis ability and a Kinesis module. The Stasis ability will allow Isaac to slow down enemies or different mechanics on the ship, utilizing this mid combat can be beneficial to the Player.The Kinesis module will move items and also throw them, heavy and sharp objects become deadly weapons on the fly when ammunition is scarce.Power Nodes are hidden around the ship as well and can be used at Workbenches, which upgrade Isaac’s suit and weapons.
Different environments within the ship range from zero gravity to toxic environments and Isaac is kept safe with a limited air supply. Learning the level designs and different hazardous elements of the game is essential for survival.
The Single Player:
En route to the starship, the USG Kellion experiences guidance system issues and crashes, leaving the crew aboard an empty ship. During some brief exploration the group is attacked by Necromorphs and most of them are dismembered and killed. Isaac, commander Zach Hammond and Computer Specialist Kendra Daniels, the surviving crew, are then left to keep the USG Ishimura’s systems from failing long enough to be rescued. During Isaac’s journey repairing the ship and fighting for survival he uncovers the truth about Aegis VII and the Red Marker and perhaps an end to the Necromorph infestation. The question is will he be able to survive long enough to end it though?
Final Thoughts: 85%
Dead Space is an epitome of survival horror which was sadly bastardized as the series continued. Capitalizing off jump scares, a grim atmosphere and strategic gaming in order to survive, this title holds no bars when it comes to punishing the Player for making wrong decisions. The story that unfolds is well written and further compliments the gameplay of the game itself. Although enemy waves become predictable at times and some of the level designs recycled, the overall dreadful feeling rarely lifts. This game goes deep into the realms of distrubing and gruesome fantasies, showing mutlations, dismemberments and carnage with close attention to details.
- The mini games were fun additions
- Enemy design and how they vary in abilities
- The brutal nature and unforgiving manner makes this a fun and invigorating playthrough
- Fun and challenging boss battles
- Tons of different ways to die
- Repetition within level design
- Glitches and bugs within combat, zero gravity and Kinesis.
- If the Player strays away from vents and other openings, many of the enemies patterns become easy to memorize.
For a better idea of what Dead Space is like, look below for the official 2008 E3 trailer!