Back in 2008, Dead Space looked set to usurp Resident Evil from its throne and become the new survival horror king. The dark atmospheric setting of Space put a terrifying spin on the formula and in the process, breathed new life into the genre. The stunning graphics and impressive voice acting helped create a chilling world of dread but it was the games disturbing tone that set it apart.
Unfortunately, Visceral Games sequel Dead Space 2 just couldn’t match the haunting atmosphere that worked so well in the original. While the game itself was brilliant and fixed most of the problems from the first game, Dead Space 2 was more action-oriented than it needed to be.
There were some genuinely freaky set pieces such as the elevator scene, but by and large, EA seemed intent on muscling in on the action survival genre – a decision that annoyed some fans. Dead Space 3 will see Issac Clarke return for his third outing, this time battling bugs on a new sub-zero planet called ‘Tau Volantis’. The previews have been promising but what direction will EA ultimately take?
Why It Could Be Amazing:
The terrible multiplayer features from Dead Space 2 have been discarded meaning extra development time will have gone into the single player campaign, which should result in a much tighter narrative. We should finally learn what exactly is going on with the Markers. ‘Tau Volantis’ is a massive planet and will offer a wide variety of huge environments which should bring back the never ending fear factor from the first game.
There are new, more intelligent enemies to contend with as well as an improved cover system. Necromorph’s will now stalk your every move and can attack at any time meaning you will have to keep your guard up the whole game. There’s also rumours of gigantic enemies that should add a nice variety. Dead Space 3 sounds like it will have the originals atmosphere and Dead Space 2′s intuitive controls. All we need now is a solid ending to the series and not another repeat of Mass Effect 3. That is until next gen of course.
Why It Could Be Terrible:
The campaign is designed for two players and will utilize a drop in/drop out system in the vein of Resident Evil 6. Even worse, the new playable character John Carver seems to be a carbon copy of Issac’s character from the first game as he will struggle with hallucinations and nightmares that only he can experience. EA need to be careful about re-threading similar ground with a story that has already been masterfully told. Having a character with you at all times is a risky move, especially if the AI is not up to scratch. We don’t need another Sheva ruining the atmosphere.
Speaking of female AI characters, why has Ellie Langford been relegated to damsel in distress status? This could have been the game that completed her story too. It’s a small injustice to the woman who saved Issac’s life.
The customizable weapons and new ammo system scream non stop action, a direction that for many people, will kill the franchise. Given the story from the second games ending, it does make sense for Issac to be fighting human characters but Visceral Games shouldn’t embrace this fully. Issac Clarke has already transformed from a terrified survivor to an all out action hero, the last thing we need is another generic third person shooter. Too bad it already looks like one.
Potential Rating: 3/5
While I don’t think Dead Space 3 will be a terrible game, one thing is almost certain – it won’t be as scary as the original. The ‘new’ features are merely upgrades that most games incorporate in their second and third outings. Saying that, it might surprise us all with some deeply disturbing scenarios. The co-op if done well, could actually revolutionize the genre. The big question is whether they can strike the perfect balance between horror and action, a feat not yet accomplished by a video game. Only time will tell.
Dead Space 3 is out February 3rd.
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This article was first posted on January 24, 2013