Review – Dead Space 3


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Review – Dead Space 3
Twinkle Twinkle Little BOOM! HEADSOT!
Visceral Games
Release Date:
XBox 360, PS3, PC
Third-Person Shooter
Age Rating:
Dead Space is an action game now.

True enough it’s been on this warpath since 2011. Still, Dead Space 3 was in such a rush to jump genres, replacing tension with guns and fear with MORE GUNS, EA and Visceral may not have appreciated the regicide they were committing.
Dead Space was the undisputed king of Gaming Horror.

The King is Dead.

Just accept this. You’ll have more fun that way.

Unlike storied misfire Resident Evil 6, as a third person shooter, Dead Space 3 is pretty nifty. Yes, it could use a spit-polish, the UI needs mending, Isaac still moves like a rusted tank and why it pointedly ignores this generation’s definitive snap-to-cover system is beyond me. But shooting, looting and booting you way through the frozen caverns of Hoth, sorry, ‘Tau Volantis’ is consistently amusing.

Said exuberance can be attributed to a swish new crafting system. Primary and secondary functions are now swappable, while augmenting nodes such as stasis bullets and electrified bolas can be bolted on!
Personally, I rocked a rapid fire electrified force cannon with an over-barrel arc emitter which bounced lightning bolts between foes.
And this seriously took its time getting old folks!!!

Crafting requires specific resources which can be scavenged manually or by an adorably cute scavenger bot. Infrequently, lacking the requisite component annoys, though the decision to introduce universal ammunition means getting lumped with the bloody plasma rifle is out. Thank Altman!!!

Dead Space 3 is a 19 mission, 10 hour campaign buffered by almost twice as many sideys and a robust co-op crusade. With the sheer quantity of boxes to break and Neccys to dismember, it’s easily Visceral’s most generous offering.
But like their iconic Plasma Cutter, this cuts both ways!

Enemies shuffle in their droves.
Goodbye chilling intimate encounter.
Hello all out firefight.
The niche of slicing away bony protrusions counts for less than ever. Instead, players are forced to build rapid-fire scatterguns over instruments of surgical grace. Human enemies land with less of a bang, offering no more menace than resistance. Shots to centre mass work a charm. If anything, going to effort of tactical targeting is borderline irresponsible...

Stasis and Kinesis seem more fluid and useful, but echoing the fate of strategic slicing, these mechanics belong in survival horror. A genre Dead Space no longer belongs to. Strange Visceral never bothered crafting a replacement mechanic to compensate...

The narrative is a confused synergy of cutting edge science fiction, religio-political conspiracy and teenage angst played out by grizzled vets who should be decades past giving a shit. Barring the latter, it’s of a consistent practised quality, with a notable turn from Simon Templeman (Legacy of Kain!) But considering DS3 is our third ring around this particular rosie, humour is missed.

Personality vortex John Carver barely gets a look in, save under-reacting to sanity-smashing hallucinations, while the narrative revolves almost exclusively around Isaac.
A blessing? Maybe, but considering his defining attribute is a degree in mechanical engineering, he was hardly Nathan Drake to begin with!

Still, Dead Space’s Sci-Fi remains robust. As does the presentation, which contrasts roaring white and pitching black against the sharp neon of suit lights and wet squelch of viscera. Those facial animations have yet to improve on their 2008 debut and those eager for a break from the oppressive pallet of corridors and bulkheads can keep on hoping.

Dead Space 3 is still a great looking game, with design and aesthetic compensating for laughable relationship issues. Generous content, generally seamless co-op and addictive crafting should prove enough to win over those new to the series...

But not me.
I am not new to the series.
I have been here since the beginning.
And frankly, I’ve played better.
In the beginning...

7 Stars
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