Dead Space 3

“Third time IS NOT a charm”

Once again developed by Visceral Games and distributed by Electronic Arts, in February 2013 our Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows systems received the third chapter of this epic Survival Horror saga.

So far the last episode, the game enhances all the gameplay changes introduced in Dead Space 2, which now turn the game in almost a full-shooter title, emphasizing the action, the frenetic gunfire sequences and multiple enemies hordes everywhere.

Despite the fact it is still a good game, the infinite variations and reused features since the first game, make Dead Space 3 the weakest chapter of the trilogy.

Well, we are about to see why…

Dead Space 3.

The S.C.A.F (Sovereign Colonies Armed Force) soldiers are in a mission on Tau Volantis, a distant and ice-covered planet. Their goal is to find a mysterious device, known as “The Codex”.

Once they find it, as they are on their way to report to General Mahad, they get caught in an avalanche, and just one of them survives.

He manages to reach Mahad, but the General kills him, purges the Codex and commits suicide.

200 years after, we see Isaac Clarke in his apartment. He and Ellie Langford managed to survive the horrific events on Sprawl, but they haven’t seen each other for a while, due mainly to Isaac’s mental illness, which tore them apart.

Suddenly, captain Robert Norton and sergeant John Carver broke into Clarke’s apartment. They inform him they are the last members of EarthGov, and need Isaac’s help to find Ellie and her team, which disappeared during a expedition in Tau Volantis.

And that’s the way Isaac’s final assignment begins. But this time he won’t have to face just a new Necromorph outbreak (of course), but also the Unitology soldiers, who are responsible of the infestation.

GAMEPLAY.

We won’t need more than half an hour of gameplay to see it: Dead Space 3 is the proof that developers are trying to take a new road in the series. Someone may like it. I don’t.

At the moment we take control of Isaac, there are too many things that feel unnatural.

OK, there is Clarke. He stills moves as the previous games. The control is still intuitive and he moves as agile as a person with a heavy suit could do it. The addition of a new roll movement give us a hint: we are experiencing a shooter game now, and we will have to dodge.

The RIG system, Kinesis and Stasis modules are there, and they function exactly as in Dead Space. But the weapons and suits options, one of the features I love best, is so different that I ended almost hating it.

The game has now a “looting” system. Every time we kill an enemy or explore the darkest corners of any room, we will find different items, like junk, metals or weapons pieces. When we reach a bench, we can use these items to create new weapons, upgrades those we already have or even improve our suit. Cool? I don’t think so.

Any weapon or upgrade creation demands A LOT of our scarce resources. At the same time, the creation menus are kinda complicated, and most of our “products” won’t be as effective as we need. In other words: we will waste our loot in useless designs. I don’t know if it was me, but every weapon I created seemed to be weaker and more complicated to use that the one I had before.

The Necromorphs return too, and they need to be dismembered to get killed more easily, as always. There are human enemies in the game, but they are so dumb and boring to kill that I almost forget to mention them.

The gameplay system is pretty much the same: go from point A to point B killing everything in front of you.

The newest features of the title, and which are the highlights and save Dead Space 3 of having a lesser score, are:

– The addition of various side-missions. These events are not mandatory in order to finish the game main story. But, if we decide to complete them, we will be rewarded with several items and upgrades for our equipment.

– A “Drop in-Drop out Coop Online Mode”. For the first time in the saga, we will be able to play Dead Space with another person. In Cooperative Mode, the first player controls Isaac and the second one takes John Carver.

Besides enhancing the gameplay, this mode will provide us further details about the main story. No need to say there will be sections where the teamwork will be essential if we want to survive. According to the developers, they were trying to apply a coop mode since Dead Space. Finally, they managed to add it without having to hinder the game’s plot.

GRAPHICS

I will repeat it for the third time: the graphics are, once again, an absolute visual delight. The skin, clothes and suits textures are flawless. The human characters all received improvements, especially Ellie, who have recovered her eye and gained a different pair of attributes (?).

The open space sequences will make us fell like we are watching “Gravity” movie. Everything look so realistic that we will hold our breath as Isaac rushes through stars, evading meteors or metal pieces from any destroyed spaceship.

Tau Volantis and its frozen scenario will remind us another famous movies, like “Star Wars” Hoth or even some “The Thing” scenes.

Of course, the rest of the features still look great, as usual: weapons, suits, enemies, environments.

Visceral Games did a excellent job in the trilogy. The three games are beautiful.

MUSIC AND AUDIO.

I know I’m being a little repetitive, but the sound features in Dead Space 3 are repetitive as well.

The sound section is still very effective and nice to hear. The gunfire effects and all its stridency. The open space passages, with its “Vacuum” sounds, the heavy breathing and the silent noises. The Necromorphs screams, the dismembering, the spilling of blood. All of them sound wonderfully, but the “I have hear this before” sensation is inevitable. I suppose there wasn’t much to improve here.

If I have to mention something that has been really upgraded, I would say that is the voice acting. All the characters sound more convincing, with all their lines better performed, something that helps the story, making it more appealing and enjoyable.

CONCLUSION

Dead Space 3 is a good game. Not so innovative as the first one, not as surprising as Dead Space 2. However, the faithful fans will find it marvelous, evolved, maybe even think it’s the best chapter so far.

Personally, I think Visceral Games has lost its track. Too many changes, a weak story, and a series of gameplay variations really make me miss the “old good days” since first Dead Space.

Nice game, but Isaac Clarke deserves better.

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Pablo saved the princess before learning all the colors, he has been blasting nazis in Wolfenstein before he was able to read and write and while other kids were drawing pictures of their family members he was designing levels for Contra and Super Mario Bros 3.
Now he’s living the dream, studying videogame design and programming and writing about his passion here. Don’t mention console exclusives in his presence, he’s allergic to that bullshit.

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