“There’s no help coming”
Well, my friends, it is time. We are about to dismember the first chapter of this epic Survival Horror Saga. Developed by EA Redwood Shores (Visceral Games nowadays, and known for Battlefield 3 and Dante’s Inferno) this first chapter was released in 2008. We have to admit it: this Survival Horror saga appeared in our lives exactly when we most need it. But…Is it really that good? Let’s start from the beginning. The Survival Horror fans were having a really hard time. After the heavily criticized Resident Evil 4, mostly for its tremendous gameplay changes, and the announcement of Resident Evil 5, which would not only maintain but enhance that new gameplay, the release of this game became a fresh air breeze in the games horizon.
The USG Ishimura, an enormous mining spaceship, has sent a SOS call. Apparently, it has experienced some mechanical malfunctions during its last mission in Aegis VII. The USG Kelion, an enginners ship, is on its way to take care of the Ishimura. Among the crew members, there are Kendra Daniels( Comm Specialist), Zach Hammond ( Security Chief) and Isaac Clarke( Systems Enginner). The Kelion reachs Ishimura’s vision range. They try to establish communication, but there is no response. Nonetheless, the engineer crew decides to land in the mining ship. When they are about to do it, the landing system fails due to the Ishimura’s attraction field, and the Kelion crashes in the other ship’s port. The transports gets destroyed and useless, but the crew seems to be ok. They start the area recognition. The mining spaceship looks abandoned. That’s really strange. Not a person. Not a sound. Something fishy is going on around there.
Where did everybody go? Are they all alone? WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
Our mission now consists in exploring a not so abandoned ship. We are going to take control of Isaac, who will have to fight for his survival. Clarke can shoot, punch and kick his enemies, which need to be dismembered in order to get killed more easily. He also has kinetic and stasis abilities, which allow him to move, throw or even temporarily freeze different objects or Necromorphs. The game provides with an unique navigating system. By pressing R3 button, a light ray will come out from Isaac suit and point us the nearest way to our main goals. The inventory screen is also interesting. Instead of being an screen available during game pause or similar, we can access it everytime we want by a simple button touch. A virtual image will be displayed from Isaac’s chest, where we can check our items and weapons, without having to stop the action. As regards the equipment, the weapons and suits can be upgraded by collecting and using “Power Nodes”. We can add, for example, more damage or range to our guns; and resistence or oxygen capacity to the suits, something vital to have better probabilities to survive in open space.
The game looks amazing. Despite the fact we are in a space ship, there is such enviroment variety that we never get tired of the omnipresent metallic walls. We have a collection of suits we can equip Clarke, and every single one of them look really detailed and different from the others. The open space sequences are brilliant. I assure you this: you are going to stare at the stars or the sun several times. The weapons are the best feature in this aspect. They not just look incredibles, but they got a tremendous firepower, in order to survive the horrors we are going to battle. I think that the Plasma Cutter, one of them, is the best videogame gun ever. The enemies design is horrifyingly beautiful. The Necromorphs will remind us some classic horror movies, like The Thing.
MUSIC AND AUDIO.
As old school survivals used to apply, there is not much music to enjoy un the game, and we usually listen to it when something really bad is about to happen. But, when we talk about sound effects…that’s a completely different story. The distant growlings and wall- scratchings are ready to give us a heart attack any time we are focused in something different. The weapons sounds are realistic and futuristic at the same time. The sick and disgusting noises of blood spilling and bowels being destroyed are perfect. While in open space, the “vacuum” effects and Isaac’s heavy breathing will make us hold our breath as well.
Definitely, the best feature of the game.
As I said before, Dead Space release’s timing was perfect. The Survival Horror genre was experiencing many changes, tryng to adapt itself to the new generation of more casual and younger gamers.
But we, the “oldies”, were lusting for a little bit of deep emotions. We like fear. We need fear. We weren’t felling it. DEAD SPACE was the perfect response to our demands.
Playing this game at 2:00 AM, all alone and with the lights out, is an experience you will never forget.