Dead Space 3 Preview – Create A Stasis
Several franchises evolve beyond their original state. Devil May Cry is one of those and EA has been no stranger to this detachment from their progenitors into later releases. It looks like Dead Space 3 will join this list of games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Though the story of helmed hero Isaac Clarke still retains shock value and adrenaline rushes, most of this excitement will lean on action, rather than anxiousness. A short demo into the new snowy fields of Dead Space does little to show off its strengths, but it at least already holds some great production values.
Isaac finds himself trapped on some snowy mountain wasteland. After a few deep breaths, it’s time to set foot into the deep powder and seek out what the deal there is. The camera follows closely over our hero’s shoulder, which can create some awkward scenes. For instance, an interface placed right in front of Isaac can find itself filling the majority of the screen. Then again, except for this minor inconsistency we can once more expect a highly picturesque environment, filled with ambient lighting, great reflections and excellently created blurring effects. Movement sweeps the background along for a sense of mobility and effects such as snowfall or fast winds enhance the vivid display of sceneries. Sounds and background tracks follow the same high production quality expected from a title that is partially well-known for its ambience. In that sense, the presentation leaves little to be desired, whether it’s exploration or gory combat sequences.
Naturally, everywhere Isaac goes, the vicious alien Necromorphs soon follow. These strangely mutated corpses come in many disgusting shapes and each are more deadly than the next. Luckily, that’s nothing some firepower can’t fix. Armed with a few powerful weapons, Isaac can shoot or bash these abominations into pieces, with full dismemberment options. Blood gushes over the screen quickly as these enemies hit the deck. In particular, some heavier weapons and a good stomp to the gut really connect thanks to the game’s camera work. Dead Space 3 wants to prove that its action portion is its main attraction. Guns are here to stay and that fact has to be sold for one particular reason.
An addition to the survival horror tropes is the ability to craft weaponry from scraps found along the way or scavenged from eviscerated corpses. Weapons are fully customizable in many forms, which can make combinations differ greatly for a set of effects. However, it does create a stasis for the game’s pace and atmosphere, as getting lost in menus to upgrade and enhance weaponry take you away from the once tense situation at hand. Crafting in Dead Space 3 is a 50/50 situation: On one hand it’s a welcome deeper gameplay element, but on the other hand it detracts from what the game tries to create ethereally. However, it does serve the game’s vivacity later on, for better or for worse.
Isaac will still need to battle fierce creatures and once more the angles used to present fights do a good job to keep the attention focused. Even with just quick time events, Isaac is constantly in a predicament where immediate action is needed. It’s strange how an entire planet always only brakes down once the hero has arrived, isn’t it?
To ease the tension of assault mobs, helmet guy can use a freezing power that temporarily hinders opponents. Monsters are caught dead in their tracks and even bosses can slow down from these shots, which give you ample time to react. This is used in a boss fight with a drill, to slow it down, so you can shoot at its core. Granted, a drill isn’t quite as startling as a huge monster with a dozen tentacles, but the confined space in which it occurs, the machine’s speed and the tons of sparks flying form its motion at least keep the adrenaline up.
Another novelty in Dead Space 3 is the ability to take on this mission with a friend in cooperative mode. Shooting, bashing and collecting works mostly the same, but two heads are better than one. It definitely breaks some more atmosphere, but as this game is already tilted towards the third person shooter model, this just completes the transition. It’s still a solid build with decent, responsive controls, though it might not be what you’ve come to expect.
Whether or not original fans will learn to appreciate Dead Space 3 is a gamble so far. Those that are just stepping into it can get ready for a thrilling ride with decent camera work and exhilarating scenes filled with action and some depth to customize their experience.