Dead Space 3 Preview (PS3)

The problem with horror is that, really, it only works once. You can have sequels, you can bring back the same villain over and over again but ultimately, you’ll never recreate that first specific instance of having the crap scared out of you. Same goes for Dead Space – in the first game, you could cut the tension with a knife. You and your silent hero, shuffling carefully through this derelict ship to find out just what the bitch was going on, and soiling many pants in the process.

You can’t really replicate that specific fear again, and the problem was compounded in Dead Space 2 when, having found themselves with a bit of a hit, Visceral went all out... but was it still a ‘horror’ game? Many thought not. Now we’re onto the third instalment, and Issac is really taking the whole ‘hero’ thing in its stride. He’s just as lippy as he was in the second game, and his all-in-one doom tool is still the most effective way of carving up some xenomorphs. Seems our boy has now risen from that guy down in maintenance, to that guy who saved the world.

He's had a little bit too much to drink, I think...

Those of your who feared that Dead Space was going even more action-y and leaving its horror-roots… well, you still have a point, but there’s more to this game than what the E3 demo showed you. In our own hands-on experience, we were first shown a new level that occurs before Issac ends up on the planet that isn’t Lost Planet, and this level had a more ‘old school’ vibe to it. Closed metallic corridors, noises coming from everywhere and nowhere, jittering at every shadow… it may be a familiar tension, but it’s still tension, and this segment had a great atmosphere to it.

As you’ll know by now, multiplayer seems to have been dropped in favour of a co-op mode instead, and we got to go hands on with that element as well. So far, at its core it’s much like any co-op mode – you can’t progress too far ahead of your team mate, combining abilities and tactics makes fights, especially boss fights, a lot easier... John Carver, the ‘other’ guy, plays a lot like Issac except he has a real weapon as opposed to a simple screwdriver of death. Other than that, you have your own stasis power, your health is displayed much the same, and for all intents and purposes you’re just playing as a different skin.

Still when it comes to the actual story, Visceral have actually made the presence of a second person meaningful. If you’re playing solo, you do sometimes meet up with Carver during the story, and there are the customary cutscenes and exchanges before you part ways. If he’s with you however, unique cutscenes and story dialogue will fire off instead, providing a slightly different yet connected narrative experience. It certainly saves you from being that random dude who’s always there yet isn’t there as far as everyone else is concerned.

Hardly a new bromance, but Issac and John make a formidable team

The only thing we’re really ‘hmm’-ing about at the moment is the inclusion of human enemies… we can’t help but think back to Red Faction: Armageddon, which introduced strangely xenomorph-like enemies into the fray, and now Dead Space is introducing humanoid foes. It’ll probably make sense form a narrative perspective, and to be honest the inclusion of a few more xenomorph types probably won’t be enough before the feeling of having done it all sinks in. Still, we hope in a way this is the last game… even this early, there are faint whiffs of this idea being on its last legs.

The easiest thing you can do is accept that Dead Space is moving away from where it began... some say it was never really survival horror to being with, but that’s neither here nor there. Regardless, whatever Dead Space is becoming you can guarantee that Visceral are going to put in the same passion and commitment that they always have. Things seem to be getting a bit ‘grand’ in the third instalment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something to look forward to. Dead Space 3 is coming out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Most Anticipated Feature: Finding out which end of that big monster Issac comes out of.

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By Gale47 (SI Core) on Jul 25, 2012
I, for one, am looking forward to each and every Dead Space game (that comes out for PC). Sure, it stopped being actually scary, but I like it.