“Hi, my name is Isaac Clarke. I’m an engineer for the Concordance Extraction Corporation. I’d like to tell you how a routine check became one of the single most terrifying experiences of my life. Welcome to DEAD SPACE.” Now I thinks it’s safe to presume we’ve all heard of this game. Whether you have the nerve to actually play it or not, that’s an entirely different story. This beauty of a game is truly one of a kind. It’s a third person horror/scifi space adventure game, and meets our $20 budget! Let’s dive into why you need to grab a friend, hold on tight, and play this game.
The campaign sets you in 2414, when the USG Ishimura sends out a distress signal for you and your team to investigate. The Ishimura is a “planetcracker” class ship mining on the planet Aegis VII. After a guidance malfunction, your ship crash-lands into the docking bay. You take your crew aboard to search for other means of transportation and investigate the Ishimura. Once aboard the seemingly abandoned ship, the lights go out and chaos ensues. Grotesque creatures called Necromorphs tear apart most of your crew, leaving only commander Zach Hammond, computer specialist Kendra Daniels, and yourself. From here on out Hammond and Daniels work together to help you navigate the ship to not only survive, but ultimately to escape.
Unfortunately, this story doesn’t concern itself with good intentions or moments for Isaac. Knowing his girlfriend Nicole is also on board the ship full of deadly creatures, he is driven forward to find and save her and survive this onslaught of terror. Isaac finds Audio and Text Logs along his way that slowly piece together exactly what happened here. The ship uncovered “The Marker,” the artifact treasured by all Unitologists (a sort of religion). Believed to have the ability to take everyone to the great beyond, the artifact unfortunately alters dead corpses, reanimating them into necromorphs, causing mass hallucinations and hysteria among the crew, and turning the Ishimura upside down.
The graphics of this game really immerse you into the heart of space and science. Poorly lit hallways with tubes of LED lights, blood stains on everything, and smooth yet gritty features worked almost too well at times. Walking down a hallway with no lights except the glow of your Plasma Cutter, waiting for something to rip off your face makes for quite the heart racing adventure. Dead Space really captures the horror-shooter style easily. The entire environment oozes fear and demands that your blood pressure rises.
The Necromorphs attack you any way they can. Head-shots are suddenly no longer the quick solution to victory; dismemberment is the key to survival here. Armed with slightly altered mining tools, slicing off legs or arms is the only way to ensure a kill. Even then, sometimes not having legs wont stop them from crawling at you, seeking only your flesh to spread the infection. The main arsenal of weapons include items such as a military grade assault rife, flame thrower, and a line cutter (a bigger plasma cutter). Along with weapons, Isaac’s suit has its own special abilities. Built in kinesis lets you grab and throw objects as you please. Stasis can be used through the suit to slow down objects and creatures to help make a kill. Unfortunately, you can run out of stasis and ammo. Scavenging ammo from corpses and crates is your main supply line. Luckily, there are shops located throughout the game where you can purchase these items and upgrade your RIG. Along with shops, there are workbenches to upgrade your weapons and suit to your needs. These help even the score between you and the opposition at times.
Gameplay and sound go hand in hand with the mindset of this game. It could be sounds of clanking feet as you walk along, or that bump in the air vent that has you watching ever so carefully with wide eyes. The musical score enhances the mood: from buildups that tense every muscle in your body, to nothing but silence sending you over the edge with fright and anticipation. They mastered the use of all these aspects to bring us into the realm of Dead Space, and truly become the scared engineer fighting for survival. Not to mention, there are countless times when something jumps out at you, trying to rip your skull from body. All these things lead you deeper into the universe of Isaac.
Probably one of the biggest factors to this game is the gruesome scenes you will encounter, from watching creatures turn corpses into new enemies, to watching your own death scene. Oh, the amount of ways to die in this game are astounding: having your limbs ripped off, having your head taken over by a new host, or just simply being smashed by a door lock. If you are not one for the gore, please do not purchase or even attempt to watch this game. I know some of the manliest of man (beard included) that were unable to fully beat this game. So don’t be too hard yourself.
Achievements are a big part of this game too. The abundance of them makes playing fun and challenging to grab them all! Earning them all is a quite possible feat. It may take a few run-throughs, but it’s fun to brag about later once you have them. There is no Co-op with this or even multiplayer – single player campaign is your only option here, yet it’s the only reason you will want to play this gem. Naturally, there are few problems to be had within the game. A possible glitch or two along the way or sketchy rendering are things to expect with all games of this magnitude. Really, there’s nothing new about that, so don’t let it discourage you.
Overall, Dead Space is a Must Rent and a worthy purchase for the gamer looking to try a new game genre/style to challenge themself. A deep and mesmerizing campaign keeps you coming back for more. The tense horror keeps you on the edge of your seat, tensed up like a spring about to release. Please do yourself a favor and go get this game…Seriously, stop reading and go out and rent it at least. Really, we are done here! Go!
Dead Space for $19.99 is Worth Buying!