Dead Space is without a doubt one of the best games on the Xbox 360 and definitely one of the scariest titles that you could own and that “In space no one can hear you scream” phrase is taken to the extreme in Dead Space, never has a game made me too scared to play in the dark and headset on full blast like I usually do, I was cringing in fear at every part of the game and in all honesty I godamn loved every single minute of terror that it put me through so onto the actual review.
Now Dead Space is a third-person survival horror video game developed by Visceral Games for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows and it puts you in the armored shoes of Isaac Clarke who is a engineer sent to a interstellar mining ship named the USG Ishimura and believe me you will never forget that name or his after you board the stricken vessel.
It is a well designed game that puts you against a unique enemy and in a unique setting that just is absolutely amazing, this isn’t just another run of the mill horror title that you have seen a hundred times, the enemies in Dead Space aren’t your garden variety zombies, my first encounter with the necromorphs is definitely one of the most scary moments I have experienced during my long gaming career but it was just so good because I felt genuinely scared and outmatched and you will feel this way too because you will have to face them to survive and escape.
The story is mostly told through audio, video logs and the NPCs that have survived and that’s pretty cool because Dead Space has such a interesting setting and mythos that most people tend to overlook and I for one didn’t mind having the crap scared out of me because it was really cool to find out what happened to the crew and Isaac’s girlfriend and what else the necromorphs could do.
Now the game play is pretty much an over the shoulder point of view like with most survival horror games and this is good because you will be fighting in tight corridors which are very dark and very blood stained, you will be moving very slowly, checking behind you every few minutes and cringing at every sound because this game is pretty much “jump scares R us” and that’s a part of its charm.
It preys on the gamer’s fear of the unknown and it pulls it off well because players must fight their way through various parts of the stricken mining ship to survive the 12 terrifying levels that make up this game.
Combat in Dead Space involves a unique mechanism called “strategic dismemberment”, in which the player must cut off limbs or sections of the necromorphs to defeat them.
Shooting a necromorph in the head will have little to no effect but they can be stopped once the player removes its arms and legs but be careful because when they are wounded, necromorphs can adopt new stances and tactics such as sprouting new limbs or giving birth to new enemies…they are tough foes to put down but you get a bunch of cool weapons to help you with this task.
The first one and my personal favorite aka the plasma cutter isn’t even a weapon but it is brutally effective at being one and on top of that you also find a flamethrower that spits out a stream of napalm to roast the necromorphs, a buzz saw that shoots out saw blades, a line gun which is like the plasma cutter but longer, a contact beam gun that is like a handheld laser of doom and a plasma rifle to quickly increase your chances of survival.
Each with their pros and cons, they can be upgraded and come in handy for later levels if you don’t go down the “one gun” route and Isaac’s rig which is the hud can also be upgraded so he has more air, stasis and kinesis which is a life saver on hardcore.
Now combat aside the game does offer many unique elements in terms of game play such as zero gravity environments and outside sections, puzzles are not too hard if puzzles are not the gamer’s strong point and there are a few challenges like zero gravity basketball and a firing range that offers you prizes upon completion which I think is a nice touch.
The graphics in Dead Space don’t disappoint even though it is a old game, they match the dark and gritty feeling of the game and the atmosphere in Dead Space is just superb, it gives off a “you will not survive this” vibe.
This feeling is everywhere you go because when you see a woman slit her own throat just as you walk into a room, a guy slam his head against a wall so hard at his brains end up on the wall or getting too close for comfort with a necromorph, you just know that you are in for some major scares.
The sounds in Dead Space are also really well done and they add another layer of tension which is always welcome in a horror game and believe me there is only one way to play Dead Space and that is with a good headset and in the dark because full immersion is needed to enjoy this game.
Dead Space has 12 chapters of claustrophobic horror and there are three difficulty levels and it roughly took me 12 to 15 hours to do it on medium because I am a badass with absolutely no fear, just kidding I spent so much time on the Ishimura that I was seeing necromorphs in my sleep and that was the scariest thing ever but anyway this game doesn’t take too long to finish if you have a strong stomach and no fear but that’s why there is a new game plus option.
Dead Space has 48 achievements/trophies which adds 1000 gamerscore to your gamer card if you can survive long enough, while they may not be the most difficult achievements to earn the game makes you feel like a badass because getting a trophy or a achievement that says “dismembered 2500 necromorph limbs” is just awesome.
There are a ton of audio logs and video logs which I mentioned eariler to provide more exploration of the ship and so on but this game isn’t really about checking every nook and cranny for treasure and besides we have RPGs for that so it may be short but its a good and worth while experience.
Now I must admit I was never much of a horror fan, sure I have played a few but I never had the stomach to finish them and then came along Dead Space, yeah its not shiny and all that other crap but one thing that Dead Space does really well is being a genuinely good horror survival game and that in itself is very hard to come by nowadays .
I had alot of fun with this title and it is well deserving of a place in any gamer’s collection no matter what their tastes might be and not only is it a great game, it is so cheap to the extent that you could easily buy Dead Space and Dead Space 2 at once like I did mainly because playing a game’s sequel before I play the first one drives me insane but anyway pick this title up now because it’s too awesome to miss out on.
Fun Factor = 8
Control + Gameplay = 7
Graphics = 7
Sound = 9
Replay Value = 6