We're only a few days away from Dead Space 3's release, and most everyone has had a chance to play the demo that was released on Xbox Live and the PlayStation network a few weeks ago. So...what's the consensus? Does it live up to the previous entries?
Well, at last year's E3, after watching the Dead Space 3 demo, I thought, "Hmm. Cool, but that was definitely the wrong part of the game to show."
After playing the Dead Space 3 demo last week, I thought, "Hmm. Cool, but that was definitely the wrong part of the game to show."
The demo is exactly what we saw at last year's E3: protagonist Isaac Clarke makes his way through the wreckage of some industrial equipment, a frozen mine, and a Unitologist landing zone. Still, it's not a complete repeat: a few new Necromorphs make their playable debut, and this is the first chance people have had to get their hands on the much-touted Weapon Crafting system, as well as the new combat mechanics.
Speaking of combat, the gameplay will be familiar to any fan of Dead Space: Necromorphs are best disposed of in pieces, and tearing them apart is really the only way to stop them. The new additions come in the form of taking cover and dodging, but aside from a few select encounters, neither are necessary to progress. You'll still be shooting and stomping, and it's just as polished as ever.
Weapon Crafting, on the other hand, isn't quite as successful. It does exactly what the developers have promised: by collecting different pieces of scrap throughout the game, players can assemble their own weapons. It's extremely open-ended: a Force Gun can be stitched to a Pulse Rifle, and a Line Gun can be fixed with a rotation upgrade (essentially making it a very powerful Plasma Cutter). The problem is that it takes away from the personality of the weapons themselves. I felt no attachment to my incredibly overpowered death-dealer, and combined with the abundance of upgrades to my suit and a wealth of Universal Ammo, the demo is just too easy. Granted, the balance in the final game will be different, but I felt as if I was simply walking over everything in my path.
And that's the biggest problem with the demo: it's not scary. Dead Space is famous for its scares, its claustrophobic atmosphere - an outdoors battle against a lumbering Necromorph in plain sight isn't exactly scary, especially when the player is outfitted with a well-armored suit and a massive arsenal. Granted, there are glimpses of horror sprinkled throughout the demo (being chased by a giant drill is absolutely horrifying), there's just not enough of it. Gamers have been promised that the full game will have more horror, but if the demo is any indication, Dead Space 3 is more shooting than scares.
Dead Space 3 is a gorgeous game that plays fantastically, but it's missing something: the fear. Dead Space and its sequel were such wonderful examples of survival horror, it's a shame to see the newest in the series seemingly shy away from all of that. As stated earlier, the developers have promised that Dead Space 3 is still, to its core, a horror game. It's just confusing as to why they didn't show the scary parts in a game about scares.
Dead Space 3 is available on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on February 5th, 2013.