The Dead Space franchise reinvigorated the survival horror genre when it was released back in the fall of 2008. The emphasis on severing limbs as opposed to aiming for headshots had yet to be seen in other series such as Resident Evil, and effectively rewarded players for their precision and patience; “spray and pray” was a surefire way to run out of ammo. Sad to say that EA has completely forgotten what made the past games so successful with Dead Space 3.
Dead Space 3 is, more or less, the same as the previous two installments; you still play as Isaac Clarke utilizing mining tools in his struggle against the Necromorphs as before, but with a few noticeable alterations to the formula. For starters, a second player can join in as newcomer Carver, which opens up a few additional lines of dialogue as well as story segments focusing on Carver which you will not see in single player. Additionally, EA has incorporated a weapon crafting system to replace the old system of purchasing and upgrading set weapons. Sure, you can recreate every old weapon such as everyone’s favorite Plasma Cutter, but you can now slap an underslung rocket launcher onto a weapon, or combine a Shotgun with the Force Gun to create a useful close range weapon. The crafting system is actually better than expected, if just for the very large assortment of armaments you can come up with. Yet with it comes the change to universal ammo, due to the larger assortment of weapon types. It’s alright, but the change is one major step from survival horror towards action shooter.
Where Dead Space 3 really fails to surpass its predecessors is in the dismemberment itself. The Necromorphs of DS3 have been made much faster than before, juke back and forth to dodge gunfire, and attack in larger swarms. These three differences in their attack behavior causes it to be far more effective to attack with an assault rifle as opposed to precise cutting tools, as the increased rate of fire of automatic weapons makes up for the lack of bonus limb damage. It’s a huge disappointment, as playthroughs of Dead Space 1 and 2 using just the Plasma Cutter was not only fun, but entirely viable. To see the classic Cutter and dismemberment become entirely obsolete the third time around makes Dead Space 3 just another average third person shooter.
Based on the exceptional sales the series has had over the last 5 years, we can expect more Dead Space in the future. EA needs to reevaluate their stance on turning their popular series such as this and Mass Effect into more accessible games; the focus on action over what defined these series is a problem, one which needs to be addressed before they die out. As it is, Dead Space 3 is an inferior product compared to the first and second.