Dead Space Review

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Dead Space Review

In Space, No one can hear you Scream... 

The sci-fi survival horror genre has always been a polarising one throughout the many generations of gaming. Attempts to bring new, fresh and bold experiences that are akin to solely recapturing the same aura one, single, solitary title bought fans back in 2008. While there have been other franchises that have mastered half the category, the sci-fi part had always been likened or compared to one game that carried its legacy for years as the epitome of its bracket. Dead Space continues to carve out its legacy through many inspired franchises and spiritual successors. It comes at no surprise that we get the Dead Space remake mere months after the release of The Callisto Protocol, a love letter to the franchise from its co-creator Glen Schofield. From then EA Redwood Shores – the studio that was notoriously renamed Visceral Games later on – to now, the Canadian team of EA developers in Motive Studio, Dead Space 2023 is ready to up-the-ante as the leading example once again.

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There’s no question that the team are comprised of avid fans to the original, with efforts shown in the campaign’s opening moments. It’s excellently presented as a prime example to how a studio would structure a remake without the intention of making extraordinary changes to its core delivery. Whether the intent here is to revive the franchise, and re-introduce it or attract a new slate of fans toward its alluring and unique premise, Motive have masterfully reprised the infamous mystique of this bone chilling campaign with the utmost respect to the original. With only few franchises that have made the attempt in demonstrating a similar experience, there’s only one Dead Space, and while this may be the ultimate retelling of its heralded exhibition, Motive Studio have comprised it of their own original experience, making it an early Game of the Year contender.

Mine Your Business...

Fir the uninitiated, Dead Space’s campaign is set in the twenty-sixth century and follows a vessel of engineers that look to investigate the illegal mining of a Planetcracker known as the USG Ishimura, upon the planet Aegis VII. Our main protagonist Isaac Clarke, was part of the the USG Kellion’s maintenance crew, tasked with the mission to investigate the strange miscommunications of Ishimura, after multiple attempts to contact its crew, failed. It’s revealed during their expedition toward Aegis VII, Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole had been missing in action, and radio silence for quite some time. A video message to Isaac from his Nicole keeps him hopeful of her status, however the team unsuccessfully dock the Kellion, crash landing into Ishimura’s landing bay, destroying the ship’s quarantine seal and killing off the entire crew to the planet’s infestation of Necromorphs with only Isaac, Kendra and Hammond surviving.

With a new objective, the surviving members of Kellion set out to recover any parts they can gather to repair their ship in a planned escape, only to for plans to be abruptly sabotaged by further damage that ultimately destroys their ship. Portraying Isaac, we infiltrate Ishimura’s hallowed hallways that being overrun with the mutated anthropomorphistic beings that are slicing and dicing their way through any surviving cabin members from both Ishimura and Kellion. The echoes of cries and screams are heard from multiple containers, while Isaac traverses through venomous and putrid in-growth’s that are choking the ship’s infrastructure. The aesthetic aids its premise and gameplay loop, which has a heavy handed reminder to fans of such series like Resident Evil or Devil May Cry, that immediately resembles the ship’s outbreaking enemies.

Retaining much of the original’s core mechanics, Isaac’s abilities to jog, sprint, shoot and utilise telekinesis, major improvements to Dead Space’s interconnectivity are evident through its seamless navigational territory. New pathways and corridor openings allow backtracking and revisiting certain areas that weren’t possible in the original, such as the Ishimura tram station where you may view the variable decks the ship entails, but also investigate new pathways which were once completely obstructed but are now destructive enough for the player to blast through and continue their journey by foot. The general sense of adventure through Ishimura turns from the intended 3D platformer that the 2008 version was centered around, to an unbelievably comprehensive and detailed metroidvania.

The terrifying auspice of Dead Space's undying legacy now lives through Motive's reprisal, and without question raising the bar for many to follow suit.

Dead Space had always been highly acclaimed for it’s unobtrusively clean UI, that’s handled on Isaac’s Engineer RIG. Health, ammo and other items are all indicated via holographic projection. The suit itself has had a slew of upgrades that are to look like an incredibly armoured astronaut, readied to take on an army. The scratched and weathered metal matches the decor of the Ishimura’s enhanced visuals, along with the sensational lighting placement that probes paths yet keeps nooks and corners darkened for moments of suspense and horror. The bespoke awareness of the ship’s interior indicates what the player is in for. While searching and depending on each respective area, players may uncover upgrades and new gunplay weaponry to take on hordes of entangled enemies.

Necro Nightmare...

SOLID POINTS

✔️ One of the greatest survival-horror’s gets its well deserved reprisal.

✔️ Keeps the core narrative intact while introducing welcome mechanics for a seamless experience.

✔️ Mounds of mutated flesh & weathered metal implore fans to investigate further into the game’s hauntingly gorgeous environments.

❌ Very, very few bugs that will be patched.

The erratic nature of the Necromorphs do make for some complicated combat, where some will expeditiously pace themselves erratically toward Issac, challenging your pace and offense while attempting to invoke stasis becomes primarily useless. However, the slower, more tedious nature of some mutants do make for easier dismemberment. Painting blood across metal sheets that pave the inner sanctums of Ishimura is maniacally fun, and visually horrifying but are the set objective for what Dead Space has primed its legacy upon. Disarming creatures from utilising their respective pincers will allow faster kills, but can also set drawbacks to ammunition usage.

The all new circuit breaker feature is excellently structured to create the illusion of dealer’s choice. You may cut the power to certain parts of the ship in hoping to unlock a door on the other side of the vessel – are you afraid of the dark? Well in this instance, my anxieties were flared and my heart raced as I slowly trampled through mounds of Necromorph innards to re-tread toward my goal, but of course it comes at a price of walking alone in a pitch black environment, dimly lit by the torch attached to my plasma cutter and dependent on any alerting creeps or crawls detected around me – trust me, you don’t want to do a literal 180° and come face-to-face with a Necro in the dark. Yes, I yelped.

The insanely vast detail placed into construction the framework of each enemy comes to light, as you shave off the flesh surrounding their respective bone structures that are revealed through extreme means of degloving. Boss and mini-boss encounters that are staples of the series have been revised with largely improved physics that make the confrontation seem more realistic. Blasting the knees off a blood stained hunter and watching them collapse with grace, is hilariously haunting but panic inducing when they get right back-up from their regeneration. Dead Space’s seven deadly sins of weaponry return with the assortment of seamless usage. Of course, they’re all designed for the player to take a stronghold of one purposeful mean, but the plasma cutter being my main, with the Pulse Rifle, Ripper and Flamethrower being my backups, I never had use for the rest unless it was a one-off event or for vastly ranged purposes.

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Dead Space’s impeccable presentation is unequivocally improved by the addendum made to Isaac’s overall personality. Formerly a silent protagonist, its original series saw its sequels carry the engineer-turned-warrior into a more personal role, given dialogue and cutscenes that unquestionably praised by gamers. Gunner Wright (Maneater, Dead Space 2 & 3) reprises his role from the series as lead Isaac Clarke, alongside Tanya Clarke (The Getaway, Deadspace 2) as girlfriend Nicole Brennan. Newcomer Anthony Alabi takes over the role of Sgt. Zach Hammond, along with Bridgette Kali Canales and Faran Tahir as Kendra Daniels and Dr. Challus Mercer respectfully. The sound design for the title is insanely good. If you want an authentic horror experience that will no doubt have you leaping out of your seat, wear a pair of headphones while playing the title. The surround sound with booming ripples that will rush down to the pits of your stomach will emphatically turn it to mush – turn on or off the lights in your room at your leisure. I uh, had them on… please don’t judge me?

Dead Space has officially crash landed its way back onto the gaming scene as this year’s blockbuster experience. Without question an early Game of The Year contender that will once again, perfect the overall genre of sci-fi survival-horror and determine how other studios will take their first step into the debatable category for years to come. I love this franchise, and to see it return to form and for it to potentially be revived and given a new lineage, it primes itself extraordinarily for a brand new sequel that retcons the original series and see’s Isaac traverse through the unknown in a renewed fashion. The terrifying auspice of Dead Space’s undying legacy now lives through Motive’s reprisal, and without question raising the bar for many to follow suit. An essential experience for any fan of the survival horror genre, Dead Space is a must play for any and all.

Dead Space Review

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A remake of the 2008 game of the same name developed by EA Redwood Shores, it is scheduled to be released on January 27, 2023, for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S.

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Story
9
Gameplay
9
Presentation
10
Sound
10
9.5

9.5

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