Dead Space Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PCiPhone  Check Price

There aren't many games that make you scared. I mean real scared - the kind of scared that makes you fear the turning of a corridor, or the opening of a door, or the press of a switch. Dead Space, EA Redwood Shores' sci-fi survival horror, is without a doubt one of those games.

Its greatest achievement is presenting a game world, the city-sized planet cracker USG Ishimura, that never, ever, feels safe to explore. Even when you've played the game for hours, and have mastered the lumbering controls, and have upgraded both your mining weapons, suit, stasis and kinesis abilities as much as a single playthrough will allow, you'll still be pooing your pants at the flicker of a light, or the quick-moving flash of alien flesh.

What was that? You doubt whether a game can ever be scary? You're too hard to jump out of your seat, I hear you say? Forget it. You're horribly wrong. And I'm confident Dead Space's first 20 minutes, a wonderfully atmospheric and dramatic affair that sees petty engineer Isaac Clarke thrust into the darkened corridors of the Ishimura and charged with fixing everything that's gone wrong with the troubled vessel, while surviving an alien infestation, will eradicate any lingering posturing you have left and leave you dribbling for mercy.

The game begins with the crew of the USG Kellion making their way to the Ishimura oblivious to the horrors it contains. From their point of view they're on a simple repair mission, triggered after communications with the giant mining ship are lost. But something goes wrong, and the Kellion crashes, rather than lands, on the ship. Inside, the crew find the 1000 or so inhabitants of the Ishimura strangely disappeared. It's seconds, rather than minutes, before the first Necromorph appears - horribly twisted ex-humans who have claws for arms and a savage distaste for Isaac and his chums. In the panic you run for your life into the bowels of the ship. Separated from your buddies - helpful computer technician Kendra Daniels and Sgt. Zach 'I'm not sure if you knew about this all along' Hammond - you only have voice and video communication to keep you company in the dark.

Something bad has happened. Something very, very bad.

Something bad has happened. Something very, very bad.

From there, and throughout the game's lengthy, 12 chapter campaign (which should take you around 15 hours to complete, depending on difficulty level played) you'll be mostly concerned with repairing bits of the Ishimura in a desperate bid to escape. This fits, given that Isaac is an engineer, rather than a huge, hulking space marine. And, as such, he plays like an engineer, too. There's no jumping, strafing or rocket launchers here. Instead, Isaac makes use of mining tools to sort out the Necromorphs. For shotguns, or assault rifles, or sniper rifles, see Plasma Cutters, the wonderfully gruesome Ripper (a spinning blade suspended a couple of metres from your gun) and the pulsing heavy damage Contact Beam.

These weapons tie into how Dead Space plays more like Resident Evil than Doom. You won't be able to down Necromorphs by shooting them in the head, or in the chest. You have to dismember them in order to kill them, or they'll keep on coming, and coming, and coming. Your basic fight with a Necromorph is an exercise in efficient limb-removal. With the Plasma Cutter you might use a horizontal spread to slice off the legs, forcing it to the ground and slowing its approach, then switch to the alternate vertical fire and take off its claws. Exposed, run up to the limbless bag of mutated bones and foot stomp it into gory oblivion. Nice.

Dismemberment works wonderfully well in Dead Space, and you'll at times find yourself playing with it just to see what you can do. Eventually Isaac gains access to a time-slowing stasis ability, as well as a Gravity Gun-style kinesis ability. By combining these abilities you're able to control the crowds (which, by the way, can get very crowded) and often conserve fire by turning the Necromorph's weapons against them: Stasis one Necromorph, tear off it's claw, use kinesis to drag it towards you, then remove the rest of its limbs with its own arm.

The controls do pose their own problems, however. While intuitive, you'll find yourself not able to do things as quickly as you'd like, especially when the Necromorphs come calling in droves. In classic Resident Evil 4 style, you can't reload unless you aim. Nor can you run while aiming either, although you can walk. It all ties in with the feeling that you're playing as a normal guy, rather than a space marine, but there are times when the controls feel restricting.

The camera is both a strength and a problem. The third-person, over the shoulder perspective is again reminiscent of Resident Evil 4, and helps add to the claustrophobic feel EA is shooting for. But there are times when you wish you could see more of what's surrounding Isaac. For me, the camera feels as if it's just as scared of what's going on as you are, peering over Isaac's shoulder like a child peering over a sofa when he should really be in bed. Sometimes you just wish he'd grow some balls and take a good look around.

New stuff to check out

Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

karysun's Avatar
Delete Post

karysun

lol, huge game productions company are often paying their reviewers... with money or anything else
Posted 13:19 on 17 October 2008
dead space's Avatar
Delete Post

dead space

this game is very good and i think that the game need to get 9\10
Posted 23:06 on 15 October 2008
breezee's Avatar
Delete Post

breezee

I think you guys are being kind of harsh on the guy. The game looks awesome, the review, was written up well, and a lot of the game sites and magazines gave BIA good ratings, as well. Most sites and magazines did cover stories on dark sector. An 8/10 rating means buy it, its a good game with overlookable flaws.Buy it, don't buy it.Don't compare it to other games though. Did anybody feel that gta 4 truly deserved a 10 like so many places gave it.I just appreciate people giving out early reviews on games so I can save my time and money, and even an 8 tells me 2 buy.
Posted 23:03 on 14 October 2008
delanosaxon's Avatar
Delete Post

delanosaxon

Ok well.. Seeing as how you very well recommended us to buy this game, bigged it up and are hotly anticipating its eventual sequel.. the score doesn't justify this guy's review. And yeah.. how the hell is this on the same level as dark sector and BiA as the guy mentioned in the above? Those games are bargain bin grabs if anything. Definitely a huge fail and I think readers should really stick to IGN. First time on this site and definitely my last.
Posted 17:56 on 14 October 2008
NinetiesKid's Avatar

NinetiesKid@ DethDevil PSN

Quote:
Originally Posted by DethDevil PSN
8/10 You have got to be kidding.Two weeks ago you give BiA : Hells Highway the same score and Dead Space is 100 time more polished , innovative , and original than that crappy WW2 cliche filled garbage. Most other more reputable gaming critics loved DS and gave it what it deserve. Did EA not pay you guys or something ...


You have to take scores in their own right, it's impossible to compare them - especailly when it's two completely different types of games like you have just mentioned. The reviews recommend both games, but that doesn't have to be for the same reasons. For example, 1 game may be extrememly polished but not have much replay value, while the other may not be polished perfectly, but could be very fun to play with long lasting value.

Also, why do you write like a Dead Space fanboy, but then ask if EA didn't pay them? EA would only need to pay sites if the game was bad, no?

*This post is in no way criticizing Dead Space, looks like a very good game!
Posted 16:13 on 14 October 2008
TomO's Avatar

TomO

I think people don't understand what an 8/10 means. By giving Dead Space an 8 we're recommending you buy the game. That means we really like it.
Posted 14:09 on 14 October 2008
-.-'s Avatar
Delete Post

-.-

How did you manage to give Dark Sector the same score as this? Fail.
Posted 11:45 on 14 October 2008
DethDevil PSN's Avatar
Delete Post

DethDevil PSN

8/10 You have got to be kidding.Two weeks ago you give BiA : Hells Highway the same score and Dead Space is 100 time more polished , innovative , and original than that crappy WW2 cliche filled garbage. Most other more reputable gaming critics loved DS and gave it what it deserve. Did EA not pay you guys or something ...
Posted 19:32 on 13 October 2008
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

Thanks for the review, it encouraged me to dig a bit deeper into Dead Space and now I have to add it to my ever increasing 'to get' list. I'm a huge Sci-Fi fan so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this a bit more than BioShock.
Posted 17:00 on 13 October 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
8
Out of 10
Dead Space
  • Incredibly atmospheric graphics
  • Brilliantly executed sound
  • Very, very scary
  • Repetitive towards the end
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 23/10/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , iPhone
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Third-person shooter
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,603 86
Check Price