Posted on June 6, 2012 AT 02:15pm
Last year Visceral Games took Dead Space, an already great game and exceeded all my expectations with sequel Dead Space 2. Sometimes when playing such an impressive title, it’s hard to imagine what could be done to improve something already so fun. This year Visceral Games really put their minds on that and have created a new experience with Dead Space 3 while still retaining everything you love about the series.
The first thing I’d like to address is the giant necromorph elephant in the room. Yes, they are implementing a co-op feature in the new game. If you’re a big fan of the series you might be instantly worried that you’ll be dragging around a moronic AI character in a game that’s supposed to be all about atmosphere and a feeling of isolation. Let me assure you that they’ve made sure to create the best scenario for either situation. If co-op isn’t your thing, it is a completely optional feature and you’ll be traversing the story alone as Isaac Clarke just as you have been in each of the other games. Either way, find a friend and try out the co-op if you get a chance, because there are some cool changes that take place as you use it.
After your friend accepts your request to join the game, they join you as new character John Carver. Aside from the obvious bonus of having him as backup for the mission at hand, my favorite thing about having John around was the additional content. With John at your side, there is more of an opportunity for banter as the two interact in both cutscenes and just while you’re traversing the game. We were shown a cutscene, once without co-op and another time with it and, while the general outcome was the same, it was fun to see the differences created by having another person in your party. It’s almost like getting a completely different game when playing with another person. All the same, I’m very relieved to have the solo option still available and unhindered by AI.
The events of Dead Space 3 take place just after its predecessor where Isaac and Ellie are heading towards Tau Volantis to take out another of the markers. Tau Volantis being a rather snowy planet makes for a few new ways to scare the crap out of you. If you’ve played the first two games, then you’ve experienced the horror of seeing a corpse on the ground and wondering if it’s going to pop back to life and rip you apart. With a few feet of snow on the ground, those dead bodies still exist, but you’re not going to see them until they pop out of the snow and make you wet your pants.
On the planet, you’ll also face a new kind of enemy never before seen in a Dead Space game. Wait for it… Humans! The Unitologists have a presence on the planet and will use force to stop Isaac and John from destroying the marker. This adds a huge new layer, because if you’re fighting humans and necromorphs at once, you could easily let the necromorphs take them out. Be careful though, because the dead unitologists might just come back as more necromorphs and they might still know how to use that gun in their cold hands. To help with the new human fights, they’ve also implemented a new dynamic cover system. It’s a bit different from the other systems you might be familiar with, because instead of sticking straight to the cover, it detects what cover you’re near and puts your character into the appropriate pose as you aim your gun. No more accidentally sticking and unsticking from numerous crates sounds like a plan to me.
One of the big things that people really wanted more of in the other Dead Space games were the immense boss battles. This is something that Visceral took to heart and it was quite apparent from the demo. They started out with a familiar giant necromorph enemy, which was very similar to some of the bosses from the old games and proceeded to blow my mind with a second boss. Proving that it doesn’t always have to be about the necromorphs, the second boss of the demo was a giant out of control drill. I love that they were able to take that kind of variety and apply it straight to boss encounters. The third and final giant boss of the demo very strongly resembled the final boss in the first game. Upon defeating it however, both Isaac and John were sucked into its stomach to finish the battle from the inside.
For huge fans of the series, this is going to be all the Dead Space goodness you’ve grown to love and much more. Bigger boss battles, human enemies and completely optional, but still awesome, co-op barely scratches the surface of the offerings this new game will have. If you’re a fan of the Dead Space series, then you have no excuse to not check this out when it drops on February 23rd of next year. If not, give Dead Space 3 a look anyway, it’s going to be awesome.
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