- Game: Dead Space 3
- Release Date: February 5, 2013
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Developer: Visceral Games
- Genre(s): Survival Horror, Third-Person Shooter
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Dead Space 3 is the third game in the Dead Space series following Dead Space and Dead Space 2. The series is centered around an engineer named Isaac Clarke and his mission to destroy the Markers. In Dead Space 3, Isaac is back in action as the main character of the game yet again. After the events that took place in Dead Space 2, Isaac Clarke and Ellie Langford developed a romantic relationship after moving into seclusion on a Lunar colony. The relationship was soon terminated, which left Clarke alone on the colony doing what he could to stay away from Unitology and the Markers. This seclusion does not last long as Clarke is found by a team of EarthGov soldiers, Captain Robert Norton and Sergeant John Carver, who insist that he goes along with them to help out Isaac’s ex-girlfriend Ellie Langford and her team. The soldiers explain that they are the last force standing up against Unitology, the religion based around the Markers that has all but overthrown EarthGov at this point, leaving Isaac with quite a few question and very few answers. Clarke goes with them reluctantly, hoping to find Langford and get a few answers. Before they can head out, a Marker is activated by Jacob Danik, the leader of the Unitologists, and Nercromorphs start developing and taking over the colony. Clarke, Norton, and Carver narrowly escape the colony and make their way to the location of Langford’s last transmission – Tau Volantis. The mission to stop the Danik and his followers, as well as the Markers, once and for all begins as players are thrust into a whole new Dead Space experience.
Much like previous games in the series, Dead Space 3 features an over the shoulder third-person view of Isaac Clarke throughout the game. Dead Space 3 offers up something a little more new-age along with this classic style – action. More action based than it’s predecessors, Dead Space 3 allows players to experience horror and play with an action finesse at the same time. The game merges the survival horror and action shooter genres together seamlessly, making the playablility of the game much smoother while still keeping with the classic feel of the game. Abilities and weapons from past games such as the Kinesis and Stasis modules are back, along with Clarke’s famous Plasma Cutter weapon. The Kinesis module is more useful in Dead Space 3 as it comes in handy in the environment, being used to open doors and move debris rather than to simply move a marked item from point a to point b. Stasis has changed a bit as well, the generic Stasis module with no upgrades only puts enemies in Stasis for a short period of time and uses up half the Stasis gauge. Upgrades are needed to make the Stasis module ready for constant use.
Upgrades can be done at any suit station or weapon bench. At the suit stations, players can upgrade Clarke’s Rig, giving him more hit point, better armor for defense, and of course upgrading Stasis and Kinesis. This makes suits generic as far as stats go, giving all suits the same abilities when upgraded allows players to wear whichever suit they find visually pleasing rather than having to pick whichever one has the best stats. The weapon bench has been vastly improved upon and now allows players to craft their own weapons as well as upgrade what they already own and place unused weapons and items into storage. Crafting a weapon is made simple, as long as players acquire the resources needed to make said weapon from around the environment, the weapon can me made at the bench. Resources include scrap metal, tungsten, and a variety of other parts and materials which are then put together to make the parts of the weapon. These resources have replaced money/credits in this game and are used for everything from upgrading suits to crafting ammo and health kits. The weapon crafting possibilities are endless as players can make a vast amount of combinations of weapons, i.e. a flamethrower with a shotgun attachment or an assault rifle with an electrical bolo attachment. After a weapon is built it may be added to your equipped weapons or stored in the safe for use later on. There are only two equipped weapon slots for Clarke in this game, meaning players will need to make a more precise choice when it comes to arming themselves. The created weapons may also be modified and changed at any time, as long as the resources and a weapon bench are available. Crafted weapon blueprints may also be shared with others in the game’s cooperative feature.
There are a few changes and new features added to Dead Space 3 such as new hacking methods in-game. Doors, equipment, alarms, etc. may be connected to a device that Clarke can hack. In previous titles, there was only one way in which these could be hacked but in this game there are a handful of new ways to hack devices. This makes for more thought and precision to be used at specific points and keeps players on their toes in hacking situations. The save game feature has also been modified and now allows players to save and quit at any point in the game, not just as a save station. There are actually no save stations in the game, just checkpoints that save game progress. When a player saves and quits in the game, they will be reverted to the last checkpoint they crossed before saving. Players can also revert to the last checkpoint they passed in the start menu. Checkpoints come about frequently, so the absence of save stations is hardly felt. Another new feature is the modification of the ammo picked up throughout the game. The ammo clips in Dead Space 3 are generic, meaning that they are not specific to any weapon. The same ammo packs are used for every basic weapon but are used differently from weapon to weapon. Specialty weapons and attachments like the shotgun will use more ammo than the basic Plasma Cutter would. Because of this, players will need to keep an eye on the ammo they have available and conserve it as needed based on the weapons they are using. A new crouch feature has been added as well, making it possible to crouch behind any cover when in combat. The enemies in the game range from the classic but newly modified Necromorphs to human soldiers with guns, so cover can be very helpful given the right situation. Clarke can crouch anywhere, there is no need to be against a wall or barrier as any surface may be used as cover.
A cooperation multiplayer feature was added into Dead Space 3, taking the place of the competitive multiplayer from Dead Space 2. The co-op uses a seamless drop in/drop out system. Friends may join into your game at any point and drop back out at any point without interrupting you gameplay experience, and the same is said for joining a friend’s game. The co-op partner to Isaac Clarke is the EarthGov Sergeant John Carver, playing through the co-op will offer up new dialog and character development as they work together. The co-op is an optional feature in the game as the campaign may also be played in single-player format, but different scenes and scenarios are added into the cooperative portion of the game which basically makes both the co-op and solo campaigns stand alone features. At any time in a solo campaign, players may invite a friend to come and help without messing up the campaign itself. The co-op is helpful for those who enjoy playing a game with others but it not imperative if a player would rather play alone.
One word that can easily be used to describe the presentation of Dead Space 3 is ambiance. No expense is spared when it comes to sound effects, lighting effects, and general atmosphere of the game, leaving players on the edge of their seat and making the gameplay experience a tense one. Like its predecessors, Dead Space 3 offers up some of the most creepy and horrifying environments of this generation. Going from the vacuum of space, to the inside of a derelict ship, to a snow storm infested ice ball of a planet players can expect to be pleasantly surprised with the overall gameplay and environmental experience. Terrifying enemies still plague the game in a good way, popping out of vents and out from under the snow-covered surface of the planet. The white-out effect is taken to a whole new level as players strain to see what is two feet in front of them while also fighting through the below freezing temperatures and surrounding enemies. The graphical content is as to be expected from a Dead Space game – stunning. Facial animations and environmental textures are very realistic and well done. Certain environments feature outstanding graphical detail down to the wallpaper chipping off the walls and the fabric of a chair stained with dried blood. The dialog and voice acting are also well done, creating more room for believable emotions drawn about through character development and in-game situations. Players will be left with a good yet thoroughly creeped out feeling after playing this game, the action and co-op elements of the game have not taken away from the horror feeling the Dead Space games portray so well.
There are a few minor bugs and glitches in Dead Space 3 such as enemies being stuck inside of walls and buildings not rendering leaving wide open spaces in the environment, but nothing major. These problems do not affect the game at all and at worst can be fixed but reloading the last checkpoint.