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Dead Space Review

I’ve played FreeSpace, it made me dizzy. I’ve watched Lost in Space, it was horrible. Then there is Dead Space, and it blew me away. The survival horror genre has a new baby and it promises to deliver what no horror game has given us to date. Will it or will it NOT disappoint?

All communications has been lost between the earth colonies and the mining starship Ishimura. You are Isaac Clarke, whose girlfriend happens to work on the Ishimura. You are sent to repair communications on the Ishimura. You find more than you ever expected. A simple repair becomes a slow, painful fight for survival.

Graphically, Dead Space is a masterpiece. On a 9600GT standard monitor it looked good. On a 3850 with a High Definition widescreen, it made my eyeballs pop out of their sockets but it still ran smooth. The visual art style resembles Doom from Id software; dark corridors, doors with power locks covered in blood, air vents crawling with mumu. The visual effects however, are leagues away from Doom’s; Dynamic lighting, high detail shadows, bump mapping, particle effects and a whole lot of eye candies make the game more in depth. The art style not only sets the mood, it dictates the mood.

I don’t presuppose what a mining spaceship would sound like but in terms of creating the overall feel of the game, Dead Space delivers bone chilling background music and hair raising sound effects. The clamour produced by objects hitting the ground as you turn on the artificial gravity is deafening in close quarters. The roar of air as it passes from one room to another to repressurize a vacuum room singes the ears. The sound of an exhaust vent being opened by a mumu from the other side is wholy frightening.

The game is played from a third person over the shoulder view. You are guided from task to task by your other surviving compadres while you wade your way through monsters and bosses with varying degrees of difficulty. You need to traverse airless areas, blood drenched floors and zero gravity rooms, all make your task extra difficult. Your tasks range from repairing communications, finding missing computer cards and something as weird as finding a corpse and inspecting it for items.

It can get quite annoying getting ordered around like that but all the ordering serves a purpose especially since each task reveals snippets of the story. Sobrang kainis lang.

Kendra: “Find the central computer card and repair the tram.”

Me: “Ahh potek ikaw nga mag ayos ng computer na yan, kanina pa ako kinakagat ng aswang kala mo gaano kadali, biyayatch.”

Gameplay gets complicated by areas without oxygen as well. You have to move fast through an area with very limited supply of oxygen. To add to the complication, zero gravity not only gets confusing, it also disorients. After taking a break for a short while when I come back I dont know which way is up.

What’s next? More complications. You are a mere engineer in the story, so you know absolutely nothing about combat. Your melee attacks are so slow and so hardswinging, attach an axe to your suit and you can cut trees for a living. Oh the weapons, my god the weapons, they are mostly just mining tools. Only a few of them were designed to kill. They were designed to cut rock, dig holes and push boulders. You can upgrade your weapons but upgrades are very limited.

One complaint is the controls. It takes a long long while before you get used to it. To see behind you, you have to use the mouse and then use the keyboard to turn that way. This is different from other third person over the shoulder controls. Plus, controls are fidgety. I think the control system got consoleitis (sakit ng mga PC games na may verson sa Xbox o PS3 na na dumb down to fit the consoles).

Dead Space doesn’t have much of replay value aside from playing the game again with all the items you’ve unlocked and upgraded in the previous game.

Overall, Dead Space is a unique survival horror experience and a welcome addition to the genre. The story is quite compelling and you’d be willing to wade through all the tasks just to find out what happens.

Pinoy Gaming Rate
[starreview tpl=16]

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