Three times the terror?
One of 2013’s most anticipated titles is Dead Space 3 and during our time with EA at this year’s Gamescom, we were lucky enough to get hands-on with Visceral Games’s next addtion to the spooky series.
After the reveal of Dead Space 3 at this year’s E3 in June, many hardcore fans of the series were worried that the game had lost some of its tension and atmosphere that the Dead Space series in renowned for after it was revealed that Dead Space 3 would feature, for the first time in the series, co-op. I’ll be honest and say that I was one of those that was worried about the inclusion of a mode that looked like it was taking the series in a different direction. However, after sitting down and playing a brief demo of the game I can honestly say my worries have faded now, and I’ll explain why.
Dead Space 3’s story sees Isaac Clarke and co-op newcomer Sergeant John Carver traveling across the frozen planet of Tau Volantis as they attempt to stop the Necromorph. For the first time, the entire campaign side of the game will feature a ‘drop in, dropout’ style online co-op mode, giving you the ability to not only play through the game on your own, but with an online partner too. Dead Space 3 is more of the same edgy, tense and atmospheric action mixed with an epic, off the scale masterpiece that not only plays better, but looks better as well. Visceral Games are renowned for their attention to detail, with the previous title in the series (Dead Space 2) still one of the best looking titles currently available on this generation of consoles. With that in mind, it’s clear that Visceral wanted to improve the series in the looks department even further, as the Dead Space 3 looks breathtakingly beautiful, featuring some of the richest detail crafted this generation. The attention to detail is incredible, with the Lost Flotilla ship, both on outside and inside, looking absolutely amazing.
The level that I played through at Gamescom was the full version of the one that was revealed in Los Angeles in June. For the majority of the demo I was aboard the Lost Flotilla, a 200 year old ship, and experienced familiar elements from Dead Space 2. This included the ability to open doors with telekinesis to taking on new enemies that were suspended from the ceiling with some sort of web-like material. There were times when I’d enter a room unaware that they were even there and, in true Dead Space fashion, they would drop right in front me, caring the living daylights out of me in the process thanks to the stunning audio.. Before I jumped on board the Lost Flotilla, I experienced a new section of the demo, which tasked Isaac with escorting a module from Udora to the ship through space. I had to float, swerve and duck through parts of a destroyed ship whilst using weapons to shoot out mines that were scattered everywhere before descending on the Lost Flotilla. This section of the demo was crafted quite brilliantly, with a high-end cinematic feel that only added to the experience in a positive. Like I stated before briefly, the art direction in Dead Space 3 is like no other title out there. The series has always had it in some capacity, but this third installment to really pushes it to the next level in so many ways.
One of the new elements introduced in Dead Space 3 is the weapon crafting system. As Isaac is an engineer by trade, having a weapon crafting system makes total sense, and with the ability to change both a top and bottom tool attachment, the possibilities are immense. A representative from EA told us that there are literally thousands of combinations made available to the player throughout the Dead Space 3 campaign by finding different parts and linking them together using the crafting system. The ability to change and personalise your weapons is a great feature as long as it’s balanced and, fingers crossed, that’s exactly what it will be when the game is finally released. Another new feature that has been included in Dead Space 3 is the ability to dodge and use a cover system to avoid attacks. Whilst I can understand why this has been implemented, I’m still not 100% convinced by it. For the most part, it felt like it was pulling me away from the tension and fear that the series is renowned for. It remains to be seen if this new addition ends up being a good one, but at present I’m still unsure whether if it was the right way to go.
Audio in the series has always been a big factor, playing a massive part in creating the atmosphere and tension the Dead Space titles are know for. It’s great news then that nothing has changed in the audio department at all. Long periods of silence followed by a few spooky creaks and other unnerving sounds, it’s what makes previous titles so great and it’s the same case here with Dead Space 3.
After sitting down and giving Dead Space 3 a run for its money, I can honestly say that it really did live up to expectations after a worrying last few months. The fact that it seemed the series was moving in a different direction after the co-op announcement was a sign of panic from myself and so many fans of the series. A few little niggles aside, Dead Space 3 has the potential to be the best addition to the series yet.