Getting Into Dead Space 3

Feb 11, 2013 Written by:ROG Article

Dead Space 3 from Visceral Games and EA popped up for download on Origin a couple days back, and last night I started playing the third installment in the series, which arrived as a surprisingly good new IP back in 2008. This one, however, is more like Die Hard in Space 3 in nature. It's still a horror game at heart, but the constant explosions, getting thrown around, set pieces, and gunplay place it apart from the earlier entries in the franchise. The emphasis is less on claustrophobic and tense terror, and more on gung-ho action. You got it, Isaac Clarke now has sort of a cover system and uses actual guns. He also fights against human opponents, who also have guns and tend to shoot back. They even throw grenades and there's a nade indicator a la certain first person shooters we all know and love.

So "classic" Dead Space this isn't, but it's still a fun and very well-paced game. Plus, true to his backstory, Isaac now takes on duties more befitting a certified engineer. Whereas before he typically bought stuff at those conveniently located stores (which were able to dispense entire armories even though you were on a derelict spaceship), now there are proper workbenches. You can craft new weapons, modify existing ones, and do a lot of tooling around. Literally, of course.

The story mostly picks up very well from where the second left off, and is much grander in scope. The unitologists and their markers are at it again, and this time they take the necromorph fight much closer to home. As in right next door to Earth. No more fringes of space for Isaac! At least in the beginning.

On a technical note, I'd like to say this is probably not the game you were waiting for to show off your new deluxe build. While definitely the best looking Dead Space game yet, the PC version isn't that far off its exiting-generation console peers (I also played the 360 demo), and the main front end gives very little in the way of settings. Also, according to Fraps the framerate is locked at 30, which is odd for a PC game as even a very mid-range desktop could easily pull this at twice that in 1080p.

But that's a technical thing, and it doesn't detract from Dead Space remaining quite unique and Isaac being one of the more likable protagonists in gaming. As PC gamers could we wish for more? Sure, but here's looking at Dead Space 4.

The prologue features a playable character that isn't Isaac, and showcases some of the truly phenomenal animations and motion capture technology. Voice acting is superb throughout, as well.

Parts of Dead Space 3 do bring Lost Planet to mind, but the resemblance ends there. Mostly!

Very nice artwork and vistas. Graphics are excellent, though I have to say in this case once again PC gamers really don't enjoy much of an advantage, save for higher resolutions.

Necromorphs! Don't worry, they're just as frightful as they've always been. Even on normal Dead Space 3 is a formidable challenge, and it's easy to get swamped in baddies.

Here we go with the first of many high-octane sequences that would make Bruce Willis proud. They don't necessarily echo Dead Space lore, but are very much fun indeed.

We finally get to see more of the world in which the series is set. When we happen upon Isaac, he's living on the moon, which seems to be a cross between Blade Runner LA and Bioshock Rapture. It doesn't seem to be a very pleasant place, rather your usual future dystopia. Which means maybe Isaac fighting to save it can be viewed several ways.

Lighting effects are good, and the major focus on firearms gives us better aiming than in the previous two games. Having said that, while actual guns are now a staple, the plasma cutter is still the first thing Isaac reaches for.

As you can see from these two shots, not much in the way of intricate settings to tinker with.

The holo displays that were so innovative five years ago in the first game are still here, and there's still a lot of nicely written story to discover if you track down all the collectibles.

Armed human foes were merely hinted at in Dead Space 2, but here they are quite prominent, resulting in very different gameplay. Forget tactical dismemberment. Headshots have found their way into Isaac's reality.

Still lots of loot to be found and scavenged. As before, you rely on health packs and ammo drops, plus now the new weapon crafting system calls for components and ingredients, which must be gathered. Thus, stomping on fallen necros is even more important than before.

I'm not sure why the future is so often grungy in sci fi, but Dead Space 3 doesn't do much to buck this trend. The initial stages are set in woefully run down locations that make the Ishimura look practically pristine.

Guess what - elevator rides! 

Impressive acting from most characters, with the visuals to back it. Here we have Isaac (Gunnar Wright) with unitarian honcho Jacob Danik (Simon Templeman).

More of the great design and creative work on display, with a marker in the center of the shot.

One of the workbenches Isaac uses to craft and modify gear, but they only unlock later in the game and I didn't get that far. Speaking of which, I have a feeling Dead Space 3 isn't a short single player campaign - likely 15 hours or so.

Telekinesis and stasis return for the familiar object manipulation and time slowdown puzzles. Expect some frustration, especially since this is a game so focused on pure action.

Dead Space was all about a tight and impactful single player campaign, then Dead Space 2 arrived with multiplayer. Now it's Dead Space 3's turn, and Visceral chose co-op as the key element this time. So let me introduce Isaac's co-op partner John Carver (Richard Chavira), who has a very personal stake in this story.

Obviously get Dead Space 3 if you've played the first two. And even on its own, this is a very competent and enjoyable game, though as is the case with many series, you may not be fully up to speed on the context of it all. Definitely a solid game, though it could have used a tad more optimization for PC.

Have you picked up Dead Space 3 as well? What do you think of it? Let us know in the forums.