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Dead Space - Dead Space

By Stuart Andrews


  • Recommended by TR
Dead Space


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The creatures, meanwhile, are really nasty. Again, there's nothing here you haven't seen before from iD, Valve or Capcom - and at times Dead Space comes frighteningly close to homage - yet these guys gave me the heebie jeebies like I haven't had for ages. EA's one major tweak is to make the vulnerable spots not the usual places, like the head or neck, but the limbs. The fiends advance on your like hell-spawned variants on Mr Tickle, their evil, razor-clawed limbs stretching towards you. Some move fast. Some fling themselves at you. There are little ones that swarm you, medium sized ones that fire projectiles at you from their tentacles, and some genuinely terrifying gits that can't be killed.

Using a range of cutting and slicing projectile weapons, your engineer hero has to - literally - tear these ugly muthas apart limb by limb. For once we're out of the familiar realms of pistol, assault rifle, shotgun, rocket launcher and into a scary new world of plasma cutters, line launchers and rippers. Each has an ingenious secondary fire mode, giving you one of the more satisfying arsenals I've come across in ages.

There's more praise coming: the storytelling and pacing are just excellent, each chapter giving you a series of tasks to do that take you up against new threats and into interesting new territories, and each culminating in a satisfying climax, whether it's a kind of boss battle, a new plot twist or a cool set-piece. Gameplay ideas are rifled from Half-Life 2 (the Gravity Gun), F.E.A.R. (a slow-mo device, though more used in puzzles than combat) and Prey (lots of monkeying around with gravity), but they're all used with a real panache and there are few stretches of the game that could be described as dull or monotonous.

And like the Half-Life saga and Bioshock, Dead Space knows the value of a strong but basically anonymous hero. Isaac Clarke (spot the nods to sci-fi history) doesn't say much, but he makes a great point of identification for the player. Sure, there are moments where you can't help thinking of Doom 3 - Dead Space pulls a lot of the same sudden shock and ambush tricks - but Dead Space is a more consistently thrilling and frightening game. True, it's not as long or as varied as Resident Evil 4. Still, much as I love Capcom's bizarre plotlines and eccentric melodrama, Dead Space feels a little more coherent and believable.

EA has also worked in a lot of mechanics that make Dead Space a more streamlined, absorbing and accessible game to boot. One of the game's cleverest conceits is that Clarke's suit projects a HUD onto the environment, and the game uses this to control all switches, options, information and inventory management without ever dragging you out of the game. Lost? Unsure where to go or what to do? Just click the right thumbstick down and a blue line appears momentarily on the environment, showing you the route to your next objective without patronising you in the way that Perfect Dark Zero's infamous markers were so prone to.

Plus I can barely remember a survival horror game where automatic checkpoints and manual save points are so regularly and sensible placed. You will inevitably die and reload in a game like this, particularly once the ammo and health starts getting scarce in later stages, but will you find yourself repeating long sections over and over until you feel like giving up? Thankfully not.

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October 21, 2008, 8:59 am

nice...informed interview. Its nice to see that the reviewer actually played and understood the game.Best thing to come a long in a while(the game...)for me game wise.

very polished and fun...and VERY VERY creepy...A virtual gory bloodbath of insanity !!!


October 21, 2008, 3:02 pm

Great review, you guys do some of the best game reviews on the net... You really should launch a dedicated gaming site :)


October 21, 2008, 4:47 pm

Interesting, this came in completely under my radar so id never heard about it before, sounds worth a shot! Thanks!


October 21, 2008, 8:29 pm

I was afraid that this might suck balls, but I'm really glad it dosn't.

It's always hard to find a genuinly scary game, so I'm glad to see one that might actually deliver!


October 26, 2008, 7:46 pm

It is great to see that EA is alive again, Dead Space is a fantastic game. The last time I felt so tense playing a game like that was when I played Alien Trilogy (for the PS1). Definitely recommended to those of you looking for a good thrill/chill!!

Matthew Bunton

November 10, 2008, 12:49 pm

Ordered this yesterday so fingers crossed it'll be as good as you guys say.

Jack Chalmers

November 10, 2008, 8:18 pm

I just completed this Game and its fantastic, graphics, story, gameplay all superb.

I love my horror films but rarely is there a horror film that actually gives me a genuine scare. This game however delivers all the scares and thrills you will need for the next few years. You may have a few nightmare but they are all worth it...

It's a game that’s filled with memorable moments... the kind of moments you will replay with your friends so you can watch them jump out there skins.

Sound and graphics is one of Dead Space’s top qualities. Exploring the Space ship you have been stranded on is a pleasure to the ears and eyes. There is pipes clanking, horrifying screams, bangs, tension building music and lets not forget the horror and detail of what your looking at. From start to finish you will experience this throughout the game… the tension, suspense and horror never lets up. Dead Space never ever pauses in the sound and visual departments and this is what grabs you... buy it, get the lights off, get the sound up and prepare for a scare you will never forget.

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