Dead Space review.

November 9, 2008

If I say Resident Evil 4 you would probably start reminiscing on running through a village knee capping Spaniards before kicking them in the face, taking shelter from the masked chainsaw man in a house. But were you scared, horrified, or even a little wet in your drawers? No you weren’t, because Resident Evil 4 was not scary.

Resi 4 single handily became one of the best video games ever whilst pushing the horror genre into action territory, scares became an after thought and Silent Hill disappeared off the map with games like The Suffering and Alone in the Dark jumped on the action bandwagon. It’s taken EA to  wrench the genre back into the realms of the terrifying because let’s face it, Silent Hill Homecoming isn’t that great.

Playing as Isaac Clark, a love sick engineer, your crew answers a distress call from the planet cracker ‘Ishimura’ and after a rough landing, two of your crew mates impaled, and you isolated your team comes to the shocking conclusion that something isn’t right.

Dead Space’s real triumph is its atmosphere, a perfect combination of visual, audio, and lighting. Whilst the combat is as fast as Resi 4 the designers managed to feel restraint, lights will go out and come back on without an enemy in sight, audio logs unsettle you and the sounds coming from every mechanism in the ship as lights play on shadows give the Ishimura the believability lacking from many game locations.

But when it comes to combat Dead Space gives you a small selection of well designed guns and abilities, you will be blasting tendrils off enemies to stop their advance, slowing them down, clobbering them with your gun and giganto boots while throwing explosive barrels at them, Isaac is a combination of Leon Kennedy, Gordon Freeman, and a drunk student who has downed one too many snakebites.

And that’s Dead Space, a ten hour effort to escape a doomed ship that takes plenty of cues from horror movies and games alike. Weapon upgrades and brutal difficulty levels mean there is enough meat for dedicated gamers to chew over but more importantly than that, the proper horror game is back! And if you’ll excuse me I just need to change my underwear.


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