E3 2012 Feature

Dead Space 3: it’s not what we wanted, but we still want it


Let me get right into it: enemies in Dead Space 3 will fire guns right back at you, similar to how the “zombies” from Resident Evil 4 and 5. That is not at all what I – and the general survival horror fan – wanted to see in Dead Space 3. What made Isaac Clarke so badass is that he had to fend for himself against a breed of aliens so unfathomable. All we can really compare the necromorphs to are a cross between xenomorphs (from Aliens) and the Thing (from, well, John Carpenter’s “The Thing”).

Let’s back up a bit. I’m a huge Dead Space fan. I’m talking platinum trophies in both Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2. That means that I had to tough out the infamous “Hardcore mode” difficulty setting in Dead Space 2, allowing me to be where I am today in terms of frame of reference. Why did I destroy my soul and complete hardcore mode? Because I love Dead Space. Why do I love Dead Space? Because it’s basically the last bastion of the AAA survival horror genre. No other survival horror game is currently close to achieving the same balance between entertaining gameplay, likeable characters, believable atmosphere, and genuine horror that Dead Space does.

So, when I saw enemies firing aback at Isaac in the private demo given by EA at E3 2012, I got sad.

But here’s what I really need to convey: I’m still super stoked for Dead Space 3. It might be my game of the show; I really can’t pick between that or The Last of Us as my favorite.

Dead Space 3 incorporates fully functional drop-In, drop-out co-op. That sounds fantastic, because it is. Being the “graphical Ferrari” that is Dead Space, it’s extremely impressive to see that co-op is not only fully supported, but so awesomely implemented, that, if given the chance, I’d drop playing Diablo 3 with my buddies, to play Dead Space 3 with a friend instead. The problem is that Dead Space 3 isn’t out yet, and, like, that sucks. I’ll most probably still play through it alone the first time through, though.

Playing co-op in Dead Space isn’t only about playing with a friend. Do you love absorbing stories, atmosphere, and realism while you game? Yeah? Well in its third iteration, Dead Space hits all those notes, and goes one step further.

Dead Space 3 features completely different dialogue when you’re playing alone, versus to when you’re playing with someone else. In the private demo we were shown, EA had played through the same segment of the game twice, just to show us how truly different things can be.

First off, the story of Isaac and Carver goes to a new level when you’re playing in co-op. In single player, you’ll enter an area and Isaac will either be communicating with Carver at distance or, if you’re playing co-op, be speaking completely different lines of dialogue right beside him. This really helps flesh out the story of both characters. And interestingly enough, from what I saw, they’re actually pretty different people with very different views (i.e. they argue with each other).

On the flip side, you’ll feel more isolated, more helpless when you play Dead Space 3 alone. But you’ll have a blast playing co-op as well, and that’s because you’ll not only have completely different cut-scenes, but you’ll also be taking on huge enemies with a partner. Oh, and by the way, when I say “huge,” I mean enemies of scale completely unseen before in the Dead Space franchise.

I’m not completely sold that it’ll be better than the last two games, however, simply because as I initially mentioned, it saddens me that Dead Space 3 sees Isaac hunkering down behind cover and partaking in a two-way firefight. But, I still have faith; just about everything else seems scary as hell in the game.

Dead Space 3 easily looks like the most fun game Visceral has ever created – I’m just afraid that it might not be the scariest. But don’t worry; I’m sure it’ll be great. I’m only so stressed out about this because of how much I love Dead Space. I have nothing but complete faith that the team over at Visceral Games will deliver an experience that we’ll be talking about for years to come.

Dead Space 3 will be released in February, 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.