Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zombie Action-Galaxy 3

Game: Dead Space 3

Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Release: January 2013
Issac Clark and company are back for another space zombie adventure. Unfortunately fans of the first two games may be disappointed with the latest installment. The franchise has shifted heavily towards the action genre. Gone are the horror soaked atmospheres and schizophrenic hallucinations of old. Instead players are given shootouts, explosions, and the worst story of the series.

Dead Space 3 is not a bad game. The mechanics are solid. The new weapon building system is intriguing, and co-op is always fun in my book. Sound and graphics are top notch. Yet looking past all the polish fans will notice something is missing. The core that defined this franchise has been replaced with something foreign.

Starting with the story. The Dead Space universe consists of two major organizations Earth Gov and the crazed religious cult Unitologists. In the latest game the Unitologists have taken over releasing Markers (the items that creates the Necromorphs aka space zombies) all across the galaxy. Earth Gov is pretty much non-existent, and Markers are now more common then 7-Eleven's.

Unlike the last few games there is no mystery. No back and forth between government officials and cult members. The story moves from one explosion to the next while pushing a terrible love triangle peppered with a dash of bromance.

Ellie makes a return, and Issac's dead wife seems to be finally gone. Ellie and Issac have a romantic past, but she is currently seeing a solider named Norton. Of course Norton and Issac are butt hurt that Ellie has slept with more then one dude. The whole situation is like a bad soap opera.

The other characters are only around to spit out tech jargon, and provide Issac with additional tasks. Laughter spewed forth whenever one of them inevitably died because Issac acted like he cared so deeply for each of them. With the exception of Ellie, Issac just meet the entire cast. Hard to believe he'd be all choked up after all the shit he's been through. The bad acting doesn't help either. I felt like I was watching the South Park episode "Lice Capades".

Carver (another solider who is the second playable character in co-op) is probably my favorite , but even he has the most random lines. Towards the end of the game he asks Issac, "Does this make up for all the bad that I've done?" Uh, I guess? Who cares. There's more space zombies to shoot.

The co-op is actually really fun, but again it doesn't feel like Dead Space. Going around with your buddy makes you feel less vulnerable. You go from Ripley to a pair of Rambo's. Your inventory is saved/used for all modes i.e. it's the same no matter who's game your in. This makes it easy to collect a lot of supplies, which also hinders the whole survival horror aspect.

Additionally, the third game lacks any real mental struggles. The random schizophrenic hallucinations seen in the other tittles helped with the pacing and kept things interesting. Issac was going bat shit crazy in the past, but this time around he seems like a depressed loser. A glorified Mr. Fix-it who's out to save the universe because his ex-girlfriend asked him to.

If you can get past the terrible story, and don't care for the franchises survival horror aspect, then Dead Space 3 maybe right for you. Crafting weapons is pretty rad. One of my favorites is the rivet sub-machine gun connected to a device that hovers spinning buzz saws in front of you. The action segments are not as memorable as the other games, but they are fun. Co-op is also a neat addition to the franchise. All in all Dead Space 3 has a lot to offer despite its short comings, and continues to be one of my favorite series from Electronic Arts.

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