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  1. #1
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    Dead Space Review - Xbox 360 by INTY



    With Dead Space being released a week from now, I’ve decided to do a back-to-back review of both the previous main titles in this Third-Person Shooter Action/Horror series. This series is one I particularly love, so had decided to replay both 1 and 2 so they were fresh in my memory for the third game. This shall be particularly relevant as it allows them to be fresh in my memory for these reviews and has given me a few different views on the series. Obviously, we’ll start off with Dead Space 1. Take into account I’ve only played these titles on the Xbox 360 console, and particularly in the gameplay department certain elements may be slightly different.

    Writing, themes and aesthetic.

    Dead Space 1 is set in the 26th century, far into the future at a time where mankind has become desperate for resources, so has taken to the stars with ‘Planet-Cracker’ vessels to search for vast amounts of resources. When one such ship, the U.S.G Ishimura has had a ship wide black-out, a repair-team is sent to investigate. Main character, C.E.C Engineer Isaac Clarke is aboard the reparation mission, fueled by a worrying message sent to him by his girlfriend, Nicole, who is aboard the Ishimura. Upon arrival, it becomes apparent that a horrific and dangerous alien life-form has compromised the ship, leaving Isaac and the repair team in a desperate struggle to escape the ship with their lives.

    Dead Spaces plot is overall a very basic one, how ever its narration is executed well and is boosted by the games brilliantly unnerving atmosphere, giving what is overall consistently tense and relevant context for the game-play. The characters you interact vaguely with are interesting enough, how ever you won't find anyone particularly memorable in Dead Space 1. There's nothing wrong with them, but they have the issue of being characters that are just reacting to what's going on around them, usually a case in media with an atmosphere like this. As for Isaac Clarke, he's a non-speaking character, which doesn't particularly work in a third-person shooter and especially not Dead Space. The general use behind a non-speaking character is so that the player can define for themselves what the character makes of everything going on around them, how ever this is problematic when you can visually see the character. When one of the games scripted events happens, and Isaac doesn't respond in any manner, you can't really make much of an accurate image of how he's reacting in your head other than either “…” or “derp”.

    As for the games themes, Dead Space is ultimately an action game that is very boosted by its more malevolent, intimidating atmosphere. The game does sell itself on being a horror title and there is great debate on whether Dead Space is a horror game or not. In the horror Department Dead Space is truly only a horror game for the first few hours, when the threat of the Necromorphs, the alien life-form, is new to us and their tactics are still unpredictable and mysterious. Past that the developers didn't do much to keep the Necromorph's a truly horrifying presence later on in the levels, so the horror does die down quickly. What it does leave you with though is a consistently unnerving atmosphere that is executed brilliantly by the threat of a Necromorph ambush at any moment, the unsettling aesthetic of the Ishimura's interior that is consistently coated in grizzly scenes of killings, biological matter and generally disturbing things, as well as a brilliantly executed ambiance, featuring eerie yet low wailing in the distance, the occasional, low clattering of metal dropping to the floor or either simply pure silence to leave you in suspense of when you're next going to have to fight for your life. Overall Dead Space has a decent plot and gives you a consistently well executed, menacing atmosphere to proceed through. Though there aren't any memorable characters, you'll certainly remember key times where the Necromorphs have made their move on you.

    As for how the game looks, the game has a nice amount of detail in its models. Everything looks well designed and distinctive at base, though the game does have a rather flat, arid look to it. Likely a choice from the developers but ultimately it's not great to look at. Textures in particular can be an issue, looking blurred and ugly on the more singular shapes in the game. Another issue the game has is many of the areas look very similar, and you'll mainly find yourself in a 'Dimly lit, tight, metal corridor with a few spatters of blood here and there'.


    The average image you’ll see through out playing this game.

    On the up-side, the sound design in this game is brilliant. I already noted the ambiance earlier, and as well as that, voice-acting is very good, the occasional piece of music is, while not offering any tracks that will make it to your playlist, well used within the game moments-particularly when a Necromoph has taken you by surprise-and yes, the noises the Necromorphs make are all very distinguishing, alerting and nicely horrible. Ultimately the game looks ok but will occasionally prove to distract. The scenery is also rather repetitive. Thankfully, it sounds fantastic.

    Gameplay

    The main character, Isaac Clarke, starts out as someone who isn't too well designed for surviving off against an unknown and extremely hostile alien species. You start out the game needing to take the series signature weapon, the Plasma Cutter, from a corpse after all, and from there must rummage around the game weaving through crates, lockers, hidden areas and your enemies corpses for ammo and Medical Packs (your source of health in this game) and currency for the Store. From the store you can buy weapons, ammo for your weapons and upgraded versions of your R.I.G (your suit/armor) by finding Schematics for them through out the game-encouraging you to look around very carefully. Immediately available to you is the Small Med Pack (the other 2 must be unlocked with Schematics) and Power Nodes. Power Nodes simply put are your best friend, which can be found in the Store or through looking around the levels, and are used to unlock a few doors with potential goodies in them-or more importantly to upgrade your arsenals capabilities at a Work Bench in a considerable variety of ways.


    Upgrading your equipment at a Work Bench.

    Speaking of which, we'll discuss Isaac's capabilities. Isaac controls fairly well and moves at a healthy speed. He responds quickly and accurately, and there is little room for him to ever do something that you didn't want him to. One thing to mention is he does not have a direct ability to quick-turn, though this is likely a decision made by the Developers. Isaac also has a few special abilities along-side his varied arsenal of guns: Stasis, which allows you to actually slow enemies down for a limited amount of time, as well as Telekinesis which allows you to pick up objects and throw them at the Necromophs. Though you can't use this on a living Necromorph, you can pick up its body parts and throw them at enemies if you're a sadist, though it would be to little effect.

    As for Isaac's guns, he has a very varied array of them that generally all hold-up well for independent usage for situations and specific enemies, and all also have a secondary mode of fire, adding even more capabilities to him for combat. You may only have 4 out at a time, which means you will have to decide which guns you think you'll need through out the game, how ever this should always be suitable. You may also store guns in the Safe, which can be accessed in the Store in case there are a few more guns you think you'd like for rarer situations. The guns in this don't rely on cross-hairs, they rely on angled laser-sights, which will clearly show you what you're aiming at by the end of the laser emitting a larger, brighter circle over your target. As for gun-play itself, the guns in this game both look and sound great, all firing with a great, impacting blast or whir and meaty firing animations, allowing for some satisfying kills with a lot of affirmation of a received shot. The skill in this game how ever, doesn't come from the guns. The guns don't require any recoil management and are very easy to aim with. The skill in this game comes from dealing with the enemies: the Necromorphs.

    It’s a good choice that the guns are easy to aim in this game in all seriousness, as the Necromorphs feature an infamous mechanic: Necromorphs take little to no damage from body or head-shots, so it's very much required that you aim for their limbs, and when a Necromorph's running at you, their limbs can move around rather frantically, so it will take a decent amount of studying your enemies before you're able to kill them with absolute ease, and then there's the actual variety behind the Necromophs. There's a very nice number behind the Necromoph ranks that for the most part, all add different elements to combat. From the simple Slasher, who runs towards you for a melee strike, to the Guardian, who mounts itself on Walls, keeping you at bay with it's instant-killing tendrils that fire out Biological "Turret's" around it. Levels are also well designed to allow the ranks of enemies that appear in them, to a good opportunity to be able to do something horrible to you. Each enemy works in a different way, and is designed so that different weapons have the upper hand on it, meaning you will have to decide which ones you use depending on which guns you prefer, which enemies you react best to, which guns you react best to, and for which enemies you're all right being most vulnerable to. Overall combat is very varied and fleshed out by both your capabilities and the Necromorphs capabilities, requiring both thought and skill, and is made very visceral and impacting by the very satisfying gun-play.

    Alongside the well-designed combat are two interesting events that can happen through-out the game, the Zero Gravity sequences, in which Isaac must aim at a wall he wishes to jump to move on, usually while fixing something, or the Oxygen Malfunction sequence, in which you must quickly escape the area, or fix the malfunction. Both of these sequences are usually having you up against Necromorphs, too. These sequences are also usually used while you're trying to repair a part of the ship, something you'll find yourself doing a lot of. This can become repetitive context for the game, especially when these sequences tend to be filled with environmental instant kills and instant killing Quick-Time Events, which do serve to under-mine the brilliant combat, considering you can take a few hits from enemies, whereas something in the environment which isn't too easy to avoid, can kill you instantly. As well as this, there are some rather agitating sequences where, for example, a character is speaking to you, and you can't advance through the next section until they're done. Now this would be acceptable for a first play-through, how ever Dead Space encourages you to do multiple play-through of the game with it’s ‘New Game+’ feature, which allows you to take Isaac Clarke, as you had him upgraded into your previous play-through, into another, in case you wanted to fully upgrade him in every possible way. While there's a lot of incentive for going through with a New Game+, these sequences are annoying to sit through, as well.

    The absolute strength to this title is with its well designed game-play. You're in for a very well-designed experience here, encouraging you to explore areas thoroughly for a plethora of varied and useful items and supplies to help you survive against the well thought out forces of your enemy, who will take advantage of any moment to use their benefits against yours. You'll get the occasional time where you become annoyed due to an environmental instant kill-but overall you’ll enjoy playing this a lot. The action is thoroughly satisfying and rewarding, and rummaging around for supplies and items is as well.



    Dead Space as a game, is very, very well made, showing an obvious amount of well thought out design depth that was brilliantly executed, offering a very varied experience that won't over-stay its welcome, in an action survival experience with visceral combat where you need to think carefully and look around for items. Everything else, is passable. You'll occasionally find something that's distracting and/or annoying, but it won't take away from how much enjoyment this title offers you from the game-play department.

    Stay tuned for the Dead Space 2 Review.

    -INTY
    Last edited by Vault Hunter; 04-10-2013 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Dan should think about continuing to do more reviews after Dead Space 2 if they continue being like this.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your support Arek ^^, and I assure you, I'll definitely be continuing to write more reviews for games-but, I won't be doing it as an obligatory thing, only when I find a game with enough qualities that makes it worth reviewing

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTY View Post
    Thank you for your support Arek ^^, and I assure you, I'll definitely be continuing to write more reviews for games-but, I won't be doing it as an obligatory thing, only when I find a game with enough qualities that makes it worth reviewing
    Well yeah, I mean if you reviewed every game you played reviewing would seem more like a chore than something else. ^^ But yeah, enjoyed reading!

  5. #5
    Prosecuting with style Vyse the Legend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTY View Post
    but, I won't be doing it as an obligatory thing, only when I find a game with enough qualities that makes it worth reviewing
    Just to touch on this part Inty, nearly all of the reviews we have got are for games that people really enjoy, very rarely will people write reviews for something they find to be extremely poor. So I'd hope perhaps one day you might be able to take up that frustration you have for said game/DLC in the future, and put it into words for us.

    Sure it would be just as enjoyable a review as this, all be it, perhaps with more words ending in ***

  6. #6
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    Oh Vyse, when I said worth reviewing, that definitely includes games that are utter crap =P. Games that I'd consider to not be worth reviewing are games that generally just don't have a lot within them, you know, 'nothing bad but nothing good', as there's not a lot to talk about there. With a terrible game I'll talk about that for certain, as I'd have plenty to say about that, in fact I'm really hoping Dead Space 3 isn't one of them.
    After all I viewed the Cold Stream review for Left 4 Dead to be rather poor and that was my first review =P. Trust me, I'm pretty certain you'll see a game review from me on a game that's crap. You know I hated Resident Evil 6, and the only reason I couldn't review that one was because of the way the story was represented. That's a situation where I just 'personally' don't like that sort of story reputation, it isn't structurally poor, so, I can't really give a solid view on it

  7. #7
    Shadow Hide You Vault Hunter's Avatar
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    Great review Dan. Very much looking forward to your upcoming Dead Space 2 review as well

    Also, I know this is only a little thing, but I really the graphic for the 'Verdict' you've used. Did you make that yourself?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vault Hunter View Post
    Great review Dan. Very much looking forward to your upcoming Dead Space 2 review as well

    Also, I know this is only a little thing, but I really the graphic for the 'Verdict' you've used. Did you make that yourself?
    Well, I wanted an image with Isaac Clarke on it for the verdict image, and saw one with a really odd Square over it. Didn't see a purpose to it, but thought I could just put the 'Verdict' text over it =), like how it looks so plan on keeping that theme running for my verdict images. The gradients are done in Power-Point, and the text is rendered from 'dafont.com', pretty useful website, you type in what you want in an available font and it makes it for you, so I went with the Dead Space cover art font

  9. #9
    This is best game. I like this game. Dead Your Enemy.

  10. #10
    all games are very gud after see that i will try to play these games

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