Dead Space

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Written by DM on Monday, November 10 2008

Today, we will be taking a look at Dead Space, in our second Postview5 here on GR. Many were about to pass over this game, due to the fact that it sounded like just another survival horror title. Well, it seems the game may end up being the sleeper hit of the Holiday Season. Let’s find out why.

Dead Space has been likened to Resident Evil 4, but set in space. This is a decent description of the game for a few reasons. The gameplay and mechanics of the game are strikingly similar to the Gamecube hit. As with any svhorror title, the game begins with a mystery that has to be investigated. Of course, as soon as you arrive, things start to go terribly wrong. Your transport ship is attacked, and the vessel you have come to investigate is not responding. Of course. As with any third person view game, Dead Space uses the traditional interface. You use your weapons to dispatch the monsters that come at you, while having to manage your inventory at the same time. Ammo, health, and power-up items all have to be closely watched, although on the easy setting the game is a bit forgiving. Any veteran of the survival horror genre will have an easy time picking this game up and playing.

When you begin, any of you who have seen the movie Event Horizon will start to get an eerie feeling. You are dispatched on a rescue vehicle to investigate a “planet cracker” that has gone missing. Planet crackers are the way that humans harvest resources in the future. Huge ships actually crack open big asteroids or small planetoids, in order to get to the juicy center inside (mine the metals). The ships mine, refine, and package the resources the “cracked” rock contains. Well, of course, things start to go wrong before you even dock. Your ship crashes into the docking bay, and your first priority becomes fixing your ship. As you get into the ship, you become separated and watch disgusting creatures attack your friends. The game goes on from there, I won’t spoil. It is a pretty “classic” horror storyline, and one of the game’s few let-downs. The storyline won’t hold many surprises for anyone who has played more than the odd video game. The developers do make up for it though with other unique additions (like having the player’s HP gauge on the back of the actual character model, and having the game’s inventory screen display in front of the actual character, as if he was looking at it as well).

One of the things you will likely hear about in Dead Space is the graphics. They are above average to begin with, but remember, the game is set in outer space. This means that some segments have no gravity, some segments are set in hard vacuum, and some segments have fire burning in zero gravity. If you have never seen fire in zero gravity, it may just look like what it looks like in Dead Space. The dev team really got things right in the graphics department. There was no clipping, and virtually no FPS slowdown to speak of, either.

As many of you may know, sound is almost the most important part of a survival horror title. There is no question in my mind that the king example of this is the Silent Hill series. The range of horrendously disturbing noises that the audio engineers mix from simple industrial clanks, clunks, sirens, and klaxons in the Silent Hill franchise is stunning. While Dead Space is not the same kind of “scary” Silent Hill is (SH is disturbing scary, Dead Space is jumpy scary), the sound plays just as important part and is done just about as well. It is one of the few places that you will actually experience no sound when you are in a hard vacuum. There is no sound if there is no air, folks. Beyond that fact, the effects the audio engineers have mixed for equipment, weapons, and items that do not exist yet, really gives the game a sense of realism. The game soundtrack is fully orchestrated, and music plays at just the right times. Another area of the game done right.

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Dead Space

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