Dead Space 3
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9.5
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Huge monsters

Dead Space 3 is labelled as a third-person survival-horror game, just as it's predecessors Dead Space and Dead Space 2. However, from the footage we have seen, it seems like the developer Visceral Games is leaning towards a more action-packed version of the game. Due to this, is it still alright to call this a survival-horror game, rather than a third-person shooter?

History

The original Dead Space took place on a ship, with a lot of narrow rooms and hallways. The main enemy here were Necromorphs, monsters present on the ship. It's sequel, Dead Space 2 takes place three years after the first year, and continued with the same main character. He went to a ship yet again, to fight against a new Necromorph outbreak. The environment of course looked different, but the principle was the same: small rooms, narrow hallways.

Continuation story in Dead Space 3

Now in Dead Space 3, the story will evolve around 2 characters, the main character of the previous parts named Isaac Clarke, and his partner John Carver. However this time Isaac doesn't travel to a ship, but to a frozen planet called Tau Volantis, to put an end to the Necromorph's for good. He now takes his buddy John Carver, who is new to the Necromorph scene. Due to this, Isaac will try to lead him through the alien adventure..

Next to Necromorph's some new enemies will make an appearance, such as humanly Unitologist soldiers, environmental hazards like falling machinery, enormous monsters and new Necromorphs.

Now it might not look like it, but moving from a ship to a planet can have quite a big impact. You now venture a wide world as opposed to small rooms. You will have less of a claustrophobic and clammy feeling, which adds to the horror-factor. You will not be just outside in the snowy ice world though, which would be way to cold, even for our hero Isaac. There is also a abandoned space station, packed with monsters of course. Due to this, you will probably still get that clammy feeling now and then, and perhaps this change will be a very welcome variation to keep things fresh.

The previous games also featured some open areas, but it seems like Dead Space 3 will have a lot more of them. It does result into a nicer view, however it goes at the expense of the horror feeling. It can be great, as long as it won't feature to much of it.

Gameplay, too much Hollywood?

Now one thing you will notice is that the shooting and action overall will feel a lot easier. Many found shooting a bit tricky in the previous parts, so they fine tuned it a lot in this part. Great eh? Well... You will feel a lot more like Max Payne, and care less about approaching monsters then you did in the previous parts. You used to have an eye on your ammo at all times, as it was really scarce (which doesn't seem to be the case in Dead Space 3), and if you were fine on ammo then actually killing the creature was your second problem. Just another small factor which added to the survival-horror element.

With having fine-tuned and easy aiming, having the ability to roll and run, melee'ing, etc. you will have to worry about incoming creatures on the ceiling, behind the door and under the ground, a lot less. It has become more of a roller coaster ride rather than a fight for survival.

Besides Necromorphs there are huge creatures which cross your road. Having a fluent combat system is quite essential in that case. I'll not lie, the creatures do look awesome, but they add more to the fun-factor rather then the I'm going to piss my pants-factor. Well... They do look quite creepy sometimes, but it just evolves around the action in these cases, and not so much about being scared of them.

So yes, the improved combat system is nice, especially to fight enormous monsters, but adding enormous monsters also is going more into the third-person shooter direction, rather than to that of horror.

Co-op

That's right, you can play this bad boy in Co-op. In Co-op you play as Isaac Clarke and John Carver, obviously you can play it with a total of 2 people. If you play co-op, your buddy will be implemented in the story, and also play a role in it. Due to this, playing co-op gives you a (slight) different story. You will stick together in some parts, and in other's you will have to split up to achieve separate objectives.

Isn't it awesome to face all the evil and scary monsters with a buddy? To bad, because your buddy (the one playing John Carver) will go mental. That's right, your co-op mate will go crazy in the storyline. It's not certain how, why or what, but the fact that they have implemented this in the co-op version of the story seems a pretty awesome feature to me. One player will experience the game totally different then the other, which makes it worth to play the game at least twice. In my opinion, having your mate go crazy adds to the horror-vibe, still making you feel a bit alone.

If I would have to name something bad about this co-op system, is that playing with your buddy makes it less scary. It's a fact that things are less scary if you are together. The game does make up for it by making one of you go mad, but it still won't give you the same vibe as playing it alone.

Verdict

Whether this will be a third-person shooter with survival-horror elements, or a survival-horror with third-person shooter elements is to be seen. In my opinion, the second category seems more appealing.

The game does promise to be a hit though, having a richer environment, more (and huge boss-like) enemies, improved and beautiful graphics and new features such as co-op. The only element which might suffer is the survival-horror element.

Whatever this game will turn out to be, I'll play. I'm excited!

 

Snowy planet Tau Volantis