Dead Space 3 is a horror third-person shooter developed by Visceral Games. It was published by EA and released in February 2013 worldwide on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. It is the third main entry in the Dead Space trilogy.
The story starts off 200 years in the past showing what happened on the planet Tau Volantis when they discovered the Marker and were having a run in with the Necromorphs. It then skips back forward to the present time (year 2500 something) where Isaack Clarke is living alone in an apartment after Ellie Langford breaks up with him because of his emotional disturbance from the previous game. Isaac is then recruited to join the EarthGov to search for Ellie and her missing team. Isaac then finds out that the Unitologist religion has soldiers after them. After escaping the planet, Isaac and the EarthGov soldiers head to Tau Volantis where Ellie’s last transmission was sent from. The rest of the game is about Isaac’s struggle to yet again stop the Necromorph threat by shutting down a Marker just like the previous two games. This time they think it is the source of all Markers and that it will end the threat forever.
The Dead Space trilogy is good about giving you the same story structure repeatedly but making you still care about it. Even though we thought all was saved during each of the previous two games, somehow the Necromorph threat is back. Somehow another Marker is found. Isaac Clarke has got to be the most unlucky person to have ever been born in the Dead Space universe. But like I said, Visceral Games did another excellent job. They introduced characters that you grow to care about. They leave huge mysteries for you to slowly piece together what is actually going on throughout the entire game. And they establish a great back story and world for the games to be placed in. There is an entire religion made up for these games. A war is starting between the government and this religious group that is extremely interesting to learn about.
The most alluring part of the Dead Space trilogy in general is the excellent use of horror. Few games today are able to truly pull off the scare tactics that horror games of old could. The Dead Space trilogy is one of those. Dead Space 3 is not as scary as the original Dead Space was, but that does not mean I wasn’t about to scream like a little girl during several moments. Visceral Games knows how to insert horrific screams, sounds, and ambient music to keep you on edge. One instance would be where you are walking down an empty dark hallway with flickering lights and creepy low music playing in the background. All of a sudden you hear the shriek of a girl being attacked, but nothing ever comes out to fight you. This of course comes after several instances when you are in very similar hallways full of the creepy Necromorphs that swarm towards you thirsting for your blood. They perfected the art of knowing when you will be on edge and when the right moment is to just scare the living crap out of you with environmental effects.
Dead Space 3 is a very pretty game. The character designs are lack luster for the most part when it comes to humans, but the Necromorphs are about as beautiful as a disgusting monster can be. There are tons of new monster designs introduced in Dead Space 3, as well as several recycled designs from previous entries in the series. All in all, there are some freaking creepy and insane monsters to fight in this game. The environment will mostly be dark and dingy close quarters, so it won’t be very appealing to the eye. But that does not stop Visceral Games from adding in all kinds of little details everywhere. Each room is entirely different from every other room you entered so far. There are a few moments where the environment is absolutely beautiful, but most of these are when you are outside looking into the distance.
Dead Space is very much a third person shooter. Everything you would expect to be in a third person shooter is in this game, just like the rest of the series. However Dead Space 3 does make some changes from its predecessors. Now players have the option of playing co-op with a friend or random person over the internet. This does not change the game a whole lot other than giving you somebody to watch your back, which in my opinion makes the game less intense. Also new to Dead Space 3 are the changes to the upgrade bench. The store and bench from the previous games is now one unit and instead of buying upgrades and weapons with money, you have to spend materials you find throughout the game. There is very large pool of upgrades to find and apply to your weapons to change how useful they are. Upgrades can be something like increasing damage and reload speed or adding elemental damage to your bullets like fire and electricity.
Another addition to Dead Space 3 is the side missions. In the first two games all you could do was follow a linear path through the story, but now you have the option during several points in the game to tackle side missions. These missions are usually something like clear out all of the Necromorphs from a section of a building, which sounds simple and almost pointless. This is not the case because most of these side missions include a lot of valuable loot that you can use towards upgrading your equipment and surviving longer. The only downfall to these optional side missions is that a few of them are mandatory co-op. This means that if you have no one to play with or if your network isn’t working you will not be able to experience them. This is a miscalculation by Visceral Games if you ask me.
The gameplay of Dead Space 3 did not change a whole lot from the core mechanics of the series which made it an easy game to jump into. I found all of them thrilling to play and this one was no different. One of the best parts of the series is the idea that Necromorphs can only be killed by shooting off their limbs. This makes battles extremely intense when you have a hallway full of enemies barreling towards you and you can’t just “shoot to kill” and instead have to aim more precisely. I loved the new upgrade system because it made me feel like I had more control over my weapons and wasn’t stuck with what I found lying around.
The Verdict: 9.0 out of 10
Dead Space 3 is what every horror game should strive to be like. Although I don’t think it was as scary as the original Dead Space, it is still leagues ahead of where other games like Resident Evil are now in the horror genre. I was constantly jumping when things would pop out suddenly. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack several times. It even led me to question my sanity for making myself go through with playing the entire game. However in the end I was extremely pleased by the outcome. The Dead Space trilogy is one of the best modern day video game series out there. Its gameplay gets better with each game and Dead Space 3 was nearly perfect. The story was compelling as it keeps you guessing what will happen next. You learn very quickly that nobody in the story is safe from being killed off which makes the possibilities seemingly endless. I encourage everyone that enjoys a good third person shooter to try this game out. I understand that horror games aren’t for everyone so maybe those gamers should shy away from it, but if you don’t mind nearly peeing your pants with fright then absolutely play it. I recommend playing all three games if you want to know what the hell is going on in this crazy universe. But Dead Space 3 makes it very accessible for newcomers by not requiring you to know what happened in the previous games because it fills you in on the important details throughout the story. Dead Space 3 gets my stamp of approval; now go kick some Necromorph ass.