Issac Clarke finally escaped the Necromorph menace and now spends his time wasting away in his apartment. A group of soldiers burst in and ruin his freedom by letting him know that his girlfriend is lost in space. He agrees to set out into the dark blanket of stars to search for her. As if this wasn’t enough of a reason for Issac to stop moaning and get out into the world, a cult under the moniker “Unitology” wishes to see Issac burn for his knowledge of the markers.
The story is not nearly as good as Dead Space 2’s horrific frolic through undead territory. It does however give the player enough reason to push through another game with Issac Clarke as the main protagonist. Issac heads to space, finds his ex-girlfriend, discovers that her ship needs to be repaired, and spends his time wandering around fighting off flesh impaling corpses while being ridiculed at every turn. It’s mainly a love triangle and survival story pieced together and it works for the most part. Small tidbits regarding the creation of the markers and the means they use to control Necromorphs are littered about, but all you need to know is that the goal is to save the world. Everything you’ve come to love from the series is here, and a couple of things that could have stayed on the chopping block.
Space is mysterious and terrifying and without a doubt and Dead Space 3 captures the essence of the series. Issac will slink through the darkened corridors of derelict ships with his weapon at the ready. There is a constant itch at the back of his neck will be eagerly scratched by jagged armed beasts that pop-out of the shadows. That lonely feeling of drifting through space among the dead, or trudging your way through the whipping winds to avoid hypothermia sets the backdrop for this word. The title showcases its beauty by transitioning from gameplay, to vivid cinematic sequences that place our hero in deadly situations. The human models do have a bit of a weird look to them, but the grotesque and savage Necromorph are undeserving of scoff.
Issac will often fight off waves of these villainous creatures and will have to blow off their limbs with precision to avoid being murdered. It’s this creeping feeling that allows Dead Space to make the lasting impression of an intense and thrilling title. The feeling of blowing off a limb of a Necromorph and stomping down on its head without remorse is STILL invigorating.
When the title sticks to its roots, it succeeds at being a hauntingly powerful video game. It even allows Issac to take to the depths of space in his suit, and fly around discovering items and side-quests. Issac can also pilot a vehicle that takes him to the more out of reach wreckage around the station. He can search for new weapon schematics, ship parts, and even discover what happened to the former passengers of the surrounding uninhabited ships. It adds another layer of profundity to the gameplay, and squeezes our hero into tight spaces for claustrophobic battles with the Necromorph.
The ambient sound excels in adding a heightened level of fear to the journey. Every area has a specific noise dedicated to keeping the player on their toes. When standing out in the cold of winter, the wind creates a distinct howl. In the frightening isolation of an infested ship, ropes will creak and a frozen section of the wall will creak. Simply listening to these sounds can freak you out just as much as a Necromorph attack.
The customization of Issac’s artillery has been upgraded significantly. As he gathers new blueprints and weapons, he will be able to piece them together into weapon of destructive power. Placing a military engine on the top of a frame with a directed suspension field creates a sub-machine gun. Attaching an upgrade circuit to increase the rate of fire, damage, or increased clip size makes it all the more formidable. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It is but only after an hour or so of figuring it out. Players can even create accessories that add a little more sting to the weapon, or improve the ammo or healing process for a better group dynamic in cooperative play. It is damn interesting and pays off if you’re dedicated to multiple playthroughs.
Dead Space 3 only fails at delivering when it is attempting to be something it is not. Absorbing the creepy atmosphere and fighting off swarms of mutated beasts is obscenely gratifying. It’s when Issac is facing off against other humans in gunfights that the title loses a bit of flair. Shooting at armed enemies consists of crouching behind barriers that Issac can still be shot behind. The gameplay is evidently stiff due to a absence of a true cover system, and fire-fights lose the feverish excitement of better equipped titles. Perhaps the combat with humans should have been completely omitted or a functional cover system with some snappier animations could have been included.
I was unable to play Dead Space 3’s cooperative play due to this being a rental and EA closing it off with an online pass. Regardless, the single-player maintains the tension and immersive feeling that the series is known for. Dead Space 3 may lack in the story-line department, but the game mechanics, new crafting system, and replay factor make it a hard title to miss. Dead Space 3 easily receive a B+ from Geek Citadel, if the cooperative play delivers as the single-player does it could easily claim an A.