The meteoric rise and fall of Isaac Clarke
In Dead Space 3, Isaac Clarke suits up once more in an attempt to find and rescue his lost friend Ellie, and bring an end to the Markers and its Necrospawn who have been plaguing the human race.
The horror that is prevalent in the previous two Dead Space games returns with the intention to instill that same sense of dread that the series has become renowned for. The previous installments in the series do not fail to scare, however, with Dead Space 3 Visceral Games have moved the franchise from the recesses of survival horror to the mainstream stage of action thriller- big mistake.
With Dead Space 2, Visceral Games struck gold- the second installment in the trilogy had everything- the scare factor, an intricate story arc, enthralling cut scenes and a unique system of gameplay. The game was a master class in horror, everything about it was geared towards escalating tension levels up to nail-splitting territory and beyond any point of return. From the chilling music and sound effects to game play where you could impale monsters with their own body parts, Dead Space 2 excelled in its field. Not to mention the intensity of cut scenes which tested the mettle of any individual, fans were simply never prepared for what the game was about to hurl at them.
However, Dead Space 3 fails to match up to the almighty standards of its predecessor. In moving the game from survival horror to action thriller, Visceral Games have taken a massive side step in the franchise. The new addition simply fails in precisely that aspect- offering anything new.
The storyline feels forced in comparison to the intricate plot of the previous installments, and chasing Ellie leads to a series of unbelievable events which ruins Dead Space’s well earned believable factor and plot arc. This may sound unreasonable but maintaining our belief is necessary for any Sci-Fi game to excel, and without entering spoiler territory, it is clear that Visceral are clutching at straws with their new plot arc in Dead Space 3.
This is pretty unfortunate considering the sophistication of the new world Isaac has found himself on. When combining this aspect with the combat elements of the game it would be wrong to suggest that Dead Space 3 has no redeeming qualities. In fact, Visceral have maintained the unique system of combat which really sets the Dead Space franchise apart from other gun based games. The mechanics encourage precision beyond that of typical head-shot based shooters- dismembering enemy limbs slows them down and kills them faster. Also, the gravity manipulating kinesis and slow-mo inducing stasis makes for an interesting addition to the shooters sphere, which encourages individuals to be smarter during battles rather than simple aim and shoot.
Visceral have also ‘upgraded’ the combat experience. With the addition of a new weapon crafting, the opportunity exists to create one super-charged-super-soldier in Isaac. The design enables you to upgrade all aspects of Isaac’s weaponry upon collecting the necessary resources, including his suit, stasis kit and even inventory med packs.
Again however, it is unfortunate that enhancing Isaac’s equipment does little to invigorate gameplay. Visceral should have invested time in matching the brilliant campaign of Dead Space 2 rather than implementing a good but otherwise unremarkable combat system. After all, it was the strength of the campaign and its ability to scare that made Dead Space so memorable. Dead Space 3 falls short of both of these components.
Despite it’s downfalls, Dead Space 3 is a good game to play if you’re new to the franchise. However, it has to be said that it is a disappointment when holding it up next to it’s highly triumphant predecessor. If you haven’t played it already, I would advise buying Dead Space instead, as Visceral have definitely taken a step backwards with this new addition.