Dead Space has a lot going for it. It offers an exciting Aliens-meets-Event Horizon story, has drop dead gorgeous graphics and has some of the best audio I've heard all year. It's also a fantastic controlling game that takes the survival horror genre to brand new locations. It has enough interesting weapons to keep you going and a solid group of voice actors. Yes, Dead Space has a lot going for it. But there's one thing it can't claim to be, and that's original.
It's easy to explain Dead Space; it's the exact cross between Resident Evil and last year's sleeper hit, BioShock. That's not hyperbole, just about every idea found in Dead Space was taken from either Resident Evil or BioShock. Not that this is a bad thing, both of those games are fantastic in their own right, and it's hard to fault somebody from wanting to ape some of the best (and creepiest) adventure games of all time. But at the same time the constant aping is so over the top and obvious that I would be insane for not noticing it.
But I digress; the story of Dead Space is right out of a modern day science fiction movie. You play Isaac Clarke, one of the unlucky people sent on a routine mission to repair its communications array. However, things are not as they seem. Almost immediately the crew is attacked by these freaky humanoid alien creatures, forcing everybody to flee and (surprise, surprise) splits you up from everybody else.
Upon further investigation Isaac learns (to his horror) that something very bad has happened to this large mining ship. This boat used to hold a thousand people, yet now there doesn't seem to be anybody alive. Worse yet, in their place are these aggressive aliens who don't seem to like your company very much. And these aren't just your regular old aliens, either. Oh no, these guys only seem to die when you shoot their limbs off, either their arms, legs, and even their head. From this point on Isaac is on his own in an attempt to find out what happened to his girlfriend, get rid of the aliens and uncover just what the heck is going on.
Throughout the course of this 10 hour game you will work your way all over this abandoned ship solving puzzles and shooting up bad guys. Through BioShock-style audio diaries you will learn what happened to the crew of this ship and where these monsters came from. You'll have to get your mind around a couple of major plot twists, and an ending that doesn't withstand scrutiny. All this while looking at some of the best visuals produced by the Xbox 360. If you're one of the many gamers who can't wait until Capcom releases Resident Evil 5 next spring, then Dead Space is the game for you.
You play the game from the third-person over-the-shoulder perspective, similar to that of Resident Evil 4. The game's big gimmick is in its combat. Unlike most zombie-infested survival horror games, Dead Space isn't about shooting at the body or the head. Instead you want to take off one of the limbs. You can do this with a whole host of different weapons, from your standard Plasma Cutter (which works like a handgun, only with the added bonus of firing three shots), the Pulse Rifle (an incredibly destructive machine gun), the Ripper (a hover saw blade), the Force Gun (basically a shotgun) and more. From beginning to end, the whole game revolves around shooting off different limbs, so it shouldn't surprise you that all of the enemies (including the bosses) have numerous limbs to blow off. There's something strangely rewarding about shooting off hundreds (maybe even thousands) of different limbs while searching for your missing girlfriend.
It's not without a few flaws, but those who go exploring around Dead Space will find it to be a fascinating survival horror game with an amazing presentation. Considering this is Electronic Arts' first stab at the genre it's hard not to be impressed with this game, I just wish that it was a little less derivative!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!