Dead Space 3

8 Overall Score

Solid entry in the series | More Necromorphs | More Guns | Gameplay's still as good

Inclusion of human bad guys feels off | DLC scheme is just kind of awful

Dead Space 2 was my game of 2011. Given that, one could safely assume some high expectations for the third game in the series. And while Dead Space 3 generally delivers, some odd design choices and an atrocious DLC scheme make for a game that’s harder to recommend.

Isaac’s back, and still not into woodcutting

Dead Space 3 continues the adventures of the deadliest spaceship engineer in the known universe as he takes on a whole ‘nother batch of Necromorphs. The events of the second game have had ramifications, and humanity seems to be in bad shape. So Isaac heads off with Ellie (returning with a new fake eye) and a new crew of expendable cast members to take on the threat of horrible space zombies. The third part of most horror stories tends to be weak, and Dead Space follows that pattern. It isn’t atrocious, but definitely lacks some of the shock and grit of Dead Space 2’s narrative. There is a little more payoff in this game, though, as Dead Space 3 goes pretty nuts in the final moments.

Dead Space looks pretty nice

Graphically the game looks great. You continue to run around in a suit of armor and blow limbs off of the aforementioned space zombies, and the environments all look pretty rad. Of special note here are early parts of the game that have Isaac spacewalking through a debris field orbiting the ice planet you’ll later descend to. It’s easy to just stop and marvel at what’s going on around you. Playing through the game on the PC, it both runs and looks quite nice at 1080p. It doesn’t come with the high resolution textures some PC gamers may want, but it still looks pretty good in motion. Check it out below.

Just about every enemy and mechanic from the first two games return in three, as well. You’ll use benches, change out armors in a cool little cutscene, fight big, small, slow and fast necromorphs, and use a combination of gunfire, stasis power and telekinetically-thrown sharp things to take them out. Just about every flavor of bad guy returns, with a couple new twists. One new baddy continually mutates as you blow limbs off, providing a new moving target every few hits. A less-impressive addition is the human bad guy. These folks show up in a limited number of spots, but seem just out of place in a Dead Space game. Sure, there’s a story reason for Isaac to fight dudes, but technical elements just don’t fit that well. The harsh, dramatic sound cues that signal the arrival of necromorphs just feel goofy when they’re used for a guy with a shotgun. The inclusion of humans (and a couple of the new enemies) also bring back a need to make headshots, which Dead Space had successfully avoided to an incredibly refreshing degree until now. Again, it’s not bad, just out of place.

No matter how many shotguns you give a dude, this thing is still worse.

The part of Dead Space 3 that is bad is stuck in with the new crafting system that the game introduces. The crafting system as its core is fantastic. Weapons have been replaced by a series of parts that essentially let you combine any weapon effect in just about any combination. I wound up sticking a machine gun on top of a line gun, and mounting a flamethrower to the classic plasma cutter. A variety of accessories allow alterations to these effects, modifying everything from fire rate (one barrel will make my assault rifle a shotgun or sniper rifle) to proc abilities (using a stasis effect on flamethrowers was particularly effective). All of these part combinations can be saved as blueprints, and scavenged parts allow you to build parts, guns, upgrades and accessories. It’s really cool, and easy to burn time on.

The part that’s particularly displeasing about this is the giant DLC button attached to all of this crafting. At any given time you can become frustrated with the costs associated with building equipment and just spend a few bucks. Worse is what’s happened with the robots. Dead Space 3’s scavenging mechanic includes a metal detector mini-game powered by small robots that have a cooldown; which becomes shorter if (and only if) you pay an additional five dollars. For a game with a sixty dollar cost of entry it feels gross.

Beyond the DLC issues and some relatively uneven gameplay in the later chapters, Dead Space 3 is what one might call a strong entry in the franchise. Visceral’s dropped their attempt to ape Left 4 Dead and inserted the ability to play the entirety of the campaign with a co-op buddy, which is amazing. There’s no eyeball needle moment (see that standout of Dead Space 2 here if you haven’t), but the campaign offers a slew of memorable sequences (at one point the game just turns into Panzer Dragoon for like five minutes. Because why not). If you were a fan of the first or second game this one’s a no-brainer. Have a Dead Space buddy? The co-op campaign option is great and works pretty seamlessly (it’s reminiscent of Dead Island’s drop in drop out stuff, in a good way). If you weren’t into Dead Space before and aren’t going to play with a buddy…maybe play the second one. This will still be around (and still be enjoyable) later.

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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards.

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