Game: Dead Space 3
Manufacturer: Visceral Games (EA)
Platforms: PS3, XBox-360, PCs
The "scariest" moment I've had while playing Dead Space 3, Visceral Games' latest offering in the Dead Space series, occurred at around 2 a.m. Monday.
My wife and I sleep with a fan on in the bedroom for ambient noise, and when the power failed as a result of the wind, the sudden silence jarred us both awake. A glance out the window revealed that most of the street was dark, though there were a few street lights on a block or two away. We went downstairs, I retrieved a flashlight from one of the drawers in the kitchen, and then came the fun part: checking the circuit breaker in the basement to make sure it wasn't just us.
Picture it, dear Internet: an overweight, half-naked hero bumbling his way in the dark in underwear and flip-flops like something out of Cho Aniki (which, if you don't know what it is, I would encourage you to not Google while people are watching).
In a lot of ways, this is how a Dead Space game plays out. Someone is sent somewhere dark to check on and fix something mechanical with a good deal of power tools nearby, while everyone else just sort of stands around doing nothing.
Granted, there weren't any space-alien-zombie-things scurrying through the ducts in my basement. Probably because I don't have any ducts big enough to accommodate a 6-foot tall shambling horror with blade arms. Also probably because those things don't exist. Nevertheless, the whole 30-second experience felt more like a Dead Space game than Dead Space 3 does.
Currently, according to the metrics on my saved game, I'm about a quarter of the way through the single-player campaign. Based on what I've seen so far, I can't tell how I feel about the experience. It controls the same, and Isaac Clarke is still the most violent handyman in the galaxy, but it's not scary. It's not even suspenseful.
Necromorph attacks are telegraphed by the environment. Is there a vent nearby? Odds are good something's going to jump out of it. Is there a stack of caskets in the corner? Well, guess what's in those, dear friends. Is that a corpse on the floor? Did you shoot it? Then don't be surprised when it suddenly jumps up and tries to get all Captain Stabbytime. Did you hear the loud "BWAMP!" of horn noises? Well then you're already in combat and OH GOD NOT THE FACE!
Also, there are chest-high walls now, and Isaac can crouch behind them, because apparently it's now video game law that any game that involves the shooting of things must also include things behind which to cower between shots.
Speaking of shooting, I have yet to find a reason to do anything other than spam the shotgun. It's far too effective, and has replaced my trusty plasma cutter (which was my primary weapon in both Dead Space and Dead Space 2) as the go-to gun of choice.
Again, I'm not very far into the campaign, so these are more first impressions than anything else, and while this all probably seems very negative, I'm still hopeful that the other 75% will make up for it. And hey, if that fails, then at least I can continue singing "I shoot yo' limbs, necromorphs" in time with Willow Smith's "I Whip My Hair".
On second thought, no, let's not do that.
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