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Dead Space 3 Review

With Resident Evil losing its scare value quite a while ago, a rather large gap has been left in the market, one EA are only too happy to fill with Dead Space, but just as Resi lost its pace, the third instalment of Visceral's futuristic horror game also has less impact in the scares department.

Being the third title for Isaac Clarke, any newcomers will be unfamiliar with our reluctant hero's trip into madness, however a rather smart "previously on Dead Space" scene takes you through the basic plot points, starting with his initial contact with the Necromorphs at the USG Ishimura and the revelations of the Black Marker found some 200 years previously on Earth to Isaac's own mind being harvested to gain the plans to create even more Markers. Following the end of Dead Space 2 quite a bit has occurred, Isaac has given up and has no more to offer, hiding out whilst the crazed followers of the Markers known as the Unitologists, are terrorising and setting off the Markers, unleashing their gruesome powers. Seemingly at his lowest, Isaac is asked to help rescue Ellie (also from Dead Space 2), who had continued researching the mysterious and deadly powers of the Markers and has since gone missing. After some gentle persuasion and the fact that the Unitologists want him dead, Isaac has little choice but to go off planet. As with all his recent outings, the following journey through space ends abruptly with the ship colliding with some mines, once again leaving Isaac stranded in space, with only the floating debris of other ships to scavenge, all holding a menacing surprise.

Once the scene is set the game quickly finds itself in familiar territory, navigating through the corridors of derelict ships, Necromorphs popping through walls and vents at all the right times, trying to get a jump out of you. With a large amount of space debris and stricken ships floating around, Isaac is once again able to take breath-taking jumps into the void, using jet packs and a beat up old skip call the Luv Boat to venture to other ships, slowly gathering items for repair and information before literally hitting the planet surface below. The ice world of Tau Volatis is, excuse the pun, a polar opposite of the previous games, but even the perceived safety away from hidden corridors offers plenty action and suspense, with snow blizzards affecting sight or Necromorphs bursting from the snow beneath your feet.

The Necromorphs themselves have not changed a great deal from before; we still have the same monsters with their grotesque limbs jutting out at abnormal angles with their only real Achilles heel being Isaac using his many weapons to lop them off to slow their approach. The inclusion of the Unitologists adds a little more variety, either diving for cover as humans or even becoming armed Necromorphs once infected. The speed of the enemies is frightfully fast, skittering along walls and running full pelt at you most of the time, with early encounters being frenzied slaughters with ammo running low and far too many missed melee attacks. As you progress the game does get easier going mainly due to the firepower that gradually becomes available and it is here that the largest change is made as Isaac finally puts all those engineering skills to good use with the Bench.

Starting with a basic frame you can either follow blueprints or create an original weapon, adding a grenade launcher to a Plasma Cutter or a fierce melee attack capability to a shotgun. Once satisfied with your design you can even add perks like speeding up reload times and damage or even boosting Isaac's and your co-op partner's health, there is loads to tinker with here as long as you have sufficient loot. The survival element of Dead Space has been upped considerably, so rather than just foraging for ammo and stasis packs you'll also gather loot, small amount of insignificant items that once combined together allow you to create a whole assortment of items, stopping not just at the weapons side but also health and support items. To help find plenty of loot there are a few opportunities to take on side quests and whilst these are not crucial to the endgame, they give you plenty of chances to boost your loot if you have the nerve. There are also scavenge bots that you can deploy, leaving them to scurry around the area and return to the Bench when finished to share their findings. More often or not you may find yourself a little short of the final product and it is at this point where the oft argued about micro transactions occur.

Now there has been a lot of chatter regarding the introduction of the micro transactions and whilst a worrying trend these are inevitable in games such as Dead Space 3. However rather than get all flustered and avoid playing a good game it is better to think of them as paid cheats. Long before the Internet we had premium phone numbers to call to get help, tips and even button pressing combos to unlock extras or gain a little helping hand, these micro transactions are no different; you can still get 100% of the game but for those that want to get to the end that little bit quicker and easier can spend a few quid. These microtrans relate only to weapons upgrades, you are not paying for extra content, just a short cut and the inclusion of the shop is really not that obtrusive, with options to purchase extra loot items from a group of packages if you do wish. Even at the checkout you are still able to skip paying and use some ration items collected in the game, it is all tastefully done with the game never forcing a purchase or making it feel you are missing out.

Back to the gameplay itself and fans of the previous titles may notice something vital missing, the fear. This time around it all feels a bit too rehearsed - you've seen it all before with all the same tricks. Very quickly the game falls into quite a repetitive pattern, with Isaac constantly fetching or turning things on and even with a new environment to contend with it is still all the same. The overuse of the same missions starts to get too familiar, which is made worse by the very predictable action sequences, an expanse of snow will mean a Necromorph is due to jump out, vents will mean something at some point will come out. An attempt to add a little variety to the action comes with the Unitologists as they require a more cover based approach to the fire fights but even these grow tiresome as these are signposted, being the only areas with cover options, sapping away all of the fear and just adding anticipation.

At around 15 hours, the campaign does start to get stale with more of the same, hour after hour; it is funny how we always complain about games being too short but this should have finished around the 10 hour mark, especially when considering the amount of replayability on offer.

For those unable to face the Necromorph menace on their own, you can always hold hands with another player, with Dead Space 3 introducing a co-op mode. Playing just like the single player version but occasionally offering extra puzzles that require teamwork and a little more story based around Isaac's new brother in arms Sergeant John Carver and whilst what little fear is totally removed, the all-out action feel works quite well.

With a single and co-op mode available there is already plenty of replay value, but Visceral has gone further still, adding a host of new modes that unlock even more in the way of new armour and even an 8bit mode. Dare you try a hardcore setting, new game+, survival mode or even the mode created to make this play more like Dead Space? Though unlikely to replay immediately after completing, this is certainly a game that will draw you back at some point.

Being a huge fan of the original Dead Space there are plenty of familiar elements to keep fans happy, foremost is the outstanding effects and overall quality of its production, with lighting playing tricks on you, the monsters looking gruesome as ever and fantastic surround sound effects with the silence of vacuum being just as scary as the scream from the Necromorphs. Add in the beautiful soundtrack that seems to have borrowed plenty of ideas from the Alien movie and you'll notice that it all works really well.

In the end, Dead Space fans will be happy for the story and atmosphere but I feel it is a step too far from the original to better it, even with all of its weapon crafting, Dead Space 3 feels more like a gruesome curb stomping shooting game rather than the raw edge thriller that is the first game and the mind-mess that was Dead Space 2.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)


- Engrossing weapons crafting
- Surround sound effect are fantastic
- Looks great
- Co-op


- Too much action
- Not scary in the slightest

Edited On 06 Feb, 2013

( 25 )
knockton 2 years ago
): its a shame it really is i just hope maybe alien is sceary ):
Beazi 2 years ago
Not Scary in the Slightest - That in itself is disappointing but still looking forward to this. Just hoping it pulls it off. Good review Ash
MARK 2 years ago
There really isn't a decent horror franchise any more. I loved the first game, and to see it reduced to yet another third person cover shooter is tragic.
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
i think EA has gone the action route to please the masses but it could backfire like resi evil 6 , though i still enjoyed the demo , will still like to give it a go , the graphics are still top and co op seems interesting
inspector 74 2 years ago
OK we all agree the scare factor sounds like it has completely gone from Dead Space which is a bit of a shame but I still cant wait for this either way
LFC Bywater 2 years ago
"not scary in the slightest" :( This made me sad, but I'm still not worried about the final game. Yeh it sucks that the scare is gone, and that was a big selling point in Dead Space games, But it will still be a good game, and with a lengthy campaign at that.
Barada 2 years ago
Same principle with movies - what starts out as a edgy scarefest - e.g A Nightmare on Elm Street - turns into a comedy horror with the bad guy taking over the show in its myriad sequels. (Still rate them as a series - which I'll probably do the same with Dead Space).
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
been re playing dead space 2 this week to remind me of the story and you can tell after playing the demo it has changed abit but still 3 remains a normal dead space game on quality, looking forward to playing it soon , fingers crossed for shop to compo!
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
ooh i am still so excited i like my aliens zombies and monsters hope i win but would like kratos to win if i dont
Bhamkeyx 2 years ago
Not many games which really are scary are released, but I'm sure this is one which will entertain you, give you a thew jumps and scares. I'm glad that it is action packed, the environment looks scary so the tension will be there, that on it's own is scary, to play a game in which you don't know where or when the creaters will appear.
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
fingers crossed for every one who entered this is a great game to play!
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
playing in the snow level reminds me of abit like the movie the thing both are simular , best build a flamethrower
Kelly-Marie 2 years ago
lol good idea or the contact beam and boom
Rachael 2 years ago
Glad that you cleared up about the micro transactions. ill happily just play the game through without them, Loved the weapon crafting also so im glad its a main part of the game :) I still found myself jumping at certain parts of the demo so maybe it will still be scary for me lol
Beazi 2 years ago
Same here Rachael... I dont see the need for them, unless they give you a weapon with new powers
0000000000 2 years ago
alien will take the title of scariest game i think and all i can see is dead space has got less scary each game that comes out! shame really number 1 which ive nearly done has made me wet my pants on occasion lol
Barada 2 years ago
If you want scares, play something like Project Zero (PS2); The Aliens franchise is an action-based premise, the original Alien movie is what Dead Space was imitating all along.
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
i could see some of that in the demo those face hugger type enemys which jumped on dead emenys to bring back to life , although the first dead space was high on make you jump moments
Beazi 2 years ago
Dead Space 2 was good for scares Kikicookie90. I rated it highly! That said this does look less scary. The Face Hugger/Head Replacing things were good.
Beazi 2 years ago
Barada have you ever played Silent Hill The Room. I was frightened to look through the viewfinder in the door
No, only seen bits and pieces of Silent Hill games over the years. I get like that in Dead Space, few games make you actually fear what's in the next room - play DS on headphones, the background noises are spine-chilling! ;)
Barada 2 years ago
Dark572Assassin 2 years ago
dead space 1 was the most memorable when you first meet them trapped and have to run
Beazi 2 years ago
That did scare me quite a bit, didn't know where they were going to come from. I liked but hated the regenerator. Never before have I been so scared since Nemesis and Tyrant wanted me!
shiny miller 2 years ago
Loved the original, especially with my surround sound headphones (even if they are a cheap basic version). Will play 2nd game and then this eventually, might even invest in a premium set of headphones for the occasion!
CookieMcCrumble 2 years ago
So far, this is one fantastic game. I didn't really enjoy 2 as much as the first, but this one has really impressed me, and I'm loving the optional side missions system. The crating takes some getting your head around but works well.

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