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Game Guys review - Dead Space 3

7:13 AM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Dead Space 3' from Visceral Games and Electronic Arts.
  • 'Dead Space 3' from Visceral Games and Electronic Arts.
    

The third game in a video game trilogy doesn't always fare as well in the fan's eyes as one would hope.  Recent cases-in-point: EA's Mass Effect 3 and Blizzard's Diablo III (Now the absence of Half-Life 3 doesn't seem like such a bad idea on Gabe Newell's part).  Some good news for fans of developer Visceral Games' sci-fi horror series Dead Space:  the third game in that series is pretty darn good.

Not wanting to spoil too much of the game's single-player campaign, Dead Space 3 picks up a few months after the events of Dead Space 2 with engineer-turned-hero Isaac Clarke once again taking the lead.  Ellie, Clarke's once lover, calls him once again inty the fray against the Markers, which are powerful ancient artifacts that produce the deadly (and often scary) Necromorphs.  Just like the previous games, Dead Space 3 can be played solo; and, similar to the Wii/PS3 series prequel Dead Space: Extraction, Dead Space 3's campaign can support an optional second player for co-op play.  This second player, who plays as the EarthGov soldier John Carver, is a drop-in drop-out role with a couple of his own co-op only optional missions.  Having the second character does reduce the fear factor a bit, but by no means is the game as pleasant as a Sunday drive.

As with the previous numbered games in the franchise, Dead Space 3 is a third-person shooter/action title in which Clarke and Carver have a number of upgradable weapons with which to fire at the game's various alien threats.  There is also the opportunity to temporally suspend time through Stasis powers, float/fly through zero gravity, utilize Kinesis to manipulate far-away objects, and so on.  Everything the player does (and the player will do a little of everything) is simply to keep Clarke/Carver alive long enough to fight against the game's numerous evils.

To expand a bit on the game's arsenal, Clarke/Carver can scavenge around for weapon items and blueprints.  They're used to adjust the firepower of existing and craft new weapons.  Want a flamethrower that has a cryogenic torch?  All the player needs do is create it.  Weapon customization and invention is one of this game's biggest highlights as there are quite literally thousands of possibilities. 

Presentation-wise, Dead Space 3 continues the great graphical and audible experiences that players of the previous games have enjoyed.  Environments are well-created and do well to keep the level of suspense high -- sometimes a place LOOKING like something bad will happen is scarier than when the something bad actually happens.  Both the spaceship/station and ice planet are appealing at their own rights, even if there are times where an environment might look a bit generic on the small-scale.  As for Clarke, Carver, and the rest of the cast, nary a complaint could be made.

Truly a very good sci-fi thriller in both single- and two-player, Dead Space 3 is a game that fans of the franchise should find very appealing.  It's not quite as scary as previous installments, but it's still creepy enough and has its frightening "holy $#!^" moments.  It also seems to be a much larger game than previous and should keep players glued to their supported gaming platform of choice (PS3, Xbox 360, or PC) for many, many hours.

GAMEPLAY: PRESENTATION: STORY: QUALITY: FINAL SCORE:
22/25 22/25 22/25 22/25 88/100

(Electronic Arts supplied a copy of this game for review.)

Version tested: PlayStation 3

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