A Painfully Late Dead Space 3 Review

While it has been some time since most of you would have battled through the – apparently – scary survival horror, I’ve only just got round to it because I’ve been doing better things with my time like… counting the number of pen lids I have in my bin. I have never liked the Dead Space series and while I will say that the second did have a fleeting moment of fear, the overall experience has always been leaning towards action than horror. And, judging by my play through of Dead Space 3 I’d put money on it being the last title in its series.

And what is bloody hilarious and worthy of the: Comic Timing Golden Globe is; as I continue to write this article on the 05th of March 2013, EA have reportedly ‘canned’ the Dead Space series, so ha! I’m right about it! Do I really need to go any further in explaining? Yes, because I need the money.

Aside from that blatant side-track into my narcissistic mind, Dead Space 3 starts up when… actually I can’t remember. The game paces itself like a drunken Scotsman recounting the first time he hit his wife. Dead Space 3 just sort of ‘begins’ with no real foundation which, being the third in a series didn’t seem that hard to accomplish. There are monsters, shoot them with your gun, pew pew pew they’re all dead, now go make a cup of tea. Dead Space has always had the problem of being like an excitable child coked up on Pop-Rocks because it can’t take two seconds to calm down and really think about what it’s trying to put across. It just jumps around throwing hordes of Necromorphs at my face then screaming into my now bloody ear some half-baked story.

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The undercooked story is basically Dead Space 2 plus one. Isaac is on the hunt for his girlfriend – because that’s all heroes do – and for some strange reason, her eye – which was popped out in the previous game like a cream egg – is now back in place. We meet John Carver – not to be confused with the science fiction film John Carter – who is here to hold Isaac’s hand encase he needs help finding the bathroom. Why the hell another character has been added into a horror title is beyond me. There’s nothing scary about having a friend along for the ride and worse of all, Dead Space 3’s new feature is co-op gameplay. So you and a friend – or child you’re grooming – can now face off against the packs of Necromorphs and watch the horror tension loosen with a flat twang. However, the main problem with Dead Space 3 is Isaac himself; somehow he has completely overcome the nightmares that tormented his fragile mind – which did create an interesting character arc, even if it was mishandled so badly I wondered if the plot had Parkinson’s – and now is a tough, rugged cliché that not even an incredibly forced love triangle could save.

The chunk that brought my blood to a boil was the forced narrative; the way characters just solve ancient puzzles with seemingly no prior knowledge of the language, and was only used to move an overweight, languid story along. It’s like the characters were taking the piss for my amusement, and the scene was a brilliant example of ‘breaking the fourth wall’ to which I wanted to applause their efforts and throw a bouquet at the leading lady. And, speaking of the leading lady, what an unlikable twat; here I am trying to save your arse and you go running off with Mr. Bloody Box Head? Screw you lady. Come to think of it, the whole game has this underlining detestation for the single player minded gentleman. The way your girlfriend runs off with John, the way the co-op campaign has a huge portion of story and dialogue that goes unheard if you want to play alone, and the fact that you seem to get beaten up a hell of a lot more than anyone else; like the game is punishing you for not having any friends.

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As for the new local, we are greeted with a Hoth like planet and a whole lot of tedium; because the addition of a planet was such a leap forward in the series; every trailer, screenshot and crude drawing on the back of an exercise book showcased the new planet. And, while I honestly believe that moving the location from the obvious ‘scary’ dark hallways is a good idea, once again, Dead Space cocks it up. Most of the time when you’re knocking about outside, it’s a lovely winters day where the morning dew sits comfortably on the fresh white snow; and – more importantly – you can see every damn enemy from behind that box to the Dagobah System. Furthermore, once you come across an enemy don’t fret, as by now you will be weighted down with so much health and ammo your knees would have painfully snapped. You see, now, there’s only one type of ammo – because of the customising weapons thingy – and you collect it every time you inhale. So the combat isn’t so much testing as it is slightly aggravating, like a boy in class flicking rubber bands at your head.

IGN praised Dead Space 3’s sound design saying it was: “top-notch” which, I just didn’t understand. To me, it seemed – like everything in Dead Space 3 – far too sporadic and enthusiastic. Even the slightest touch would warrant some orchestral sound effect that would echo down the halls which was pretty embarrassing, like I walked in late during a HR meeting. Also, IGN pointed out that: “Dead Space 3 is absolutely better the second and third time through” which, counts for absolutely nothing in my book. Better the second and third time through? What the cock does that mean? That’s like saying getting shot in the head doesn’t hurt the second and third time. I don’t play games thinking: “Gosh, I can’t wait to complete it so I can actually enjoy it the next time through.” To quote Karl Pilkington: “Bullshit.”

A lot of people have said that: “For all Dead Space 3’s faults, the game does have atmosphere.” To which I reply: “No it doesn’t, it’s space, it has no atmosphere!” Take that.

Tom James Hunt

Thomas James Hunt is a British Video Game Critic who is a rather unpleasant character in the journalism world. So brace yourself for some nasty behaviour in the form of articles.

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