Thursday, August 29, 2013

August of Games: Day 29 - Dead Space

Hey, uh, I've literally not had to do this at all this month, but I genuinely am not impressed by Dead Space 1's soundtrack at all, so I've picked a song from DS2. Jason Graves still went a little crazy on the ambient stuff and could use a little more melody, but DS2 is at least better about it.

Dead Space
Developer: Visceral Games
Genre (Setting): Space Survival Horror
Genre (Gameplay): 3rd-Person Shooter, Survival Horror
What is this game: In this game you are Isaac Clarke, an engineer. After the USG Ishimura (an enormous obrital mining ship) goes completely silent, a small group is sent to investigate, Isaac among them. After discovering that the ship is infested with strange zombie-like creatures with scythes for arms, all but three of the crew are killed by them. Isaac needs to figure out how to get off the ship and safely find his way home, but gets wrapped up in the secret of the what the Ishimura found on Aegis VII.
The setting is quite rich; much of it exposed through audio and text logs dropped throughout the ship, and even more of it exposed in the following games.
The gameplay is mostly survival-horror-ish, trekking through the ship and taking down necromorphs wherever they appear. The combat is different from how you're used to playing third-person shooters because of the design of the weapons and the weakness of the necromorphs: they're killed by taking off their limbs, rather than their head. Your primary weapon, the plasma cutter, has a three-shot row pattern, which you can orient vertically or horizontally (note: Plasma Cutter + Metal Gear Rising's Blade Mode could be super rad). There's a lot of guns, more in each game, some quite interesting, some kinda useless. For reference, I like using Plasma Cutter and Pulse Rifle. Single shots or distributed damage like the Seeker Rifle, the Force Gun, or the Flamethrower aren't great usually because they can't cut off limbs easily.
What's great about it: The story is pretty decent, the setting and art design is excellent (if you get a chance, check out the book The Art of Dead Space), and the gameplay is decently fun - the shooting improves as the series progresses. The horror is pretty good in the first game! An over-reliance on jump scares, but the general atmosphere is very spooky. Some folks don't agree, but I've got pretty damn thick skin to horror media, and I recognized it as pretty good. As the series goes on it becomes more and more of an action game until DS3, which doesn't even pretend to be a horror game.
I'm being pretty brief I think, but it's a lot of fun. The difference in shooting for limbs rather than heads seems minor, but it completely changes the manner with which you play the game.
How do I get it: Xbox 360, PS3, Steam, Origin. $20 on Steam, probably about that much on the used game market.

End Recording,

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