Who says that all reviews should be of new games? Being a gamer and avid follower of all things game related, I’ve noticed that all I see are the very newest of games being reviewed, tested, and critiqued. Often these reviews seem rushed, in order to be first to the punch. Why doesn’t anybody go back a few years and review, or re-review, one of the classics?
While there’s been a few AAA games like Spiderman and the new Tomb Raider recently, we’re taking a breather from keeping up with the Jones’ this month. October is the month of Halloween so a horror game is the obvious review of choice, and this particular game was released exactly 10 years ago. It’s always been considered one of the greats. Also, until recently I’ve never played it. While waiting for the epic Red Dead Redemption 2 to release, I’ve been saving myself from going into any current blockbuster titles so I thought I’d take advantage of that and take the chance to play this.
Dead Space is set in the year 2508, and you play as Isaac Clarke. Earth’s natural resources have been depleted and teams are sent into space to plunder from other planets. While Isaac is in space, his team investigate an ‘abandoned ship’ (which naturally, according to horror lore, is not actually abandoned) and soon start to become taken out one by one by horrible monster alien things (called Necromorphs). It’s now your job to find a way to escape, for yourself and the few remaining survivors, a job which takes you on various missions around the ship to complete specific tasks.
Dead Space is a perfectly executed horror game. Many variables come together to make this happen; the setting in space, where you could literally not be more alone or further from help, the dark, claustrophobic tiny corridors of the space ship, the eerie soundtrack and plenty of unexpected jump scares.
Not to mention the array of monsters roaming the vessel. These guys look horrific, like something from a John Carpenter horror movie. You’re encouraged to shoot them at the limbs in order to do more damage. When you do this, they just become freakier; dragging themselves towards you with their razor sharp hook hands until you finish them off for good. If you’re unlucky enough to get up close with one, you can say goodbye to any hope of sweet dreams at bed time.
Your ultimate aim is to get off the infested ship, but of course it isn’t as simple as jumping onto a ‘life boat’ and flying away. There’s a number of tasks to carry out first, such as powering up generators, finding keys, locating equipment and more-the usual video game stuff.
On your way to doing these missions, and fighting monsters, you’ll collect helpful items along the way like health, ammo, credits and blueprints for new items. You can spend the credits in stores to buy these items also, as well as new guns and higher levels of suit (so long as you found the blueprint for the item first). You can also sell unwanted items, and stash extra items in your safe, freeing up precious inventory space.
You can also collect nodes, that allow you to modify your armored space suit and weapons to have extra ammo slots, deal more damage, or reload faster. You won’t collect enough nodes to upgrade everything on your first play though, however, so you much chose your upgrades carefully if you want to make it to the end of the game.
You’ll also find audio and text logs, as a little extra collectable, which give you an insight as to how things went so wrong in space, and where these Necromorphs came from.
The weapons are nice and varied, including a standard machine gun type weapon, a flamethrower, a chainsaw device that shoots blades, and the aforementioned Plasma Cutter, the actual purpose of which is to break down chunks of rock-so you can image how effective it is at removing monsters legs. They all handle nicely and you’ll quickly find a couple that will become your favorites, and most upgraded.
I managed to finish the game in around 10 hours, on my first play through, on medium difficulty. On one hand this is quite short for a single player game, but on the other hand this isn’t a game you want to drag on for a long time-your nerves can’t take it. There is also replay value in the new game plus mode (upon completing the game the first time, you are awarded credits, nodes and equipment so that you can start again on the harder mode but with that little head start).
For fans of horror games, I highly recommend this. If you liked any of the Resident Evils, Silent Hills, Condemned, Alien Isolation or similar titles… you’ll have a blast with Dead Space.