Review: Dead Space 3 (PS3)


Dead Space 3 is a game that a lot of people were worried about, due to the inclusion of co-op play, the introduction of human enemies and micro transactions. Don’t worry too much though. I didn’t use or feel like I had to use micro transactions and the game is still a Dead Space game, and it was a decent experience overall. This review will not be covering co-op at all, as I don’t generally play many multi-player games. I’ll just let you know that you don’t have another character with you the entire game like in Resident Evil 5 and 6. Without further delay, let’s get on with what is good and what is bad about the game (This review was played through on Hard difficulty and took roughly 20 hours, doing most optional side-missions).

    What did I like? What was done well?

Weapon Customization

In the other Dead Space games, there were tools and weapons, and you could upgrade them using power nodes on a grid that would increase power, reload speed, clip size and fire rate.

This time around, you have the ability to completely customize weapons. You have the frame for the tool/weapon, the engine or core, the end attachments and then some attachments for the upper and lower tool. Yes, a lot of weapons in Dead Space 3 have the option of having an over-under combination of weapons. It’s possible to have a standard assault rifle style weapon with a grenade launcher under it, or a plasma cutter with a flamethrower under it, and so on.

Each engine or core has a different end to it, so a plasma core can be a plasma cutter, a line gun, etc. with the right end attachments. Machine engines can be fitted with a rail system, turning them into a sniper rifle (and yes, you can add a scope), or another thing to it to turn it into a shotgun. You can even make a javelin gun that fires in bursts of three or that fires like a shotgun. These weapons can also have circuits added to them to increase power, reload speed, fire rate or clip size. There are a lot of options to play with. By the end, I was caring a fully automatic machine gun with a lighting gun mounted under it.

Graphics and Aesthetics
The game’s graphics are crisp and clean for the most part. The environments are detailed and the snow and weather are excellent. The views you can get when you space walk are sometimes breathtaking. They really did create something beautiful to look at, and it’s impressive considering it’s running on pretty old hardware.

Music and Sound
The music in the game is great for setting tone and sometimes it reminds me of the Alien films’ soundtracks. The music gets frantic when the monsters show up to get you, and gets the blood pumping in those tense moments. Sound is very important in games like these, and they put it to good use. Let’s say that you’re in a room filled with vents, and you hear some rustling in the ceiling. If you have a good pair of surround sound headphones or speakers, you’ll be able to tell which vent the monster will pop out of. Or if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll definitely know which vent they burst out of when they smash it open. Eventually the game makes you paranoid, and you’ll find yourself listening for the sounds of impending doom as you walk (or run) down hallways.

Monster designs
It’s a new game, and with it come some new horrors. I won’t ruin the surprise for you if you haven’t played it yet, but let’s just say that they made some really creepy creatures for this one, and made some variations on some of the older ones. Some of the monsters are kind of annoying at times, but that just makes it way more satisfying to dismember them and stomp the items out of them.

Optional Missions and Space Walks
This game encourages exploration by introducing optional missions that you can stumble upon just being wandering around. A lot of these optional missions were much better and more rewarding than the main storyline missions were, so I totally advise you seek them out. There is loot to be found and crazy sidestory/lore to be exposed!

The space walls you go on are worth mentioning. There’s something really relaxing and calm about coasting around in open space, with a gorgeous view of the world below looming in the background. It’s quite a thing and you’ll understand what I mean if you play the game.

    What did I dislike? What could be better?

Story and Characters
The Dead Space series has a pretty good storyline to it, and I was expecting that trend to continue. I put it up there as on par with the likes of the Alien movies (the first two) and it stands up on it’s own fairly well. It seems that this game, however, is the weakest of the three. Mind you, a lot is revealed, and it does wrap itself up fairly well, but the bickering that takes place between some of the characters can be described as petty, and shallow. It’s actually kind of annoying, and some of the dialogue and character choices are a bit hard to swallow sometimes. The new characters that are introduced are a tad under developed, and I found it hard to really care all that much. At least in the past two games, Isaac had his own struggles with being crazy and filled with the crazy marker knowledge, and a dead girlfriend that wouldn’t leave him alone. That was much more interesting than the stuff they threw at me in Dead Space 3.

With that said, a bit more background on the main antagonist might have been nice, as well as the Earth Gov soldiers Robert Norton and John Carver (Carver being the co-op character). (minor spoilers) Isaac and Ellie both have enough back story to them already, so all they really had to do was make the game a bit less romantic drama, and a bit more focus on the saving humanity stuff. People in the situation presented would likely not be bickering about relationship problems with the human race at stake.

Lack Of Crazy Visions
In the second game, Isaac seemed to have a lot more crazy visions, and they are often disturbing and awesome. I miss those, as there are very few in this game. Maybe three or four max.

Save System
The thing that frustrated me the most was the save system. I did not like the random checkpoints, and no actual save points. You could exit the game, and it would save your inventory (which you can exploit a lot, since item boxes respawn when you load your game), but sometimes you can’t remember where the last progress save was. I’d quit the game sometimes, only to load the game up and lose fifteen minutes, and have to redo certain things (sometimes tough fights). I miss the old save system.

Poor Cover Mechanics
The cover mechanics in this game are clunky and pretty much non-existent. Basically, they gave you the option to crouch, and when you aim, you will pop up to shoot. That is all. It’s a bit awkward sometimes, but thankfully you rarely have to use it.

Fighting Humans
The only real time you need to use cover is when you’re fighting these idiots. They don’t really use a lot of cover themselves, and they tend to always know exactly where to aim, but always have a long pause before they fire. They die quickly, but Isaac does not like bullets. Or rockets. The fights are never scary, nor are they all that fun. Kill them quickly and get on with your game as fast as you can.

Some Frustrating Parts
The game had some difficulty spikes here and there. I rarely yell or swear at a video game, but there were some spots where I’d die a dozen times and it was non-stop cursing. This was mostly due to my weapon being a little inadequate for the situation I was in, so this is kind of my fault, but still. It was not pleasant. Especially when monsters would grab me, and then their buddies would surround me. I fixed that by making a force weapon that would send out a shock wave in all directions and knock monsters back (or kill the ones that were giving me this particular problem).

Too Many Regenerators
In the first two games, these monsters were unstoppable, until you were in a specific room or area of the game which would allow you to freeze or incinerate them. In this game, that option isn’t a thing. Sometimes you’ll be running away from two or more of these things, and that is your only option. It’s even worse when it’s a room your stuck in with them and other monsters still coming in to attack you. I’ll admit, they are scary monsters, but it gets old after you run into them for the eighth time, or keep dying because you have no stasis left and keep getting killed over and over (label this as frustrating).

    Overall

Dead Space 3 is a fun and entertaining game. It’s still got some intense moments, jump scares, and has it’s share of decent atmosphere that still feels like a Dead Space game. With the exception of the weapon customization stuff, the rest of the stuff they added really didn’t do much to hinder or impact my experience, and wasn’t enough to ruin the game. At around 20 hours of playtime for my first play-through on Hard difficulty, I feel like I got my money’s worth.

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