Dead Space on the Playstation Three
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22 September 2009
"Dead Space" (DS) is a superb new entry in the survival-horror genre that never stops creating a very palpable, tension filled atmosphere through each of its twelve chapters. Combining the peril of the unknown with the thrill of exploration and discovery you play as Issac Clarke; one member of a team that is sent in to aid the "U.S.S. Ishimura." Upon arrival you learn that something apparently very nasty went down on this ship, and you spend the remaining hours piecing together clues as to what exactly that was. These clues are found throughout the ship in the form of crew diaries and recount many different aspects about what happened to the ship and, more importantly, the crew. Now I would be remiss not to name another important "main" character in this game as well: "The U.S.S. Ishimura." As you wander precipitously down darkened corridors you might stop to take in the sounds. Yes, sounds. You see, despite this derelict ship drifting vicariously through sterile space it is very much alive. You will hear the creaking and groaning of the hulk as it undergoes stress from sustained damage. Venture further into its bowels and you will occasionally hear the ever so subtle whispering of disembodied voices. You may even be lucky enough to hear a child's creepy serenade of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as you roam the lifeless corridors and stare in wonder as you pass evidence of gruesome acts performed by its former inhabitants. All these ambient effects serve to envelope you in a pure sense of dread, and it works really well. Combat is handled very differently in DS as Necromorphs (the game's main enemy) cannot be put down by simple head shots (sorry head shot enthusiasts), but dismemberment is the key to victory in DS. Luckily you will acquire an impressive stock of unique weapons to help achieve this task, although the game's default weapon (Plasma Cutter) proves to be a veritable Swiss Army knife in Issac's arsenal. This little baby can pretty much get you through the entire game all on its own. But to do that would be a disservice to the other inventive weapons such as the Contact Beam or Ripper (among others). Overall DS proves to be a sterling example to other developers about taking risks on new IPs. In an industry that has become complacent with sequel-itis DS successfully stands out from the crowd as a new franchise and should not be missed.
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