One of the ALL TIME greatest video game horror franchises is back! Yes, you heard that right. I’m placing Dead Space above Resident Evil (who, lets face it, has all but given up on making their games terrifying), Silent Hill (again…they just quit), Condemned, BioShock, The Darkness, or really anything that has came out in the past 5 years.
If you have not played this game series, it’s probably because you enjoy sleeping, or sitting in the dark. It all started in 2008 with Dead Space. This one game has spawned not just a trilogy but an entire tri-fecta with video games (obviously), movies, and graphic novels. I’ll let you know now, I have A LOT to say about this game, so get comfortable, grab a blanket, turn off the lights, and grab a flashlight. Your horror bone will be pushed to it’s limits with this game.
This tale of space exploration and gore begins aboard a repair ship heading towards the USS Ishimura, a “planet cracker” as they call it. The USS Ishimura’s job, drill into planets and harbor its resources, hence the name “planet cracker”. Sitting there listening to two “Captains” argue we get our first glimpse of Isaac, our “hero”. Well, the back of his head anyway. After crash landing onto the USS Ishimura the crew sets out to figure out what happened to the crew of the Ishimura and to find an escape ship that they “think” is held in the cargo bay. Right away they know something is wrong, there is no one there to great them. Not one person, but there is plenty of blood covering the walls, floor, and ceiling. This is where you, playing as Isaac, get your first look at the necros. As one slams through the ceiling and rips two of your crew members to shreds, like a dog does to a stuffed toy. Now it is just Isaac, Commander Hammond, and Computer Specialist Daniels left, and of course they become separated. Once Commander Hammond figures out the most of the Ishimura’s systems can be repaired Isaac is sent off on his own to get life support and everything else up and running while Hammond and Daniels make their way to the Bridge. After a lot of killing and a lot of blood Isaac finally meets up with Hammond just in time to watch him die. Now it is just Daniels and Isaac. Just when you think it is all over, there comes a twist, and you are essentially left alone except for your hallucinations and dementia all caused by “the marker”. An Alien artifact that is being worshiped by the Church of Unitology.
If you have played the game, then you know that I just left out a lot of information. Well, that’s because I don’t want to be know as a “spoiler”. There are so many things about this game that I absolutely loved! From the gratuitous violence to the story line. I mean, space is already “scary” enough. A huge black void that kills you within seconds if you are not fully protected all the time. Now add into that little suck salad and entire crew of a few thousand people who have been transformed into these Necros and only want to kill you, dismember you, and convert you and you have a damn fun time, if you ask me.
Like all “first runs” this one had it’s flaws. For starters, you could not free float in zero gravity. Yeah, I was kind of bummed too. You’re restricted from jumping surface to surface when in zero gravity. Also, when you do actualy have to walk around is space (which you will) you start with a very limited oxygen supply. Around 90 seconds I believe? I know that the game has to be challenging but come on…who only keeps 90 seconds worth of oxygen on their suit when in space? transformed into these necromorphs (or Necros from here on out) and all they want to do is kill you. Sounds like a damn fun time if you ask me.
What I loved most about the first game? The Plasma Cutter! Yes, this fun and awesome little hand gun needs to be on your person at ALL TIMES in this game (and if you have the balls and skills, it will be the only weapon you use all game). This powerful little weapon is actually an Engineer tool that is great for cutting off the limbs of the Necros. Oh…I forgot to mention, that is the ONLY way to kill them. You HAVE TO dismember them! Shooting them in the head won’t stop them, unloading a clip into their chest won’t do anything except waste your ammo. Cut off the limbs!!! When your Plasma Cutter becomes fully maxed out (yes, you upgrade your weapons and suits in this game) then you can take down Necros with three – six well placed shots.
A word of warning: take your time! There are a lot of Necros, and not a lot of bullets. You have to be precise! Plus, if you look around then you will find a lot of “special” items that will help you along the way.
Dead Space 2
When I first heard there was a sequel to Dead Space I was excited/scared. Excited because I enjoyed the first one SO much! Scared, because…well let’s face it, the horror genre does not have a good track record when it comes to sequels. However, right from the beginning, you’re hooked and you know this game is going to kick your ass. You’re Isaac, of course, only this time you find yourself in what appears to be a mental health hospital (My first thought…how the hell did I get back to Earth?). Well, you’re not on Earth, you’re still stuck in space, on a Saturn moon this time, in an entire space city! After a brief interrogation series you are being woke up by someone trying to save you. There is, yet again, blood all over the place. After this stranger frees you from your restraints but before he can cut off your straight jacket, a Necros (called the “morpher”) kills him and transforms him into a Necro, right in front of you! Now, you are running, still strapped into a straight jacket, with no way to protect yourself as you see the Necros jumping out of other cells trying to dismember you. Once you are free of your straight jacket Diana contacts you. Apparently she is the one that sent people to free you. She directs you to get out of the hospital and head to the Unitology Church where it’s “safe”. (Wait a minute…..) Once you finally make your way to the church and are betrayed by Diana, you find out that you were being used to build a new Marker, and that you had actually been on this moon for 3 years even though you can only remember the past week. Now that Diana is out of the way though, the facility administrator, Tiedemann, becomes your biggest challenge. He is trying to stop you at every turn. You’re not alone though, with the help of Stross (another mental patient) and Ellie (another CEC employee) you might just survive. You know the Marker has to be destroyed, so you grab your Plasma Cutter and go against an entire space city of Necros while still battling your hallucinations and dementia brought on from your first encounter with the Marker.
I just have to say how pleasantly pleased I was when I played this game. All the complaints that I had about the original Dead Space were resolved! You were able to free fly in zero gravity, your oxygen on your suit was taken to 120 seconds. Which for a game is pretty impressive. And the Necros…even more viscous than before. This isn’t necessarily something I wanted, but it did make the game that much more enjoyable.
The fist thing that you will notice after surviving running through the mental hospital in a straight jacket is a change to the design of your suit. You can tell that EA put the new graphics driver to work in this game, and it pays off! The new suit has so much detail that you can even see the blood splatter from your first Necro kill! Unlike the first game, rather than keeping the same look and feel through each suit update, you change suits. Each suit adding a little something fun to help you through the game. The Hacker Suit, allows you to hack panels faster. The “Vintage” suit gives you an insane amount of armor. And the “Advanced” suit recharges your stasis module (finally). The best thing though, you never go down in Armor. If one suit has 20% and the next suit only has 15%, you maintain your 20% Armor. It’s the little things in life!
Dead Space 2 also introduced new Necros! Since you are on a space city then it’s only fair that the kids get to join in on the fun…right? And what is more fun than crawling Necro babies that explode or crazed little children hopped up on sugar and death? These new Necros brought this game to a whole new level of creepy. Mainly because unlike the original Necros that would typically just scream, these new Necros make the sounds that you would expect a baby or kid to make. Don’t hesitate to pull that trigger though. They might sound cut with their laughs and “goo goo gah gahs” but they will rip you to shreads in a matter of seconds! Literally, I was curious, so I timed it. It took 2 seconds for the Necro kids to rip me apart. As for the Necor babies, well 2-3 explosions and you’re toast.
Overall, Dead Space 2 breathed more life into a game that didn’t really need it in the first place. The Necros are faster, tougher, and more deadly but so are your suits and weapons. The one thing missing was a Co-Op mode. Plus, the expansion packs that came out for Dead Space 2 allowed the gamer to go and experience an entirely different game. If you have played this game, and beat it but have not downloaded the DLC, then you aren’t anywhere near being complete. Go change your underwear and get back in there!
Dead Space: Ignition
Ignition is not like any other Dead Space game. In that, it is an arcade style puzzle game. You’re not really running around shooting Necros to survive. Instead, you are the engineer crew on Sprawl (the Saturn Moon from Dead Space 2) before all hell breaks loose. As you are sent from task to task to fix small problems you keep hearing distant screams of horror. Each job gives you a clue of sabotage. Someone doesn’t want you leaving this building. As you continue down your checklist you are summoned to fix the computer mainframe. Instead however, you find the Necros attacking, killing, dismembering, and morphing your fellow humans. Now you are running for your life. Trying to fix all the sabotage so you can escape while trying not to be discovered by the Necros.
While this short game did not have the blood an gore that I have come to love and expect from Dead Space, it was a good “quick fix” to my itch for something new from this series. I like puzzle games, and this game really challenges your patience, calmness, and quickness to figuring out problems.
These little puzzles will frustrate you, they will make you cuss, they will make you want to throw your controller through your television (I don’t recommend doing that). But they are worth it! Why? Because of the story line! You get more background onto how and why Isaac was brought to the station. You get answers about Diana and Tiedemann. The one thing I still have questions about is Stross. I haven’t fully beaten this arcade version yet, so I am hoping that he plays some role towards the end of the game.
Even though Dead Space 3 is coming out February, 5 2013 I would still recommend giving this short arcade game a chance. If anything, just to get the full story of Sprawl and why the Church of Unitolgy wants to build the Marker so bad!
Dead Space 3
On February 5, 2013 the third installment of Dead Space will be released, and I could not be more excited! They have brought in Co-Op (which is has been a long awaited feature). You, as Isaac, can control the outcome of the story with different endings depending on your actions throughout the game.
It promises to be more brutal, faster, bloodier, and scarier than before! After a long 3 years, this game is top on my “to play” list, and I promise you an update to this post once I have beaten the game. Stay tuned, and get to playing!