Game: Dead Space first thoughts


Dead Space

“Only the Dead Survive.

A massive deep-space mining ship goes dark after unearthing a strange artifact on a distant planet. Engineer Isaac Clarke embarks on the repair mission, only to uncover a nightmarish blood bath — the ship's crew horribly slaughtered and infected by alien scourge. Now Isaac is cut off, trapped, and engaged in a desperate fight for survival.” —

So, being completed disgusted with the lack-luster array of games on the market today, I thought, ok, what the heck I’m bored, I’ll give this one a try, plus it was $39.99 instead of the mandatory $49.99 games seem to be fetching these days and got some decent reviews. At any rate, <shock>I’m glad I did!</shock>

It’s an XBOX title that has been “ported” to PC, which, if you’ve tried a few of these before, you know can be hit and miss especially with mapping controls from a controller to a keyboard and mouse. I’ll give it to ‘em, they did a pretty good job. The mouse is a little sluggish when moving around the Save Game menu, but other then that, no problems.

It’s a third-sh person sci-fi horror shooter. By Third-ish I mean, you get a 3rd person view of yourself, but they did something pretty interesting. Your character is offset to the lover left corner of the display. So at first it seems a little odd to play, however what it does allow is the menu-ing system (inventory, objectives, etc) have a fairly large and readable view in the right area of the screen (click image for larger view):

HUD Screenshot

It’s actually pretty damn cool, if you pan your camera around, the HUD moves around and perspective changes. Well done fellas!

The game also features a purchasing system for upgrading your suit, weapons, ammo, etc. Which initially I am not a huge fan of but it’s limited enough to not be overwhelming and big enough to give you some options. I was a bit confused with what weapons used what ammo, perhaps a read through the manual would have been useful. But it’s not rocket science by a long shot.

Combat is definitely part of the game, but it by no means is the main purpose of the game (aka Doom3, and most other FPS titles). The story line, while a bit cliché (go to help a ship in space and surprise its deserted except for the baddies), really draws you in. Not so much with the plot but how the game integrates it all together and really makes you want to learn more. Just the right combination.

During my first play, I went completely through the first mission and well into the second, and I was pretty tired when I started, it just sucked me in and kept me going. An interesting factor it has is anti-gravity sections. Your suit has some variety of magnet shoes with it, but in these anti-grav sections, you can walk on walls and ceilings and what not, pretty neat, although so far it seems to only be a “hey that’s cool” factor. These things are always a little hard to negotiate and definitely ripped me out of the world to consider how I have to move and use what controls to get to where I need to go. But so far it’s been pretty limited, so maybe it’s not a big deal.

The only annoying part is the game was published by EA which I am not a fan of, but Monolith made a damn good title here, DAMN GOOD!