Set deep in outer space, the USG Kellion has been sent out after a distress signal is received from the Planet Cracker Starship Ishimura in orbit around the Planet Aegis 7. After making a boarding, which leaves the Kellion destroyed, it immediately becomes apparent that something otherworldly is going on aboard the Ishimura. With most of the ships systems offline, it’s up to Issac Clark, the games main hero and controllable character to save the day, in what will prove to be one white knuckle, pulse pounding, twisted ride around the ship.. Inside and out.
It’s survival horror time again… In outer space! After expecting something similar to Alien meets The Thing meets Event Horizon, i wasn’t surprised as it pretty much ticks all the boxes. Clearly the game has been inspired by many horror movies of times gone by, its shows in a multitude of different ways. For example the way the ‘aliens’, called Necromorphs in the game, are effectively altered/mutated human body parts is something that could have been almost stripped clean out of the 1982 classic The Thing. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery they say, well I bet John Carpenter is a very happy man. Not to say that imitating is necessarily a bad thing but it would be nice if someone could make a space horror that didn’t use many of the ‘old dark house’ cliches. To summarise Dead Space’s aesthetic style, I would say it’s awesome just not very original.
The audio of the game is very impressive however, most of the audio effects are bombastic and sublime and add a strong feeling of atmosphere that blends with the visual style well. Many of the roars, groans and mechanical sounds of the ship are created with a decided grit to them that lends to help make Dead Space an authentic experience. The timing of the effects is superb and played down to a T in making the player jump out of the couch and onto their ass. In fact this is probably the scariest videogame ive played yet, way, way scarier than Resident Evil 5 anyways (but that wouldn’t be hard).
The downside of Dead Space, or at least as far as the PC version goes is in the controls. It’s sluggish, I mean ultra hippo fatty kind of sluggish. It’s really bad. In fact it was so bad I had to switch over to the xbox 360 controller, which I have to say did improve the gaming experience substantially. Controlling the player, plus camera became much easier and taking on those pesky Necromorphs became a doddle. So be warned if your gonna jump on this game probably best to make sure you have a controller first. Dead Space does have moments where the gameplay style will alter, eg, there is a part where you have to clear a debris field using one of the Ishimuras Turret Cannons. This essentially is like playing a very high tech version of Space Invaders, but it’s fun and there are a few more moments through the game that are like this.
The game is reasonably long and is probably a lot tougher than most modern games that around at the moment. I liked this, I liked that the game was a challenge, I can’t remember the last time a videogame gave me a real challenge and it was a breath of fresh air. It’s also worth mentioning that the game ran very smooth on our testing rig here, never dipping below 60fps with all settings maxed out at 1920×1080 res. Impressive indeed considering the high detail of the visuals. Perhaps nowhere as good as say Crysis but nonetheless impressive, I defy anyone to say Dead Space has crap graphics. All in all would I recommend Dead Space? Yes i would, but beware the control issue as it can be a big issue for some, if you are prepared to persevere, it’s worth it, otherwise don’t waste your time and money. For others, grab yourself one of the best survival horror games of recent years and have a great trip cutting it up onboard the Ishimura.