Let me start by admitting that I totally give in to the mood that these games evoke. I allow them to trick me into believing that my life is on the line and every door that I eagerly await to open will undoubtedly have a necromorph behind it waiting to scare the $#!% out of me. So yeah, these games genuinely scare me and while the 2nd game is nowhere near as terrifying as the first, it still built up tension as I patrolled the bloodstained hallways of the sprawl and left me no choice put to pause the game every now and then to give me a few moments of peace.
So yeah, Dead Space games scare me.
Having said that, the Dead Space 3 demo is not scary. But that isn’t a bad thing.
Fans of the series know the games can be scary when they want to be, but the developers at Visceral Games used this demo to let gamers tackle the new features of the game.
- Open world environment
- Gun crafting
The demo opens up with a little exposition of where the game is starting us out. Upon entry, the ship you’re on breaks apart, crash landing on Tau Volantis. Isaac wakes up, with a little more than frost in his beard and sets out to find the rest of his crew. The graphics here are incredible and even though you’re thrown into an open environment that still doesn’t stop there from being a bit of tension. Monster howls can be heard in the distance and there is so much wind and snow being blown in your face it takes your visibility down significantly, allowing the gamers to feel uneasy despite the fact that they aren’t in a dark hallway with flickering lights.
Playing this game felt exactly like playing Dead Space 2, all the controls are the same and Isaac still carries the same weight, it just feels great. After playing games like Uncharted and Mass Effect, franchises who change-up their control scheme after every game, its refreshing up the controller and know nothing has changed. It’s like riding a bike.
All necromorphs in the demo are relatively new, offering surprises for those familiar with simply cutting away limbs and calling it good. A new enemy dubbed the name “Fodder” are human like and will charge you with ice-picks and after taking enough damage will split in half and sprout three dagger tentacles that they’ll use to slash at you.
One necromorph that stood out to me the most was one called “The Swarm”. These tiny beasts are little heads with spider-like legs. They search for dead bodies and reanimate their corpses. The ones you’ll see in the demo, reanimate the dead corpse of a unitologist soldier, wielding a gun. The creature will rise, lifting the gun, firing while he does so. It’s up to you to dive out-of-the-way. This creature won’t hit you with precision hits, its more of a blind-fire type attack. However, even if you take this creature down, the head will remove itself from the body and search another corpse to reanimate, it’s up to you to destroy the head.
Also, this demo does feature Unitologist soldiers. These guys will take cover, aim for the head and toss grenades at your feet. The only thing about the demo, is that anytime you were fighting these soldiers, it wasn’t long until the necromorphs crashed the party and turn the fire fight into full on mayhem.
The co-op campaign is something that has been somewhat controversial among fans. They’ve been speculating that it’ll steal from the horror and well…that’s kind of the only argument to be had. Well, I can’t say much for the horror, because you only play 15 minutes of a game in a franchise known to have relatively lengthy campaigns.
Regardless, the co-op was a breath of fresh air, especially if you have the benefit of playing as Carver. I played the demo through on single player first and then played co-op and it was pretty neat to see how certain events play out when both characters are present. Not only that, but there is some extra dialogue being tossed around and you see that Carver and Isaac don’t really see eye to eye. You don’t get that kind of interaction between the two when you play single player.
The only things that bothered me about the co-op was that Carver plays EXACTLY like Isaac, there’s no difference between the two other than the color of their suits are. It would be nice, considering he is a much larger man than Isaac, for Carver to be a bit slower. It’d be a nice detail, but also warrant the need for team work. Isaac is quick, able to get away from a large group, but Carver has a better chance at keeping enemies at bay by using powerful melees and stomps. But, I digress. I guess when you factor in your advanced weaponry, it doesn’t really matter how hard you can punch.
And my what a convenient segue.
Let me just say that I was absolutely surprised by how complex the gun crafting is in this game. I never knew how satisfying it was to mow down necromorphs with a gun I’d built. In order to build a gun you’ll need a frame. There are two types; one-handed weapons or heavy weapons requiring two hands.
Each gun, if you really want, can have two different firing methods; upper tool and lower piece. Each piece can have an adaptor, giving your weapon a little more kick, like coating your bullets with stasis. Your gun can carry attachments, some include; ammo sweeper, increasing your ammo efficiency or medic support, where any health you consume will also heal your partner.
Not only will you craft guns but you’ll also craft ammo, medics and stasis packs. Ammo is now universal, no longer will you be juggling with different ammo packs for different guns. Everything will be crafted from the supplies you scavenge throughout the game. This goes the same for upgrading your rig.
You’ll upgrade your hit points, stasis, air and even your armor. Each upgrade you make will make a physical change to your suit. No longer will you have to spend a perfectly good node on an empty space just so you can use the next node you find on something useful.
Now, lets talk about some of the things we saw in the demo!
The Dead Space 3 story has somewhat been shrouded in mystery. We know that a necromorph infestation was stopped in its tracks on Tau Volantis and that’s why you’re headed there, to learn how.
This planet could tell us so many things. Who built the markers? How were the necromorphs stopped? What happened on Tau Volantis? And its this last question that’ll be begging the answer from gamers, because there are some very interesting things to see in this Demo.
Most of the buildings look pretty old, there are transport vehicles covered in snow and necromorph beasts frozen in the ice inside some of the buildings. In one building you’ll enter, there is a sort of excavation site. The ground is dug up a blocked off by makeshift fencing. Inside this little site are bones, so its clear, whoever was on Tau Volantis, whether it be Unitologist or EarthGov, they were looking for something.
There are also colossal creatures, and I do mean colossal…like Hivemind from the end of the first game, frozen in the ice. Kind of, you see this beast stuck in the ice only to have it, if not a different one attack you at the end, bringing the demo to a close.
The demo is GREAT and it leaves fans with a lot of questions. If you’re unsure about the game, then you’ll guarantee your money after playing the demo. I, for one, am impatiently waiting for February 5.
Check back here after the game releases for our Dead Space 3 review.