‘Dead Space’: Analysis.
Who has not dreamed of becoming an Alien for a day? Or better… have you never wanted to be a poor astronaut trapped in a ship full of aliens, who only think of procreating with your large intestine? Of course.
And to appease the craving for blood, pain and livers comes ‘Dead Space’, the space horror bet that Electronic Arts has developed for lovers of science fiction and gore. Gentlemen, take a seat and hold tight to your oxygen mask, because this is one of the “must have” of the year and space will never be the same again.
We will take the role of Isaac Clarke, the space engineer of a rescue team that comes to the rescue of the USG Ishimura, a large space mining base that has stopped sending signs of life after unearthing a strange object on a distant planet. But soon we will discover that space holds many surprises and that Alien, the eighth passenger, has some cousins who are true children of hell.
Understand that before a game like this, I can hardly tell anything new about the plot. Ignoring the plot twists and omitting characters and situations, unfortunately, will be the trend that this analysis follows. It is a full-fledged Survival Horror and what matters is whether it meets the most difficult challenge facing a game in this genre.
Scary? a lot, and also recovers the old flavor left by the old sci-fi horror titles, like ‘Final Horizon’ or any of the first two installments of Alien. Let’s start then.
The game of light and shadow, as should be normal in this type of game, is perfectly recreated. Without reaching the extreme of overwhelm and unease that ‘Doom III’ produced, but maintaining the essence of dark, closed places where, as a general rule, you are never safe.
But when talking about graphic elements we have to stop at two points that, despite being directly related to the game mechanics, do give the title its own entity.
The mutilation of bodies. Much has been said about the eight hundred thousand ways to die that the character has and yes, they are right. We can die crushed, dismembered, drowned, dismembered, throats cut, beheaded, electrocuted, burned… and so on until completing a true collection of savage and insane acts. But we are not the only ones who are going to die like this.
Enemies tear into pieces just like the intrepid Isaac, and when I say enemies I also mean that pile of settler corpses that, from time to time, also appear. come on what If you shoot any of our weapons (all designed to dismember enemies) at an alien/thing’s arm, you’ll rip it off. Obviously, everything is surrounded by a beautiful bloodbath that splashes on the walls and floor, as it should be.
The second point I would like to stress has to do with the game interface. Both the energy bar and the bullet time bar (because our protagonist can slow down time, otherwise it wouldn’t be a new generation game of course…) are not floating around the screen as usual.
This time they have been integrated into the character, his spine lights up indicating the level of life and the drop-down menus (map, inventory, mission, etc.) are projected in front of the character. A graphic fardada that ensures that we never lose the thread of the story and the tension, since unlike 99% of games, when invoking the help or weapon selection menus… the game does not pause. So there is not a moment of respite, and believe me, we are going to need them.
A game of this depth needs a soundtrack to match and this is it. Gloomy and mysterious music at the level of any horror film production, although the best thing is its sound effects.
Why, gentlemen, walking with all the fear in the world through the corridors of a poorly lit spaceship, with the electrical clicks produced by a break in the circuitry of a console, the metallic sound of our steps, Isaac’s breathing, the creaking of the walls due to compression and the terrifying tearing cries for help from a settler about to be dismemberedis quite an experience.
Recommended for use with a 5.1 system. Of course, only the bravest try or, overnight, we will be left without half of SamaGame’s readers.
And here, in my opinion, comes the weakest part of the matter. It’s not that the gameplay of a title like this is bad, in fact it’s only a little behind the other two sections, but that’s enough to unbalance the balance a bit.
First of all, clarify that the decision to implement such a gameplay is surely due to an elaborate study on how to further increase the feeling of panic and uneasiness that the game strives to provoke.
We could summarize that playing ‘Dead Space’ is not comfortable. The character is located to one side of the camera, not in the central point and most of the time it prevents us from seeing what is coming or what lies in wait for us. As I said, it has its logical explanation if we want to increase the tension, but in any case it is a decision that will not please many.
The issue of in-game menus should also be noted. As we said before, while they help keep the plot line and tension skyrocketing by not pausing the game, they sometimes become a real nuisance and cause good old Isaac to literally lose his mind.
Another gray point in this brilliant trajectory is the use of RagDolls. In few games will you see such an exaggerated behavior of any object with physics (especially dead bodies) as in this one. Walking next to a corpse is equivalent to Roberto Carlos throwing a free kick in front of the small area. In other words, the physical reactions are extremely exaggerated and do not give any sense of forcefulness.
In summary, it gives the feeling that the control is a bit rough, especially when facing certain creatures face to face or changing gravity in some phases, but in any case it does not tarnish the brilliant final result.
And the good things, which of course also have them, lead us to discover a very original guidance system that the title boasts. We are in the future, our suit is equipped with the most of the most and of course a mode that indicates the direction to follow at all times could not be missing.
By pressing the corresponding button, our character projects a series of incandescent blue arrows on the ground that guide us directly to our goal. A kind of GPS that saves our skin on several occasions.
But let’s talk about the dismemberment system that is directly related to the Gameplay possibilities that the game offers. Forget that typical headshot thing. Here that does not work, or rather, it works less.
Given the biological nature of the creatures that populate the Ishimura, by cutting off their heads with any of our weapons, they will not feel the inevitable desire to die and will continue walking towards us, or worse, bursting into a multitude of hellish critters hungry for food. space colonist. Quite a delight. The fact is that in shootings or when trying to repel an entire horde of disgusting bugs, a certain point of strategy must be taken into account that further increases the tension to which the title subjects us.
In short, a real great game for lovers of science fiction and horror. Touring the rooms of the USG Ishimura under the command of the poor and unfortunate protagonist on duty will become an authentic orgy of blood, violence and mutilated human beings. Or what is the same, in something totally recommendable and that will delight the most demanding gamers.
Recommended for all those who have lost their entire family at the hands of an alien race that feeds on livers and other human organs. If you like being scared in space, this is your game.
Not recommended to those who suffer from the heart (I’m not referring to unrequited lovers), since a dose of ‘Dead Space’ without warning can cause havoc.
Technical Sheet: ‘Dead Space’
- platforms: XBox 360, PS3 (reviewed version), PC
- Distributor: Electronic Arts
- Study: EA Redwood Shores
- Launch: Now available
- PricePrice: €66.90 (Xbox 360, PS3), €46.95 (PC)