Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't count out Dead Space

By Fartknocckker
Sythbane Squadron contributor

Back in October, EA released Dead Space. If you were too busy with any of the other superb titles that were plentiful this holiday season and missed Dead Space, I strongly advise you to pick up this exceptional game.

Dead Space brings some cool features to the survival horror genre. There are no traditional meters, numbers or gauges on the corners of the screen or pause menus. All HUD functions are projected from your rig (suit) in real time about a foot in front of your character. This handles your inventory, objectives, logs and a 3-D map that can be tumbled in any direction.

Your health bar is a luminescent, segmented vertical tube on the back of your rig that follows your spine. Ammo is counted on the weapons themselves, although most of them are actually mining tools that cut or displace.

That is another unique aspect to this third-person shooter. Head shots won’t get you anywhere. You have to take off the limbs of the necromorphs to kill them. To aid your aiming, a stasis device is provided to slow down enemies. Telekinesis is also used to pick up objects to shoot at your enemies to conserve ammo.

The locater system which is similar to the “breadcrumb trail” in Fable 2 is very convenient to steer you in the right direction. Click the right stick, and a thin blue laser is projected from your palm to the ground.

Sections with zero-gravity and segments with no atmosphere (aka space) do not break the action and bring continuity to the theme and story.

The story of Dead Space is very well written. The voice acting stands out. The controls are tight. The visuals are some of the best I’ve seen in the past several years and the sound design is superb. This game has a very high production value and the positives far outweigh the negatives. I commend EA on their efforts.

Fartknocckker, a veteran gamer and a veteran veteran, was never scared of the necromorphs. They were scared of him.

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