King Beetle Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Game Review - Dead Space

Throughout my days as a gamer, I've there's an abundant amount of recent sci-fi/horror shooter games out there, but the majority seem to have more use when you use them to level that short table leg than as actual games.

There -IS- a few games that stand out, however, such as Doom 3, but the most recent one I've come across is the multi-platform (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC) game by EA Games, Dead Space.

You take the role of Isaac, a ship engineer sent with a small crew sent out to investigate the lack of communication from the U.S.G. Ishimura, the largest planet cracker built, which in essence is a gigantic spaceship that pulls out gargantuan chunks of a planet, and collects the resources from that chunk. However, it seems it's more than a mechanical problem as the player finds the ship littered with the mutilated corpses of what used to be the crew, along with something not entirely human.

For a games like this, one would have expected it to be yet another first-person shooter, but instead, it stands out as one of the greater third-person shooters, like the widely-known game, Gears of War. But, as opposed to Gears, aiming your gun at the enemy's head or body isn't the best way to take out the mutated, hellish creatures, the crew of the Ishimura named 'Necromorphs', due to the fact the majority of the monsters are created by a certain type of creature taking the dead corpses of the crew and re-forming them into other necromorphs.

Instead, the most effective way to dispose of the necromorphs is to cut their limbs off with whatever gun you have. Whereas taking one out uses about 15 or so shots from your plasma cutter, a few shots to sever their legs, then two more for an arm is enough to kill the basic monsters. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you un-learn the headshot, you be making as many creature corpses as those of the planet cracker's crew.

The arsenal given may be small, being about seven very differing guns, but their effect is oh-so satisfying. They range from your first tool- turned-weapon, the plasma cutter, which fires a quick and strong line- like shot, which can be shot as a horizontal shot, or a vertical one, to the shotgun-like force gun, which fires a powerful cone-shaped blast of air with high damage and high knock-back, to the ripper, which is basically a gun that shoots a floating, remote-controlled circular saw blade.

The game also features a few weapons we all know and love, such as the flamethrower, and the pulse rifle, whose 360 degree bullet sweep secondary fire is quite devastating. My favorite, however, is the line gun, which fires a thin, but very wide laser, able to cut through multiple enemies in a hallway.

The story is quite developped for a game like this, involving religion, law, and betrayal. You don't have to pay attention to the story to have fun, but it helps understand what happened before and during your stay on the Ishimura.

The gameplay proves to be always-pleasing, featuring multiple abilities, such as zero-gravity areas, where you can jump from wall to wall, air-less areas, the object-moving kinesis ability, and the stasis ability, which freezes you enemies in a slow-motion-like state. Also features including vending-machine stores for supplies, ammo, weapons, and upgraded suits, and automated work benches where you can upgrade your health, abilities, and of course, weapons, by using objects called power nodes that you find throughout the complex spaceship.

The game not only excels in gameplay, but also in sound and graphics, with clear, realistic sounds, extremely detailed character models, and near-perfect lighting. Even with all the great visuals, the game doesn't seem to lag at any point in the console version.

With plenty of things to try out, things to upgrade, and of course achievements on the 360 version (such as the One Gun achievement, which requires you to go through the entire game with only your plasma cutter), the game proves to have plenty of replay value. I would suggest this game to anyone a fan of sci-fi or, shooter games. A definite buy, or rent if you're uncertain.

Graphics: 9.6

Sound: 9.0

Story: 8.8

Gameplay: 9.5

Overall: 9.4


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