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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-23-08, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Default Dead Space - My Review (Some Spoilers)

Be Afraid.

This is the premise behind Dead Space, EA's new horror IP.

Set a few hundred years in the future, Dead Space follows Isaac Clarke, a service technician, as he travels to the stricken 'Planet Cracking' ship the USG Ishimura. The ship, which is the oldest and most decorated ship in the Concordance Extraction Company's fleet of planet mining ships, has recently gone under full radio blackout. Your job is to find out what broke down, and fix it so that the crew can get back to their job.

Except it doesn't really go that way. The crew has all been killed and returned as horrid monsters. Almost every ship system is in need of a repair. And the item that started this... is still on board.

From the start, this game looks amazing. The graphics, on the Xbox 360 version, looked better than basically every other game i've played on the 360 so far, with only one instance of a framerate drop in the 10 or so hours i've played it.

The look of the creatures is worthy of a mention here - the creatures, known as Necromorphs, look amazing, and there is a massive variety of types, ranging from small leech-like creatures through to monsters the size of several trucks. each monster requires a different approach to defeat, although cutting off their limbs (the standard method) seems to cover you most of the time.

Much hype has surrounded the technique of "Strategic Dismemberment" ever since EA first unveiled it, and their efforts have certainly paid off. almost every section of every limb can be cut off - both on them and on you. legs, arms, torsos, heads, all of it becomes fodder for the many weapons given to you over the course of the game. In this game, the traditional tactic of shooting them in the head won't work as well as you'd think. instead, you have to take them down bit by bloody bit. shooting off the legs slows them down, shooting the arms makes them less effective in close combat. what's interesting to note is that their tactics can change depending on how you dismember them. sometimes they just take it in their stride, slowly dragging themselves toward you, and other times it can cause other effects. One particular monster carries a swarm of smaller creatures in its belly, so when you shoot out its legs the creature falls down and the belly explodes, releasing a horde of little monsters who can't wait to crawl all over you.

The sounds of the game are second to none. The voice acting feels realistic, with only one exception - Nicole, the woman that Isaac is looking for. In the first video that she is in, she is supposed to be on the verge of a breakdown. instead, it sounds forced.
The environmental sounds were obviously well thought out. some sounds, such as fans, doors and elevators sound completely natural, while some others (there are a few, you'll know what they are when you hear them) sound disturbing, and immediately get you to think just what is happening around the corner. Each monster sounds unique, from weird hisses through to bestial roars, and not one of them sounds like it was made by any creature i've seen in real life.
Entering any vacuum area is interesting, as all you hear is muffled sounds of gunfire, Isaac's heartbeat, and his breathing, which becomes more and more labored, raises the tension more than a little.

However, there are problems with this game.

First thing is that it gets repetitive at times. Pretty much everything you need to use needs an important part fixed.
First you have to find a data board for the tram.
then you have to repair the tram.
then you have to clear the rails of a broken tram.

pretty much any time that you think that you might be making some progress, something has to break, and jolt you out of your feeling of success.

The second problem is the little minigame that you are forced to play, where you take control of a cannon designed to shoot asteroids and you need to defend the ship with it. This section was the most unbelievably frustrating part of the game - its almost impossible to aim the cannon, and the asteroids move so fast that they rocket out of range faster than you can scream.

If you like horror games, gore, or science fiction, this game is well worth the purchase. This is total immersion.

On the subject of Rat Ogres:
But if we give them laser eyes and mounted guns, we'll have to bring in Clan Skryre, and everyone knows how much those limp-tailed snuff addicts overcharge.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-23-08, 11:19 AM
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Hmm, sounds pretty interesting! I'm been wanting a decent looking game on the 360 for bloody ages. Halo 3 was a big disapointment on the graphics respects, I might check this out. Good review!

One question, if I may, how atmospheric would you say the game was? Does the limp-slicing section removed from the horror, or ant other game mechanic that detracts from the immersion?

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-08, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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It's a very atmospheric game. it's as close to total immersion and atmosphere as it is really possible to go in a game.

One thing that didn't make sense to me was the health system - or more accurately, the way it is displayed.

On everyone's spine is a strip of lights, starting at the base of the skull and stretching down to about halfway down the back. more lights means more healthy. Having these lights on your back, while allowing the player to see the health more easily, doesn't make sense from a reality standpoint.

The HUD is pretty good - instead of pausing the game and bringing up the menu, it projects a holographic image in front of Isaac. This DOES NOT PAUSE THE GAME. its not common, but having a monster take a chunk out of you while you are busy looking in your pockets to drop items (inventory space is at a premium) can be quite effective.

I was playing on a 68cm CRT TV, and i found it difficult to read some of the text. to counteract this, i had to stand next to a wall and nudge the right stick a little so that it took up most of the screen.

The strategic dismemberment makes for interesting gameplay, but one tactic works well - go for the legs. once an enemy loses their legs, they become much easier to kill, as all you really need to do is stomp on them once or twice. occasionally, there would be so many limbs on the ground that the enemy started to use the bits as cover.

Graphically speaking, dismemberment is done very well. you can cut off limbs at just about any point along its length and it will show up when you look at the pieces.

The weapons are mostly useful. They are all converted mining tools, with the exception of one weapon. The weapons are:
Handheld Plasma Cutter - pistol sized distance cutting torch.
Line Gun - Bigger version of the cutter.
Ripper - Think a circular saw operated magnetically from a distance. this one is quite hard to use, as it fires out to a certain range and follows your targeting reticle. good for cutting feet off, but not much else.
Pulse Rifle - the only military weapon. good rate of fire, and reliable. I used this one the most, as it blew legs off really quickly.
Flamethrower - nuff said really. the weapon is good, as the light emitted by the fire makes you feel a little more safe. plus watching things burn is fun!
Contact Beam - basically the Spartan Laser from Halo. you charge it up, and then it fires a ball of energy which smashes things apart.
Force Gun - didn't try this one, but apparently it just fires balls of force. will try it on my next playthrough.

Oh, and one more thing - There's a religion in the game called Unitololgy. it's one of the most obvious attacks on Scientology i have ever seen. i don't care much for religion, but if you are a Scientologist and are easily offended by people making fun of your religion, then you might want to pass this one up.

that's all i've got time for, so i'll be back later.

On the subject of Rat Ogres:
But if we give them laser eyes and mounted guns, we'll have to bring in Clan Skryre, and everyone knows how much those limp-tailed snuff addicts overcharge.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-28-08, 01:57 PM
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After playing this, the only thing I can recommend is that buying shares in your favoured brand of underwear would be in your interests.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-31-08, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoRLoKKeD View Post
After playing this, the only thing I can recommend is that buying shares in your favoured brand of underwear would be in your interests.
It can't be that bad! >watches some videos of it< oh. oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. >goes down to underwear shop<

seriously, this game looks scary as hell. A definite must have for me (If my mum lets me of course )


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-01-08, 01:09 PM
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I just played an hour of this in a mate's house, I am now heading straight for the nearest Gamestop. Brilliant.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-10-08, 06:14 PM
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NerdyOgre, think of the force gun along the lines of a shotgun in that its primary fire is short ranged and wide. However, unlike a shotgun if you shoot something thats really close to you, Isaac will go flying as well.

Like Dead Rising, Dead Space is an HD game; a videogame designed to normally be played on HD screens. (Both Dead Space and Dead Rising have in game text thats hard to read on any other kind of TV.)

I actually liked the health system of the game myself; never really looked at is as how how healthy you were, rather how your condition was in regard to moving on. The lower your health, the worse off you were; with those health packs being the equivalent of painkillers that would help block out any pain and injury sustained and allow you to keep on going unhindered.

Definitely recomend this game; for those who beat it, there is a difference between Isaac's face at the begining and end right? (Other than the cuts/bruises)

Damnation is paved on good intentions; subtle and sugar coated or blunt and honest
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Seriously, is it really that hard to write reviews without spoilers?

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