Dead Space 3 demo preview

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Dead Space 3 is coming out next month, but we here at Gaming Capacity were lucky enough to play the demo beforehand. So how does this game compare to its predecessors?

The demo starts with Isaac waking up in a destroyed shuttle and beginning his search for his friend Ellie. The atmosphere of the cold snow and desolate landscape is a great set up that gets the player in the mood for being alone in this world, if not a little ripped off from Lost Planet 3. The demo moves at a nice pace, until Isaac is attacked by his first necromorph and this is when Dead Space 3’s biggest problem becomes apparent. The game just isn’t scary.

The game takes all the tension away by having Isaac run free in an open area in the middle of the day with more ammo than he can count making you feel near on invincible. The dark corridors and confined areas of previous Dead Space games making the player feel trapped, and had them constantly planning how to use their environments to their advantage are gone if the demo is anything to go by. Now the game focuses on outdoor combat with a shooting system that was built for indoor action, it feels clunky and even unresponsive at times.  The enemy designs is also a disappointment, the human/necromorph hybrid enemy is unoriginal, as it looks like an ice climber covered in coal. The other enemies are either walking ice blocks with claws or demonic baby heads. All of these enemies have been in other Dead Space games and have looked scarier in darker environments.

A strange choice is that there are now human enemies to fight against; they add little to the experience and most of the time stand around waiting to be killed (we were only able to play on normal difficulty). Along with this is a weak cover system and the new dodge ability is ripped straight from the Mass Effect series. The placement of these enemies is lazy, some enemies jump out of the snow on the ground while others come out from behind walls, this feels like a lazy attempt to scare the player, but because Isaac is outside, it fails completely and comes off as comical.

There is now an in-depth weapon creation system that allows the player to create some fantastic death dealing weaponry. During our playtime we created buzz saws that were also flame throwers and rail guns that could force push the necromorphs away. This system makes the game repayable as the player will want to go back and try to create every type of weapon they can.

The sound in the demo is a mixed bag, while the music to the demo is fantastic, it doesn’t belong in a Dead Space game but rather it sounds something similar to Uncharted.  The voice acting is fair with no real stand out performances from either Carver or Issac.

The demo can be played in both single player and co-op, however the level largely stays the same, other than the fact another player is there. By adding another player, what little horror was found in the single player is now gone, and the game is considerably easier than before now another player is there to help. All of these choices feel out of place for Dead Space and make it seem that having co-op was more important than having a decent horror game. Now is that down to more EA meddling or a developer choice, we’ll leave you to decide upon that.

The demo also allows the player to use the kinect to shout commands at their screen. Commands such as ‘reload’ or ‘use stasis’.  At first the idea is fun, but the novelty wears off quickly, as all the commands the player can use are all easily accessible via the controller. One of the commands for kinect is ‘revive partner’ but this command on the controller to revive a partner is the A button, and when the kinect takes up to 3 seconds to register your voice, during that time the player can be killed, players will never want to use this function. The voice commands feel like a lazy attempt to integrate the kinect, and what’s truly questionable is why visceral decided to make voice commands the only kinect function, when ideas such as using stasis by waving the players hand are not present in the game.

The real problem with Dead Space 3 is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has the game play style of previous Dead Space games mixed with the Mass Effect series, quick time events and cinematic events taken from the Uncharted series all blended together in a Lost Planet  environment. This makes the game feel like a giant form of plagiarism, as if Visceral Games thought that combining the good parts of other games would make their game just as good. It comes off as lazy, as though Visceral stopped caring for the franchise.

If you are a Dead Space fan, we find it hard to see any reason you would like the demo, other than the fact it’s more Dead Space and this game will likely finish off Isaac’s story but to anyone who has not played any of the Dead Space game(s) due to it being too scary in the past may find the demo to be a nicer, toned down version of Dead Space.

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