Bad Cop: Dead Space 3 Review

MORE DOES NOT EQUAL BETTER

It takes no less than 6 button presses and upwards of 90 seconds to re-open a saved game, and that’s before the actual level loads.  A minor annoyance? Yes.  Necessary?  Presumably. Fitting metaphor to describe the experience with the game as a whole?  Absolutely.

Some of the additions packed into Dead Space 3 work well, and others must have at least seemed right minded on paper.  The added maneuverability of a roll is pretty nice, and the side missions can make for a much appreciated change of pace from the campaign of gopher missions.  But other implementations serve only to bloat the experience or push the series in the wrong direction.

Door noises have never sounded so demonic and menacing.  The sound design is still solid, but can get a little overbearing.

Door noises have never sounded so demonic and menacing. The sound design is still solid, but can get a little overbearing.

Yes this iteration has transitioned into more of a 3rd person shooter.  Moving away from survival horror proper can be finessed, but Isaac has trouble fitting into his new suit.  Gun battles with rooms of armed zealots are simply not fun, nor is the cover system that was added to flesh out such sections.

The new weapon crafting is inventive and pragmatically manages the myriad different options available to Isaac. It doesn’t accomplish what (I believe) the most important goal was though: promoting weapon diversity.  Ultimately DS3 doesn’t create enough variegated scenarios or clever new enemy types to force the player and arsenal to adapt much.  It’s far too easy to slip into shooter comfort food and simply never unequip your uber-machine gun-shotgun.

The original concept of precision shooting at space zombies with not guns but mining tools has been all but completely abandoned.

The original concept of precision shooting at space zombies with not guns but mining tools has been all but completely abandoned.

The different secondary fire options for the weapons in the previous two were intentionally tactical in nature.  Case in point: the plasma cutter could be flipped vertical or horizontal at will, depending on the orientation of the zombie limb that needed cutting.  Dead Space 3 still allows for this, but retaining the un-upgradable lower attachment enabling this option just doesn’t make sense when you can slap a magnum on there instead.

The Line Gun met with a similar fate in that it can no longer fire mines. Other weapons were replaced by more vanilla replacements – exit Force Gun, enter Shotgun.  Still other weapons were great ideas executed poorly – a melee weapon that you have to cycle to?

The sheer quantity of space zombies without a readily exploitable weak spot over promotes buff-able firepower over precision or more novel weapons.

The sheer quantity of space zombies without a readily exploitable weak spot over promotes buff-able firepower over precision or more novel weapons.

In true action cliché form, the plot instantly turns preposterous.  Whereas in the original you were an engineer and hence the logical choice to repair the Ishimura, this time you’re simply “the only man for the job!”…and you need to tackle the army of necromorphs alone, as opposed to a platoon of highly trained marines.  Everyone else is dead?  Really?

But Isaac isn’t alone this time: Dead Space 3 is coop of course!  You know what a franchise prized for its stifling mood needs? What could really aid the oppressive, desolate atmosphere?  …Coop?

This arguably makes sense given the franchise’s new proclivities, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Many of the small atmospheric touches that are integral to tense, solitary exploration are rendered meaningless when smothered the frequency of gunfire.  Communications with your team fail to convey urgency when there is in fact no material time crunch and your partner is nonsensically rolling around everywhere like he’s ex-Delta.

EA exploits cute little robots to rip your money in game.  Yay.

EA exploits cute little robots to rip your money in game. Yay.

It’s scary how well Dead Space 3 compares to Resident Evil 6.  They’re the gifts that keep on giving, after you’ve developed snow blindness and beg for sweet release.  Both games try to pack too many superfluous toys into Santa’s bag while forgetting about chimney width.  In space, no one can hear you [CENSORED: LAME CHRISTMAS METAPHOR]

Visceral Games and Capcom should really get together for a cup of coffee and talk things over – they certainly have a lot in common.

Author: Wu

1 Comment

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