I recently decided that I would play the so called classic games, you know, those ones that everyone has played. Just like the films that every has watched like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Forest Gump” those are the ‘Classics’ and Dead Space is among those when it comes to gaming, I personally haven’t played a lot of the classic games so I decided I would go through and play them all while steaming. I call this my “Old Games Series” and Dead Space was the first game I played on it. The main reason for reviewing it was to see if it was still as good as the games coming out now when it comes to story and game play.
One of the things I was expecting when I went into the game was for it not to be as good looking as current gen games and obviously, this was the case since technology now can produce some of the most amazing graphics. As well as computers being able to handle more polys on the screen than a game could when Dead Space came out. That being said Dead Space looks really good, occasionally there was the stretching of textures when it came to animations and certain poses, this also happened regularly when a person died and their body rag dolled. This happened a lot with the necro-morph, when they died in awkward places, mostly near a wall, they would get caught in an unseen seam and jitter about causing a very strange and awful slapping noise.
When it came to the game play, this is probably the area I find has the most problems, the main issue was the sensitivity of the game. The movement in the menu was fast, making it very difficult to move the mouse about and change the settings, I know that you can use the arrow keys to navigate the menu, but it is much easier to use one device for everything instead of having to change between mouse and keyboard for navigation. Other than this the sensitivity for aiming in game was extremely slow, it made changing targets very difficult, it also made the fast action points very frustrating to complete. I ended up spending a lot of time in the menus constantly tweaking the sensitivity trying to get it to the sweet spot between menu navigation and aiming controls, but unfortunately, I never found it.
Other than that, the actual ability to fight was a nice change from some of the horror games that I have seen in which survival without weapons is common. Even though Issac is an engineer it is nice to know that he has combat experience, and with such a variety of weapons, I did enjoy that you can choose from a number of different weapons to get through the game. I was always worried that I would be choosing the wrong weapon, I’m surprised I got through the game when I constantly ran out of health packs and ammo, but that kept it interesting, it made me conscious of how much ammo I was carrying and how long I could survive. I am a fan of a game that makes you think in a semi-tactical way.
Now on to my favourite part, the story. It was extremely interesting, it had the right balance of action and calm moments, definitely accentuating the horror of the game at certain points. It did that very well by slow moving objects that couldn’t have just suddenly moved on their own, however, it didn’t hold the tension very well. I feel that the only reason it was in the horror section was because of the look of the necromorph and the jump scares, not based on the actual scariness of the game itself.
When it came to the narrative, through the dialogue of the characters and audio tapes that you found around the game, it was a nice way of telling the story and finding out what was going on. I had gone into the game not knowing anything about it, so going through those twists and turns, made it very intriguing to find out what was going to happen next, I was excited for the next time I would play. However, I didn’t get particularly attached to the characters, I don’t know what it was about them, they were portrayed quite well and some of them were relatable, however, they also felt detached and distant from me as a player, as if none of them personally mattered. I know that they are only 1’s and 0’s, but it is nice to think that what I do or what the characters do has an effect somewhere and that their actions have consequences. When it came to Issac himself, I think I got detached from him because I watched him die a lot of times in very involved animations, so I just didn’t really care what happened to him, I guess.
Sound was another section that I was a little disappointed on, it wasn’t bad or wrong, not at all, I just didn’t notice it. The only times I did notice it was when it was being used to emphasize a jump scare, other than that it was very much considered background music and didn’t emphasises any story situations. Normally music will enhance the feelings of a certain scenario, in the case of Dead Space you could get the general feeling of a situation, but nothing emotionally involving, if the music was that little bit better, those story moments would have been brilliant. I’m probably going to sound like a broken record by the amount of times I’m going to say this, so I’ll briefly talk about it. Because it is a story game I doubt I will replay it again (I say when I’ve played The Longest Journey multiple times), however there is a plus version of the game and harder difficulties that people can play after completing it the first time, as well as achievements and attempting to get the fastest speed run.
I know that it may seem like I’ve mentioned a lot of negatives in this game, but I did actually really enjoy it, it had some quirks that made it a little frustrating, such as the mouse movement. The graphics were good but obviously not competition for what we have now and the sound could have been more effective. But other than that I enjoyed the story, despite the detached characters and looked forward to every session of game play. The selection of armour and different weapons as well as the different kinds of necromorph made it challenging and fun to fight through hordes to get to the end of the story and that’s where the charm of this game comes from. The fighting! It is a fighting in this game and its challenges that set it apart from others, I would definitely recommend people play it, even now it is still a great game.