Dead Space 3 was many things to fans before it was released. An action shooter. CO-OP failure, Michael Bay Bananza, and finally "Gone the way of Resident Evil 5". But does this game live up to those expectations, or does it manage to plasma cut its way out?
Isaac on the Left, Carver on the Right
Dead Space 3 drops you into the familiar boots of Engineer/Dismembering Expert, Isaac Clarke, on a Lunar Colony, listening to an audio log from his now ex-girlfriend, Ellie. Conveniently, as soon as the log finishes, the sound of a futuristic door sliding open is heard, and quick like a rabbit, Jack Carver is suddenly hiding in Isaac's bathroom, waiting to clobber him. After being clobbered, Carver and Ellie's new boyfriend, Norton, set off the narrative for the rest of the game, explaining that Ellie blindshocked(Shocking is this universe's form of Faster than Light travel, blind shocks are to uncharted regions, so you could be shocking into a sun for all you know) to Tau Volantis, the supposed Marker Homeworld.
With Kinect on the voice command "Get the F*** off me" will cause make you escape a grapple instantly.
At this point, it is also explained that Jack and Norton are members of EarthGov's last battalion, having been overthrown by the Church of Unitology(Think Scientology, except that Unitologists want to become crazy necromorphs). They are attacking the colony and Isaac, Jack, and Norton must escape as quickly as possible. At this point player 2 will take over Jack.
Enough with story, time to get down to the nitty gritty. The while the game is not nearly as scary as it's predecessors, Dead Space 3 still has a lot of scares along the way. Many were afraid that Co-Op would ruin the game's survival horror aspect, but it doesn't in the slightest. I would even say that the Co-Op only missions, which reveal Carver's past are even scarier, especially from Carver's perspective. During these missions, the Player who is playing as Carver experiences hallucinations, which can leave the other player clueless as to why Carver's player is freaking the hell out. Absolutely ingenious design to keep it scary.
Another great addition to Dead Space is the weapon crafting system. Isaac can finally show his engineering skills by creating his own weapons. Basically how it works is you pick a frame(one handed, or a two handed frame, along with other frames that give bonuses to stats and such), and then you can selected an Upper Tool(Weapon that is fired by RT) and a Lower Tool(Fired with RB). From there you can change what tips are attached to the tool, which changes how the projectiles behave. There are an insane amount of possibilities with these, along with being able to equipped attachments such as scopes, and special ammunition(Acid, fire, electric, etc.) you could spend hours making the perfect necromorph fighting machine.
The bad part of the Weapon Crafting, is that it can make the game insanely easy. If you make a god tier weapon, whether on accident or by looking at a "schematic" on the internet, you can blaze through the game. I had a weapon called the Evangelizer that I got from preordering the game, which made the game as easy as shooting undead fish in a barrel.
Feeders are the most annoying enemy, as they attack in numbers
Another issue I had with the game is that after you finish the first 1/3 of the game which takes place on several 300 year old derelict ships, I found myself disappointed in the environment of Tau Volantis. The outside segments were bland, and often times it seemed as though the inside segments, especially the optional mission environments were recycled over and over again. Finally during the later chapters of the game(15-19) did I regain interest in the environment.
The game will keep you coming back for more after a completion. After beating the game, you have four options for a new playthrough. New Game+, which offers the ability to get better circuits. Classic, which removes the weapon crafting, and returns everything to the basics, meaning the aiming goes back to what it was in the first two Dead Space games, along with only getting to use the weapons that were in the other games. Hardcore mode, which is basically 1 life mode, if you die, you start from the beginning. By Beating Hardcore you unlock Retro Mode, which gives the game a bright colored filter, and causes everything to look a little more jagged and drops the frame rate intentionally. And finally Pure Survival Mode, where no ammo or medic kits will drop, so you will have to craft them yourself.
Finally, one thing I would like to address is the micro-transactions in the game. Everyone is making a huge S***storm about these micro-transactions even though they do not affect the game in the slightest. Basically, the micro-transactions are so you can get a bunch of materials for building new parts for weapons, and circuits to upgrade the weapons you make. All these items can be found in game, and you can purchase these micro-transaction packs with ration seals which you get for sending out Scavenger bots. Basically, people are complaining about something that holds no warrant, and they could just set down a scavenger bot(You get three at a time), and it will harvest Ration Seals along with the other materials, and you don't have to do anything but visit a bench to pick up your scavenger bot when it is done(about 10-15 minutes).
BUY! This game is definitely a buy, and I know it is easily going to be in my top 5 games of this year, even with some of the games that are coming out later this year that look amazing(Here's to you Watch Dogs and GTAV). Even if you have never played a Dead Space game before, you may be lost in some of the lore, but it only gives passing reference to the last two games. Plus, this one isn't as scary as the other ones, so if that was holding you back, have no fear.