Dead Space Reader Review
Like horror movies? Like horror games? Well this game is right up your street.
Dead Space follows engineer Issac Clarke who winds up aboard the stricken mining ship known as the ISG Ishimura after a malfunction occurs during docking. He soon finds himself cut off from his friends and alone.
The horror of Dead Space is based not on what you can see but what you can't see and more specifically what you can hear. The confines of the Ishimura allow for brilliant echoes as you move through the dark corridors. Your only source of light in most places is the torch attachment on your weapons as the systems aboard the Ishimura begin to fail.
Clarke soon realises he's not alone and encounters aliens (known as Necromorphs) aboard the ship that can only be killed through 'strategic dismemberment', since simply unloading an entire clip into their chest is actually far less effective than being more precise and cutting their limbs off to halt their movement.
In fact the dismemberment strategy goes deeper as there are a variety of Necromorphs aboard the Ishimura that Clarke encounters. The 'Pregnant' Necromorph, for example, carries a horde of tiny aliens in its stomach. So by cutting off it's limbs you avoid unleashing the unpleasant tiny army which gives you less to worry about.
Armed with a variety of weapons including a plasma cutter, a military issue plasma rifle, a flamethrower and more, Clarke really does have to fight to survive. If you thought bringing up a menu in-game would give you some peace from the horror you're wrong. All the menus in-game (like the Inventory list) are brought up in holographic format and are not separated from the gameplay in that they do not pause the game for you to have a nice look at how many medipacks are available or how much extra ammo you have in reserve. So if you're being chased and want to heal you're better off cutting the legs off your pursuer to give you enough time to find the items to heal yourself.
Dead Space is one of the most atmospheric games I've played in a long time, pieced together through brilliant shock-horror moments and then long drawn out segments of tense music which instils in your mind the possibility for something to jump out at you at any moment, sometimes nothing happens and in a way that can make you feel worse. The music accompaniment is amazing, it really adds to the gameplay for either making the player tense because something's coming or just scaring them because its funny.
It's a game where you never feel in control of a situation, you never know what could be lurking in the shadows and you really do get the feeling that it's a fight for survival. This is made all the more real when you do actually die, the deaths are gruesomely detailed. The fact that there isn't a HUD helps maintain the thriller atmosphere, your health is displayed in the form of lights on your back and your ammo can be seen displayed on the gun.
Dead Space delivers an almost perfect sci-fi horror game in my opinion. Never knowing if there's something waiting for you behind a door or ready to pounce from the shadows is what horror games are all about, the musical score helps grip the player. Every type of scare tactic is used to great effect in this game. A must-play for those into the horror genre and a must-buy for the Sci-Fi horror fans out there.
9 / 10