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Videogame: Dead Space 3

"I remember telling my college professor I wanted to study xenoarcheology. He laughed right in my face. 'There’s nothing to study,' he said. 'It’s all dead space. No alien life exists out in the universe.' In a way, I guess he was right..."
Doctor Earl Serrano

Dead Space 3 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Dead Space 2 and the third Numbered Sequel in the Dead Space series, continuing the story of Space Engineer-turned-Action Survivor Isaac Clarke. This time, Isaac is coerced by the remnants of EarthGov to travel to the planet Tau Volantis and find the source of the Necromorphs, which is allegedly somewhere on the planet. Naturally, Isaac wants nothing to do with the mission, until he finds out his ex-girlfriend Ellie Langford has already gone to the planet to find the source.

Notably features drop-in drop-out two player co-op, in the tradition of one of the series' main inspirations, System Shock 2. The second player takes control of EarthGov Sergeant John Carver, a man who, like Isaac, has lost everything to the Marker and the Necromorphs.

The game also features multiple new locations, including the New Horizon colony, the 200 year old wreckage of a space fleet, and the snowy and frozen world of Tau Volantis. The game was released on February 5, 2013. The Awakened DLC was released on March 12, 2013.

Like its predecessors, Dead Space 3 opened to mixed to positive reviews—the gun crafting was praised, and the story and co-op were well received, but many were disappointed that the game dropped the horror element of the game in favor of being more of a shooter, which was blamed largely on EA's influence.
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    Dead Space 3 provides examples of: 
  • Abandoned Mine: Upon first landing on Tau Volantis, you have to work your way through a snowy mining facility overrun centuries ago by the Necromorphs.
  • Actionized Sequel: Adds new mechanics such as dodge rolls, crouching behind cover and Third-Person Shooter segments against enemies with guns. Also, Necromorph enemies are a lot faster and are much harder to hitstun, so you'd better learn to use that dodge roll. Plus, many of the psychological horror with Isaac battling his dementia are restricted to Co-Op missions and with Carver instead.
  • Adult Fear: Definitely in Carver's case. After the Marker was exposed, an outbreak of Necromorphs erupts and he cannot contact his wife and child, both of whom are completely vulnerable. His Marker hallucinations even take the form of a toy soldier his wife gave his son the day of the outbreak. Revealed to to true in the Liberation novel, where they were turned into Necromorphs
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In the final level. It's the planet being torn to pieces behind you by The Moon.
  • All Just a Dream: In the second co-op mission available during Chapter 11, Carver will see a hallucination of a dead woman walking back to an earlier part of Chapter 10. Following her will lead Carver and Isaac to an elevator where Carver will begin to feel effects from a Marker. After completing the mission and riding the same elevator back up, however, Isaac suddenly asks Carver if they're going to check out the place or not, saying they've been standing in the elevator for the past five minutes.
  • Alien Autopsy: Chapter 12, appropriately titled "Autopsy", features the players conducting a experiment, which involves climbing inside a frozen Necromorph called the Nexus and poke its nervous system with electrified harpoons.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: At one point when Isaac, Carver, and Norton are captured by Danik on Tau Volantis, he prepares to execute them all but is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Nexus. It distracts the Unitologists long enough for Isaac to escape, and Danik escapes when the Nexus targets Isaac and Carver.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Unlike previous games in the series, the choice of suit in Dead Space 3 is purely aesthetic.
  • Apocalypse How: Several, most having to do with Convergence events.
    • Class One (Societal Disruption) is already happening on an interstellar scale for places being affected by Necromorph infestations, and it's likely to stay that way even after the Marker signals are ended.
    • Class Three (Species Extinction) is what happened to the Alien Civilization that lived on Tau Volantis millions of years ago, most of their population being infested or assimilated into The Moon, and even when the Convergence is interrupted, the rest were left to freeze to death in the new, icy environment.
    • Class 4 (Total Extinction) with elements of Class 5 (Physical Annihilation) for Convergence events. All organic matter in the planet a marker is on is drawn into a Brethren Moon, also assimilating chunks of the planet. and it would happen everywhere the target species spread a marker to, meaning it's often on an interstellar scale.
  • Apocalyptic Log: It's Dead Space, so yeah. In droves.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Markers. EarthGov hoped to use them as a limitless Power Source, but they end up being much more than that. To explain:
    • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Red Markers were manufactured by the Sovereign Colonies government centuries ago, but then buried when they were deemed too hazardous. Then a big civil war erupted on Earth, the regime was toppled, and the new government had very limited information on what the Markers were.
    • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The real origin of the Markers, considering the original Black Marker was buried on Earth for millions of years.
    • Toxic Phlebotinum: Sure, they provide limitless energy, but they also cause dementia and Necromorph outbreaks as soon as their Containment Field breaks.
    • Sentient Phlebotinum: Each Marker is self-aware, and has an agenda of its own.
  • Arc Words:
    • Turn It Off: When Isaac first reads it, he assumes the phrase refers to turning all of the Markers off. It's actually a plea by the Moon to turn off the machine so it can finish absorbing the population of Tau Volantis.
    • Make Us Whole: A phrase spanning four years and several games before finally being explained. In the first, it was thought to be the Red Marker wanting to be returned to its pedestal. In the second, it was thought to be the Golden Marker wishing to absorb its creator Isaac. The true meaning is revealed. All of the Markers are an extension of the Moon's will, itself a post-Convergence Necromorph, and they were attempting to have the 'Machine' keeping the Moon sealed to be turned off, allowing the Moon to finish its Convergence.
    • Dead Space, the title of the series itself. In the first game, it referred to the "dead space" the Markers generated that stopped the Necromorph infection, but this detail was later retconned and dropped in subsequent games. Next was the more obvious meaning, because it's, you know, a Zombie Apocalypse in SPACE! However, the final message from Dr. Serrano gives a better one. Humanity shouldn't be alone in the stars. There were many other alien civilizations, but they all fell prey to one thing: the Markers. They all grew past the point of sustainability, found the Markers and began to create more, spread them throughout their empire, and worship them. Then, the Necromorphs emerged, and would trigger a Convergence event, killing the entire race of aliens, making their entire space 'dead'.
  • Armour Is Useless:
    • Subverted, the various suits you acquire in the game are cosmetic only. However, you can manually upgrade your armour with resources you've obtained—which is actually fairly useful in surviving on harder difficulties.
    • Played straight with the Unitologist armor, which seems to provide little to no protection against bullets.
    • Despite the dangers presented by their environment, Isaac and Carver seem to be the only ones interested in wearing their helmets the majority of the time (even then, their decision to take them off is often questionable).
  • Artificial Stupidity: For the most part, the AI is competent at its job of trying to murderize Isaac and Carver, but there are always a few exceptions.
    • Necromorphs sometimes go into "hiding" mode, concealing themselves behind cover, going silent, and refusing to move until the player comes close or leaves. The problem is they don't consider certain types of cover, meaning that certain enemies won't budge from behind two crates as you plink them to death by shooting between the gaps.
    • Unitologist soldiers attempt to use cover. Attempt. Half of them are convinced that keeping their heads and arms visible will confuse Isaac because he faces non-Necromorph opponents, which would allow their teammates to finish him off (had Isaac not already shot off their visible heads and arms). The other half can't decide which cover they want to hide behind and constantly run back and forth between them.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Nexus is somewhere around thirty stories tall. It's also a replay of the fight against the Hive Mind in the first Dead Space, but with a few new attacks and strategies.
  • Assimilation Plot: The ultimate goal of the Necromorphs.
  • Badass Boast:
    • In one of the text logs, the soldier who killed all of the Reapers in their sleep claims, after finishing the job: "I am the most feared unit in the S.C.A.F. I am the Reaper."
    • Isaac gives the most epic one of the series when facing down the Final Boss, the Moon of Tau Volantis itself, a post-Convergence Necromorph the size of a small planet.
    Isaac: You can't have us.
  • Bag of Spilling: Averted. Since Isaac has been on the run since 2, he still has his Kinesis and Stasis modules, Rotator Plasma Cutter, and videos from 2. However, he doesn't have time to change into a RIG before being forced into another adventure, meaning he starts in street clothes.
    • Isaac's starting clothes are vaguely similar to the Hacker Suit from Dead Space 2, but without any of the armour. That adds an additional level of consistency for players who used them.
  • Bayonet Ya: The Hydraulic Engine adds these to the bottom of a weapon, in three variants. Surprisingly useful against Necromorphs, though it tends to chew through a lot of ammo.
    • Chainsaw Good: The Hydraulic Eviscerator, the default option for a heavy frame.
    • Drop the Hammer: The Hydraulic Hammer, which comes from adding a Conic Dispersal Hydraulic Engine to a heavy frame's lower slot.
    • Knife Nut: The default option compact frame adds an oversized Hyrdraulic Knife to the bottom of your one-handed weapon.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The Tau Volantis Natives left behind a pronuciation guide and a instrument so that anyone who finds the planet would be able to use the Machine.
  • Black and Gray Morality: EarthGov versus the Unitologists.
    • EarthGov were the ones who started the Marker project, imprisoned and painfully extracted Marker schematics from Isaac and others for years, and authorized many assassinations and purges, many of which leaned towards For the Evulz. However, the Marker project was a sincere effort to prevent an energy crisis by tapping into a new source, and they currently are concerned with saving humanity by eradicating Necromorphs once and for all.
    • The Unitologists are straight up evil. They fanatically believe that Necromorphs are the next stage in human evolution, so they spread chaos and Necromorph infections in colonies to prepare mankind for "Convergence." They even destroy ships trying to escape outbreaks and actively hunt down particularly persistent survivors.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Isaac and Ellie, after the Moon is freed from the Machine.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Isaac and John manage to destroy the giant Convergence Necromorph orbiting Tau Volantis, stopping the Marker network's apocalypse. However, the two get caught in the resulting cataclysm and are assumed dead by Ellie, who flies back to Earth. All is not lost, though, as we hear Isaac's voice after the credits, revealing that he survived the apocalypse.
  • Bling of War: The First Contact Suit is basically a gold-plated EVA Suit.
  • Body Horror: Par the course for the series.
  • Book Ends: The first scene of the first game featured Isaac looking at an image of the woman he loves (Nicole) while coming to the Ishimura, and Isaac's final scene after he falls from beating the Brother Moon has him looking at a picture of Ellie.
  • Boom, Headshot: Unlike the alien Necromorphs, you can One-Hit Kill living human enemies by shooting them in the head.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The entire Unitologist movement is essentially just a codified, organized version of Marker brainwashing ("collect dead bodies," "prepare them to be revived and merged into something greater,") and even in the face of overwhelming evidence that active, unshielded Markers turn corpses into mutant zombies, they just won't stop turning them on and killing everyone in preparation for rebirth. The more Markers that got built, the worse and crazier the Unitologists got...
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The S.C.A.F. expedition took place about 200 years ago, and you're stuck using their equipment. The description for the Legionary RIG states that the suit is worth a fortune to collectors. Just like the Antique Rig from 2, it and all other RIGs perform as well as modern day suits despite being called "bulky" and "cumbersome," and period weapons work just as well as modern-day counterparts.
  • Break Them by Talking: Danik rather enjoys delivering these, and treats Isaac to a few over the tannoy throughout the last act of the game. He isn't very good at them, and they serve more to reinforce his unique logic. It really only shows how broken he is.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The game allows for some microtransactions when crafting weapons. Don't have enough scrap metal for that new gun? You can buy some using real world cash.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Tucker Edwards always did the least amount possible. However, when the Necromorphs broke out he converted the Conning Tower into a fortress complete with bombs, electric traps and even a gravity well. It worked so well that the Necromorphs eventually gave up trying to kill him. He even managed to weaponize, using controlled explosives, the Necromorphs into killing any soldiers looking for him. Sadly it worked too well, as the isolation wore him down and he eventually killed himself. Ironically, all of the traps were intended to stop S.C.A.F. troops that would try to come and kill him, but given that all of the explosives on the air vents were untriggered, and none of the traps that Isaac encountered were deactivated by other soldiers, more than likely no one other than the Necromorphs ever tried to come and kill him.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The visors on Isaac's RIGs still glow in the dark to make him easier to see, and even function as a light source in this game.
  • Call Back:
    • Isaac's initial civilian attire is the same outfit as the Hacker Suit from 2, sans gas-mask and the improvised repairs.
    • In Chapter Five, Isaac sends the video from 2 that he used to learn how to impale Necromorphs with their claws to his team.
    • Cruelly subverted in Chapter Six, with the Regenerators hounding you. Veteran players may pop a devious grin when seeing a walkway crossing directly behind a shuttle's engines, remembering how the first Hunter was finally killed. That grin turns into a gape when they simply run right through the flames to skewer you.
    • Near the end of the game, the group finds out that the S.C.A.F. was taking the information on the Markers directly from the brain of Rosetta. Isaac mentions that sounds familiar, and wonders if they drilled into the subject's eye.
    • You can unlock the CEC Engineering suit for Isaac and the Sprawl Security Suit for Carver upon beating the game.
    • Carver suffers from similar marker dementia to Isaac's from the second game. In co-op, Carver's player will have to go through more than one Battle in the Center of the Mind very reminiscent of the second game's last boss.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Since your ex-girlfriend told it.
  • Canis Latinicus/Pretentious Latin Motto: "DEUS ENIM ET COLONIAE" (For God and the Colonies)
  • Captain Crash: Isaac is an engineer, not a pilot, so it's somewhat excusable that he crashes the shuttle on Tau Volantis. However, this trope seems to follow him everywhere, as any smaller-sized ship he steps foot on has at most a few hours before rapid unscheduled disassembly.
  • Catch and Return: Good timing with stasis allows the player to use the Unitologist's own rockets and grenades against them.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The drop in/out co-op uses this to keep it somewhat realistic; Carver can be occasionally heard or spotted in the distance, effectively foreshadowing his sudden appearance through cameos just in case someone joins the game.
    • That moon you saw when you arrived at Tau Volantis? Yeah, it's not a moon. It's a Necromorph and the Bigger Bad of the whole series.
  • The Chew Toy: Isaac Clarke has what can easily be called the single worst day of his entire life in this game. In just the cutscenes he takes more punishment than in 1 and 2 combined. Every possible thing that can go wrong WILL go wrong for Isaac as the story goes on.
  • Church Militant: Unitologists were known to be fanatical, but the Circle, led by Danik, takes it a step further by arming themselves to overthrow EarthGov and actively spread the Necromorph infestation to every colony with a Marker.
  • Clothing Damage: Dramatic, non-fanservice version. During the run-up to the Final Boss, Isaac's helmet takes damage; some versions of the suit will actually show the faceplate ripped off or sparks coming from his helmet. In the end, he gives up and tears the thing away entirely, fighting the battle bare-headed. Also counts as a Harbinger of Asskicking.
  • Colony Drop: The end result of killing the Moon. Its corpse still protrudes past the atmosphere, and its dead tentacles span nearly half a continent.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Even when wearing the same RIG, the colors are changed to easily tell apart Isaac and Carver. Isaac's outfits favour blue while Carver's tend for red, and Isaac and Carver's visors are always tinted light green and red, respectively. Additionally, Isaac's health bar and stasis meter are green (at full health, anyway), while John's is dark blue.
  • Command And Conquer Economy: You are given a firearm at the start, but will never again find a useable, assembled weapon. Only schematics for weapons and resources to help make them.
  • Conflict Killer: Although Unitologists have always been some form of threat, no united front has come together until this game in any significant way. Come 3, Jacob Danik, a completely new Unitologist leader, uses his resources and the Circle, a new Unitologist military organization, to overthrow EarthGov, who had been the primary human antagonists to all parties in each game up to this point. Notably, Isaac doesn't seem to realize The Government is on its last legs until Norton tells him.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Most one-handed weapons as soon as you have enough resources for two-handed weapons in both slots. Granted, it's awesome having a space revolver, but using the same combo on a large frame makes a sniper rifle with better stats and a higher upgrade cap.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Different from most in that the co-op character, John Carver, will drop into the story as a second player joins the game instead of sticking you with a bot.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Even more so than the previous two games, which hinted at it. In this game, it is revealed that the reason space is so dead is because of the Brethren Moons, massive Eldritch Abominations which feed off of species which are lured into convergence and consequently extinction by the Markers. Double points for never explaining the true origins or motives of the Moons.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: A Dead Space tradition, and as always—rammed Up to Eleven. And Carver doesn't get excluded from the fun either in Co-Op.
  • Cross Over: Of the promotional kind. If you have a save file of Mass Effect 3, Isaac and Carver get N7 Armour in the main game. The in-game description says that it's based on the games, which not only exist in-setting as they do in reality, but are, inexplicably, still known of centuries later.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Not as bad as previous titles, but the Brusilov and Greely have identical layouts, and so do the Feeder depot/Reaper barracks and Food Storage/ Artifact Storage. The planetside examples may be justified, since most military structures are prefabricated.
    • It's more justifiable for ships (standard military designs in a given class) than the bunkers. Feeder depot and Reaper barracks are identical, save for a couple of minor details. Even dirty 200 year old laundry matches. And then you have Artifact Storage, where the S.C.A.F. somehow managed to deliver enough concrete, steel, and other construction materials hundreds of miles beneath the planet's icy surface to the centre of an alien city just to build bigass silos.
  • Cute Machines: The Scavenger Bots
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Towards the end Danik holds Ellie hostage, at this point even the most ham fisted player could stasis them both and shoot him in the head. Instead Carver throws Danik the Codex, allowing him to turn off the machine. To make things worse, he almost doomed Earth with this action as well, by nearly allow the moon to wake its brothers.
    • The DLC would reveal that things got much worse The moons are awake and heading for earth
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: One surprise intro to a boss battle has Issac whacked around by a tentacle and fall off an elevator with no health loss.
  • Damselin Distress: After the Titan outbreak, Isaac wants nothing more to do with saving the world from Markers and necromorphs until he is convinced that Ellie is in danger and needs his help.
  • Dead All Along: Tucker Edwards in Chapter 5, who left traps all over to be set off by prerecorded voice commands, but was Driven to Suicide long before Isaac gets there. Of course, the events of the first S.C.A.F. expedition took place two centuries ago, so him being dead already was always a given.
  • Dead Guy on Display: You can find a few mummified corpses propped up in the Supply Depot, put there by the increasingly-insane staff to warn others away. Becomes a bit of Fridge Logic when one considers why the perfectly good corpses are ignored by the Necromorphs, whose entire purpose is to create corpses and then infect them.
  • Deadly Euphemism: During the cleanup operation 200 years ago, orders were sent out to all staff demanding they kill their colleagues and themselves. The cleanup team briefing of "Scenario 5" requires one group to find any survivors refusing to comply and provide "assistance."
  • Deadly Gas: Used as a means to purge the Corruption in the research facility, so deadly that it gruesomely disintegrates people, even those wearing airtight space suits.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the prologue, you play a S.C.A.F. soldier scavenging a crashed ship, retrieving a local MacGuffin. Unsurprisingly, he dies. His general shoots him, deletes all the data on the MacGuffin, then offs himself as well.
  • Degraded Boss: A weird example with the Regenerators. They show up again, and there's a hell of a lot more of them. If anything, they receive a boost in toughness, because they straight out ignore the fire from a shuttle's engines, which was how you killed the Hunter in DS1. However, the same mission, you get access to a mounted turret, which you use to blast dozens of them into a grinder.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • Visors will cast differently colored and shaped lights on the enviroment depending on the helmet you're wearing.
    • Injuring yourself with your own weapon now applies effects: for example, getting hit with your own stasis-boosted weapon will not only send you flying but will make you do it in slow motion.
    • The Acid Bath attachment for weapons has no effect on the Pukers, a Necromorph whose main attack is vomiting acidic bile on you.
  • The Dog Bites Back: While investigating the 'Reaper' barracks, you find the logs by a particular S.C.A.F. soldier fanboy obsessed with becoming one of them. He was a subject to a cruel prank where he had to scrub toilets with his bare hands for a week. At the end, they all laughed at how easily he fell for it, so he grabbed an axe and chopped all their heads off while they slept. They did say he'd only be a Reaper if everyone of them suddenly died, after all.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Or rather, Did You Just Kill A Necromorph The Size Of A Moon?
  • Dirty Business: How Carver thinks of cutting off the rope keeping Santos from falling into an abyss. Although it was necessary in an altruistic sense of the entire mission, he wonders if it still leaves him as a good person.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • Joining a co-op game in a later chapter or luck of upgrade part drops can cause this.
    • This also applies to the "Safety Guard" part, which nullifies self-inflicted explosion damage; placing it on an explosive weapon means melee enemies probably won't survive past a few seconds.
    • Many of the preorder DLC weapons are incredibly powerful for the beginning of the game.
  • Disney Death: A heart-wrenching scene occurs where Isaac is forced to leave Ellie to die in order to save himself and Carver from the same fate. Skip forward a few chapters, and she's suddenly alive to be used as a hostage by Danik with the excuse of using the delivery vent (despite the fact that the said vent was further away than the jump to Isaac she insisted she couldn't make).
  • Distant Prologue: The prologue puts you in the boots of a S.C.A.F. soldier during the original expedition 200 years before the series proper.
  • Downtime Downgrade: By the start of this game, Isaac and Ellie are broken up. Funnily, we never actually saw them as an Official Couple before that, either.
  • Drone Deployer: Isaac is. And the drone comes in the form of a tiny scavenger bot that you find early in the game. Extremely useful as it's basically another way to collect components for weapon crafting and suit upgrades. You can find additional ones throughout the game to help improve collection rates. Doubles as a cute machine as it chirps and whirs after you deploy it and as it goes about its business. Sometimes you can even catch it scampering into a bench.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: If the prologue is played in Co-Op, when both Caufman and Ackerman slide down a slope to escape the burning wreckage of the ship, only Caufman manages to escape. Then again, Caufman is killed 30 seconds after he wakes up, so it didn't matter much in the end.
  • Dummied Out: The iconic Advanced Suit from the previous game, showcased prominently in several trailers and promotional screenshots hinted that the suit may be acquirable in the game. It's nowhere to be found, and isn't even an unlockable.
  • Dwindling Party: Within a couple hours Isaac finds himself surrounded by a pretty full cast: Norton, Carver, Ellie, Jennifer Santos, Austin Buckell, Locke and Rosen. Given that it's a horror game, you know a fair bit of them won't live to see the credits roll. Santos outright freaks out about losing so many when it's just her, Carver, Ellie, and Isaac left, and only the latter three survive to the end, with possibly only one or two of them surviving the entire game.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Brethen Moons.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: In the final levels, Isaac finds pads that enhance Stasis and Kinesis powers to ludicrous degrees. With it, he can lift giant objects, freeze enemies in places for minutes, and even rip the limbs off of still-moving Necromorphs and kill them with their own scythes.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • As always, the 'Enhanced' black-skinned Necromorphs are simply better than their normal counterparts. In particular, the Enhanced Feeder goes from a Fragile Speedster to a Lightning Bruiser and it's tougher than a regular Slasher.
    • Unitologists get in on the action too. Soldiers that dress in black can soak up more damage and usually carry rocket launchers.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The S.C.A.F Special Forces unit, the 'Reapers,' are a hand-picked group of veterans of the Secessionist Crisis, and are idolized by their rank and file comrades. They never did get to test their mettle against the Necromorphs, because they were all killed by an Ax-Crazy Fanboy they rejected.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • EarthGov and the Unitologists went into all out war with each other between Dead Space 2 and 3. By the opening of DS3, EarthGov has been decimated by acts of sabotage by Unitologist sleeper agents.
    • Unitology itself had a civil war between Dead Space 2 and 3, with Jacob Danik and his true believers toppling the shadowy leaders of Unitology who started the Marker research program in Dead Space 2.
  • Enemy Mine: To a degree, Isaac's relationship with EarthGov.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: S.C.A.F logs reveal that the dogs some of the ships had onboard went bark-crazy on approach to Tau Volantis. Alas, the humans did not heed the warning...
  • Evil Overlooker: The moon in the background of the cover of the game? It's the Bigger Bad of the entire series for humanity thus far.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: As Doctor Serrano reveals in the page quote above, there's a reason why nobody has ever found extraterrestrial life from humans. The Brother Moons ate every species between their place of origin and human space. The term "dead space" is rather accurate.
  • Exact Words : Players can be forgiven for thinking "turn it off" refers to the ability to turn off a Marker. It really means turning off the machine keeping the marker (and the final boss) inactive.
  • Eye Scream: Killing the Moon requires throwing two-story tall Red Markers into the Moon's ten-story tall eyes, which explode in a shower of blood and other fluids. Even the eye poke machine has got nothing on this.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Norton. He feels the whole mission to Tau Volantis is suicide, so he makes a deal with Danik for a ship home in return for allowing them to kill Isaac. Even after Danik betrays them and Isaac kills a particularly large Necromorph, Norton still tries to kill Isaac.
  • Faux Action Girl: Unfortunately, Ellie has become this despite being a legitimate Action Girl previously. Her piloting training never comes up, and onscreen she doesn't even carry a weapon, requiring constant protection.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Danik is polite and refined, and late in the game, even calls Isaac to assure his enemy that he's not some fanatical religious nutcase. Doesn't stop him from having no compunction at all about murdering entire cities by causing Necromorph outbreaks.
  • Finagle's Law: If there is even the slightest chance that anything can go wrong, it will. This is somewhat justified as the action takes place on a world where the technology and equipment has been abandoned for 200 years, your human enemies have a lot more resources and means of transportation than you do, and not to mention that the planet is covered in Markers.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Despite the events of the previous two games teaching Isaac the Marker regularly tricks people who want to destroy the artifact into helping it, he still trusts a wall covered in Marker script telling him to "turn off the machine" will harm the Markers instead of helping them.
  • Fission Mailed: During the Nexus boss fight, it repeatedly tries to vacuum you into its gullet, which you can interrupt by shooting yellow orbs surrounding its mouth. When all of them are gone, the Nexus starts the same sequence, except there's no more weak points to attack. Dead Space veterans will wince, recalling the similarities to the brutal death sequence of the original Hive Mind in the first game, but fortunately it's the start of a brief Womb Level sequence.
  • Foreshadowing It wouldn't be a Dead Space game without it.
    • The Moon, a Genius Loci, the Final Boss, and the ultimate Bigger Bad of the whole series, is the first thing you see when you arrive on Tau Volantis.
      • It's also the only thing on the cover besides Isaac.
    • Rosetta, an alien corpse you need to reassemble, is the creature preserved in the ice slabs in the main menu.
    • Shortly before recreating the Nexus experiment, you overhear Norton finishing a conversation through a private comm channel. Players will assume his defensiveness upon being questioned is because the call was with Ellie, the details he won't share with Isaac, but it's actually him brokering a deal with Danik for a ride home in exchange for Isaac's life.
  • Fun with Acronyms: As in Dead Space, if you take the first letter of each chapter title, they spell out a message: BROTHER MOONS ARE AWAKE.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Averted with Carver. Unlike most optional campaign second players, Carver actually unique dialogue and cutscenes if he's present. He cannot help change the outcome however, because he is just as surprised as Isaac is. If he's an NPC, the game also finds ways to keep him present, if non-participatory, for boss fights, so that his "helper" dialogue (mostly things like "hit its weak point For Massive Damage!") doesn't seem to come out of nowhere.
    • Zig-zagged when it comes to cutscene damage. Isaac's health will go down when he gets punched in the face or crash-landing on planetary reentry, but there are other scenes where he falls off several cliffs or gets a nasty gash to his head and his health bar is unaffected.
  • Gatling Good/More Dakka: The Telemetry Spike with the Diffraction Torus tip creates a potent Gatling Gun with a rate of fire significantly higher than a Pulse Rifle (though with lower accuracy). With the right upgrades and the game's ammo mechanics, one can easily complete an entire firefight without needing to reload, allowing you to sell the excess ammo for scrap.
  • General Ripper: General Mahad of the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces. He praises the cruel 163rd "Reapers" for their brutal and bloody actions undertaken against the secessionists back on Earth, and frequently pestered the admiral to redirect the fleet to bring his forces to bear on the Earth, which was engulfed in a state of war between the Secessionists, who eventually won and became the corrupt EarthGov of the games, and Sovereign Colonies. He ignores any possible solution to the growing energy crisis which was consuming Mankind at the time in favour of the destruction of his enemy, and as a result he views and treats the scientists with contempt, and makes this very clear to Dr. Serrano in a private meeting. This only changes once the Necromorph outbreak occurs and overwhelms his troops, at which point he adopts a Kill 'em All approach to the situation via the destruction of all vehicles, data and personnel, up to and including himself.
  • Genius Loci: The end result of a Convergence event, a Brethren Moon. Indicated by the name, it is a Necromorph the size of a moon, created by absorbing nearly all of the organic matter of the target species.
  • Ghost Ship: A whole fleet of them above Tau Volantis. Isaac and Carver explore several of them, including a few optional visits.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Snow Beast boss Necromorph.
  • Glass Eye: Ellie's new cloned eye is not the same colour as the one Stross poked out.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: All of the enhanced Necromorph variants have them and even Isaac in the Swarm death scene.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The soldiers of the Sovereign Colonies committed mass suicide and attempted to destroy all data and other materials related to the expedition to keep the Necromorphs contained. However, this destruction of all of the data means that Isaac and the others don't find out about what happens when you REALLY turn off the machine until their enemy is handily standing there listening to the instructions on how to destroy the universe, meaning that the sacrifice of thousands of lives only made a disaster more likely, not less.
  • Grenade Spam:
    • Not the worst offender, but still pretty bad. If one Unitologist soldier throws a grenade at you, it's certain that he has a couple hundred in reserve to throw at you every 12 seconds or so.
    • Also, Missile Spam when against Unitologists with Rocket Launchers. They put a missile out less than 10 seconds after the last one exploded in your face, and often comes in pairs. They also love coming around while you're busy dealing with other threats.
  • Harmless Freezing: Played straight for Necromorphs, since they can go from being frozen solid to attempting to eat your face in mere seconds. Averted for players when they crash land on Tau Volantis; their helmet malfunctions and locks open, so they need to stay close to fires to avoid hypothermia.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The entire native species of Tau Volantis certainly qualify. The Machine was constructed by them for the purpose of freezing their entire planet and preventing their own Convergence, therefore preventing the Brethren Moon from reaching maturity and allowing life to go on elsewhere in the galaxy. They were even kind enough to create glyphs to make their Starfish Language more understandable by their discoverers.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Final Boss is a post-Convergence Necromorph so large that it is mistaken for Tau Volantis' moon. It's the first thing you see when you enter the system, and is always hanging in the sky in most levels.
  • Hide Your Children: Played straight for the first time in the series. The expedition to Tau Volantis was primarily military, plus a few civilian scientists, so there weren't any children around to be transformed. Even the Lurkers, which fans had taken to calling "tentacle zombie babies," are now made of transformed dogs. The Pack, easily dispatched but numerous zombie children are replaced with Feeders, who are adults with a similar role, and Crawlers still seem to be infants, however they are the infected spawn of Tau Volantis's original inhabitants, rather than humans.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Brother Moon used the Markers in an attempt to make itself whole. During the Final Battle, Isaac defeats it by launching Markers at its eyes.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Danik holds a gun to Ellie's head in order to get the Codex to turn of the Machine that's stopping the Moon.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Late in the game, as Isaac prepares the Machine to finally kill the Moon, Danik calls Isaac and pleads for him to stop, ranting "You cannot possibly comprehend what you are doing here!" At the same time, Danik is also attempting to use the machine to intentionally unleash the Moon upon the galaxy.
  • I Lied: Danik to Norton when betraying him after their brief Enemy Mine.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • At one point, Norton tries to lock Isaac in a cage. Just out of arm's reach is a blue panel that can be operated by TK—and it's not even a puzzle, it's the lock on the cage. How long did Norton expect this to slow Clarke down?
    • Did Norton think that Danik would make good on a deal to spare him and his crew after Danik has been proven as an zealous Omnicidal Maniac?
      • Not to mention what happens shortly thereafter. So you're Norton. The guy you just double crossed saves you from being executed by the guy who just double crossed you, protects you in the ensuing firefight, takes on a monster the size of a building, gets swallowed by it, and kills it from the inside out. And your plan is to further antagonize this individual?
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: How Buckell dies on Tau Volantis.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Telemetry Spike's default tip is the Javelin Gun. An add-on to the gun can make it electrocute enemies like in Dead Space 2. A new add-on, however, allows you to detonate the javelin at will.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: As per series tradition, every named, voiced non-faceless character is modeled after their voice actor.
  • Informed Ability: Ellie's previous occupation as a CEC heavy transport pilot never comes up, and when the group needs to actually pilot a shuttle, she lets Isaac man the damn thing. Sure, the ship was 200 years older than anything she trained with, but she's still a better choice than an engineer with no piloting experience.
  • Interface Spoiler: The game features a dynamic main menu, with ice slabs containing sections of a creature being shifted as you switch menus. The creature preserved in the slabs is Rosetta, a preserved alien corpse vital to understanding the true history of Tau Volantis. The mission involving Rosetta requires you to find all of its slabs and return it to a machine for reassembly, just like the one in the main menu.
    • An easy one to miss is that the first elevator you use on the CMS Terra Nova is the only elevator in the game that allows you to select floors but only has one option open while you're there the first time.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Hunter returns, and it brought its identical friends and a new immunity to fire.
  • Irony: For generations, EarthGov has been using planetcracking to keep civilization alive, now moon sized beings are out to destroy humanity.
  • Item Amplifier: Support Attachments will increase the ammo, health, or stasis of both Isaac and Carver.
  • Item Crafting: Everything is handled by item crafting now. There are no more power nodes to slot into weapons or your suit; instead, you need to assemble weapons from parts and create chips out of more spare parts to tweak their performance.
  • Jerkass:
    • Captain Robert Norton. Every time he can be, he's rude, condescending, possessive of Ellie, and just generally unhelpful towards Isaac. And then he turns out to be The Mole.
    • Carver comes off as one too early on in the game, initially hostile to Isaac—but he warms up to him later on.
  • Just Before the End: The prologue reveals that EarthGov is in shambles, with law and order across the whole of human space breaking down.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Dead Space: Liberation shows that Carver did get to his family on Uxor; they had already been killed and turned into Necromorphs.
  • Leave No Witnesses: While they were ravaged by a Necromorph outbreak, the staff of the Tau Volantis outposts managed to survive for months. In the end, the military attachment received a liquidation order, so they scuttled all vehicles, purged all data, killed anyone who resisted, and then all killed themselves.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Like the Hand Cannon from the second game, Dead Space 3 has the Devil Horns, another foam hand with the pinky and index finger extended and the same "BANG BANG" and "pew pew pew" attacks too. Reloading the Devil Horns will have Isaac rocking out with an electric guitar riff in the background. You can downgrade it to the Hand Cannon by removing the pinky "lower tool," but why would you want to?
  • Lighter and Softer: The third game's feel focuses more on the action-packed third-person shooter nature then the survival horror side which the previous two games had more emphasis on.
  • Lost Forever: Annoyingly, certain weapon mods. Did you remember to make a blueprint of that limited "planet cracker" plasma cutter you just altered? Have a spare rotator cuff to rebuild it if you made a blueprint copy? Enjoy your weaker, smaller line gun if you don't have both.
  • Long Game: The Brethren Moons periodically wait millions of years for intelligent, space-faring life to evolve and find their Markers, eventually allowing the Moons to consume the entire species, create a new Brother Moon, and enter hibernation again.
  • Lovecraft Lite: For all of the Mind Rape, all of the power, you still kill a godlike alien the size of a moon, and with it most of the Necromorphs and all known Markers.
  • MacGyvering: All weapons and items must be built out of stuff you find, as the ancient vendors you find around Tau Volantis are only equipped with RIGs for troops.
  • Madness Mantra: The S.C.A.F. admiral began writing the same phrase all over the walls of her office after succumbing to dementia from the Markers.
    Isaac: Turn it off... turn it off... turn it off... turn it off... turn it off...
  • Matter Replicator: All the RIG stations in the series were confirmed to be this, and Isaac was forced to pay credits to use the pre-loaded stations. Now, he doesn't have to pay credits to replicate the bits, and instead need to provide the raw materials to get what he wants.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The flagship of the Sovereign Colonies fleet orbiting Tau Volantis is the CMS Roanoke. Roanoke was an English Colony in what is currently North Carolina in the sixteenth century; the colonists all disappeared mysteriously.
    • Tau Volantis itself. 'Tau' is a greek letter, symbolizing "life" and "resurrection," while 'Volantis' is a derivative of "fly" or "swift" in Latin. Together, it can symbolize "swift ressurection," as in what the Necromorphs do, or "life flight" as in a Convergence Event.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Necromorphs and Unitologist soldiers will fight each other as well as the player(s), but the two are rarely encountered in the same area.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Guns are now built in a crafting system akin to Gunsmith, where up to two different weapons are combined on a single frame. Also a case of Mix-and-Match tools, or Mix-and-Match gun-tools.
  • Mood Dissonance: In chapter 5, Edwards has the computer play upbeat country music for Isaac while the latter is fighting his way through waves of gruesome Necromorphs that the former's booby traps attract.
  • Moral Myopia: After crash-landing on Tau Volantis, Isaac desperately searches the wreck of their shuttle for Ellie. When he finds a body missing half of its skull, Isaac drops it and sighs in relief that it was just the body of another crewmember, and not Ellie.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The Markers inflate Norton's jealousy over the relationship between his girlfriend Ellie and her ex Isaac, causing Norton to try and engineer Isaac's death on multiple occasions.
  • Never My Fault: As applied to the entire Unitologist religion. The compulsion to preserve bodies and build markers is a long-term alien mental influence and the cult has organized all of that into a movement that is effectively preparing humanity for mass-Necromorphization. When faced with the reality that this results in a bunch of hideous screaming mutant corpses merging with one another... they conclude it's the fault of the guys who built the Markers, including Isaac Clarke.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Previous games have already established the Church of Unitology as a widespread, wealthy, and immensely influential organization, but we finally see the extent of that influence in this game. They've effectively toppled EarthGov, their devout encompasses over half of the human population, and they field an entire fleet of ships.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Game: Part 3. One area involves removing all the safety devices from a giant drill by turning a single lever, and one section literally requires anyone needing to access the power generator to run through a tube that pulverizes whatever is inside.
    • Though played dead straight in gameplay, additional details try to subvert this. Almost all machinery and areas that could pose a danger are marked with warning labels, there are emergency gas masks and trenchcoats in areas where Deadly Gas is utilized, and the S.C.A.F. administration distributed many posters advising how to deal with the Necromorph situation and the extreme climate. Hell, there isn't a single dismemberment door in the game!
  • No Sell: Were you expecting those Hunters to be incinerated when they step into the exhaust of a rocket engine, like the first one? Think again.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: After Danik's first encounter with Isaac, the poor engineer ends up shot in the face (only a grazing wound) and tossed from the top of the tower. Fortunately, a pile of bodies from the slaughtered office staff is there to break his fall.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Type 3. The Moon is the source of the Marker signal, and is actually a colossal Necromorph. Especially creepy upon playing through the game again and realizing how often the Moon comes into view.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Some cutscenes change if you're in Co-Op mode. Others... don't.
    • When Isaac and Carver attempt to escape to the Eudora, Carver is suddenly on the ship's ramp and pulls Isaac up, even if he was behind Isaac beforehand.
    • When Danik almost kills Isaac and throws him of a building on Luna, Carver wakes up on next to Isaac, conspicuously alive instead of being shot in the head like Isaac was.
  • Oh, Crap:
  • Old Save Bonus: Playing Dead Space 2 will earn you a Planetcracker Plasma Cutter, the original model in a nifty black finish.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. Every time you reload a weapon, it uses up 1 universal ammo clip, even if there are still a bunch of bullets left in the magazine. You can still compulsively reload and not notice this on normal difficulty, since you get so much ammo, but it can quickly make the game unwinnable if you're on a harder difficulty with scarcer resources.
  • One-Winged Angel: When combined en masse, the Necromorphs merge to create a "Hive Mind" form as seen in a boss fight here (and in Dead Space's ending). The Hive Mind form is later revealed to be a secondary final form, with its final form being a Brother Moon, when Convergence provides enough bodies to make a Necromorph the size of a small planet.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: When Isaac (and Carver) meet Danik for the first time, his soldiers gun them down and drag them up so Danik can give a monologue. He then shoots Isaac in the head (which ends up only grazing his forehead) and drops him off the building. Their health bar is in the red, but they haven't died yet.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: An audio log states that the aliens who used to live on Tau Volantis had gills, fins, and swim bladders. They also talked through six vents in their heads.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In-Universe with the Wasters and Feeders, who appear and behave more like traditional zombies than the Necromorphs in previous games in the series.
  • Peeling Potatoes: Humorously, an audio log reveals that General Mahad once threatened a private with this punishment if he can't find the key to the munitions depot by nightfall.
    • An audiolog you get near the end of the mission greatly undercuts the humor, as when Caufman found the key, another soldier insinuated the munitions he was sent for were going to be used for the Liquidation order.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Whether it's in a Derelict Graveyard or the frozen wastes, Nercomorphs don't lose any steam after 10 thousand — much less 200 — years. Special mention goes to the Feeders, who have been "alive" and kicking and starving and wasting away for 200 years.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The whole Necromorph infestation could have been stopped 200 years ago. General Mahad didn't believe Dr. Serrano when the doctor claimed he knew a way to save everyone, and instead opted for a complete liquidation order to contain the outbreak. Had Mahad instead rallied his remaining soldiers to deliver the Codex to Serrano and carve a path to the Alien machine, it would have been a matter of turning a switch to kill the Moon. Even the Leave No Witnesses order would be fulfilled, as the Machine would send the Moon crashing down to the planet, annihilating the whole facility.
  • Planet Eater: The Brethren Moons. They're eating all organic material. The reason humans haven't found other races while exploring space for so long is because the Brethren Moons already ate them.
  • Psycho Strings: Par for the course for the series, but the radio aboard the CMS Greely takes the cake. See also Source Music.
  • Pun:
    • The final level's name is "Blood Moon." The moon is a moon-sized Necromorph, made of blood and flesh. Very funny, Visceral.
    • The logs you find in the Reaper barracks have a head pun for a title.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing:
    • S.C.A.F. equipment usually still works after over two centuries of neglect and exposure to Tau Volantis' extreme cold. Hell, some of it is sometimes better than modern equipment.
    • The last bench and RIG station take it a step beyond. That whole section of the planet is being pulled apart by the Moon, and yet they are still functioning in a chunk of the base that is about two rooms large.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The first time Isaac gets to use the stasis module to slow down traffic on an automated freeway, the transport he slows down immediately gets rammed by the transport behind it, causing a massive pileup that shuts down the entire road.
    Isaac: "Oops."
    • Late in the game, while rappelling down a mine shaft, Isaac uses stasis to stop a fan, then goes past it. A few seconds later, the fan starts back up, and the line gets caught, forcing Isaac to cut the line before he gets caught in the fan.
  • Recursive Precursors: The 'natives' of Tau Volantis weren't the creators of the Markers after all. Rather, they were another race that outgrew the ability to sustain themselves, constructed Red Markers in an attempt to harness their limitless energy, and then succumbed to the Necromorph infestation. Sound familiar?
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Angry soldier John Carver and melancholic engineer Isaac Clarke. Their suit and visor colors are even tinted red and blue (well, light green) respectively.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Zigzagged between Isaac and Ellie. They had a relationship after 2, but Ellie broke up with him by the time of 3. Then their relationship blossoms again after Norton's death.
  • The Remnant: Not every member of the Circle was at Tau Volantis during the events of the game, so a some show up late to the party during DLC materials.
    • During the Conning Tower side mission, it appears that the last survivor of the Sovereign Colonies expedition is still alive after 200 years and trying to kill Isaac using the base's computer systems and a series of homemade traps. Of course, it turns out to be a series of pre-recorded messages, with the actual guy having been dead all along.
  • Revision: The third game establishes that human governments produced the Red Markers to use as powerful reactors that could solve humanity's energy crisis, only to bury them when the alien devices were deemed too dangerous. However, 200 years later, the new leaders of EarthGov decided to restart the project when the Red Marker and Isaac's blueprints were found.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better/Hand Cannon: On a single-handed frame, adding a Compact Directed Ejection Field to a military engine turns the thing into a huge revolver. It's more of a case of Difficult but Awesome, as its high damage and amazing ability to blow limbs clean off is offset by its small clip and tendency to chew through ammo. Add a scope, and it becomes a Sniper Pistol.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Despite the cries from the Moon to turn it off, and make us whole, it cannot stop sending Necromorphs to kill Isaac and Carver.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Many, everywhere the Necromorphs have been are full of deranged scribblings.
    • Special mention goes to the Conning Tower in which the writing was created by Tucker's paranoia about dying, and not by the Markers. Even in the Freezing Device on Tau Volantis, the walls have scribblings, but in an Alien Language.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Isaac goes on one after Ellie's assumed death by Deadly Gas.
    "You guys are fucking done!"
    • A minor example is when Isaac encounters the Snow Beast a third time. After the Necromorph causes Santos' death, Isaac (feeling guilty over not being able to save her) promptly makes sure that the Super-Persistent Predator doesn't come back again, avenging Santos in the process.
  • Running Gag:
    • There's Always Peng!
    • The game, whether it's through tutorial pop-ups, audio and text logs, or graffiti on the walls, still beats you over the head that you should indeed shoot the limbs for maximum damage.
    • On a darker note, the regenerating Hunters again happen to make a return in some form. This time, in numbers.
    • There's always someone in Isaac's party that betrays him and then gets killed shortly afterward, but this time around the gender of the traitor has been flipped.
  • Sanity Slippage: enforced. Most of the hallucinations are done to Carver this time around, so Isaac doesn't see these. Neither does Player 1. Watch any two-player Let's Play (eg Jesse Cox as Isaac, Dodger as Carver) for a first-hand view of the Mind Screw (skip to about 7:10).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Norton is on this trope like a broken record. He's pretty gung-ho about recruiting Isaac for finding Ellie, but it turns out that finding her and running the hell away from everything else is his one true objective rather than completing her mission. He grumbles, argues, whines, begs, pleads and eventually DEMANDS that they abandon Tau Volantis, though most of it is behind Ellie's back so he doesn't look bad to her.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Many Mix and Match Weapons can combine both 24th and 26th century technology, such as a Sawed-Off Shotgun attached to a Plasma Cannon.
    • Despite being over 300 years in our future, the audio logs are not on the same tablet-like devices like text logs but instead on huge desktop devices that show an image of a cassette tape before playing, and typewriters and film projectors are seen on several occasions as you explore the facility.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Turn it off". Yeah, it doesn't quite mean what Isaac and company hope it means...
    • The Markers themselves. Stay dormant until the race that found them has expanded past the point of sustainability, allow themselves to be discovered, offer themselves as an easily-replicated source of infinite energy, and ensure they are worshiped by that race. Once the race is content and reverent, unleash the Necromorphs and create another Brethren Moon.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Averted. Carver is an NPC in his own right and will be present for story purposes even if not for gameplay.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Aliens stopped the outbreak by flash freezing their planet. The lack of bodies sent the Markers into hibernation. When the S.C.A.F. landed on the planet, it woke the Markers back up and triggered another outbreak.
  • Secondary Fire: You now have Mix and Match Weapons that give you completely different primary and secondary fire.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike/Sequel Difficulty Drop: At first, Dead Space 3 is a lot harder than the previous two games, especially if you try to play it the same way you played the first two. Enemies are a lot faster and don't hitstun as easily, so if you don't learn to use the dodgeroll real quick you'll end up taking a lot of hits. Also, if you don't upgrade the damage on your weapons, you'll end up spending ammo faster than you obtain it once you reach the Terra Nova. That said, the new crafting system allows you to make some truly game breaker weapons if you know what you're doing, making the later levels a breeze. Putting 4 damage upgrades on the plasma cutter can allow you to kill most enemies with just 1 or 2 shots.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The final radio transmission after the credits roll suggesting Isaac is still alive serves as a teaser for the Awakened DLC Expansion Pack.
    • The acronym formed by taking the first letter of each chapter title: BROTHER MOONS ARE AWAKE.
  • Series Fauxnale: The ending of Dead Space 3 seems to bring the story of Isaac Clarke, the Markers, and the Necromorphs to a suitably epic, final, decisive conclusion... just kidding! Isaac's story continues in the Dead Space 3: Awakening DLC, and the end of the DLC definitely indicates that more will be coming.
  • Short Range Shotgun:
    • Military engine + conic dispersal tip = a high-damage, short-range pump-action shotgun that does far higher damage up close than from afar.
    • Force Gun + default tip = A short-ranged blaster that will knock back enemies that get too close.
  • Shout-Out: A number according to Word of God.
    • The snow covered Tau Volantis was inspired by the setting of John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing (1982). This is most evident with the "Wasters," who look like parka-wearing guys who sprout into tentacles, two trademarks of The Thing. Additionally, the Lurker enemy now are infected dogs, mirroring the infamous kennel scene from The Thing.
    • Dead Space 3's particular form of jump-in anytime co-op multiplayer was inspired by a similar feature introduced in an early patch for System Shock 2.
    • Many achievements/trophies are named after various science fiction novels, notable ones include Stranger in a Strange Land, Space Odyssey, and Brave New World.
    • As mentioned by the Dead Space wiki, the native species of Tau Volantis are similar to the Elder Things from the Cthulhu Mythos. Like the Elder Things, they communicate via piping sounds and were wiped out by a hostile alien organism. The alien city visited by Clarke and Carver later in the game is reminiscent of the one described in At the Mountains of Madness, which too is hidden by snow and ice and was constructed with Alien Geometries.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Whenever Danik contacts Isaac through his RIG instead of a loudspeaker, this is Isaac's standard response.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Tau Volantis, of the 'Ice' Variety. This is because the original inhabitants froze the Planet in order to halt the Moon's convergence.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Carver swears even more than a freaked out Isaac.
    John: "Fuck this day."
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: The Unitologists increase through the series; they go from religious devotees who (mostly unwittingly) aid the necromorph spread in the first, to psychopaths that help infect Titan Station and try to capture Isaac to make him build more Markers in the second, to an N.G.O. Superpower that pretty much destroys EarthGov, with Danik intentionally causing Necromorph outbreaks to "free" the manmade Markers.
  • Source Music: You sometimes happen upon radios or other implements playing music. Or things that used to be music 200 years ago and now are a distorted nightmarish aural equivalent of an Undercrank. The radio aboard the CMS Greely turns a mellow swing tune into a distorted monstrosity.
  • Space Mines: A whole field of them shred Ellie's ship, and then Norton's when it follows, leaving both groups stranded on derelicts above Tau Volantis. They don't just target ships, they'll actively hunt down Isaac and Carver when the two travel between ships.
  • Stalactite Spite: This is how Danik finally bites it, being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by a sharp rock after he awakens the Moon.
  • Starfish Aliens: The true natives of Tau Volantis, which you see being dissected and studied by the excavation crew. They're tall but thin, with a carapaced head, three pairs of insect-like limbs, and communicate with a Starfish Language. They also went extinct due to the Necromorph infection.
  • Story Branching: By playing co-op mode, you get additional scenes between Isaac and Carver, puzzles alter to require two players working together, and different areas are unlocked.
  • Suicide Attack: Unitologist fanatics are not above using suicide bombers to attack their intended targets.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: There's an enemy type that is an emaciated Fragile Speedster that relies on drowning opponents in their numbers to kill them. Are we talking about the Pack from Dead Space 2, or the new Feeder Necromorphs? And The Brute necromorphs seem to have been replaced by necromorphed corpses of the alien species that initially lived on Tau Volantis.
  • Swallowed Whole: The Nexus "eats" Isaac, forcing Isaac to fight it from the inside.
  • Take Cover: Isaac can now crouch behind objects while rolling on the ground to escape incoming attacks, allowing him to avoid gunfire form Unitologists and corpses controlled by Divider heads.
  • Take Your Time: During the final level, you must run to escape the Advancing Wall of Doom. Once you reach a part of the building which has a functioning bench and RIG station, you're free to lay about as the world is crumbling behind you.
    • Not long before that, Danik will happily pause the elevator you've been rappelling down after while you stop at a bench, listen to an audio log, wait for a scavenger bot to return...
  • Tempting Fate: Some particularly unpleasant Reaper soldiers pranked a fanboy by offering to let him join their ranks if he scrubbed their toilets with his bare hands for a week. One week later, they all laughed at the manure-coated private, and said "the only way you'd become a Reaper is if every last one of them miraculously died and he was the only one left who could take their place." Unsurprisingly, things get bad when he ensures every one of them 'miraculously dies' later that night .
    • Two levels revolve around thawing out the Nexus, getting a device to shoot it with electrical probes, and then going inside it and shooting still moving pustules with said device, as per the "Nexus" experiment. While doing so, Santos assures you it is still dead. Three guesses what the next boss fight is.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: After two outbreaks, the last thing Isaac wants is to continue looking for Markers and be manipulated by EarthGov. Unfortunately, Ellie knows about him being able to read Marker script due to being Crazy Sane, so Norton and Carver drag him out of his apartment and away from attacking Unitologists to another adventure.
  • That's No Moon!: The last boss, fittingly called "the Moon".
  • Thematic Theme Tune: The reveal trailer's song lyrics "Fishing Grounds" not only catch the overall feeling of Dead Space 3, but they also make a lot more of sense when you discover that Tau Volantis is a frozen ocean world.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Even Isaac hates regenerating Necromorphs.
    Isaac: *exasperated* God, I hate those things...
  • Title Drop: The title of the series, "Dead Space", gets dropped during Dr. Serrano's final Apocalyptic Log recording at the end of the game.
    Dr. Serrano: I remember telling my college professor I wanted to study xenoarcheology. He laughed right in my face. "There’s nothing to study," he said. "It’s all dead space. No alien life exist out in the universe." In a way, I guess he was right...
  • The Stinger: After the credits you can hear a radio transmission of Isaac calling out for Ellie.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Variation: "The Tape Knew You Would Go There." Edwards' booby traps have lots of his pre-recorded messages attached to them, so many that he seems to be genuinely emotionally reacting to you breaking through his defenses.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: You'll regularly have visions of things and places that aren't there thanks to the Markers. In co-op, each player will even have different hallucinations at different times.
  • The Remnant: The once powerful EarthGov has been totally wiped out by the Unitologists uprising, with the platoon that you work with being the last remnants of their military.
  • Time Abyss:
    • The original Black Marker was known to be over 65 million years old, but the Brethren Moons have been harvesting civilizations long before that. The Moon of Tau Volantis, in particular, was waiting since before mankind's evolution for them to come to the Moon and make it whole.
    • Necromorphed aliens were hibernating the same amount of time to come ruin the day of anyone who landed on their planet.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: A Nexus tries eating Isaac and Carver. Two minutes later, they're concerning themselves with getting gastric juice off of their suits, and the Nexus is concerned with having its hearts exploded.
  • Trailers Always Lie: One live action trailer has Isaac climb an icy mountain to see an enormous black marker that doesn't appear in the game itself.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Most trailers dress the game up as "Isaac and co. crash on an icy planet and have to find and save Ellie," while in actuality said crash doesn't happen until about halfway through the game (as Isaac spends a great deal of time fighting the dead in space).
    • Some trailers and the demo spoil the awakening of the Nexus, which is initially dormant when first encountered.
  • Trap Master: One optional mission has Isaac navigate a ship deck that's been covered in booby traps by a man who died 200 years ago. The traps are still deadly after all this time.
  • True Love Is Boring: Played straight in the case of Isaac and Ellie. They hooked up after the second game and are broken up by the time of the third, although Isaac's psychological scars and apathy to stopping the Markers for good contributed to their falling-out.
  • Universal Ammunition: Because there are so many different possible types of weaponry to create, the developers went with this rather than having the player have a zillion different ammo recipes. One unit of ammo is about a quarter of a full magazine for a weapon, so powerful weapons with low clip sizes use up more ammo. Also, the developers programmed it so that if you're out of ammo in your inventory completely, the next Necromorph you kill will always drop ammo.
  • The Unmasqued World: Marker outbreaks of Necromorphs seem commonplace enough that few people react as if they were unusual by now, possibly owing to the fact that the Sprawl, a major population center, was a victim not very long ago.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: A dodge roll has been added to the combat scheme. And, yes, for the most part it is unnecessary.
  • Unpassable Slightly-Ajar Door: Before thawing a Nexus, Isaac has to take a complicated roundabout to enter a shed with a door that's locked in position. The problem is, the position it's locked in is "wide enough for the average person." Hell, Isaac wouldn't even have to turn sideways to squeeze through!
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: There are now armed human enemies, but their weapons fade into thin air almost as soon as they're killed. Tolerable, because you probably wouldn't want to drop your custom-tuned Sniper Chainsaw for a weak 20-round rifle, but it would've been nice getting to use a rocket launcher a few levels early.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Carver, suffering from the dementia that Isaac previously overcame, will occasionally cause player two to see things that aren't actually there. Carver's third side-mission even takes this to the extreme when the elevator at the end of the mission stops moving, only for Isaac to complain he's still waiting for John to stop daydreaming and to decide if he wants to go down.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During the Conning Tower side mission, no one seems to question how a 200 year old man could still apparently be alive (and not a Necromorph) and trying to kill Isaac. They must assume he's in stasis.
  • Use Your Head: One of the strangest examples yet. Sometimes, Divider heads will direct the corpse they are possessing to lob themselves at Isaac, initiating a grapple sequence where they try to replace Isaac's head with their own.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The damage system applies to humans as much as it does to the Necromorphs. Except that Unitologists are a lot squishier than Necromorphs, and what is merely a flesh wound for an undead grotesque horror is horrible trauma incompatible with continued life function for a live human.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Mahad. With his expedition being constantly overrun by Necromorphs, he orders a "quarantine": destruction of ALL research materials and MURDER of all personnel. All he wanted was to made sure that Earth would never by endangered by Necromorphs. Sadly he destroyed the key of total victory over the Necromorph threat, and the concequences are severe: Unitologists have the chance of awaking the Moon, which they do. Isaac and Carver manages to kill it, maybe losing their lives in doing so, but it was a close call. Also the outbreaks we see at the beginning of the game would never happen.
    • Danik seems to genuinely believe, like most Unitologists in the series, that spreading the Markers so they can turn all of humanity into very homicidal undead monstrosities is a GOOD thing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Isaac lays this on Ellie for going into a relationship with Captain Norton not long after leaving Isaac. She throws it back in his face for "giving up on the world" by refusing to look for more Markers after the Sprawl incident.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Danik says this to Isaac in Chapter 17, but he's rather polite about it.
    Danik: Isaac, is that you? You are unbelievably hard to kill. Are you aware of that?
  • Wham Episode: "Convergence" creates massive planetoid sized Necromorphs that spread more Markers throughout the galaxy and "feed" on the populations of any planet they come across to sustain themselves.
  • Womb Level:
    • At one point you go inside a giant, frozen Nexus to survey its nerve clusters and fight off smaller Necromorphs inside. If you escape it, it swallows Isaac whole - forcing you to kill it from the inside as well.
  • Working with the Ex: Ellie and Isaac.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": "Scenario 5". In order to fully quarantine the Necromorphs to Tau Volantis, everyone living on the planet or in orbit had to be murdered to guarantee success. This even extended to the soldiers required to kill the non-compliant, who held final orders to commit suicide.
    • This also extends to the Markers and Brother Moons, who prefer the term "turn it off."
  • You Are Already Dead: One of the Twitcher death animations plays like this. The Twitcher launches into a flurry of stabbings and slashes, and then steps back. The player raises their arm to shoot, but then suddenly falls into pieces.
  • You Are Who You Eat: The Feeders are Pack-like Necromorphs born from humans desperate enough to eat infected flesh. But the more they ate, the hungrier they got...
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Tungsten is the hardest material to obtain. Ordinarily, you need to get it with either a scavenger bot or by finding it in a few scripted locations. It's required to make door handles to open doors (this game's equivalent of the power node doors) and tends to be a vital component of most upgrades or elite equipment.
  • Your Head A Splode:
    • Shooting human enemies in the head will make their skulls pop like melons.
    • Shooting Feeders with an electric-charged weapon can make their heads explode.

     Dead Space 3: Awakened provides examples of: 
  • Actionized Sequel: Averted. After 3 the developers likened to a return to the series' horror roots.
  • Apocalypse How: The ending implies that a Planetary Class 4 is starting to happen on Earth.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Necromorph Cult, who engage in Self Harm and mutilate other Unitologists.
  • Bad Moon Rising: Not only the name of the achievement for the completion of the Downloadable Content, but it closes on the trope from an external point of view, as Isaac and Carver see that the Brother Moons are at Earth.
  • Batman Gambit: The Brethren Moons already know where Earth is. They were simply trying to delay Isaac and Carver's return as long as possible.
  • Book Ends: At the end of Awakened Isaac and Carver deshock and try to establish a radio connection which goes unanswered. Then it's gradually revealed that something's gone wrong just like in the first game.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The remnants of the Unitologist forces on Tau Volantis are most definitely this now. Whereas in the vanilla game it was subtle, now there is extra emphasis on the crazy.
  • Crisis of Faith: Many of the Circle's members had one over the "Rebirth" following Isaac and Carver defeating the Final Boss in the main game. However, some got even worse.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the base game. While the base game was an Actionized Sequel with the Sanity Slippage hallucinations of 2 toned way down, this one consists of almost pure, nonstop Mind Rape hallucinations, Unitologists that even the core Circle members are appalled by, a Happy Ending Override, and, to top it all off, The Bad Guy Wins for the first time in a game starring Isaac.
  • Dope Slap / Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: After waking up from the ending of the main game, Isaac starts having terrible doubts. Carver gives him a pep talk.
    Carver: I still don't understand how we survived.
    Isaac: Maybe we didn't.
    Carver: Well I'd know if I was dead, man.
    Isaac: Man, I don't even know what "dead" means anymore. Are we Necromorphs? Is this what they feel like after the Marker re-animates them?
    Carver: *taps Isaac's shoulder, then smacks Isaac's head in the same motion* Could you be any more crazy? HELL NO we are not Necromorphs. We killed the thing that makes them! At least we don't have to put up with that shit anymore.
  • Downer Ending/Bolivian Army Ending: Upon arriving on Earth, Isaac and Carver realize that the Brother Moons got there first, and they had no time to warn anyone.
    • The Bad Guy Wins: The Brother Moons have already reached Earth, and begun wiping out humanity.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: As far as anyone can see, Earth. Or at least a work in progress.
  • Foreshadowing: The ending is pretty openly implied in the main game, if you piece together a couple of offhanded comments. 1) Norton says his group is the last vestige of EarthGov military, implying that the Unitologists have all but won their civil war. 2) Davik claims his people are "liberating" Marker test facilities, i.e. causing Necromorph infestations, all over the place. Combined, you have infestations at least in major population centers, if not throughout human space. Honestly, the Brethren Moons reaching Earth was probably just a formality.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Taking the first letter of each chapter title spells out yet another message: Requiem, Infidels, Perdition: R.I.P.
  • Hand Wave: In the opening, when Carver asks how they survived a moon falling on them, Isaac says maybe it has something to do with the alien MacGuffin from the main game, as they really have no idea how it works. Isaac then adds he doesn't even bother trying to figure these things out anymore.
  • Happy Ending Override: The Tau Volantis Brother Moon managed to contact the moon network before the alien Machine killed it, so they're all coming for Earth.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Isaac thinks he and Carver need to strand themselves on Tau Volantis to protect Earth from the Brother Moons. Fortunately for them, it's a lie, and they narrowly avert a Senseless Sacrifice.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Isaac thinks the Brethren Moons want to track him and Carver back to Earth, and thus gets into a fight with Carver over leaving Tau Voltanis. In actuality, the Moons just wanted to stall the two heroes to prevent anyone from warning Earth of the coming invasion, meaning Isaac played straight into their hands.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In interviews about Awakened, the staff droped casual mentions how the Moon is actually a necromorph, 'the Necro Moon', and that Isaac and Carver are still alive.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The Unitologists have pretty much already killed themselves or each other by the time Isaac and Carver find them. Plus, there's also the fact that the Brother Moons are already at Earth and slaughtering everyone as the duo pop out of shockspace into lunar orbit.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Carver and Isaac get into a fight near the end about whether or not to return to Earth, with Isaac wanting not to end up leading the Brother Moons, and Carver just thinking he's crazy and wanting to go anyway. As it turns out, Carver is right, and, since they fought in one of the Hallucinations, neither of them was hurt.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • "They are coming... They are hungry..."
    • "Take our hands that we may feed you, take our eyes that we may see you, take our minds that we may serve you. We will live forever."
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Isaac and Carver both survived falling helmetless from a height beyond the atmosphere due to a literal Deus ex Machina, much to their confusion.
  • Not Quite Dead: Carver's comments towards the end suggest that EarthGov is still active. Given that the Moons are wrecking havoc on Earth itself, it's little consolation.
  • Schizo Tech: the pre-cliffhanger climax is your installation of a shock drive from a modern ship that plugs conveniently into one made two centuries before it and several classes larger than it, thus allowing you and Carver to fly back to Earth. Compensation for the difference in technologies is made by throwing plutonium at it and forcing an overload to occur, all of which turns out to be crazy enough to work.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Pretty much everything Isaac, Carver, and every other protagonist across the series has struggled to accomplish is moot. The Brethren Moons found humanity, and will now wipe them out.
  • Religion of Evil: Of course, there's Unitology, but the Awakened DLC adds an even more radical group of psycho Necromorph worshipers.
  • The Remnant: The cult of humans in this add-on are the remnants of the Circle's members on Tau Volantis.
  • Shout-Out: The Achievement for beating the campaign is "Bad Moon Rising".
  • Touched by Vorlons: The ending shows that the "Prophet", the new Unitologist leader, was real instead of a pure hallucination like Nicole. This suggests that at least some of the seemingly supernatural abilities he demonstrates come from having become a conduit for the Breathren Moons.
  • Wham Line: Near the end, after the Final Boss.
    Brother Moons: Your chance to warn the Earth has come and gone. We are coming. We are hungry. We are here.
  • You Are Too Late: Type 7. By the time Carver and Isaac reach Earth, the Brother Moons have already begun their genocidal consumption of Earth.

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alternative title(s): Dead Space 3
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