Let's get this out there first: I did not finish Dead Space. I told myself, "Self, you'd better get through this game if you want to justify sharing your opinion on it." Then my Self groaned, rolled its eyes, and went back to schlepping Isaac "Ooh Look At Us We Made a Literary Reference" Clarke through the dim corridors of the Ishimura while the composer masturbated with scare chords
. No, I didn't finish Dead Space, but I got within spitting distance of the end before the umpteen-hundredth encounter with the game's not-quite-half-assed space zombies killed the last brain cell that had any motivation to continue (at which point I referred to TV Tropes
for ending spoilers).
The developers made one critical error: they mistook Paranoia Fuel
and Nausea Fuel
for High Octane Nightmare Fuel
. By the point I reached, you WILL be trained to expect a necromorph behind every vent and around every corner. And if you have a particularly weak stomach, you will have looked away from the screen quite a few times. However, I found that I was still waiting for the "scary part" to begin even halfway through the final chapter. Perhaps the scary part starts in the sequel. No, if you're seeking a scary game, try Amnesia
or Silent Hill 2
. Hell, try Arkham Asylum
, whose Scarecrow encounters are beyond even what Dead Space wants to be when it grows up, with none of the tiresome gorn.
Actually, the developers made two critical errors: they also mistook "time-consuming" for "challenging." A challenging game presents the player with obstacles and a motivation to overcome them. Dead Space gives the player no motivation to continue, only two lackluster reveals
better suited to a short film, and endless monster encounters which brilliantly succeed at irritating
the player without ever challenging
. You trudge through the hassle of one arbitrary setback punctuated with creatures that are impossible to take seriously (the jittery "stasis slashers" make me laugh every time), and are rewarded with news of yet another arbitrary setback. The game is a chore, and little else.
There were good points: the minimal HUD, the unique limb-lopping combat, the Space Is Noisy
aversion. But these still do not redeem the game, or make it worth the $10 Steam sale price I paid for it.