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A Chore, and Little Else
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.
You were scared by Arkham Asylum? I found the Scarecrow encounters hilarious, since Scarecrow zillah and Fission Mailed screens aren't really that frightening for me. In fact, the closest that game came to freaking me out was Clayface.

You can always increase the difficulty if it's a problem. The default difficulty is probably too easy for anyone with experience at games. Another, more fun way to increase the difficulty is to use weapons besides the Boring But Practical Plasma Cutter, such as the Ripper and Line Gun.

I agree that the game is overlong; it feels like they stretched out how much material they were going to cover without providing enough material there.

I'm glad you gave the game a chance, even if you didn't like it. Your review manages to do quite well within that stupid character limit. Although the sequel improved a lot of the bad features of the first game, if you didn't like the first, you'll probably not like that one, so that's a good game to stay away from.

P.S.: Why does everyone think Silent Hill 2 is the best in the series? I preferred 3.
comment #6178 Scardoll 30th Jan 11 (edited by: Scardoll)
The difficulty wasn't exactly the problem per se. I got stuck or failed about as often I'd expect to on the first playthrough of a game. Guess I kinda lost track of my point. My point was that they couldn't make me care, and they never once achieved a genuine fright. I would die once trying to get through a room full of necromorphs and the urge to just forget about the whole silly thing would far outweigh the urge to try again.

Anyway. Yeah, character limit. Silent Hill is a tie between 2 & 3 for me, and I would've mentioned Clive Barker's Undying if I'd had space.
comment #6185 Vitriholic 31st Jan 11
Your problem lies in the fact that you expected it to be scary. It's a horror-themed action game, like Resident Evil 4, not a pure Survival Horror game.
comment #6193 SeanTucker 31st Jan 11
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