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As the title says, this is a pretty good game on its own merits. The controls feel nice, the graphics are gorgeous, and the gameplay is fun. The problem is that its the wrong kind of gameplay for a Dead Space game.
Dead Space is supposed to be survival horror. Isolation, limited resources, you should always be on edge for the next unexpected ambush by horrible grossly mutated monsters.This game does none of those things.
Instead you have a co-op, cover-based, shooter set in the Dead Space universe. You (should, as the game makes it painfully clear) have a buddy with you, resources are rarely in short supply (not even counting some of the ridiculously overpowered weaponry), and you will never be anxious about the next ambush.
Now comes my real bug-bear: the writing.
Dead Space 2 was one of my favorite stories to play in a game. The game's seemless blending of gameplay and cutscene, its enjoyable characters, and the awesome (and scary) moments will forever be some of my favorites. This game takes all that, balls it up, and throws it in the trash.
Lets take Ellie for example. In 2, she is a badass. She gets her eye stabbed out, and in response she beats her attacker down with a lead pipe before yelling that Isaac owes her a new eye. In the end of the game, she pulls off a Big Damn Heroes moment, rescues Isaac and snaps him out of his Heroic B.S.O.D..
In 3 she is a cliche, weak, emotional, damn near helpless Damsel in Distress who seems to always be on the verge of a complete breakdown. When I first played this game, I barely even realized it was the same character as before.
Her thing in 2 was she was a pilot. She manned the controls of whatever vehicle Isaac and Ellie were using, and Isaac manned the perverbal guns. In 3, she doesn't even get to do that. When they are using the Croizer to reach Tau Volantis, Isaac mans the controls and Carver mans the guns. Isaac would have been better used in an emergency repairman, while Ellie (the best trained pilot of the group) should have been manning the controls.
To make it worse, the game has a very forced love triangle, between Isaac, Ellie, and Ellie's new boyfriend: Norton. There is no reason for this except some forced drama. There is no twist, no unexpected turn. Isaac gets pissed that Ellie replaced him so quickly, Ellie is pissed that Isaac has PTSD, and Norton gets jealous and paranoid that Ellie might go back to Isaac. Norton eventually goes completely bonkers, tries to kill Isaac, and Isaac kills him in self-defense. Ellie gets upset and doesn't understand why Norton went insane even though she KNOWS what effect the Markers have on people.
Again, are we 100% sure Ellie in 3 is the same person as Ellie from 2?
Do I still play this game? Yes, but only because I love the idea of exploring/salvaging old abandoned space ships. So I just hang around the first few chapters. After that, the game has no interest from me.
This game is an absolute waste of time, money and space. The story contradicts the entire franchise and turns a great horror game into an action series. Save your money and time and play a better game like the first one.. or bioshock...or system shock 2.
Aw shit. I feel like this game is starting to lose it. I'm playing less of "Space Engineer trapped in Space Trying to Survive" and more "Action Hero Space Man Fights Evil Aliens with Comrades"
Another thing I really liked about this series? Space segments. But you only get that for the first quarter of the game. The rest is on some backwater frozen planet with frozen corpses. Hooray...
Isaac can't stop talking. And neither can his friends which are with him constantly. This isn't a horror game anymore. It's not about surviving anymore. It's kinda blown itself past that.
But now that I've got the bitch out of my system, I can start talking about the good things.
It seems Co-op is more favored...I hear nothing but good about it. Since I lack the friend who owns and plays Dead Space, I'm kind of fucked on this.
The gun crafting is SOOOOOOOO useful. I LIKE making my guns...and the gunplay is still there, at least. Dismemberment galore. Better graphics also helps with this.
There's still new enemies. As long as I get to keep killing necromorphs...
I enjoyed my time playing, but at the same time, I kinda didn't. It's weird. But still.
Seeing Isaac so screwed up after all the hell he's gone through since 1 is...just enamoring to me. Just◊ look◊ at his transformation.◊ The game genre may have changed a bit, but I still like the main character enough to play the games.
Dead Space 3 is a good sequel to the second game. Before we begin, I should disclaim that I never was upset at the apparent shift to action the sequel; to me DS was always an action game with gnarly enemy designs, rather than a horror game. So the shift to including human enemies and more firepower was not a problem for me.
Despite not finding the game to be true horror, there were segments from the previous games I did find unsettling; 3 has less of the stuff than the prior games that I found disconcerting (Isaac's sanity slippage and the preschool from the second game), but it doesn't detract too much from the actual end product. Plus, the first encounter with the Feeders was tense enough. Otherwise, the previous game depended on jumpscares, which DS3 does provide; the fact that Necromorphs can burst out of the snow, rather than out of identical looking vents, actually makes predicting their spawns somewhat harder once you reach Tau Volanits.
Gameplay wise, it feels quite similar to 2, which is a good thing. Combat is exciting and fun. The new gunsmithing mechanic was rather addictive for me; I loved seeing what combinations you could get and testing them out. While I kept the plasma cutter as my mainstay, experimenting with various backups was fun. The new universal ammo system might detract from the horror for some, though not me. There did seem to be fewer zero-G sequences, which I did miss.
Resource collection and microtransactions are contentious. I can see how that would irk many people, but I found enough materials to fully upgrade both guns and my rig before the end of the game without paying. Additionally, you can find ingame items that will allow you to buy microtransactions in lieu of real cash.
One downside is the plot. The overarching plot is fine; it didn't feel out of place. However I would've found it helpful if we were given more backstory, both on the collapse of EarthGov and on what the Sovereign Colonies were. However, an unnecessary portion of the game is taken up by a poorly-done love triangle, which hurts the overall plot and derails the character at the point.
I have yet to play co-op or the new gameplay modes opened up after completion, so I cannot weigh in on them. All-in-all I'd recommend this to fans of the early games, as long as they can put up with some more gunplay.
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