Ok ok, yeah, this is a fairly old game but since my pc wasn’t good enough when it was released and it was on sale on Origin for about £4 the other week, I decided it was time to see what I missed.

Scary games are not my forte to be honest, I’ve play a few in my time and generally didn’t enjoy them. Doom 3 would be an example, although I would argue I was only annoyed by that because of closet monsters and the ridiculous idea of being able to see with a flashlight or being able to shoot with a gun. Who at id thought that was clever I’ll never understand, may aswell have played it with the monitor turned off.

Anyways, back to Dead Space, yes this is a scary game, for the first 5 chapters or so I had to keep taking breaks to relax and stop being so tense. Visually it’s pretty awesome with very atmospheric interiors, graphicly disturbing monsters and decent looking humans. Coupled with a spine chilling audio experience which can be quite unnerving and make you jumpy even before you encounter enemies.

There are a few cases of “its behind you!” and it’s always during head on combat when you are unlikely to be aware of something lumbering up to your back. A good tip when you enter a room is to note every fan vent you see, chances are these are the access points for the majority of enemies that will spawn and attack you. Mechanically very similar to closet monsters of course but at least they made the effort of tyring to explain why they appear suddenly.

On the PC, the control system works ok, it takes a bit of getting used to but fortunately the enemies at least to begin with are not in to big a hurry to munch on you and you have time to zero in your aim and cut them down. The primary method of killing everything not a boss is, legs to slow them, then arms or head to end them. It works well and there are lots of helpful reminders this is what you should be doing, scrawled about the interior of the mining vessel in blood. My only real issue was the aiming when you get picked up by er….tentacles, it appears its intentional that your aiming becomes more awkward and cumbersome at these times, but it can make it frustrating to fight to aim and shoot at the offending tentacle before it yanks you further to your doom.

I wasn’t a big fan of the turret gunning either, that felt a little lacking in precision and responsiveness but it’s rare and not particularly hard to complete so again, it’s just a niggle rather than a complaint. The selection of weapons is nice, I originaly chose the line cutter, flamer and pulse rifle to go with the standard plasma cutter pistol however it quickly became apparent either the flamer sucked and needed a ton of ammo to kill things or I sucked at using it. I switched this to the contact beam as soon as I could, it was a charge up and release weapon so wasn’t good in a panic but it pretty much killed whatever it hit so I was happy with that.

I mainly used the plasma cutter and line gun, both of these are suggested mainstays because of their beam line weapon spread, allowing you to be slightly less accurate and still sever limbs of your enemies. I did eventually upgrade the pulse rifle a bit since it was good at dealing with the very tiny enemies, with its large capacity and rapid-firing, I could blaze away for a while and get every last one of the critters. Given I wanted to spend my money on buying additional power nodes to upgrade my equipment, I’m afraid I stuck with these four guns for the duration, so can’t really comment on any of the others.

The game is separated into fourteen chapters and through some clever level design each chapter is basically separated by a tram ride to a different or previous location within the ship. There are some time slow puzzles and some telekinesis actions required to advance, but nothing too challenging. Once you get used to the fact every time you find a recharge station for your stasis ability, it’s because you’re expected to need it and  can’t afford to run out, it starts becoming obvious what you’re supposed to do. I  feel it would have been more effective to have the stasis module simply recharge on its own after a set time rather than have to place recharge stations at every puzzle though.

The zero gravity gameplay was fun, typically disorienting but still enjoyable. When coupled with combat and vacuum it becomes quite tricky, even though I always seemed to have enough time to survive. I mostly got by upgrading my weapons and suit, it was quite late in the game when I decided to add some upgrades to the stasis module and never bothered increasing the range of the telekinesis module, it just never seemed useful since I was using guns to kill enemies with for the majority of the time.

When I was two-thirds through the game I was less prone to getting scared and more relaxed about the gameplay, at this point I took less breaks and could appreciate the narrative better. The storyline was very well written and there are a few surprises as you play through, which add some nice twists. Overall I think Dead Space is great game and well worth playing.

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