Dead Space 3 Hands On

Developer: Visceral Games / Publisher: Electronic Arts / Release: February, 2013 / ESRB: Rating Pending

‘Creepy'; ‘dark'; ‘freaky'; ‘gross'; these are just some of the words of praise used to describe the Dead Space franchise since its inception. And yet, amid all the grisly things that should simply not happen to the corporeal form in any sane universe, it nevertheless sometimes seems that one element still hasn’t been touched on quite as much as it probably should have been: Namely, all that grody, unearthly wrongness finally taking a measurable toll upon one’s marbles…and hence one’s ability to, literally, Play Well With Others.

Well fellow space-travelers, hold onto your entrails and SAN rolls, we got a shot at the forthcoming Dead Space 3 and, well, let’s just say it was good thing there was an open bar at hand.

Dead Space 3 marches onward in the survival-grue bootsteps of its predecessors all right, but takes the new (and, arguably, risky) step of introducing a drop-in/drop-out co-op scheme to the proceedings. It is a valid point that a large part of the fear generated in self-proclaimed ‘horror’ games comes from the practical fact that the player is playing alone. Correctly or incorrectly, our evolved brains reason that, if we’re with our buddies, we are, ergo, inherently ‘safer’. Developer Visceral (if ever a game’s developer were aptly-named!) has…something to say about that; as it turns out, that oft-comforting co-op mechanic is something of a gun that shoots both ways.


To put it bluntly, one of the only things worse than going up against a bunch of Necromorphs in a hostile environment is going up against a bunch of faster Necromorphs in a hostile environment, in the company of a heavily-armed ‘ally’ who very likely might just be losing his shit.

To wit: What you’re seeing may not be what your gaming-buddy-over-yonder is seeing. So yeah, that’s…a problem. On your brother/sister-in-arms’ screen, maybe he’/she’s seeing an inexplicable pile of deceptively innocent-looking toy-soldiers that aren’t there for you—and that should set your Creep Meter off, right there!—but later on, maybe he’s/she’s frantically chasing a mind-vapor all around what you perceive as a bare metal corridor…obliging you to singlehandedly gun down all the rampaging Necromorphs (that he/she clearly can’t see) just to keep him/her from dying! Wow—good thing that they at least definitely, totally see you as YOU and not some imminent threat to their survival, and that they’re totally not packing dangerous, lethal-output gear, huh? ‘Cause that would suck.


And oh, hey, just to keep things interesting: The bad news is, the Necromorphs are faster.

We’re talking 28 Limbs Later faster.

Even though Necromorphs in the past perished quickly if you managed to amputate what passed for their arms, legs, heads, etc., ammo was always at something of a premium. It’s not clear at this point if Dead Space 3 is going to be a little more generous in the available-ammunition department—but just from the general tone of things so far, we’re going to hazard a guess at ‘no’.


But perhaps there is a glint of silver lining: Dead Space 3 will boast some considerably enhanced weapon customization via the ‘Weapons Bench’, a new construction/upgrading system wherein you cobble together new armament from parts that protag Isaac snags throughout the game (this includes Franken-forging impromptu hybrid weapons—magnetic rivet-guns, plasma-torch/launcher combos, and so forth.) If you’re not quite ready to alchemize your homemade weapons then pre-made blueprints will help (including bits of weapons from the first two games)…and yes, weapons can be shared between co-op players.

Something else: Newcomer character Sgt. John Carver (get it?) will apparently have a new ability, namely that of being able to roll/take cover to avoid being attacked. Isaac Clarke is also somewhat more responsive. In both cases, the new streamlined movement/defense schemes are dubbed ‘organic’—in other words, it is not necessary to execute an awkward walk up to some arbitrary designated ‘cover spot'; Carver or Isaac, upon your control-press, are enabled to execute the reasonable, context-appropriate action.


Dead Space 3 is prepped to launch in early February, 2013 (just in time for Valentine’s Day). In the meantime, here’s to you and your prospective co-op comrades: on the ground or in space, may you always see the same threats.

Because seriously: God help you if you don’t.

  1. I won’t get Dead Space 3 for two reasons:
    A) It has become solely an action-thriller game and not a survival horror
    B) The newest additions to the game are coop and making the necromorphs faster, as the author seems to remind us throughout the article

    I’m not against the action-thriller genre, but when one of my favorite survival horror games degrades into having universal ammo, fully modifiable weaponry taking away from any tactical necessity from different weapons, cooperative play that detracts from the lonely atmosphere, less darkness and STILL tries to sell itself as survival horror, that’s where I draw some sort of line here…
    Yeah… I did it… A dotted line, but still.
    It’s not that I don’t like Dead Space 3, I’m sure it will be full of the exciting big monster fights/instances where you have to shoot the yellow tumors to win while sliding down a falling subway train that made Dead Space 2 such a great game, I just want that same hopelessness Dead Space 1 gave me with having to save resources as to not end up with an armory supply to mow down the baddies without a care. Now I know how Resident Evil fans feel.

    • Just play it on hard. I played DS2 on hard first and I can guarantee you that you will be conserving ammo. It was intense just like the first one. In fact maybe more so

    • I can agree with you on the genre-change – it seems like Dead Space has been getting progressively less survival-horror and more gore-horror. However, I would assume that you’re wrong about the less emphasis on strategy. Because you’re working with non-standard weapons, ammo is CERTAINLY going to be scarce, and now, you’re going to be hoping that that corpse is gonna give up some health or ammo rather than a gun part you aren’t going to use.
      On the topic of the hybrid guns – not all parts are going to work the same, and I would guess many won’t work well together (that Shotty-Sniper isn’t going to work as well as you think it would), so there’s always a chance that that “perfect loadout” will be changing per level, and the new enemy types certainly aren’t going to make things easier.
      I’d imagine that they’re trying to add more bits onto the Left 4 Dead style of co-op: you and your buddy are going to have to sync up roles and inventories in order to survive.

    • Its unfortunate to see people not try a game out just because they think it may suck. Oh well.

      • I don’t have to play it because I already have, only with more suspense/horror. It’s called Dead Space 2. Keep all the incredible fight scenes with you going up an elevator that’s covered in giant necromorphs and fantastic zero gravity gameplay but take away the scare of discovering that enemy you were shooting is invincible or make ammo universal so you can prioritize in one kill-all weapon with no strategy whatsoever. There’s another franchise that has taken a fairly similar turn, I can tell what the feeling would be like and I don’t want it.

        I don’t need another 3rd person shooter with zombies, everyone else is entitled to play it as much as they like. I wouldn’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. In opinion, I’m sure this game could be up there in the running for game of the year, doesn’t defeat the fact that I wouldn’t enjoy it.

      • Or you could stop making assumptions and wait for the game to come out first.

        Some say that would be the wise choice…

  2. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck.

  3. I honestly think you can’t have an opinion on how a game play’s till it releases and we have the final version of the game. And has no one listened to what the developers have been saying bout what they have been showing? The ice planet is half-way through Act II of the game. we don’t know how many Acts there are and what they have. So before people go off saying, “It’s an action game now!” Wait until the final product is released and quit being so ignorant.

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