So why didn’t I pick it up back then? I don’t know, really. At the time, I know I was busy with Rock Band 2, Gears of War 2 and Left 4 Dead. After I was through with those games, I would always look at that box every time I went into a game store, but never acted on it. I even saw this game brand new for $10 and still didn’t buy it. For whatever reason, I just kept passing it up.
That is, until this past Christmas break. Using a gift card I received, I picked up Dead Space…and let it sit on my shelf for two months while I played through Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Lego Rock Band, The Lost and Damned, Borderlands and Silent Hill: Homecoming.
I’m only about half way through chapter 1, but dude…Dead Space is kind of rocking my socks. For the few of you who aren’t familiar with this game, I’ll give you a quick rundown. You are an engineer who has been assigned to fix this giant space station. You and your crew crash land on the space station, and quickly realize there are aliens on it. In terms of tone, mood and atmosphere, this game is very much like the movie Aliens.
What the game is currently lacking in innovation, it makes up for in polish. Even in 2010, Dead Space graphically is one of the best games out there. Audio wise, my goodness. It has some of the most amazing sound of any video game. The ambient sound really sets the tone of the game and does a great job of freaking you out to the point where you’re not sure if those creepy noises are coming from the game, or something in the other room of your house. Leading up to the release, EA was hyping up how the game doesn’t have a heads-up display in the traditional game sense. Instead, information such as your health and amount of ammo in your clip are displayed on the character himself and all menus are pulled up within an in-game floating “screen” that you can look around. This is supposed to keep you immersed in the game, but I would have been fine with a regular HUD. Nice touch nonetheless.
In terms of the horror elements of Dead Space, it’s about on par at this point with Resident Evil 4. The “horror” you feel mainly comes from jump scares and the tension you feel when your character is physically threatened, which is a lot. If you’re looking for a more psychological horror experience along the lines of Silent Hill though, then this isn’t it.
There is still a lot of time for this game to get better (or worse), so I will reserve final judgment until I’m finished with it. I look forward to seeing how this plays out, because it’s off to a great start.