(31/31: Day 18) Back from the Dead - Paradigmthefallen Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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(31/31: Day 18) Back from the Dead

Well, we've certainly come a long way with these reviews, haven't we? We've covered a large number of games, some good, some downright awful, and a few that were just "okay" in their own respect. But today, we're not going to be reviewing something new. NO! Today, I give the worthwhile thrashing Dead Space 3, a game I originally gave 10/10, that it needs. This hurts me more than it hurts you, Visceral!

Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!Spoilers!

1. Carver doesn't work as a companion. We'll probably hear people saying this until the series actually reaches a conclusion but seriously -- why wasn't Ellie the co-op partner? She survived getting her eye stabbed and ripped out, along with seeing her entire crew of co-workers murdered before having to re-kill their undead bodies. She's sufficiently badass enough even without that, and has far more personality than "you can tell I'm even more serious here because I'm scowling HARDER!" Carver. His limited backstory doesn't really make him sympathetic, and when you learn his wife was actually doing more interesting things than he was, you are once again left to ask: why Carver? My only guess was focus testing, because focus testing kills anything worth noting.

2. Two weapon rule. Yes, technically we still have "four weapons" because there are four different outputs of damage, but even if I loved the idea of customizable weapons at first, I'd far rather a modification system to already existent weapons, like in Mass Effect 3. Imagine being able , say, add an anti-gravity function to the grenade launcher on the assault rifle. We saw hints of this with experimental upgrades in Dead Space 2, and in hindsight, it would have been a better choice than just letting us jam one of the two firing modes of each gun together into two. And even with that, the real reason I imagine we don't have four weapon slots is the stupid scavenger robot. Here's the thing Visceral -- I GET MORE RESOURCES FROM WALKING AROUND than I do from the irritating little robots. I can see how it was a good idea but just like the mining missions for Mass Effect 2, only a small number of people were going to like this little sidequest. Speaking of sidequests-

3. This is the best villain you could come up with for the finale? Really? I mean, sure, Danik is at least refreshingly honest about his beliefs instead of a traitor like Kendra or Daina, but he also is basically the actor playing him playing his character from The Neighbors, just with a zealot agnostic religious slant to him. His gear never makes sense when they first arrive, and what happened to the Overseer from Dead Space Aftermath and Dead Space 2? We were supposed to expect him and Isaac's father to have a big part in this finale, but they aren't even mentioned. Hell, it seems like Danik may very well be acting outside of the Unitologist Church's own authority, leaving me to wonder why EarthGov and society fall over so easily across the colonies.

4. Sidequests don't really feel that big a deal if they all play relatively the same. Get some exposition about going somewhere, investigate, fight some waves of enemies, more exposition via either radio or audio diary, shoot more enemies, rinse and repeat until a reward box ripped out of Borderlands arrives from some contrived means to reward you. There's not nearly enough proper integration and they just don't work beyond giving some extra challenge. It would be better to have co-op like missions with Isaac (and Ellie/Carver if we have to include him) helping other members of the crew, getting to know them through their work. Yes, it wouldn't be killing necromorphs every ten seconds, but that's actually a good thing.

5. I never really knew you Named Yet Barely Developed Side Character, but I'll always remember you! This is the problem with a narrative that spans a novel -and- a videogame. Some things are going to be lost in translation. I haven't gotten to read the Dead Space 3 prequel novel, but from what I understand, it's the only real time Santos and Buckell get developed as characters, and then they're pretty static until their deaths in Dead Space 3. Buckell is probably one of the most depressing though, as you can clearly see additional, if ruptured suits lying around, making his death by hypothermia contrived as hell.

6. New RIGs serve no purpose if they all do the same thing. In Dead Space 2, unlocking a new RIG was exciting. It came with new upgrades, unlocks, additional inventory, and gave a sense of progression akin to getting ten level ups in a row in an RPG. So Dead Space 3's response is to remove all that and leave all RIG upgrades permanently synced just to your backpack. That's in addition to breaking canon and showing the RIG on suits that could have never handled it in the first place. I'm really trying to not nitpick this but the RIG is your HUD and was a core mechanic for the first two games. Trivializing it as just an upgrade tree really sucks and wipes away a lot of what made it interesting to invest in. Also, speaking of investments.

7. Abandon the resource system, go back to credits. I get it, the resource system makes sense, it just is tedious and boring in the long term. A single playthrough? You might not notice, but I'm at 97.5% completion and I can tell you that it gets really irritating that I have mountains of tungsten but almost no somatic gel, and the only way to get more is to harvest it. With no means of trading resources or exchanging some additional currency like credits in the last two games, that means I have more tungsten unless I somehow spend it. That's it. I get nothing else for it. The result is rather frustrating, to say the least. Also, the new resource system makes looting a great deal more irritating to boot. The same object can drop either a small health pack or less than half the somatic gel to make it, but apparently these both count equally. Even if you break down the medical kit, you get more than you would have looted. That's a relatively broken system of balancing, even for a horror game.

8. Bring back power nodes. They just worked better than circuits. It's the same as the rest of the progression stuff -- it wasn't broken, you shouldn't have tried to fix it.

9. Enemy variety. I could play a chapter in Dead Space 2 and feel every encounter was unique. I never saw that much variety over the course of Dead Space 3's entire campaign. Single enemy variants limited to certain areas and a dumb reworking of the Brute? Really guys?

10. Co-op missions. Include them? Okay, but don't make them key to unlocking progress and sure as hell don't lock off specific circuits and artifacts in them! Completionists like me have to play them whether we can find a friend or just some random guy on the internet because of how you have it set up

11. Dead Space 3: Awakened. What the hell were you thinking? Save that as a spin-off or some DLC before Dead Space 4 comes out. Give us some time to process, and give us some real DLC we want, like a survival horror horde mode or challenge maps or hell, even give competitive MP another shot. Not... what you did.

12. Dead Space 2: Severed From The Plot. Where is Lexine? Where is Isaac's dad? What happened to the rest of the people from the Sprawl? There are too many plot threads and questions from Dead Space 2 left unanswered in the universe because the game is in such a hurry to get to Tau Volantis.

As of present, I demoting the score to 8.0/10, until such time as I feel need to change it again. Opinions evolve, and reviews should acknowledge that.

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