The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Well the weekend is half over and I'm running a little
behind on getting a blog posted tonight after a few humorous rounds of some ridiculously
laggy Little Big Planet (you had to be there), but we're not here to talk about
that...I wanted to take a minute to talk about Dead Space 3, or more
specifically, the fact lots of people are critical of the game because of the
claim it forgoes its proven mechanic of being a survival horror game and is now
more akin to an action game.
So, I've played both Dead Space games, start to finish; I
have gone on record saying they are some of the best games ever made in terms
of design, story, audio & video, and game play. They are fantastic games...and
yes, they are scary games. I've jumped more playing these games then I care to
I picked Dead Space 3 up a few days ago and have slowly been
trudging through the single player campaign. And at the same time I've been
playing it, I've come across a number of user reviews (there have been plenty)
at Game Informer covering it. I also listened to one of the Game Informer
podcasts recently talking about the game and its fear factor.
One common, reoccurring theme with some of the harshest
critics of the game is...
Dead Space 3 isn't scary anymore.
Either I'm playing a different game then, or I'm just a 'fraidy
cat. Because I can only play this game in small doses before I'm ready for a
break. It can be very unsettling. Heck, I jumped within the first few minutes of
game play...and many more times since then. Part of the reason I think it's
always so scary for me is I play later in the night...alone...in low level lighting...and
sometimes with headphones, but always with the audio cranked up.
Why is Dead Space 3 so scary?
I've narrowed it down to a few simple principles the game
has integrated really well resulting in it having a scary atmosphere. At least
I think so.
1. Audio Effects - If you play any game with headphones you've
probably noticed all sorts of ambient sounds you've never noticed before. Well,
in Dead Space 3, those ambient sounds are unnerving. I don't know what those
sounds are; I don't want to know what is making them or why it is making them...and
I don't want to know either. What I do know is it's enough to scare the
beejeezus out of me. Now, in some games I like to turn the music affects down
and just hear the actual in-game audio affects - I don't know if you can do
this in Dead Space, but frankly I wouldn't even if I could, because I find a
very small bit of solace in the music. If all I heard was the skittering of who
knows what across the deck of the ship or through the rubble of the alley, I
might just lose it and start shooting at anything. Never have I played a game
with such compelling and convincing audio effects than the Dead Space games. I
applaud their music producers on a job well done.
2. Random Crap Jumping Out At You - I'm a sucker for this. I
know it's going to happen, and even though I half way expect it, every time it
happens I jump so bad I fumble the controller and my heart nearly jumps out of
my chest. It's weird, because I can watch scary movies (without covering
my eyes) and it never really bothers me -
but put me in a game with some tense sequences like doors and/or elevators opening
and random bad guy crap jumping out at you and I turn into the biggest baby you
ever did see. Perhaps it's because I'm so focused on the action since I am in charge
of the player or maybe it really is because I'm expecting it, so when it does
happen the reaction is amplified. Regardless of why it happens, when it does
happen I usually laugh at myself afterwards...once my heart beat returns to
normal of course.
3. Random Crap Running Towards You - This is the one that
baffles me the most. I see it happening on the screen. I know it's coming...yet,
it gets me every time. You see a bad guy, and he is moseying around like he's
not going to mess with you. So, you're taking careful aim at his limbs (because
that's how you kill most of the bad guys in Dead Space)...and as soon as you get
ready to take the shot, the dang thing turns and runs at you at full speed. Instead
of that nice, well aimed and controlled shot, you end up firing in a panic, emptying
your weapon, trying to reload to finish it off while running around trying to
evade it's razor sharp whatever those things that were once arms are. I dunno
what they are, I just know if you get hit by them the results aren't pretty.
You know a game is good at being scary when you can see the thing that is about
to scare you, and it still manages to scare you.
4. Danger In Numbers - Maybe you've heard of the "buddy
system" and how there is "safety in numbers". Hah, well it might be true, but
it also has the opposite affect when the enemy employs this tactic. Dead Space
3 has this tendency to swarm you with bad guys...and each of those bad guys alone
can tear you to shreds, so when you're faced with three or four or more...your
chances of getting torn to shreds increases exponentially. I'll admit it...one of my best tactics in Dead Space 3 is...RUN! I certainly think Dead Space 3 does
a great job with scaring you by throwing large quantities of nasties at you. I
know it scares me.
5. Last, But Not Least - the violence. I don't really
consider myself a squeamish person. My mom has been a paramedic for as long as
I can remember and so I've heard all sorts of gory stories. I deployed to Iraq
and even though I didn't see any combat first hand, I certainly saw the effects
of it. And even though I don't consider myself a squeamish person, sometimes
the violence in Dead Space 3 scares me. Not the shivering dread of opening a
hatch and a body falling out kind of fear, but just the shock and awe of such
brutality...it can kind of get to you. I think I've witnessed more people shot in
the head in those games, and it always kind of grieves me because it's usually
part of the story.
Well, it's late...it's dark downstairs...and there is more Dead
Space 3 left to play...or I could wait until it's day late and go play Team Fortress 2 instead. Yeah, that sounds like a
much better plan. Dead Space 3 is indeed a scary game.
Hope you all have a great weekend.