The lights are on
The third installment in Isaac Clarke’s battle against the necromorphs blew me away when it released earlier this year. Dead Space 3 took the core combat I loved about the series and ratcheted it up with meaner enemies and a deep weapon crafting system. The third game integrated co-op that toyed with players’ perspectives. It also allowed me to perform tense, surreal spacewalk missions and explore the bowels of an alien planet. Like Isaac Clarke in the early games, I felt utterly isolated in my enthusiasm for Dead Space 3.
Learn more about the Game Informer Fight For the Top 50 Challenge 2013
Dead Space 3 brings a lot of new elements to the sci-fi horror franchise. Visceral played against some players' expectations, delivering a slightly more frenetic experience as opposed to a slow, paranoid trek. Early marketing for the game led players to believe they’d be stranded on a frozen, Hoth-like planet for the majority of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to see an entire first act before arriving on Tau Volantis. Those who took issue with Dead Space 3 also pointed to the two-player co-op as detrimental to the series' traditional vibe of desperate isolation. Yes, the drop-in/drop-out co-op allows you to blast apart necromorphs with a friend, but going solo offers a desperate exercise in survival more in line with previous titles. Plus, what's stopping someone from playing through single-player first then carrying their bad-ass weapons over to a new game and diving into co-op? Weapon crafting lets players customize weapons to their tastes, further allowing personalization of playstyle.
The reason I chose to fight for Dead Space 3’s place on the Top 50 Games of 2013 list is because I feel the game was unduly written off. Measured conversation about the game was replaced with inflammatory accusations about its unobtrusive, entirely optional microtransactions. Instead of discussing how well the game played, people lampooned it for being less scary than its predecessors. Ask anyone whose seen Cabin in the Woods or Freddy vs. Jason, and you’ll understand how a great piece of horror-themed entertainment can achieve its purpose without constantly fraying your nerves. In an effort to rekindle the conversation about Dead Space 3, I chose to champion its spot on the Top 50 list.
The Top 50 ChallengeMost of Game Informer’s horror fans have checked out Dead Space 3 already. Some have been pleasantly surprised, while others found their own issues with the sequel. I remembered talking with Jeff Marchiafava about his experience with the first game and how it was just too scary. I thought Dead Space 3’s slightly faster pace and powerful weapons might allow him to take serious revenge on the necromorphs that rattled him. Plus, Jeff is a fan of atmospheric shooters like Metro: Last Light and blasting aliens in general. I can see him diving deep into the weapon crafting system, but possibly getting frustrated with the occasional bouts of backtracking. Hopefully he’ll enjoy it a fraction of the amount I did.Jeff was given one day to play Dead Space 3. Come back tomorrow at 5 PM CT to read his impressions and see if it’ll get his support for Game Informer’s Top 50 Games of the Year.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.