| Dead Space - Xbox 360 |
Dead Space is a sci-fi horror game where the player, an engineer named Isaac Clarke, is sent along with a small rescue team to investigate a distress signal from a planet mining ship on the edge of the galaxy. Unfortunately, things go very wrong right from the start and the group is stranded alone on the ship with some type of alien creature that wants them dead.
Since Isaac has no guns to defend himself with he has to make due with repurposed mining tools such as the Plasma Cutter and Line Gun which do a very effective job of dispatching his foes. As he progresses through the ship Isaac can find video logs which were left by the crew, power nodes that can be used to upgrade his weapons or unlock supply room doors, and credits to buy items at the store.
The enemies of the game, corpse-like monsters called Necromorphs, all share an odd weakness in that they can only be killed by having their limbs severed. This makes combat interesting as it removes the importance of getting headshots found in most other shooter games in favor of forcing the player to figure out each Necromorphs speciffic weak point.
Since these space zombies come in all shapes and sizes with different abilities this provides a decent challange for first time players, though people who have played through the game once will have little trouble fighting off the hordes with ammo to spare. Luckily, a few impressive boss encounters and minigames make a second or third playthrough of the game worthwhile.
The overall plot of the game isn't the best around but it is compeling enough that most people won't get bored with it, just be aware that multiple sci-fi and horror cliches are used abundantly. Isaac is looking for his girlfriend Nicole, who was stationed on the ship before it went dark and is determined to find her at any cost.
The two secondary characters who help Isaac in this quest are fairly interesting in their interactions with him and the game doesn't make it clear if they can be trusted. Like everything else on the ship, either of them could be plotting to kill him as he delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding what happened that condemned the Ishimura to its current state. The ending may or may not surprise you, but the twists and turns you take along the way make the journey worth it.
There are few characters in this game that get more than a minute of screen time due to the nature of the plot and setting, but the game attempts to develop the characters as best as it can during their interactions and does a pretty good job of it. The game treats the characters fairly and gender doesn't seem to be an issue at all in the Dead Space universe.
Both men and women serve as miners on the ship and the game doesn't pull any punches when dealing out death and suffering, even the main character is put through hell as he struggles to survive. Revealing any details of the later plot would spoil the last couple of chapters of the game, but it made a few surprising choices in the roles the characters took. All in all, I'd say that the game is pretty fair to both genders in its portrayal.
It has moderate replay value to players who want to earn all the achivements, audio logs, and find everything, but its unlikey that most people will play through it a third time or more. Its definately worth buying if you can get it for $20 or less and you should at least give it a rental, especially if you like scary games. The thrills don't last forever, but its still a pretty good ride and you won't burn through it in just a couple hours like a few other games. It is definately worth playing at least once, just don't leave it out where a younger sibling can find it.
- Reviewed by MidnightUndead
Rating: M (Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)