Dead SpaceDead Space is a third-person shooter survival horror video game developed by EA Redwood Shores for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the game was released on all platforms through October 2008. The game puts the player in control of an engineer named Isaac Clarke, who battles the Necromorphs, reanimated human corpses, aboard an interstellar mining ship, the USG Ishimura. The game was met with positive critical reception, and has sold over 2 million copies. Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3 were released on January 25, 2011 and February 5, 2013, respectively.
Dead Space GameplayThe player controls Isaac Clarke, a ship systems engineer who must fight his way through a mining starship (The Ishimura), infested with an alien scourge. The entirety of the crew slaughtered, every corpse is reanimated via bio-recombination as a "Necromorph". The game is played from an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective.
Dead Space does not use a traditional heads-up display; instead, all information is relayed to the player via holographic projections from Isaac's Resource Integration Gear (RIG) spacesuit and the weapons themselves. For example, a small holographic display on the weapon shows the ammunition count; also, the "health meter" indicating Isaac's condition is integrated into the suit spine. Via floating holograms projected in front of Isaac, the player can check the current objectives and the 3D map, or access the inventory screen to manage items. However, the game still progresses in real time, so the player is in danger of being attacked while doing this.
Combat involves a mechanism called "strategic dismemberment", in which the player must cut off limbs or sections of the Necromorphs to defeat them. For example, shooting most Necromorphs in the head will have little effect, but they can be stopped once the player removes its arms and legs. Depending on how they are wounded, Necromorphs can adopt new stances and tactics, even sprouting new limbs or giving birth to new enemies in the process.
In keeping with Isaac's profession as an engineer, the weapons in Dead Space are mostly improvised from mining tools, such as a plasma cutter (for horizontal and vertical slicing), rotary saw, a hydrazine torch (repurposed as a flamethrower), a high-energy contact beam, and a force cannon that emits powerful shock waves. A military-grade automatic rifle is also available. All weapons feature a secondary-fire mode; for example, the plasma cutter can be rotated 90 degrees for an optimal angle for more effective dismemberment of vertical limbs (such as legs on a normal bipedal humanoid). The player must scavenge for ammunition and other various items, which are found throughout the ship or dropped by Necromorphs when killed. Automated stores throughout the ship can be accessed to buy and sell items or store them for later use. Also, the player can use Bench units, workbenches used to upgrade Isaac's suit and weapons with "power nodes". When not in Firing mode, Isaac can melee enemies with either a large swing of his weapon, or his infamous Curb stomp that can crush and dismember enemies with one hit.
Other than weapons, Isaac is also equipped with other tools to help him survive, solve puzzles, and combat enemies more effectively. Isaac's Stasis ability can be used to slow down enemies and objects temporarily, and a Kinesis module allows Isaac to pick up and throw items, which also allows him to impale Necromorphs. Dead Space also features vacuum and zero gravity environments, and Isaac can navigate through them using his pressurized suit and magnetic boots. Isaac will eventually suffocate while in a vacuum or a toxic environment as his suit can only contain a limited amount of air, so the player is forced to proceed quickly when in these situations.
ReceptionDead Space has received positive critical and commercial reception. Xbox World 360 awarded the Xbox 360 version a 91 out of 100, stating the game was a "nail-biting experience," driven forward by a "film-worthy" script and "inspired" setting, and that it was "Rapture in space: every bit as disturbing, just as meticulously designed and easily as believable." PlayStation World awarded the game 9/10 and a PSW gold award, stating that Dead Space is the "world's scariest game", saying "This is bold, bleak gaming from the haunting opening credits to the pulse pounding finish." IGN rated the game 8.7/10, saying it was "visually striking, everything from the holograms to the Necromorph is incredible." GamePro awarded the game a 5/5.
1UP.com gave the game a B+, saying that it is "incredibly polished", but slightly repetitive and criticizing several gameplay elements that detract from the game's horror theme, such as the waypoint system. Eurogamer gave the game a 7/10, saying "provided all you want from a game is the opportunity to repeatedly turn evil monsters into red mush in gorgeous HD detail. Dead Space easily delivers on that promise, but fails to turn its polished production values into something truly memorable over the long haul." GameSpot rated Dead Space at 9.0 out of 10, calling it "an incredibly atmospheric and disturbingly gruesome deep-space adventure that will haunt your dreams and leave you begging for more." Game Informer rated the PS3 version at 9.25 out of 10, saying "Although the reasons for most missions are mundane, the game always falls back on its great gameplay and atmosphere." The Guardian gave Dead Space four stars. X-Play has also given the Xbox 360 version of Dead Space four stars out of five. Giant Bomb editor Brad Shoemaker gave the Xbox 360 version of Dead Space 5 stars out of 5, saying it was "much greater than the sum of its familiar parts. It's also one of the best shooters so far this year." GameTrailers gave it 8.8 out of 10, praising the audio, the atmosphere, and the dismemberment, saying that "it was interesting to unlearn the head shot". Its main criticism was a lack of enemy variety, and no hot buttons for certain items.
Dead Space was a commercial success, with EA CFO Eric Brown confirming 1 million sales in 2008 across three platforms. On August 3, 2010, EA announced the game has sold 2 million copies.
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