God Damn, Dead Space Was Good


#1

When Electronic Arts announced it was closing down Visceral Games, it was understandable most lamented the death of the studio's Star Wars game. But for me, Visceral has always been associated with another series: Dead Space. While there's been no indication EA had any plans to revive the horror franchise, that we were blessed with three Dead Space games already felt like a reason to be thankful.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43ngbj/god-damn-dead-space-was-goods

#2

1 & 2 were the best thriller games after RE4 with smart combat and gravity levels.


#3

I absolutely loved one, and enjoyed two a lot. Well, I say enjoyed, they along with FEAR scared the crap out of me at times. But unlike the last RE, I could just about handle playing them.

For all the criticism of it, I have never played three. I should probably rectify that.


#4

I haven’t finished 3, but I played through quite a bit of it with a friend after hearing Tim Turi rave about it on a stream and finding out the trilogy was on EA Access. It’s good, and it’s definitely still Dead Space. The weapon crafting is strange and feels unnecessary at first, but really opens up in some fun ways.

ETA: And while Visceral may not have been able to do as deep a dive as they wanted into Isaac’s psychosis, there were moments where talking to my friend (who was controlling not-Isaac), I realized we weren’t always seeing the same things on-screen. That was very cool.


#5

I was a huge fan of 1 & 2, and I loved the space stuff in 3 (thumbs down for the ice planet, though). Not that Visceral would’ve gotten to return to Dead Space for another 10 years anyway, but I would love to have seen them expand on the terrors of open space exploration.

And hokey as all that fake-Scientology lore was, it really drew me in. Sign me up for Space Lovecraft.


#6

I didn’t manage to like any of them :disappointed_relieved:. The utter lack of story, characterization coupled with gameplay beats that can be resumed to forced battle sections and egregious fetching made it a chore to play through. Playing Evil Within, I realized one things it does that Dead Space doesn’t: I could prepare myself for a fight, I could see something was coming, and then put a little bit of strategy into what I was doing. In Dead Space, you just shoot and stomp and occasionally use poles as quarantines happens anywhere.

I very much liked the atmosphere and the sound design, though, I just wished there was a better game inside to make use of it.


#7

I feel exactly the same about the first Dead Space, I loved the first Dead Space. Easily one of my favourites from the last generation. I completed it about 4 times, which is more than I can say for any other game released over the last decade. I seem to remember a lot of it was based in shallow achievement hunting - complete the game on hardest difficulty, but also complete the game with only the Plasma Cutter, level up all the cool as shit weapons on New Game+ (come to think of it, was it one of the first games to feature New Game +).

There was so many good things about it. Perhaps the best thing was the Ishimura as a location. The monolithic industrial space station is obviously influenced heavily by the Nostromo, but it felt like a real lived in space. From the living quarters to the rusty bowels of the engineering bay. As an engineer, it also helped sell Isaac as this guy as the unlikely hero who just so happens to know how to repair the ship.

The weapons all felt fantastic. There was the feeling of panic during your first playthrough, like Resi 4 there is a lot of crowd control and prioritising different targets that were constantly changing, but as you got better at the game and learned the mechanics, you started to feel like a badass. When you fully levelled up the contact beam you could shoot the arms of the larger enemies.

I wasn’t as hot on Dead Space 2, by comparison it just felt like an action game. It had more forward momentum and set pieces, but there was less backtracking, which I think really helped the first game and make those environments feel more real. You move through all these new areas, the church the pre-school but I dunno, it just felt like travelling through different coloured corridors. The whole gameplay loop of those third person shooters felt a little grating. Move on into room. Room becomes quarantined. Kill all enemies. Harvest all drops. Move on. Rinse and repeat.

I don’t remember much of Dead Space 3, I liked the first half that was set in space and had an open ended quality to it. Liked the snow planet, as it felt like going back to The Thing, but I just remember the ending of the game being a bit of a slog. The game would confine you to these small areas and just throw the enemies at you. Just felt as if you were going through the motions.

Shout out to Dead Space: Extraction as well. I played it on the eve of Dead Space 2 coming out on the PS3. It faithfully recreates all the locations of the Ishimura but tells a completely different story running through it. Expanded the world of the game better than Dead Space 2, in my opinion.


#8

I’m going to be honest, i miss the glitching body physics and the horrifying sound they made.

DS had such a strong sense of horror and place. What a treasure.


#9

Just remembered that crucial tip. Even when the enemies were ‘dead’ you just stomp on their bodies several times just to make sure. Just wailing back and fourth, hearing Isaac scream as necromorph bodies squelched underfoot. Lovely!


#10

Between Dead Space, F.E.A.R., and Condemned, the 360/PS3 generation had some absolutely stellar horror-action games. Not that I don’t enjoy a good SOMA or Amnesia, but it’s a shame the push to pure action in DS3 and RE5/6 seemed to kill off the genre.

Now, to go buy The Evil Within 2.


#11

Life hack: do NOT read the Dead Space novels. Dead Space: Martyr in particular completely undermines everything you learn about the Church of Unitology in the games.

The sound of Isaac’s grunt echoing through his breathing tube as he stomps a necromorph… masterful.


#12

Implying it doesn’t exist anymore. As long as it is available, still IS.

Now repeat with me: “Dead Space is a good game, and you should buy it right now”.

(yeah, yeah, I know, semantics)


#13

Mmh, I did like that it was a mechanical and structural continuation of Resident Evil 4 (as that series went totally off the rails afterwards), plus the focus on attacking limbs instead of heads was just a logical move when designing around using a controller.

Though I just didn’t find the first game very scary at all. It tried to use the “fake dead enemy” trick so many times that it became predictable, and I was regularly so overstocked on supplies that I never felt any sort of dread about being unprepared for anything I came across.

There was never a moment nearly as effective as fighting the Regenerators in RE4.


#14

I loved the first two games. They created a great sense of atmosphere and also got the sound down pat. There were also actually clever moments that came off as scary. I will never forget that amazing moment in the first one where they spawn an enemy to appear right beside you as you exit from a save terminal. It scared the living daylights out of me.

Also think the limb-shooting mechanic didn’t get enough credit. For starters, it added tension that years of FPS practice had removed from us. An enemy jumps out at you, and your muscle memory leads to you going in for a headshot without thinking. Dead Space made that a worthless response.

The third one I cared much less for. Writing wasn’t as good (really, a tedious love triangle sub-plot in the middle of an apocalypse?), the combat felt way more constant and the enemies became really bullet spongy - taking away the interesting mechanic of engineering tools used as weapons and instead you were essentially shooting generic machine guns, environments came off as less interesting, and there was that incredibly annoying thing where if you did the optional missions (which sometimes went on for over an hour), you couldn’t save your progress during the whole thing.


#15

I don’t really have anything to add to this thread except for the fact that Dead space 1 and 2 are fantastic, with 2 being straight up my favourite over-the-shoulder shooter. I don’t like RE4 at all (pls don’t hate) so I had low expectations for these games and I ended up absolutely loving them. I never finished 3, sadly. I didn’t dislike it, I just bounced off of it for some reason. It didn’t gell with me well, the new characters especialy.
the dead space games also had tons of small touches that really added up in the final product. like how you can hear Isaac’s heartbeat very faintly in the background of the games, and as you more hurt it becomes stronger and stronger. really smart and inventive way to amp up the tension. OR, how stross breaks the 4th wall in a very subtle way at one point in the second game: https://youtu.be/8J-noc7ppqw?t=750

By the by, am I the only one that thought that DS2’s story was good, and that Isaac was a genuinly solid character? at least in 2 he had a lot of relatable moments with some damn fine dialogue. As someone with family members that suffer from both schizophrenia and Alzheimers, having a protagonist that has to face these issues head on was pretty touching. Even stuff like how he would stomp the necromorphs and start shouting “FUCK…DAMMIT…JUST…DIE…YOU SHIT”, felt relatable, because those freaking necromorphs really need to learn how to die.

Also at one point Issac says the line “Stick around, i’m full of bad ideas” which is the best video game line ever and a pretty good idea for a future tatoo.


#16

I didn’t get on with Resi 4 either, for whatever reason. And Dead Space 2 was pretty damn ace, I really should finish it. I’ll probably replay the first game and then start 2 again at some point. Both were ace.

I honestly remember quite enjoying the mobile game, actually. It ported the whole experience really well with a nice little standalone story. Worth a look in I guess.


#17

Also as a side-note, the ending to the DLC expansion for Dead Space 3 reminded me a little of Junji Ito’s “Hellstar Remina” in terms of horror apocalypse scenarios.


#18

RIP to the best health bar in video games


#19

Best UI period if you ask me


#20

Yeah making it so you have to move your character and camera to do anything adds a great sense of physicality to the game