I finally had a chance to sit down with the exclusive demo for Dead Space 3 on the Xbox 360, and I’m happy to report that Visceral Games is on track for another high quality Dead Space thriller. I didn’t have a chance to play the new co-op mode, so I can’t comment on that component, but the single player campaign felt like a new, yet familiar take on the space horror genre. Isaac might not be trapped in space in Dead Space 3, but most of the thrills and chills you’ve come to expect from a Dead Space game still come through on the frozen planet of Tau Volantis.
The demo opens with Isaac in a precarious situation after his ship crash lands on Tau Volantis. Once he gets his bearings straight you take control of the former space engineer as he embarks on a search for his crew. This is the first time you get to control Isaac, and I can say that he feels the same way as I remembered. Most of the familiar control scheme returns in Dead Space 3, so fans of the series won’t be shell shocked when it comes to getting around the frozen planet.
Speaking of Tau Volantis, I can promise you that it still packs some bone chilling moments even though it’s more of an open setting than what was used in the previous two titles. It actually mixes larger spaces with more claustrophobic ones quite well. This mix allows for unique enemy encounters in both open and more corridor-like settings, which Visceral has taken advantage of with a new enemy type.
Necormorphs are no longer your only foe in Dead Space 3 as you’ll also be facing human enemies for the first time in a Dead Space game. They definitely provide a different challenge than the necromorphs, and they require more of a traditional third person shooter approach then the frantic limb blasting encounters with the necros. A new cover mechanic has been added for these human versus human battles, but I don’t feel like it worked too well. Isaac never seemed to cling to cover like other cover based games, so I usually ended up battling them in the same frantic style I implore while taking on a band of flesh eating necromorphs.
For the most part the core gameplay seems to be untouched in Dead Space 3, but some of the meta experiences such as crafting have been greatly expanded. You can now fully customize all of your own weapons, which gives you the ability to create some terrifying tools of destruction like never before. In Dead Space 3 various weapon components can be found in the environment that Isaac can use to create brand new franken-weapons that can pack one helluva punch.
Each of these weapons can be loaded with a top and bottom load out, as well as a host of other additions including the buffing circuits from the previous two Dead Space games. I believe fans of the series will take full advantage of this expanded crafting system, and I can’t wait to see what types of weapons gamers can cook up once the game releases in a few weeks.
The other major change to the Dead Space franchise found in Dead Space 3 is the inclusion of kinect voice commands. I put them through their paces, and they all seemed to work pretty well, but there’s still a slight delay in Isaac’s reaction time that you wouldn’t encounter if you just entered the correlating button commands. I think some of the management commands like opening doors, or displaying your current objective will come in handy, but just like Mass Effect 3, I don’t think many gamers will heavily rely on the use of kinect voice commands as they lay waste to the dangers of Tau Volantis.
I’ll be honest. I’m definitely a Dead Space fanboy, so I was going to get Dead Space 3 regardless of all the changes to its formula. After playing through the demo I can confirm that Visceral has another hit on their hands. I believe the new open setting that’s mixed with claustrophobic moments will help to breathe some fresh air into the gameplay, which has remained untouched since the first game. The demo offered a great preview of what’s to come, and it is packed full of both subtle scares, and Michael Bay-like action pieces.
I can recommend Dead Space 3 in full confidence now, so you should definitely add it to your 2013 to-do list. If you are more of a visual person I recorded my twitch.tv broadcast of the demo that you can check out after the break. The video covers a majority of the demo, but I left out some of the action to not completely spoil it for you. Check it out and let us know what you think about Dead Space 3’s new look and feel! You’ve been needing to get acquainted with the Dead Space franchise…
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