I loved the first Dead Space. It was, and still is, my favorite survival horror game of the “previous gen”. The first time I played it, I tried to see how far I could make it with all the lights turned off. I’m not too proud to say that didn’t last long. I got tired of having to get back up to cut the lights on after the first five minutes.
As soon as I played it, I restarted it. It was that good to me. I didn’t get into Dead Space 2 until after the third game was released. The reason was I was afraid that it would be terrible. I thought they would ruin it. I, of course, was wrong. Dead wrong. It was fantastic!
Shortly after I finished Dead Space 2 PSN announced that Dead Space 3 would be an upcoming free game for PS+ members. Excited, I eagerly awaited the 1st of the month to get my hands on a digital copy.
The difference was immediately apparent. The productions values were still great if not better. The graphics were slightly improved and all in all it looked like a proper sequel.
Shortly, very shortly, after you start the game you encounter your first bad guy and in that instance the Dead Space game has changed. It looks like a Necromorph, and sounds like one but does not behave like one. I get it, you need to move the gameplay forward but it feels like all they did was increase their speed. Now they all swarm you, med packs are everywhere because you need them. You get jumped and overtaken easily now. Its more of a fast paced shooter than a survival horror game. In fact the only horror is when you realize that now you are fighting humans too! With guns!
That brings me to your weapons. The trusty plasma cutter is nerfed to the point of being useless. Even with basic upgrades, which you can pay for with real money, it’s still no better than throwing rocks.
Dead Space 3 fell victim to micro transactions. I can understand that developers are trying to reclaim some money that they lose when the games are bought 2nd hand, but at least do the micro transactions right. The difficulty of the game is based on fast enemies and wimpy guns. Dead Space began life as a survival horror with slow but intimidating enemies that had environments which helped play to their strengths and you were armed with guns to take them down as long as you were competent with them. Dead Space 3 relies on fast reflexes and a fat wallet to upgrade your gun. Yes you CAN upgrade your gun without spending money but it takes a long time to build up your weapon to the point where it feels like you finally have a fair chance.
If you do decide to go the route of buying your weapons with your hard earned, be careful there too. You can quickly build a shotgun with a lot of upgrades that will make the game super easy. I wish the developers would have made the gunplay more like the first two and gave the option of buying upgrades to those who wanted to, and not make it feel like a necessity.
That being said, Dead Space 3 isn’t a particularly hard game, but when the level of difficulty is dictated by changing the foundation of what the series was based on just enough to where it feels like a different kind of experience, that is a failure in my book. It’s like the uncanny valley of video games, it is just enough like Dead Space 3 to be recognizable as the game, but there is just something about it that is off putting.