First Impressions of Dead Space 3  - Brian
Director: Visceral Games
Starring: Gunner Wright Sonita Henry Ricardo Chavira
Reviews have been quite polarizing regarding Dead Space 3 and I will be spitting into the collective internet ocean at some point next week, hopefully, with a review of my own. Until then, I figured I'd offer my initial impression from the 2 to 4 hours I played both in co-op and single player, last night.
I hear a lot of comparisons between the apparent decline of the Resident Evil franchise (attributed to, among other things, gameplay changes) and this latest installment of Dead Space. The problem with this comparison is that the survival horror was all that RE really had going for it. The story was never something you could invest in without feeling silly, and each attempt to re-invent or breathe new life into the IP only further distanced it from what it was really all about.
The Dead Space franchise doesn't really suffer from this kind of problem. There's so much you can enjoy that different people like it for different reasons. There's the survival horror element which, among other things, put to death any argument people made about how you can't be scared if you can competently defend yourself. There's the actual gameplay which has remained consistently solid throughout all three installments. And, there's a sprawling, multimedia story told through supplemental comics, novels and movies.
There's a lot to like about Dead Space so, when a new installment comes out that threatens to change one aspect while bettering others, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Just because co-op survival horror has, to date, NEVER been done well doesn't mean it can't be done. I'll actually have to get back to you on the co-op experience, though, since all I got for my trouble in that ridiculous matchmaking process was a fifteen year old who kept talking during the cut scenes (no offense, kid).
My point in this first impression is that I went into this thing feeling pretty great unlike, it seems, a lot of other people who were ready to jump down EA's throat for "ruining the franchise." When I read "ruin the franchise" and "go back to your roots" I'm reminded of Star Trek fans who were so angry at Abrams for actually making Star Trek commercially relevant and popular. You know? That franchise that was doing so well before?
What the Dead Space developers have done is expand upon everything that makes the franchise great (story, gameplay, immersion) while evolving the property to keep it from becoming that other thing entitled gamers hate â€“ too familiar. That's perfectly fine with me and many other fans. Sometimes we DON'T want our favorite games to remain the same, fermenting in their own masturbatory juices for no good reason other than nostalgia. Sometimes we like it when things develop and evolve.
And, as for the micro transactions, which a lot of people were harping on about, you don't need them. They exist to give casual gamers a leg-up. Everything you can buy, you can find in the game on your own through exploration. Does it defeat the purpose that Dead Space developers would implement a method to remove exploration, one of the most exciting aspects, from their game? Yeah, sure. Will people still buy it to defeat that aforementioned purpose? Oh, hell yeah. So who is that more of an indictment of?