Growing up I've always been a huge horror & sci-fi movie fan. As a result, I gravitated towards the video game genre of survival horror. Games such as Resident Evil filled up my television screen through my teenage years and even until this day. So naturally when I first caught wind of Dead Space back in 2008- I was intrigued to say the least. I mean, survival horror set in a space atmosphere? That's like a mash-up of Resident Evil, Alien, and Event Horizon- all of which I love.
In Dead Space you take control of Isaac Clarke who is a ship systems engineer. A distress signal from the USG Ishimura starship was sent from the mining expedition on the planet Aegis VII. As you can expect, it's your job to explore this. And as you can expect, things are going to get a wee bit scary.
Dead Space employs a third person, over the shoulder type of view. This is reminiscent of Resident Evil 4. In a way, this game is essentially Resident Evil 4 but set in space and with a completely different story line (obviously). The graphics are dark, grungy, and help set a mood of bleak hopes and impending doom. I recently played and reviewed the excellent Alien: Isolation which was one of the scariest games I've ever played. Dead Space, however, is scary in a different way. Dead Space is filled with jump scares around almost every corner. Enemies lunging out and growling from seemingly out of nowhere, loud noises and music changes, and even video messages on Isaac's hub will pop up and scare the bejeezus out of you!
In order to effectively kill your enemies (affectionately known as Necromorphs) it is imperative that you cut off their limbs. This is an interesting, but stark contrast from the majority of games where you are trained to aim for the head. I like it though. It's unique and gives Dead Space its own identity. While cutting off said limbs, you are able to use a variety of weapons such as a plasma cutter, flamethrower, line gun, pulse rifle, and so on. These weapons (as well as suit, kinesis, and stasis) are able to be upgraded at various work benches located throughout the Ishimura through the use of upgradeable items known as power nodes. This is also cool, because not only do you have the choice of which weapons you'd like to buy- but you can also upgrade items at your own will to max out whatever your heart desires. Don't like the plasma cutter? Buy something else and max that baby out! Want to be able to use your kinesis abilities at a longer range to grab far off items? Go right ahead!
Another unique part of Dead Space are the sections of the game where you are in 0 gravity. You move a bit slower and you are able to jump to different flat surfaces at nearly any angle. But be careful though, if you are outside the ship or in a hull breach situation you do have a limited amount of oxygen- so make sure you act quick! Heck, Dead Space even has two mini games which reward the player with great items if you continue to beat their challenges. The mini games consist of a shooting range & a space basketball game. Both are very fun, and very much worth your time.
As great as this game may sound, it's not perfect. Not many are. The biggest problem I found with the game are the camera angles and the hubs. Many times you can struggle to find the right camera angle and especially when trying to view your hubs in smaller areas. Really though, this is very nitpicky. This game is great. If you love survival horror and haven't played Dead Space by now, you need to do so immediately. This is a true classic. Extremely affordable, gory, enthralling, and not too long (9-12 hours)... Dead Space will rip you from limb to limb, from start to finish.