Dead Space Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Dead Space box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Redwood Shores 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 14, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Weapons in Dead Space are supposedly, for the most part, makeshift armaments from everyday engineering tools. However, they are quite adept at stopping Necromorphs in their tracks. Isaac has access to seven weapons and two powers in all. Some of the weapons include the Plasma Cutter (your all-purpose limb-lopping pistol-like bolt cutter), the Ripper (a flesh-hungry circular saw), and the Force Gun (a cone of sonic death that works even better on humanoids than it does on granitic silicates), plus four others that are equally lethal.

Dead Space screenshot

All weapons also have a secondary function. For example, the Line Gun will not only send out a wide beam of appendage-severing plasma; it also doubles as a timed mine launcher that does radial damage to your foes. Using both weapon features is simple: primary weapon functions are accessed via the main trigger, while secondary weapons are unleashed through the shoulder button. In all, combat controls in Dead Space are exactly what you'd expect from a third-person shooter; they are instinctive and accurate. The only missing function I longed for was a 180 degree quick-turn. Often, baddies will easily be able to get blows in behind you, and a quick-turn button would have been ideal.

In addition to these weapons, Isaac Clarke has access to stasis and kinesis powers, which are controlled by his rig (suit). Stasis powers allow players to slow down both objects and enemies, making it easier to advance. Similarly, kinesis powers allow players to move both objects and enemies by encompassing the target in a force field. Both these powers are used throughout the game to solve many minor puzzles and help you wade through the onslaught of Necromorphs.

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Also, your rig will shield you from the elements by providing a limited supply of oxygen to breathe whilst in the vacuum of space and magnetized boots for walking in zero-G environments. The game is full of short sequences that take advantage of these environmental scenarios. Thankfully, they never become cumbersome because of their brevity and interspersed, story-driven inclusion. These elements could have spoiled gameplay if they were used too frequently, but instead they really help to enhance it.

Furthermore, weapons, rigs, and powers can all be enhanced through work benches scattered throughout the various zones. By adding power nodes to their equipment, players will be able to augment the Nano-circuitry, thus increasing capacity, damage, reload times, hit points, air supply, etc. This adds a mild RPG-like character enhancement mechanic that was quite enjoyable.

Dead Space screenshot

I also really enjoyed the menu organization and interface. This game is extremely player-friendly. Dead Space does away with a traditional menu HUD in favor of a more cinematic approach. Isaac's health and stasis meters are clearly visible on the back of his rig, and the detailed, Metroid Prime-like 3D maps and personal inventory pop up in front of him as if he was accessing a computer; players can still progress through the game while using these menus. Also, progressing in Dead Space is a breeze thanks to the mapping tool. At any time, players can click on the right analog stick and a glowing path, tied to the selected objective, will illuminate the way. That means there's no wasted time hunting for the path, which allows players to concentrate on the engrossing gameplay and story. Obtaining information of all sorts in Dead Space is both organic and intuitive.

Dead Space is a masterful title that is sure to scare the crap out of you. Plus, there are three modes of difficulty, so this is an experience that casual and hardcore gamers alike simply cannot miss. This is a highly polished and well-crafted title that transcends standard video gaming. Simply put, it is one of the best games I've ever played.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

Absolutely superb! The initial in-engine cinematic was the only blemish.
Exactly what you would expect from third-person shooter mechanic. However, a quick-turn function is sorely missing.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The best audio presentation I've ever heard. The infrequent distortion of sound during conversations is the only thing holding it back from a perfect score.
Play Value
If you can handle the fright-fest, this is a gaming experience you simply can't miss!
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Strategic dismemberment: Shear off limbs with powerful weapons, as you carve a bloody path through the alien hordes. Find ways to neutralize attacking enemies effectively or they'll keep coming at you. When ammo runs low, use telekinesis to pick up objects-even the enemies' own arms and legs!-and fire them at anything that stands in your way.
  • Terror in the far reaches of space: A blood-curdling interactive horror experience features state-of-the art graphics and effects, a panic-inducing audio system, and a truly frightening atmosphere of death and despair.
  • Real Zero-G: Battle relentless enemies and crack challenging puzzles in unprecedented zero-gravity environments that reinvent survival horror.
  • Uncover the horrific truth: Cut through the harrowing mystery to stop the alien onslaught. Discover the tragic story of the Ishimura's downfall through the final, frantic logs of the ship's hideously transformed crew.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).

  • Screenshots / Images
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