Dead Space 3 Demo Review: Intense Combat on an Icy Planet

Dead Space 3 Demo Review: Intense Combat on an Icy Planet

Dead Space 3 Demo Shows Off Chills, Thrills and New Weapon Crafting

If you happened to sign up for the early release of the Dead Space 3 demo on the Xbox 360, you’ve probably already seen the intense 30-45 minutes of gameplay that the demo shows off.  If not, or if you’re waiting for next week’s release of the demo on PS3, you are missing out on an adrenaline rush unlike any other.

I have several nagging concerns about Dead Space 3 – especially concerning the co-op gameplay and Kinect controls. The development team behind the game, Visceral Entertainment, did everything they could to quell my fears about the upcoming title via Twitter. So taking their word for it, I fired up the demo and chose solo play without the Kinect.

The Dead Space 3 demo begins with Isaac Clarke and his team crash landing onto the icy planet of Tau Volantis. Here, the elements play as crucial a setting as any abandoned spaceship did in previous titles. In total white-out conditions, you – as Isaac – must find your way blindly through debris of your ship and meet up with your crew mates. Obviously, that won’t be easy. Especially when the planet’s necromorphs start attacking you.

Like in previous Dead Space titles, the necromorphs in Dead Space 3 can attack at any given moment. Sometimes they just appear in front of you, their tentacle-like hands and feet inches away from your face. Sometimes you hear them a second before they pounce. But they are there and they seem to be more deadly than ever. There are also a few new necromorphs that can possess the bodies of dead people and bring them back to life. And these, in particular, are really hard to kill. This is also one necromorph you don’t want touching you – because you might just end up as its next undead victim (I learned this the hard way in the demo).

In terms of sound quality, this game meets expectations set by previous titles. Even the environment is noisy: the wind is blowing snow around and there’s all sorts of creaking and groaning. This makes it difficult to hear enemies coming, but also lends to the game’s atmosphere.

One difference in Dead Space 3 over its predecessors is the new weapons crafting system. I will admit that I didn’t completely get it – as there are a lot more options than in the other games – but I ended up making a weapon that could both shoot and be a plasma cutter at the same time. When using it, I hit RB on the Xbox to shoot the plasma cutter (which effectively cuts off limbs to stop necromorphs quickly) and then “X” would do all the shooting. I have to admit, this feature was pretty nifty. The new weapon crafting allows you to get creative with your weapons and allows you to make something that fits your style of gameplay.

One particular bit of gameplay in the demo can be challenging. There’s a large drill coming right at you and although all you have to do is hit it with stasis and knock out its power core, you’ve got a million and one necromorphs coming at you at the same time. So what should be simple is rather complicated. And just when you have completed that objective, you walk back outside and have to duck quickly behind cover because there are a whole lot of folks shooting at you. The demo ends shortly after that with a massive spider necromorph of a thing coming straight at you.

One thing that bothered me in the demo was how you make Isaac run in the game. You have to simultaneously push the LB and then move the left controller stick in the direction that you’re going. This resulted in a major hand cramp after a minute or two – it’s clunky and I wished that were different. If anyone can recall if previous games had this same mechanic (as I honestly don’t remember), let me know.

All in all, the demo has me believing that Dead Space 3 is still one of the must-have titles of 2013. If you like raw, intense and often scary gameplay, don’t pass this one up.

Official Dead Space 3 Website

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