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E3 2012: Dead Space 3(impressions)

Posted by: Chuck at 6/10/2012 10:41 AM
With Dead Space 3, Visceral is changing a bit of the Dead Space formula and I don't mean just the addition of Co-Op to the game.  Rather I'm talking about the addition of cover based shooting mechanics and the human enemies which represent a far bigger change than the addition of co-op game play..

Why do you ask?  Well because the co-op portion of the game is completely optional and while it does add new content and more depth to the game it doesn't change the functional mechanics of the Dead Space experience.  Large portions of the co-op demo followed the traditional feel of a Dead Space game.  However the addition of cover based firefights against humans seems to turn the game into a generic third person shooter rather than the action horror series we've been playing for the last five years or so.  It's not that I'm opposed to that kind of game but it makes the game feel less special and unique. 

It is worth nothing that the humans in the game are central to the plot and should be in the game.  I also understand why the cover based gameplay is there (hard to have big firefights without it) but the switch just felt a bit jarring when we saw it in the dmeo.

That complaint aside, I do think there's a lot in Dead Space 3 to look forward to as the gameplay we were shown at E3 was fantastic.  The developers told us that Dead Space 3 will  have "Everything you loved in dead space, more weapons, more enemies, more open environments" and the demo showed that off for the most part.

The graphics are noticeably better and you can tell that great attention has been paid to how the characters interact with the snow.  The snow isn't just a texture that Isaac steps on top of but rather something he sinks into.  I couldn't tell if it slows him down or not but it is a nice visual look and the crunching of snow underfoot changes the sound dynamics a bit.

The demo we were show starts with Isaac hanging upside down inside his ship which has just crash landed on the planet of Tau Volantis.  From there we see Isaac get out and start to wander across the surface of the planet.  As I mentioned earlier the snow is used to great effect here as he has to walk through a blinding snow storm.  The first encounter you have is with a semi-human looking Necromorph who you think is human up until you get a few feet away from him.

After that encounter (and a few decent scares) Isaac makes it to some kind of base which is where the co-op game play is shown.  It's not that the co-op portion of the game has a completely different plot but rather that it has a different cinematics and a few different plot points.  If you want to play the game solo you are going to get the same story it's just that you're going to get a little bit more with a second person playing the game as your co-op partner Carver has his own motivations for being there.

It's also worth noting the Carver is significantly more talkative than Isaac and does add a bit of a different feel to the game as he's completely hell bent on taking out the Markers.

From what we saw there's still the same emphasis on freezing and dismembering necromorphs as there was in the other two games and you can even use some of those same tactics against the humans in the games.  I haven't played all the way through either game but I can see why some fans are a bit peeved at the addition of cover based firefights as the demo made a fairly sharp change in tone when they started fighting the humans in the game.  I'm a bit hopeful that this portion of the game will be toned down a bit as the rest of the game looks fantastic and true to the Dead Space franchise.