With the new year underway we finally get to see the first batch of games that either didn’t come out during the holiday frenzy or were pushed back due to development issues. I’d like to present a new segment called the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, featuring my predictions for these upcoming releases and whether or not they’ll have been worth the wait.
I begin with the Ugly because, in my humble opinion, it is better to start with the bad news first. The game of which I speak is Dead Space 3. It hasn’t suffered any sort of production delay, but the evolution from the first Dead Space to the current game is kind of scary, and not in terms of horrifically mutated zombies. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the series from its inception; it elevated the idea of a survival horror game by requiring that the player to do more than run into zombie A and give it a double-tap headshot. The challenge of cutting off limbs using basic space tools in place of weapons was very unique. This, combined with the claustrophobic terror of being stalked through dimly-lit corridors on a spaceship by shapeless monstrosities bursting out of air ducts and the newly-dead remains of enemies or friends offered an atmospheric reinterpretation of the genre. Dead Space 2 maintained that same philosophy, but I felt EA publishing rear its ugly head by adding a pretty lame multiplayer mode to what was and should have remained a single player game. They also added an online pass for the multiplayer which I’m inherently against, whether or not the multiplayer is awful.
In Dead Space 2 you saw a complex transformation of character as Isaac Clarke tried to come to grips with the events of the first game, but the city sprawl gave Isaac a bit of wiggle room and allowed him to better handle the chaos of the Red Marker with actual weaponry (even though the tool set still proved to be better) and up-scaled stasis mode compared to battling it out on the USG Ishimura. This time you are teaming up with Sgt. John Carver and going to a frozen death world called Tau Volantis to discover how the inhabitants were able to stop a Necromorph outbreak 200 years ago. This is a great set up, but I feel that the basis of the Dead Space franchise is SOLE SURVIVAL HORROR! It’s tough to immerse yourself in the atmosphere when you’re listening to your buddy crack dick jokes over the headset. Sure they explain that Dead Space 3 can be played single player, but they emphasize the Co-op experience so heavily that when you open their main site it’s the first feature advertised. Also, no developer in their right mind would pour so much time into creating this whole side part of the game for it not to be experienced. EA takes full advantage of this predicament because the only way to take part in the Co-op is to go through their online pass DRM guaranteeing new purchases and not going the used route plus omitting the ability to play spilt screen. Finally, the game promotes a pay-to-win scenario ranging from base resource packs, weapon and suit upgrades, as well as “bot capacity” and “accelerator” upgrades which are easily obtained by opening your wallet. As a side note regarding the “Better With Kinect” option, it’s doubtful that it will present a useful addition to the game. Its inclusion is likely the result of Microsoft marketing leaning on the publisher to include it and thereby increase their market share.
I’m not in any way bitter or upset at the way Dead Space 3 is turning out, but it lacks the soul of its origins. If anyone out there plans on getting the Playstation version and wants to play Co-op with me feel free to add me on PSN which is at Orphan55.
Good luck and [Insert Witty Comment Here] … or down below, whatever you prefer @GameOverParra on Twitterverse.