My weekend in gaming – Dead Space impressions

On Saturday morning I made the leap and grabbed myself a copy of Dead Space. The game didn’t cost me any money, but don’t be mistaken, the price was still high. I took advantage of JB’s trade in offer, and handed over Resistance, GT5 Prologue and Smash Court Tennis for my copy. It was a difficult decision, I usually choose not to support trade in schemes, stores like EB make a far higher profit margin on second hand games sales than new game sales – hence their constant push to get you to trade in your games. I don’t like to support the system because it cuts the game developers out of the cycle – they sell the game once, and EB can sell it as many times as they can coax the consumer into handing it back to them. 

Of course, the task of selecting the members of my hand picked game collection that I would be sacrificing took some thinking about, getting rid of tennis was straightforward, this was a launch title and I’m sure I can find a newer, better title to take it’s place. GT5P was a no brainer, it’s not even a full priced game, and I’ve been kicking myself for not purchasing the downloadable iteration, I’ve really warmed up to the idea of having full games on my HDD – I know I wouldn’t play Warhawk as much if I had to track down a disk each time.  

Choosing to chuck Resistance took a bit of though, but I know if I ever wanted to play it again I could easily pick it up as a  budget title – things have changed since Playstation’s debut, back then it seemed all games were in limited distribution, getting hold of a quality title that was a few years old was sometimes an impossibility. Now days, if it still capable of selling, they’ll sell it.

So after much deliberation and an extended conversation with the JB games dude about WoW (Yes, I know I’m wearing a Penny-Arcade Rogues do it from behind tshirt – am I the only one that thinks it’s funnier removed from the WoW context?), I walked away with a new game. I’m pretty fucking happy I did.

Dead Space is a good game. Everything EA have set out to do, they’ve done quite well. This does leave some basics a little under polished, but the unique ground this game treads more than make up for anything lacking.

From what I’ve seen so far, the game isn’t exactly the horror experience it’s been talked up as – but to be honest, I can’t think of any recent game that’s scarier. Text, video and audio logs scatter the Ishimura, ala Doom 3. Four or five of these audio logs are dedicated to the explanation that that the things use vents to get around. You’ll question why you’re being told this same information over and over, but you’ll quickly realise why – the majority of scares in the early game result from weird shit jumping out of vents.

Around chapter 5 things really do take a turn towards terror, and the game’s difficulty at least feels like it increases, and as it turns out I was blowing through those health packs I’d been comfortably collecting faster than I’d realised. Its easy to see effort has been put into keeping players immersed in Dead Space. Everything from the load menus to in game inventory try to keep the player in the game. 

Lets make a comparison. Resident Evil 4 has an in game store similar to Dead Space. In RE4, you’ll quickly learn that any area containing a store is safe. For whatever reason, no enemies would ever exist in the same segment of map that a store does. In Dead Space, checking the store could be the perfect opportunity for some bloody bastard (or a swarm of tiny, bloody bastards, as it were in my case) to get an easy meal on a preoccupied target.

Once the shit starts, it really doesn’t stop. You’re never safe in this game, and when you think you are, well, keep an eye on that fucking vent.


2 Responses to “My weekend in gaming – Dead Space impressions”

  1. October 27, 2008 at 2:53 PM

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. 2 feral
    October 30, 2008 at 3:07 PM

    Agreed.. (came here from kotaku..)

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Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.


October 2008
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