“Dead Space” (2023) is a great example of a game that felt dated the day it came out.
The original came out in October 2008, almost 15 years ago. At the time, critics and players alike raved over its horror elements, enemies and gameplay.
Now, I found it quite underwhelming.
The game plays well. The enemies are quite interesting, and the environments are all right. But after about two hours, the game just lost me.
Enemies are painfully predictable. They are only scary due to their jump-scares, which got old very quickly and are seen as a cop-out for good horror in my eyes.
The game does seem like a good time, and people are enjoying it. But for me, it is just dark chocolate — something I can tell is good, just not for me.
Horror movies are some of my favorites. Horror games, on the other hand, I find a more interesting topic. For whatever reason, the horror genre in games is such a mixed bag, and it can fail quite easily. This, for me, fails.
Environments can make horror games work. “Bioshock” (2007) is a horror game that does well due to certain environments. The environments of "Dead Space" are also very interesting, but they are painfully repetitive. This is the drawback of every single feature in the game.
The story is the only aspect that is not repetitive, but it is predictable and boring. And to be frank, nobody buys “Dead Space” for the story.
Standard horror tropes are throughout the game, the story is told to you through audio logs and the true ending is not even shown in the first play through.
The gunplay is quite nice, however. It was one of the more highly anticipated aspect of this release, and I honestly like the variety and possibilities of combat because of the guns. While enjoyable and interesting, once again, the combat stays repetitive somehow.
“Ratchet and Clank” is a series known for its fun gunplay. The way it succeeds in doing this is by making each gun have different goals. Not every gun kills enemies: some stun, some alter and some do indeed eliminate enemies. While this is an absurdist universe that has guns do this in fun ways, “Dead Space” could still use these principles.
Some guns do have proximity mine and trip wire capabilities, but these are the only ways that combat varies besides cutting off the limbs of enemies in different ways. Yes, getting a new gun is fun, but using a saw to eliminate enemies over and over again gets quite annoying.
At the end of the day, I do not think this is a bad game. I simply believe that it is a good game that was not optimized outside of graphics for a 2023 release.
None of these make the game bad, but nothing will bring me to this game that is not done better in another title, making this game simply dull.
"Dead Space" was an iconic release in 2008 and helped to shape the landscape of horror games today. For a 2023 release, though, this reboot does the worst thing any reboot can do — it falls flat. You never feel the punches like you did in '08, and you're reminded why you should never meet your heroes.
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