EA recently announced that they were at work on a remake of Dead Space. With this in mind, I decided to revisit the game and see how it holds up and what they should do to take the series forward.
Alien…..the movie……1979…..let that sink in.
This movie was massively ahead of its time, something that only really sunk in having watched the 4K remaster recently. If you haven’t already, please take the time to go back and experience this gem in its full glory.
Although we all have our preconceptions of what an alien might be, none have been able to imagine something like the terror offered in this movie masterpiece. Even now the retro space tech feels somehow relevant.
Dead Space managed to tune into this feeling and gave gamers an experience that even 11 years later, holds up well. When the game was first announced, many cried that it was nothing but a Resident Evil copy (RE 4 released in 2005 on the GameCube), it offered far more than this and only really the 3rd person camera view can be compared. Having played both recently, Dead Space has aged far better than the RE 4. Almost to the point where I wonder if a remake is needed.
A horror 3rd person shooter, the game sees players take up the mantel of Isaac Clarke, and his journey to discover the location of his wife and the problems on the USG Ishimura ship. What follows is a terrifying adventure where the player will battle Necromorphs (creepy alien bastards), and try to find the truth of what went wrong and find Isaac’s missing partner Nicole.
Even now 11 years later, the first game in the series shows why it was so loved. The game showcasing tense and atmospheric environments, and the same creepy feeling that was showcased in Alien.
The controls are tight but slow, which fits the feeling of the game and the fear is still there while turning every corner, making you wonder if you saw movement in that shadow in the corner of your view. The decision to make the HUD part of the player’s suit screams out as something that more games should take note of. The player’s health and ammo can be seen via a light display on Isaac’s suit and this still feels fresh and different.
Overall the UI of the game deserves a lot of praise. It’s classed as a diegetic UI, meaning that what is seen by the player is also seen by the onscreen character. Think pop up displays and maps, even waypoint directions are shown in the game like a real-life GPS map. More games should take an approach like this as even now it’s a feature to be proud of.
Enemies are taken down by dismemberment, and the game has a few weapons to do this. However, unlike most games, not many of these are guns and most of the hardware used by the player comes in the form of repurposed mining equipment. Although having the right weapon for the right enemy can be important in the later stages of the game, there is lots of fun to be had with the starting weapon and as you progress, this can be upgraded.
Isaac’s spacesuit also plays a large part in gameplay as it too can be upgraded. This allows for more armour and how much can be carried by the player. Also to note is the Stasis and Kinesis modules that can be used by the player, these are used to solve a handful of environmental puzzles and can be used to help when facing enemies.
The audio for the game is another reason why it is so fondly thought of. Even now playing with a good set of headphones is enough to make you want to look over your shoulder to make sure you are still the only thing in your living room.
Now, looking back, the game is still worthy of a play through, even more considering this is included as part of the EA play Vault (and therefore Gamepass). So is there a real need for a remake?….
My opinion would be yes, the game deserves to be played by more. Looking at the success story that was the Resident Evil 2 remake (maybe the best remake ever?..), I can’t wait to see what EA can do to modernise the gameplay and experience. There is not a lot that needs to be added but I hope that they stay true to the feeling brought by the original.
Hopefully, this also allows EA to go back and right the wrongs of the later games in the series. This relates more to Dead Space 3 than 2, as the second game is still extremely well regarded. However, come 3 EA became very…well EA. It stepped away from the horror base point and more into action shooter as they believed this was where the money could be gained due to Call of duty being so popular. With it also came microtransactions. Sad face.
Unpopular opinion, microtransactions can be done right. But these should be low cost and bring additional skins or elements that don’t affect gameplay or experience. In 3 they added the ability to pay real-world money for crafting resources that could be gained thru gameplay. Unfortunately, this came across as EA trying to tempt players to spend more on an already full-price game.
Co-Op gameplay was introduced, which was something that players had never wanted to be added to the game. Although done right this might have worked, the fact that the two characters are involved take away one of the biggest strengths of the original, this takes me back to my point of mentioning Alien.
In space, no one can hear you scream.
The tagline doesn’t work quite as well if you are standing right beside your mate. There were also issues with the changes made to the crafting system in the first game, which took away the need to change weapons to take down different bad guys.
Going back for a remaster, EA has confirmed that there will be some slight changes to the original game and that it won’t be a carbon copy. This gives them the chance to make sure that the earlier errors and missteps are avoided.
EA get a hard rap at times, but the great recent remaster of Mass Effect 1-3 has given me hope that they can pull this off. As well as this, they are also on a good run overall with It takes two, Star Wars Fallen Order and Squadrons all coming out to pretty high praise, just don’t get me started on FIFA….
My Wishlist for the game is short and sweet, please give us Atmos audio support for Xbox and PC (or 3D audio for the PS5 players out there). The same strong story as before but maybe expand where possible so the game has a chance to continue longer this time around.
No release date has been given for this but the hair on my arms are already standing to attention at thought of getting back to this series.