When there’s no more room in Hell …..

The dead will walk … in space!?! 


Dead Space 3 cover

Dead space was a fantastic addition to the survival horror genre when it was first released back in ’08, genuinely scary, atmospheric and original. Winning a plethora of awards that year. It’s not hard to see why it has inspired a sequel, a comic and two feature length animated movies. Now we have a third installment just around the corner I picked up the demo and played through the new co-op mode with a friend.

Dead Space 3 coopSurviving is less terrifying with a friend … right?

There’s not much to go on, it only took us about twenty minutes to crack the demo but here are my thoughts anyway. For me I far prefer enjoying games with friends to playing them alone but at the same time I do feel the atmosphere and terror of a survival horror title is something that lends itself more to being played alone at night with the lights off, it’s just not as scary when you know you have a capable partner watching your back although that can be dependent on the title in hand. Resident evil 5 for example just wasn’t scary, not alone, not with a friend Dead Space 3 on the other hand still had my palms sweating and me jumping out of my chair once or twice even though I had back up. It’s testament to the games design that it can still provoke this reaction from the player even in it’s third iteration, the creatures are really horrific and the fact that they can appear from anywhere at any time really adds to the tension if not the realism.

Dead-Space-3-PS3-co-op-2Clarke and Carver, They’re not friends …. yet.

Issac Clarke the series’ main protagonist returns once more to reluctantly take on masses of necromorphs but this time he has a buddy. John Carver joins Issac on a mission which they hope will finally put and end to the menace that threatens the entire universe. The demo doesn’t reveal too much about the relationship between Clarke and Carver but it does suggest that things are tense, Issac has a lot of experience battling with space’s equivalent of Zombies and he knows what they are capable of, whereas John seems to be something of a gung-ho marine type who is over-confident and almost the exact polar opposite of the games main hero (I’m sure they will work out their differences and become bosom buddies by the end don’t worry). It worries me somewhat that this relationship may detract from the games atmosphere and that the narrative might descend into a buddy movie/bromance of less than epic proportions but we will have to wait and see.

dead-space-3

And he’s just one of the little ones wait til you meet his mum

Gameplay wise nothing much seems to have changed apart from the addition of a needlessly complicated weapon manufacturing and upgrade system which I can already tell is going to get really frustrating during co-op playthroughs, there is nothing worse that waiting around while your partner spends half an hour organizing their inventory and crafting weapons when all you want to do it get back to dismembering dead heads (as we were taught by Dead Island). That said however the weapons you can create do look to be as lethal as the predecessors amazing equipment, I just think that the mechanic could be streamlined somewhat. Another gripe I have with the demo is that at one point we find ourselves fighting against other humans and the game turns into something of a sub par Gears of War style third person cover shooter, even as the necromorphs appeared these soldiers (or whatever) continued to fire on us rather than turn to face this far more terrifying alien menace. We can only hope that these sections are few and that they are well interwoven into the story.

dead_space_3_43

Over-compensating much?

In short, the fear is still there, the game looks fantastic and the design of the weapons and creatures is as visceral as ever, there are some issues but hopefully they wont plague what has already proven itself to be a fantastic series too much. And maybe … just maybe it’ll make for as good a co-op survival horror experience as the somewhat obscure … ObsCure.

Hail to the <space> King. Baby!

eremenko

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It’s only a game/show?

Howdy folks.

Once again it has been a while. We have a few ideas for upcoming posts and they are slowly coming together but yesterday I managed to tear myself away from pc gaming to spend the 400 Microsoft pacmen I have been saving for just this occasion and played through part 2 of the sensational Walking Dead game from telltale games.

If you frequent the blog (I know there’s at least one of you out there) you’ll know that I briefly covered part one in an earlier post so you will already be aware that I enjoy this kind of story heavy adventure driven experience. This next installment begins three months after Lee and co escaped the ill fated pharmacy in Macon and set up camp on the edge of town in what they refer to as a “motor inn”, which appears to be some kind of drive thru motel? Supplies are scarce and tempers running thin, it’s interesting to note at this point that the characters appearing here will be the characters that you chose to save in A New Day, (part one) from the very beginning you are reminded of those who didn’t make it this far and it is made immediately obvious that the decisions are not going to get any easier this time out. Remember the moment in the show when Rick has to get that kid’s leg off the fence? You, like me might have been yelling at the screen for him to just rip the damn thing off, well you get to test your mettle in a similar situation here very early on and unless you are a wee bit masochistic it is not a pleasant experience.

I said it last time out but this part proves further that telltale really want to go down the darker more sinister route of the comics rather than the more hopeful path taken by Andrew Lincoln and his TV co stars, that’s not to say there aren’t some horrific moments in the show but some of the things that happen in the comic just could not be done on television, interestingly it seems you can go down this path in a video game. I say video game in the loosest terms here as I allude to in the title its difficult to tell at times if you’re playing a game, watching a show or partaking in an interactive comic/novel, this plays to the creators advantage as the story that Kirkham has created is a strong character driven, emotional experience. Both the comic and the show have come under fire for spending too much time focusing on the talking and too little on the Zombie smashing, those nay sayers may feel the same way about the beginning of this episode as the action takes a little time to get rolling and once again the focus is on the evils of those humans still alive rather than the bitey dead heads roaming around.

I wont delve into the plot at all because that’s not my style if you want to play it you will and I don’t want to be the one ruining that experience for you but there are some great nods to both the show and the comic in terms of locations, characters and set pieces. Typically TV show video game tie ins tend to be a little drab and uninventive, what we have here however is a visceral, original experience that doesn’t get too bogged down in trying to replicate the story or style of the show, yes it helps that it has the comic to fall back on as well but ultimately it has come about due to the success of the show. Rather than allowing this to hinder them telltale have run with it and created a tense, paranoia fueled story that runs as a nice parallel to the main arc whilst never feeling like it is repeating the ideas of its counterparts.

At times during this thrill ride you really start to wonder what you would be capable of in such extreme circumstances leaving you questioning just what you would do to survive. Most of us gamers like to think we would be useful in the event of a Zombie apocalypse due to our “past experience” but until it actually happens who truly knows what they would do and whether their perceived good choices would actually work out for the best. This game really pushes that idea, make the wrong choice and things can really go to hell, hesitate over choosing and things can really go to hell, try to play the hero and things can really go to hell. In short it’s hell out there so make sure you pick the right companions or you might be dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.

If you’ve played the game let me know what you think, even if you haven’t all comments are appreciated. If you love the show play the game even if you hate Carl like everyone else.

Elth out.