‘Dead Space 3’ suffers from identity crisis

The “Dead Space” video game series has built its reputation over the years by scar- ing players with terrifying environments and creepy space creatures.

However, “Dead Space 3” focuses more on action-oriented experiences than its horrifi- cally reputable encounters.

The first “Dead Space,” which was released in 2008, was easily the scariest game available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. The game took players through the dark corridors of USG Ishimura, a planet-cracking ship vessel, as they controled main character Isaac Clark on his mission to save his girlfriend Nicole. Aliens called necromorphs relentlessly pursued Clark throughout his mission, and they appeared spontaneously to startle the character and player.

Players weren’t promised safety anywhere, and the same was true for the game’s successor. The franchise became a critical success in response.

However, it was clear the series was start- ing to break away from its horror roots after “Dead Space 2”’s release. The game’s focus shifted to help broaden its audience by incor- porating multi-player and less tension.

“Dead Space 3” moves the series further away from the frightening standards reached when the franchise first started. Aside from single-play, gamers can now choose coopera- tive gameplay, which was foreign to the origi- nal. This helps lessen each encounter’s tension and apprehension with necromorphs.

It’s easy to feel less pressure when a player’s cooperative partner can come in with blazing backup guns blazing in most combat scenari- os, but the feature makes the game less scary.

Players should feel more powerless to stop enemy attacks in the single-player campaign, which creates more severe confronts. Neverthe- less, the game puts gamers in less atmospheric and eerie environments, and it has made weapon customization a big priority. The customization is great and definitely aids the game’s intention of being more action oriented.

However, there is still one problem. The game still tries to be scary, and that throws of

its pacing. Unlike “Resident Evil 4,” another

action-based horror game, there is no seamless transition between be- ing scared and relaxed by the action sequences. “Dead Space 3” had great opportunities to scare players with boss battles after they’ve been lulled to sleep with so many action se- quences, but the game simply doesn’t scare when it intends to.

The game essentially suffers from an identity crisis, which is something the previous installments didn’t encounter.

There is plenty to like about “Dead Space 3” from the excellent weapon- crafting system and story presenta- tion, but it doesn’t live up to the high standards of its predecessors.

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