"Dead Space 3," the third installment of the series "Dead Space," gives gamers the control of Isaac Clarke once again. The Unitologists are back to their old ways, revying a marker found on the New Horizons Lunar Colony. Something brand new in this series is that Isaac will fight against the Unitologists, as well as the necromorphs. With the addition of fighting humans, crafting your own weapons, the ability to have Co-Op multiplayer and now optional side missions, this third-person shooter survival horror aims to please. Horror is unpredictable, and intense focus on isolation creates a unique psychological fear.
The overall gameplay keeps you involved and attentive. Ammunition, health packs, stasis packs and various other materials you can scavenge are the reason that the elements are scarce. Spamming heals on Isaac and randomly firing at the dead is not recommended. Unpredictable at times, you want to make sure you are as stocked up as much as possible. The necromorphs are not as forgiving in this game and are much faster than they used to be. There are no designated save points, and while some may find it frustrating that it does not auto-save after each large encounter, I find it to be well balanced.
"Dead Space 3" is not only terrifying, but it's terrifyingly beautiful. Space has never looked so crisp, clear and vibrant before. The added luminescence of stars while floating around in the Zero-G atmosphere can make it distracting. The first half of the game is spent floating around space debris and traveling in a shuttle to different ships. The dark and ominous feeling on these abandoned ships make it horrific when traveling down vast hallways. If Isaac is not already scared of his own shadow, you will be because the lighting effects are spectacular.
The new planet Tau Volantis is a winter wonderland inhabited by necromorphs. EA Games really did an excellent job creating a frigid and blizzard-like planet. Sounds of the wind blasting and limited visibility add to the horror. As Isaac tries to tread the harsh atmosphere of this arctic atmosphere necromorphs of a prior crew burrow out from the ground ready to hack and slash.
Loud, sudden and startling noises help attribute to the environment, making it a truly uncomfortable experience at times. Occasionally the necromorphs will let out bone-chilling screams, or what sounds like distance movement. You expect them to fall through the ceiling or tear through the ground at this point. However, they will show up when you least expect it, and the music accompanying their presence is intense, fast paced and induces panic.
Already existent characteristics of "Dead Space" are present and have been greatly improved. It still maintains the same feel, however, with newly-added content that makes it much more interesting. Isaac fights new forms of necromorphs, ones that will split in half upon dismemberment growing tentacles from their torso, skeletal bodies made up of acid and recently changed humans. Journeying down a corridor, the music became unnerving and there stood a Unitologist affected by the necromorph. When he began firing a rifle, I realized there are no exceptions in this game, as that was a first.
The new suits look great, and the RIG (Resource Integration Gear) layout is even clearer than before. A new arctic suit was added that features fur inside of it. It is quite ironic that Isaac needs to acquire a new arctic suit to bear the below-zero wind chill temperatures. The suit Isaac wore prior to landing on Tau Volantis withstood the temperatures of space. You obtain a neat companion, known as a scavenging bot. Instead of running around like a scared chicken without a head, you can send the bot out to look for materials. This way you can focus more on the game play.
Suits can be upgraded still, adding more health, stasis, and oxygen. The upgrading process is different from "Dead Space 1" and "Dead Space 2" however, as there are no more power nodes to be collected. Isaac must now collect materials such as scrap metal and others, to be able to craft and upgrade weapons and armor.
There is an arsenal of weapons available, and they too have to be crafted with materials. There is a list of blueprints to pick from, which have developer-made weapons, or you can MacGyver it and create the ultimate death machine. New features include acid spewing guns, rivet shotguns and electrical power melee attachments. The melee attachment is absolutely useless because you don't want to get as close as you can to a necromorph, as they will rip your limbs off. Not to mention, if you're playing at night with a high-grade gaming headset, up close and personal is a nightmare waiting to happen.
The controls are relatively the same, but with two new features added. Isaac now has the ability to tuck and roll as well as take cover. These two options are crucial to take use of, especially rolling to evade overhead or incoming attacks. During the first boss encounter, I was rolling around all over place, taking time to deliver precise shots to the snow beast's weak points.
"Dead Space 3" has the content jammed packed into it along with personalization options. Side missions add more to the storyline and can help you immensely when looking for crafting materials. The weapons you craft can be named and shared with friends. An isolated experience from the first two games now lets you take on the necromorphs with your buddy. The different direction EA Games took truly makes the harsh task of surviving quite the experience that should not be overlooked by any gamer.