Third time is the fail

EA has done it again, this time with Dead Space: in the name of making a game more "available" for broader audiences, they just sacrificed the core of the series.

Doctor's orders: drawing and alcohol

Don't get me wrong, Dead Space 3 is not a bad game in it own right. It is just not a Dead Space game. Apart from the setting, it has much more in common with Gears of War. Whereas the first two games held a tight focus on the scary atmosphere, the third's focus is quite a bit more to the tropes of general sci-fi third person shooters.

The shadows of the father
I loved the first two Dead Space games. (I even reviewed the second in Hungarian as "Dead Space 2: you can scream, but you cannot escape", and gave it a silver 5/5 or 9/10 rating.) Unfortunately, while this third edition tries to be lift many elements of its predecessors and even has some interesting new ideas, it also eviscerates the core elements that made the series so great: the atmosphere of horror.

Lord of the workbench
A quite well thought out new part is the crafting system, although combined with the limited weapon selection and the new ammo-mechanic, it also introduces a problem. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the workbench is quite a good thing: you can build your weapons from the ground up, choosing between the assorted elements and picking apart your lackluster prototypes. There are quite a few limitations, but most as you can freely disassemble the guns, it is not that big problem. Also, you can copy anything you already have one of, (and disassemble most things to materials) so you really only need one of each plus a ton of material.

Because you can't leave out Mass Effect 3...

Another welcome change is that the suits are now - with one exception - are only cosmetic: the upgrades are shared, so you don't have to chose between looking right and having extra stopping power.

Munitions everywhere
The main problem is that you most likely will build and upgrade only two weapons. Whereas in the previous installments, you were - especially on harder difficulties - quite forced to use multiple guns, as each had their own ammo, and the munitions were generally scarce, in Dead Space 3, this element is simply removed: the ammo is now universal. Whereas in the first games you were only given powerful ammo right before, or at stage bosses, now you can use the biggest, baddest guns whenever you would like to, or at least as long as you aim right. And if you don't, you might as well restart the level, as you won't have any ammo for anything.

The future of Google Glass?

Hidden movement
Another less-then-stellar "improvement" is the introduction of cover-based action, furthering the transformation to a GoW-copy. And since some new enemy types (even necromorphs!) also have projectile weapons, at times you actually need it.

Give an arm and a leg
I think I can safely say that the dismemberment of enemies was quite a lovely thing in the previous games. While most enemies can still be taken apart, there actually are some that have protected limbs. Like the "armored" (as in: blue police coverall) necromorphs that won't part with their legs. Yes, this is easier for the animators: they don't have to design animations for when the creature loses the legs only. It also makes fighting them quite boring: blow away the upper torso, wait till the three tentacles sprout, then cut those off. Since the development team managed to put together much better monsters in the past, it is a shame.

Never use explosive ammo with static coating, without area protection...

Hold my hand
As with FEAR 3 (or F.3.A.R), cooperative play just butchers the horror. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of games (mostly old) that can pull off multiplayer and horror at the same time. Dead Space 3 is not one of them. Instead, it trivializes the already scarce challenges and scary elements.

Show me the money
Another quite bad show from EA is the inclusion of "we want you to pay" day-one DLCs. The helper robot that collects material for your crafting needs is a prime example of convenience, drapped in a paywall. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all against paying expansions, (I bought everything for Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 1-2) but when you buy a $60 game that has pieces like this ripped out, you start to question whether you should continue spending money on the games of that particular publisher.

buddies forever

All in all, Dead Space is not that bad a game. It is, however, a bad Dead Space game. As a run-of-the-mill third person action game, with some RPG elements, it is quite decent. And I did like the new lore parts. Although I would take Dead Space 2 over 3 every time. Then again, this is not the first third-of-a-trilogy that Electronic Arts butchers just to try to rake in some extra money.

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