Oh, space, new planets, the universe, the meeting with God, the adventure !
All that fuss to end cut in pieces, welcome to Dead Space.
I remember that at that time few video games were really horror video games, and there are still few because too often, you simply take out monsters with your shotgun. They were also not very gore, with just some blood on the floor.
But the horror, for me, needs two things : few weapons and a disturbing atmosphere.
My review will mainly be about Dead Space 1, the next games having slowly became only violent games with a lot of weapons and a strong boredom when you click 10 times per second on your mouse.
In the first game, my preferred scene was at the very beginning when you run away to the elevator, hunted by a Slasher and defenceless. The game developpers could have done a game with only hunt and run scenes in a spaceship full of monsters, I would have be happy. They have added some weapons for the rest of the game, but the horror was nevertheless preserved.
First, something really coherent in Dead Space about the scenario is that the weapons are not real ones, they are tools, it is logic because you play an engineer. The all universe is coherent. You play an engineer who is using his tools to protect himself from the monsters which were released after a mining operation. This is a coherent game and it does good.
About the gameplay, these lethal-tools add their part in the horror with the concept of dismemberment. You are not killing the monsters by shooting anywhere or by doing headshots like in a modern FPS, you dismember the monsters which are big pieces of meat in which each limb is a weapon.
You fight against horrible creatures, defying the reason and the biological logic of a body constitution. So the fight plays his part in the horror atmosphere and it is really unusual.
You see a Slasher running towards you, his two big claws ready to cut you, you dismember its legs to stop it in its run, before you hear a Lurker ready to shoot at you…
The atmosphere in Dead Space is always horrific. The fights are stressful because the enemy is really fast et strong. Each monster is able to test your ability and when they are in group, you have to be quick and think tactically.
Of course, I can’t forget the Audiologs which give some depth with the records of dead crew members of the spaceship or the spacebase you are cleaning. I love this tiny things which give body to an universe and make you involved by the events.
To conclude, Dead Space 1 is an excellent mixed of fights and horror. This game has found the good equilibrium between the inability to act (Slender Man) and too much action where this is more the player who spead terror among the monsters (Doom, Resident Evil…).
Play it, and play also with Dead Space SW, because it is more fun to get worried together 🙂