GC 2008: Dead Space Updated Impressions

We check out a new level from EA's upcoming survival horror shooter.

Dead Space is a game that doesn't exactly hold the player's hand. Not only are you placed in a frightening setting in which you're forced to use makeshift weaponry to fight a scourge of infected aliens aboard a mining ship stranded in space, but a variety of challenges are also thrown into the mix, ranging from occasional lapses in gravity to enemies that just don't know how to stay dead. No, Dead Space doesn't look like the most comforting game in the world, but it does look like an awfully good one. Here in Leipzig, journalists have been given the chance to see a new level from the game--a particularly challenging one that forces you to deal with vicious aliens and careful resource management.

This chapter is the seventh in the game, and the goal is for the protagonist Isaac Clarke to traverse through the mining deck and find an SOS beacon to send out into space. His journey begins when he calls up an elevator, but unfortunately it doesn't arrive empty. What's waiting for him inside isn't a group of enemies, but a fallen colleague who's been badly wounded. Unfortunately for this guy, there's no way for Isaac to know whether he's clean or if he's been infected by necromorph aliens. The only way for Isaac to take care of the situation is to finish him off by making the wounded man part with his head.

That Dead Space is a particularly gory game is something that will become quickly apparent. For this we can thank a combination of slick, futuristic weaponry and gruesome enemies that are all too willing to come charging at you with less than friendly intentions. A lot of the weapons available to Clarke are everyday tools from his job as an engineer. This probably won't sound too interesting until you see them in action. Our favorite is a modified buzz saw called the ripper. It has been tricked out to shoot radial saw blades that dismember enemies in a horrifically realistic way.

Dismemberment is a strategy that you'll need to master because it plays a vital role in your success. You can use statis packs to slow time, which gives you some breathing room to shoot at an enemy's head or limbs. (They tend to simply absorb any gunfire aimed at their torsos.) Certain aliens come running at you with spiky limbs flailing all around--including one that looks like a zombie pterodactyl--but despite how scary they are, they represent an excellent opportunity to pick up severed limbs with your TK gun to shoot right back at them. Just make sure that you take the head off, because the aliens you encounter have a nasty habit of sprouting limbs right back. The combat in Dead Space offers a lot of potential for creative use of your weaponry, and given that you'll never find a lot of ammo for your traditional guns, you'll definitely want to stretch your creative muscles as far as you can.

These guns can also be upgraded in the game. You do this by using power nodes, which act as a currency to let you progress through a branching path on a weapon's leveling tree. These affect things such as firepower, reload speed, and so on. The tricky thing is that these nodes are very hard to come by, and you can also use them to unlock certain closed doors that you might encounter. This creates a risk-reward situation in which you need to weight the known upgrade against the uncertain reward locked away behind the door. In the case of our demo, Clarke used one of his nodes to open a door that revealed some stasis packs and a host of logs to help shed some light on the game's plot.

This level, which featured a zero-G sequence complete with an environmental puzzle that requires clever use of your TK gun and floating debris, represents one of the game's 12 chapters. These chapters range from about an hour to an hour-and-a-half each. As a way of adding replay value, EA has given players the ability keep their weapon upgrades whenever they complete and start a new story.

Dead Space is looking like a fun and scary game, even with the nonstop challenges that it throws your way. Fittingly enough, it's scheduled to arrive just before Halloween on October 21.

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63 comments
dr_extravaganza
dr_extravaganza

It look & feels just Awesome! & I was wondering.... Feel free to correct me anyone. ..but doesn't Dead Space use the new RE 5 engine? And if it does why didn't Capcom announceed the date for the PC version for RE5???

termadoyle
termadoyle

I can't wait for this anymore! sounds like RE5 has finally found a contender.

vianegativa85
vianegativa85

i've seen a few previews of this game, it looks freaking awesome and may require lots of diapers for noobs.

oldsnake153
oldsnake153

dead space sounds cool.Be nice if theres a movie.

sub-raid
sub-raid

banned in germany japan and china damn !! what is in that game ? i think it will be so cool !

HAL5000
HAL5000

Its time to kill or be killed.....I will have to take time away from reality to finish this one.

bangell99
bangell99

The whole dismemberment thing sounds cool.

toritofine
toritofine

damn i love horror survival games.. this one looks pretty sick

Adjee93
Adjee93

this will kick ass than any horror game

blackwater3954
blackwater3954

I'm not a huge fan of survival horror games (though I did really enjoy RE4), but WOW. The videos and screenshots for this game are making a believer out of me. It's like "The Thing" and "Event Horizon" in one horrifying package.

dmmmmee
dmmmmee

october is the month for me! as my friend says............roll on...........i haven't been this excited since i was six for october to come.......halloween ...............lol

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

Far cry 2, little big plant, dead space, fallout 3, resistance 2. I have a feeling that late october early november is going to be a busy gaming month for me. I can't wait for all these games, especially this one. There aren't many awesome horror games out there anymore. You can only play RE4 so many times.

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

ooooh - sounds good. Half Life meets Event Horizon. sweet.

InfectiousDust
InfectiousDust

This is the kind of trippy sci-fi horror space kill-fest i've been waiting for. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping EA doesn't mess this one up.

MJPK
MJPK

This game sounds brilliant.It's a shame it's coming out the same time as Fallout 3.It might get overshadowed by it.

code305
code305

this is one of top to buy games

Jason_Morris
Jason_Morris

This looks very promising indeed, but then again, so did Haze and Jericho... I'll be checking reviews first, but this is definitely one on the radar.

sparkymafia
sparkymafia

this looks great, Slient Hill is dead, Dead Space is here

capitancahonas
capitancahonas

EA have ruined a lot of potentially good games, but I have reasonable hopes for this (even though it looks like the're using the 1-size-fits-all game engine),even so, this is surely to suffer during the annual Q4 deluge of games. Can people really be as excited about this as GOW 2, Fallout 3 or Resi 5 ? I may buy all of these, and pick up dead space in the jan sales..the animated comic is a good marketing tool and well done though..

datniccah187
datniccah187

I almost forgot about this one, but its still looking pretty solid from what i can tell.

Joman1000
Joman1000

This looks more promising than Silent Hill: Homecoming. And that's coming from a die-hard Silent Hill fan

mastiffchild
mastiffchild

I get more sold every time I hear something about this game! Sounds like the (possible) start of something big if EA don't put the mockers on it. Survival Horror has been crying out for(sorry) new blood and this could be just the thing!

Neodigiphyte
Neodigiphyte

I can't wait!! I love games that give me shivers up my spine late at night in the dark

theblacksmog
theblacksmog

The Dead Space video comic is really interesting and tells about what happen there...

Unholy_Terror
Unholy_Terror

I'm pretty stoked, I hope it doesn't crash and burn

alstevens83
alstevens83

I've been watching this develop and to be honest its sounding like a great game and well it should make up for the disappointing Alone in the Dark. Also for Survival horror fans it's going to be fun end of the year with also the release of Silent Hill: Homecoming as well

badwoof
badwoof

looks little like doom 3 but with creative new things and definetly worth a look at getting or renting

rei2099400
rei2099400

as someone who doesn't really go in for the whole horror thing, this game looks good enough to let me swallow my fears... with the lights on, of course

daniel_beck_90
daniel_beck_90

we prepare ourselves with this game . nothing is DOOM 4 .

Nicksta101
Nicksta101

Sounds great. I decided to get this on the first preview, just sounds better and better. The fact that EA is developing the game, doesn't vex me. Just because they haven't made some good games in the past shouldn't mean that players should shy away.

Nicksta101
Nicksta101

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Wozmcfc
Wozmcfc

Sounds good although I wont be buying this.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

I hope out of one of these games we get the next great horror franchise, while I love RE and SH, they are getting a bit old, . . . we need fresh blood.

madmersenne
madmersenne

i just hope ea can develop a great game finally on its own

greedom
greedom

It looks impressive but I'm somewhat hesitant when it comes to EA. I was expecting scarier, I'd say Doom 3 still takes the cake over this.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope this game lives up to the hype

MTullusCicero
MTullusCicero

@ Lord-Viru: "BioShock in Space"--Ever heard of "System Shock"? It's pretty clear to me that this is EA's attempt at System Shock 3. We'll just have to wait and see if they take a hands-off approach and let their developers do their work, or stick their noses in it and screw it up like they have time and again.

MTullusCicero
MTullusCicero

@ Lord-Viru: "BioShock in Space"--Ever heard of "System Shock"? It's pretty clear to me that this is EA's attempt at System Shock 3. We'll just have to wait and see if they take a hands-off approach and let their developers do their work, or stick their noses in it and screw it up like they have time and again.

Amir29
Amir29

Something fresh and new? Rewards turned risk? Strategy, adventure, action, and horror? An excellent story and voice acting in their comic-style videos? A dev diary that shows they've not only accomplished the goal of impressing their supperiors, but actually ENJOY living the dream of making this game? I'm sold!!! Take the survival-horror genre and make it scare me again. Make me wish I left the lights on when I booted it up. Make me happy my controller is wireless when I drop it in surprise. Just don't take it too far cause my couch is new and I don't want to soil it :P

Jordanaire
Jordanaire

There is mad hype surrounding Dead Space, I hope it can live it to up (I'm finish with hyping videogames up).

Stalker700
Stalker700

Sweet! I can't wait for this one:D

KOTORkicker
KOTORkicker

@ Lord-Viru I'm seeing very few parallels between this and BioShock...

FLYEboi50
FLYEboi50

i have reason to believe that this game is going to be REALLY good, but what i find might be tough on it is the crowd of gamers that might prefer RE5 or any other game coming in october. especially on PS3. this GAME IS GOING TO BE FRIKIN AMAZING THOUGH. :D

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

This is sounding more and more like Bioshock in space... thats brilliant!

everson_rm
everson_rm

Well, tha end of october will be busy... with this and fallout 3 and far cry 2... hope that my 8800 gts will "still" do the trick. BTW, looking foward for this one!