Dead Space 3: Awakened Review

With an unsatisfying story and rehashed gameplay, Dead Space 3: Awakened makes a strong case for letting sleeping dogs lie.

Dead Space 3 was never a game lacking for content. Between a 15- to 20-hour campaign built around a deep weapon-crafting system and numerous unlockable game modes, there was plenty to keep your attention in Isaac Clarke's most recent adventure. So what's the incentive to drop $10 on Awakened, Dead Space 3's first downloadable add-on? It all comes down to story. Dead Space 3 ended on a serious cliff-hanger, and Awakened appears ready to shed light on the events of its predecessor by picking up right where things left off. Or at least that's what you'd be inclined to think. In actuality, there's no resolution to be found here as this brief, unsatisfying addendum trades one cliff-hanger for another. Add in the fact that most of it feels like a rehashed collection of gameplay scenarios you've experienced several times before and this is one follow-up that feels entirely unnecessary.

Without going into too much detail about the climactic events that capped off Dead Space 3, Awakened sees Isaac Clarke and John Carver waking up a bit worse for the wear. The pair of survivors aren't sure whether they're alive or dead at the beginning of this new chapter. All they know is that they've been stranded on the frozen surface of Tau Volantis and need to come up with a plan for what to do next. But it isn't long before they think of one: find a shuttle to get from this planet to the derelict Terra Nova, and then repair that ravaged spacecraft in order to make it back to Earth.

It's a new goal, but a familiar journey. For the most part, these reluctant partners are doing the exact same things against the exact same enemies in the exact same locations. You blast away at necromorphs on Tau Volantis, climb some ice walls, blast away at necromorphs in zero-gravity sequences, scavenge weapon parts, and blast away at necromorphs on the Terra Nova. It's disappointing just how rehashed all of these situations and locations feel. A new collection of weapon attachments to discover or a few more crazy species of necromorphs would have freshened things up a bit, but those additions are sorely lacking.

Awakened does stand apart from the Dead Space 3 campaign in one regard: it places a much more pronounced focus on Isaac and John's descent into madness. The two men have gone from dipping their toes in the effects of insanity to swimming in the deep end. Throughout the story, they experience sudden, twisted visions, and the frayed nerves that result from these mental breakdowns proceed to drive a wedge between the two partners. That focus on dementia is a neat narrative effect at first, but these twisted visions are about as subtle as a tap-dancing rhinoceros and ultimately feel more jarring than creepy. In the end, the story just sputters about for the two hours it takes to complete this DLC before abruptly ending with another cliff-hanger.

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the necromorph-scented candles.

Sadly, that's not the only missed opportunity in Awakened. When you make it aboard the Terra Nova, you discover the presence of a cult known as the Circle, a fringe group loosely connected to the Church of Unitology. When you stumble upon the cult's worship service, you're greeted by a terrifying sight: a collection of shirtless maniacs with sacks over their heads and makeshift blades where their hands have been sawed off. But when they inevitably attack, you just sort of shoot them and find yourself done with it. You don't learn much of anything about this cult, or its place in the story. It's just window dressing to add some spice to recycled environments.

The leader of this cult does stick around, however, haunting you at random intervals as well as serving as Awakened's only real boss fight toward the end of the story. Running into him adds some fresh terror to the adventure, largely because he's so creepy to gaze upon. After a while you finally face him in a climactic confrontation, but it's a clumsy boss fight that spams you with too many enemies to really appreciate the impact of the moment. That's especially unfortunate because the area where this boss fight takes place is both a visual treat and one of the few new environments in the DLC, but you're too busy fending off relentless waves of minions to really soak it up.

It's a real shame that these cultists are such throwaway enemies.

It's too bad that Awakened fails to capitalize on its place as a follow-up piece to the main story campaign. Rather than resolving what came before it, Awakened simply shrugs its shoulders for a couple hours before throwing another cliff-hanger ending your way. Sure, it still plays perfectly well, with plenty of intense dismemberment and a pleasingly varied selection of necromorph enemies to fend off. But that's all stuff you can get in Dead Space 3's already lengthy campaign. Viewed in that light, it's hard to see Awakened as anything besides redundant.

The Good
New cultist enemies are super creepy
The Bad
Mostly recycled environments
Brief, unsatisfying story
No new gameplay outside a single boss fight
4.5
Poor
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133 comments
GamzeeMaCara
GamzeeMaCara

The original Dead Space still scares me more than Dead Space 2 and 3 combined. It gives you that solid alone feeling. And the enemies pop out at the perfect moment when you feel safe. I miss Dead Space. I still play it to this day but if only they could do it more like the original. The problem is this big open space. How are you suppose to scare someone when they see the necromorph from far away. Dead Space's Ishimura tight-corner feel gave me despair around every little turn. 

Konviktion
Konviktion

I only wish that Mass Effect 3 would've gotten a DLC like this (for the Destroy ending ofc).

guitarnut_xiix
guitarnut_xiix

Here's my thing.  


I, for one, loved the DLC.  But, yes, there are a few problems.

First - No new suits or weapons.  (PS - why didn't they keep the unique suit features from DS2?  And why can't people name custom weapons?)

Second - The story didn't flesh out enough.  They brought in this whole new group of extreme Unitologists (as if the originals weren't kooky enough), but we learn very little about them.  

Third - Here's the MAIN problem.  What upsets me isn't that the DLC is bad.  It isn't bad.  The problem is that this DLC shows players what most feel should have been Dead Space 3.  Dead Space is supposed to be a survival HORROR game, and it just isn't anymore.  Sure, we can't be scared of Necromorphs forever, but they figured out how to scare us before - do it again.  THAT will bring in fans.  Just throwing a ton of bad guys at us isn't scary, it's boring, and that is most of the entire main campaign.  And Dead Space needs to come up with a randomizing scare factor.  A game meant to scare you can't do so once you've seen it's bag of tricks. 

dem5000
dem5000

Back in the day when record companies got away with owning all musicians, they would force the artist(s) to be contractually obliged to produce x amount of albums with x amount of songs over x amount of time.  Alot of the time, the musicians would just decide to be vindictive and fill up an entire side of an album with one repetitive song, slap together downright stupid songs, or just release some random live album just to avoid legal action.  I'm wondering if this same phenomenon is happening with EA and their developers.  Fine, you are going to force us to release this in this amount of time?  Well, here's a big pile of sh!t and a middle finger for you!  Ultimately the fans and consumers lose because they are trying to turn creativity into an assembly line.

Freboy
Freboy

This is a very effective game. After all, if you are only going to use a known game title to make people buy it, why make an effort with the gameplay at all...?

max-hit
max-hit

Some people think it's cool to hate EA and ignore the fact that this game is made by Visceral Games and EA is just the publisher. A large part of today's gaming community seems like a bunch of utterly stupid 7 years old children that I don't understand them.

Zeraqis
Zeraqis

Short, Disappointing and Bad Value - Has EA written all over it

Doobsac
Doobsac

Another comment section full of people crying about EA. Surprise surprise.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

Like.. really? Is EA seriously THIS incompetent? 


Look, I get it.. you're going to make DLC where you can, and with Dead Space there's not much to be done aside from new story, but come on. Did you guys not learn your lesson with ME3? People clearly don't like it when you give them crap endings, do you think cutting up the ending into separate downloadable pieces is going to appease anyone else? I'll answer that for you, no, it won't. You're only continuing to infuriate what actual fans you have.

gregbmil
gregbmil

I already sold the game.   It was a pile of junk compared to part 2

Freboy
Freboy

  Dead Space has become the game equivalent of a hard working adult. 

   First it was an excited, fun-loving child. Everything was new and unexpected.

   Then the CEOs noticed that the game could make money. They toned down the scariness to reach more consumers and focused on the action. The game was now a young adult, far from boring, but a bit more cynical about the world.

   Now the CEOs have completely taken control of Dead Space. The creative spark is gone; the game is now a process whose purpose is to bring in money. Dead Space is now a competent career-pursuing 40-something who works every day in a company he doesn't really care about.

   It's not likely that the CEOs will hand Dead Space back to the creative people when they inevitably make the next game. Therefore, when Dead Space 4 comes out, the game will reach the conclusion of its life cycle. It will be a rich retiree, looking back at the good old days when it was young and poor. When it had to make an effort to get through life. Before it got fat and lazy.

Vambran
Vambran

So its 10$ for 2 more hours of dead space 3. Not too bad if you ask me , about the same as the mass effect expansions. 


ewjiml
ewjiml

Ummm....yeahhhhh....So I just finished this DLC and I wish I did not read some reviews.  They basically said this is the most "atmospheric" and "creepy" part of Dead SPace 3 yet I got none of those when I played it.  EA just cut the ending, packaged it up, and called it DLC.  You go through the EXACT SAME environments / ships / whatever.  Except there are lots of candles now. 

Khalidosan
Khalidosan

Guys...please like this comment if you remember how great and fresh the first dead space was. That game was a masterpiece in my opinion and cut through all the corporate bullshit. It really gave a sense of hopelessness and survival that made you accountable for everything you did. you tread carefully in a spaceship all alone and as clueless as the character your playing who you didn't even know how he looked like. The only thing you know is that he's looking for someone ( hence a reference to classic gaming ) which added a mysterious and psychological twist. The game was well thought and wanted to make a name for itself in a very demanding market. Now its all about going mainstream and appealing to all the pure action oriented gamers who don't even a shred of patience to immerse themselves into something thats more thought out and well done and connected to a deeper premise and plot. The idea of making it through a game is more appealing to me than just spamming a button and blasting away.

gtandiono
gtandiono

yeah.... way too short, finished it under 2 hours; although i enjoyed the revisit on that spaceship through the end of the DLC, it brought me back to that first visit of the Ishimura... ahhh the good old days

Apastron
Apastron

I thought it said 'letting sleeping logs die'.  I'd play that game.

USAPATRIOT21
USAPATRIOT21

Deadspace should have given gamespot more of a kickback for a good review.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

Harsh review. Given the still-solid gameplay I think at least a 6 was necessary. 4.5 makes it sound like it's broken in some way. This DLC also happened to have a more intriguing narrative and prove more scary than the main game. Worth getting.

chunkyjake
chunkyjake

Best game of the series, can't wait to buy this DLC, and every other DLC that this game comes out with. I, unlike everyone else here, love content and understand the necessity for gaming companies to charge for that content.

Stop bein hata's. Foo's.

MotRFalcon
MotRFalcon

Oh man what a huge surprise this was... /sarcasm

wexorian
wexorian

Umm why ruin clifhanger ending with dlc? They don't care about franchise greedy bastards.

bobdimstar
bobdimstar

its ok,i my dead space 3 was free,without sim city of course,if u know what im saying

AlphaWolF_J
AlphaWolF_J

i cant actually believe there are folks out there who actually bought this game .with 14 day 1 dlc packs  the words dead and space must connect with them dead brain or a space in there head

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

I can't believe EA DLC the ending to Dead Space 3. Awakened should be part of the game, and not in its current state.

Samslayer
Samslayer

@GamzeeMaCaraI agree, my favorite part of the entire series was the feeling of being being alone.  That started to be lost in the second, and was completely gone by the third.  Oh well, there is no way every game could be perfect, and all three add something to the series.  I simply enjoyed the original the best.

Scarshi
Scarshi

@dem5000 This game is paying extra to find out if you play the game backwards you "might" find some hidden message buried beneath the same layer you've already played through. Spooky that people would actually pay first and ask questions later.

max-hit
max-hit

@dem5000 I believe those musicians are also to be blamed for the bad result and so are these game developers. Even today you can see music artists that wouldn't sell themselves to big record companies while still being free and successful.  

Killing_Free
Killing_Free

@max-hit EA IS the reason why this is now an action game instead of a horror one.

Afrosol
Afrosol

@max-hit With EA being publisher though, they have a humongous amount of control over what gets put into the game. Visceral Games is essentially EA's work horse, coding and designing whatever it is EA wants them to do. People's dislike of the company is entirely justified, and isn't as simple as you try and make it out to be.

d-man
d-man

@Freboy  Oh, brother. Get the hell over yourself. The game isn't that bad.

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

@Khalidosan You should NEVER beg for comments or likes, but I agree with you. Dead Space was the scariest game i ever played in my entire life! Dead Space 2 was also a scary and sick game. Dead Space 3 is just a fun shooter, doesn't feel like survival horror anymore. Companies make me sick with this dumb downed part 3 version of their video games series.

NTM23
NTM23

@Venom_Raptor It may be worth getting, but not for ten dollars. Just because it was scarier, though that is subjective, it doesn't mean it's good. Its story wasn't that intriguing. I agree that a 4.5 is a little bit too low, and the description of that score here doesn't match the quality of the DLC, but it's not far from what it should be.

jadaski1
jadaski1

@chunkyjake I actually agree, at least about DLC in general.  I've always felt that DLC encourages game companies to make good games since they're more likely to make additional sales on the extended content.  I just can't get behind the overpriced "map pack" DLCs, the day one DLCs, and the "true ending" DLCs (f'ing Asura's Wrath).

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@chunkyjake You "love content." That's an interesting life motto! 

adamnbomb247
adamnbomb247

@wexorian theres a cliff hanger and they need to end it. I don't want to be wondering what happened to Isaac Clarke forever. The dlc had another cliff hanger.

GamerOuTLaWz
GamerOuTLaWz

@AlphaWolF_J Or maybe I played the game on impossible on my firstplaythrough,never ran out of ressources or ammo/medkit and NEVER I even thought about the microtransactions, you know some people still enjoy games the way theyre meant to be played without cheating or wasting money on owrthless cosmetic stuff like a voice for your scavenger bot.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@Grimkillah Clearly, they designed this specifically to be DLC. If it was "in the game", then they would have had to come up with something different for the DLC, and we'd be back to square one with you saying "it should be part of the game". Endless cycle.

max-hit
max-hit

@Afrosol @max-hit People are over reacting to many facts. Everyone has a choice to buy the game they want.I personally hate things that EA has done and is responsible for them such as that piece of sh*t Origin and some others. If the folks at Visceral Games really cared about the game being true to its roots they could do something about it.

Freboy
Freboy

@d-man @Freboy  I'm not saying it's a terrible game. I'm saying it illustrates perfectly what is wrong with the industry in general.

Khalidosan
Khalidosan

@Infinite_713 @Khalidosan I agree I shouldn't, but I'm genuinely annoyed by every meaningful franchise ultimately morphing into some gimmicky mainstream shooter. It's like they cut the essence and core features of the game and add explosions.

I really wanted my point to come across.

Aengelus
Aengelus

@Lhomity @Grimkillah Unless, now get this, they actually make a complete game and then a couple of months down the line they release DLC to complement the story. 

d-man
d-man

@Freboy @d-man  It "illustrates" that it's a fun game on its own and a solid entry in the series, not to mention wraps everything up nicely storywise, yet everyone is hung up and whining over arbitrary DLC.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@Aengelus @Lhomity @Grimkillah A couple of months doesn't work when a large portion of their audience have already traded in the game by then, or simply moved on to something else. Which is why DLC is often promoted before the game releases and is available pretty soon after launch.

Dead Space 3 More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Dead Space 3 brings Isaac Clarke and merciless soldier John Carver on a journey across space to discover the source of the Necromorph outbreak. Players can play together or with a friend using the new drop in, drop out co-op functionality, with each mode offering unique story elements and gameplay.
    8
    Average User RatingOut of 1860 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Visceral Games
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Shooter, 3D, Third-Person, Team-Based, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language