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Review

Dead Space 3 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: February 5, 2013
  • X360

Dead Space 3 carries the series' standard admirably, thanks to deep weapon crafting and a wealth of exploratory possibilities.

Dead Space 3 doesn't want to take sides in the debate over what constitutes a true survival horror game. It would rather leave the choice up to you. This is a game rife with options and flexibility, building on the strengths of the franchise with clever new ideas that let you tailor the experience to your liking. It hits a few sour notes in its story and struggles at times when it steps away from the core combat, but Dead Space 3 is a thrilling and worthwhile sequel.

Dead Space 3's story follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessors. That is to say, it's nearly incomprehensible. Isaac Clarke, now caught in a confusing love triangle, has been sent off to the frozen ice planet of Tau Volantis, believed to be the marker homeworld. You remember every last scattered detail having to do with markers and their sundry effects on humanity, right? If not, you're out of luck: aside from a brief "previously on Dead Space" video buried in an extras menu, the game makes precious little effort to explain anything of remote importance. It's an issue compounded by a dearth of interesting characters, and this ultimately makes it difficult to feel attached to anything that occurs in the haphazard, quickly moving narrative.

But no matter: while Isaac's latest journey may not unfurl with the deftest of storytelling, it fully succeeds in ushering you from one incredible locale to the next. Whether floating in the starry abyss amid the vast wreckage of destroyed spacecraft or attempting to stay alive in a suffocating blizzard, Dead Space 3 keeps you on your toes with one expertly crafted environment after the other.

The game's opening chapters tend to favor loud and boisterous set pieces, but once you start digging deeper into the frozen hellscape that is Tau Volantis, a feeling of subdued terror gradually builds. Where atmospherics are concerned, developer Visceral is once again at the top of its game. Interior spaces are a terrifying stage show of light and shadows, and even some of the planetside vistas are capable of making a glowing sunset look deeply unsettling. Just as creepy is the game's sound design, which marries subtle audio effects with a restrained score to further build the tension.

Whether you're stuck in a dark hallway or floating in space, Dead Space 3 looks fantastic.

Yet Dead Space 3 doesn't simply mimic what the series has already done well. With its introduction of a robust weapon crafting system, it takes a significant step forward in terms of depth and flexibility. Every classic weapon, from the plasma cutter to the ripper, has been broken down to its basic components, spare parts you can cobble together at a workbench to create the most surgical or bombastic weapon you can conceive. Scavenging for parts often feels like collecting loot in Diablo: a virtually endless stream of rewards you're constantly picking up from lockers and fallen enemies.

You start with a basic frame and then slot in tools that determine the primary and alternate fire--say, a plasma cutter coupled with a flamethrower, or a telemetry spike augmented with an underslung grenade launcher. You then add attachments that can further modify the weapon fire--goodbye vanilla grenades, hello acid grenades--and finally, plug in upgrade circuits to modify basic stats such as rate of fire and reload time. The only thing more staggering than the number of modular parts is the number of theoretical combinations. All of this weapon crafting takes a little while to fully comprehend, but this new feature adds a deeply satisfying amount of depth and strategy to the game's core combat.

This is primarily due to the fact that your creations are never set in stone. You're always combining new parts to meet the demands of the game's increasingly terrifying onslaught of necromorphs, a mutated collection of zombified somethings operating in collusion to ensure you never get too comfortable behind your current weapon of choice.

There are only a few boss fights in Dead Space 3, but they're quite fun.

As in previous titles, Dead Space 3's combat is a methodical take on the third-person shooter that encourages aiming at the limbs of necromorphs as the most effective means of taking them down. But that roster of enemies is a wildly varied bunch, and their mutations require different approaches to combat. The basic plasma cutter works well early on against slashers and wasters, humanoid enemies who simply charge at you upon sight. But you need to modify your approach as the game mixes in different types of foes, like the chaotic swarms of feeders, those weak but agile necromorphs who attack you in massive numbers. For these, slotting in a powerful melee attachment like the hydraulic engine works well by smashing them down in wide, sweeping arcs of devastation. But later, you encounter immensely powerful foes like the snow beast, a four-legged necromorph roughly the size of a truck. This is when being able to slap a secondary grenade launcher onto your primary weapon suddenly comes in very handy.

No matter which enemies you're up against, Dead Space 3's combat is a brutally satisfying experience. It achieves the difficult task of equipping you with a powerful assortment of weapon parts that you can tailor to your own liking, while still making you feel tense and anxious about what sort of mutated beasts lie in wait around the next corner. The rate at which you find new upgrades for your weapons grows at an equal pace with the game's introduction of more and more twisted enemies, leading to a smooth difficulty curve that lets you enjoy each fight while rarely feeling any sort of frustration.

One decision that has a significant effect on how the combat feels is whether or not you choose to approach Dead Space 3's campaign as a solo endeavor. Gone is the competitive multiplayer of Dead Space 2, replaced by drop-in co-op that allows two players to journey through the entire story campaign side by side. The seamless transition to co-op play is aided by a few helpful changes.The game's puzzles (which tend toward simplistic and uninteresting) are tweaked to allow both players to work together, while both players are shown different instances of loot on their screens to avoid fighting over who gets what.

Isaac's new friend is an intensely grumpy fellow named John Carver, a character with a tragic backstory that's explored only in co-op. It's nice that the co-op mode gives you an extra bit of narrative context, but Carver rarely rises above the angry-soldier-with-family-issues archetype seen in video games countless times before. Carver's personal story of the marker's influence on his life ultimately rings hollow, and winds up feeling like one of the game's bigger missed opportunities.

Even though the combat mechanics remain the same, playing co-op makes for an altogether different experience. The tension is lessened with the comfort of a friend at your side (though disabling co-op revival can restore some of that feeling), while frequent conversation between Isaac and Carver obscures much of the game's creepy audio.

Dead Space 3 does a terrific job of using lighting to establish a tense atmosphere.

Yet at the same time, shredding your way through hordes of necromorphs with a buddy is great fun. The action here works quite well in a cooperative setting, like in those instances where one player is about to get pounced on by a necromorph and his buddy freezes that would-be killer at the last second with a well-timed stasis shot. On top of that, working with your partner to ensure you've assembled complementary weaponry is immensely satisfying from a strategic standpoint. So while co-op feels very different, it's by no means worse than a solo playthrough. It's simply a matter of taste.

That Dead Space 3 lets you choose between these different experiences is a theme echoed by the broad selection of optional side missions. These are treks into some of the most ravaged depths of each level--often feeling like a dungeon run in a role-playing game--where you can learn more about the people who inhabited these places before everything went to hell. (And collect some pretty sweet weapon parts to boot.) Some of these missions are unique to co-op, but most are available to solo players as well. Altogether, this side content can take a campaign that's roughly 15 hours long and extend it well north of 20 hours.

Dead Space 3 is a big, generous game, but it sometimes reaches too far for its own good. Peppered throughout the campaign are various gameplay sequences intended to give you a little break from the core combat. Some of these are fun palate cleansers, like a scene where you're piloting a rapidly failing spaceship through a minefield of debris. Others are simply tedious, like the clumsy ice-climbing sequences on Tau Volantis. These adventures in scaling sheer cliff faces aren't that fun to begin with thanks to the awkward and unresponsive way you maneuver around on your rope, and become exponentially less fun when the game starts throwing ever larger hazards at you.

Mixing and matching different weapon parts makes for a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Yet these issues make up a small portion of a much larger package. From its terrific weapon crafting system to its deep well of side content, Dead Space 3 is a massive game rich with options and personalization. Whether you choose to approach it with a friend or by your lonesome, using a plasma cutter or an acid grenade launcher, Dead Space 3 makes fighting for survival a delight.

The Good
Excellent weapon crafting system adds flexibility to combat
Outstanding sense of atmosphere
Great amount of environmental variety
Co-op makes for a fun alternate approach to the campaign
The Bad
Convoluted story
Some gameplay sequences fall flat
8
Great
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Discussion

1259 comments
canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Fun co-op game. Lousy horror/survival game.

Nawras
Nawras

Unfortunately the third instalment is mediocre at best. DS2 was genuinely terrifying and the story personal, gripping, and psychologically disturbing. DS3 felt more like gears of war, with much less scares, forgettable story, and less enemy types most of which are recycled. 

NTM23
NTM23

It would have been just as good as the previous ones if the characters were as likable as the previous ones (Isaac and Ellie are just as likeable though); the voice acting for the most part is still great, but the dialogue, especially in the times when there's any talk about the love triangle, is just mediocre, and if there were more variety, as well as simply better environments, especially the ships early on in the game. I also felt that the jump from the original and two, to three's over the top sci-fi fakery late in the game went a little too far. They focused on the interesting aspects of Dead Space's back story in an incorrect way in my opinion.

slambryan
slambryan

Great gameplay and graphics. I was able to play the game with 40-50 FPS with only a medium to low end PC, while other games like GTA4 or Skyrim gave me goddamned 20ish. 

Just that I'm not good for this kind of horror shooter game, where you walk into a room to find all people dead and blood and gore everywhere and light flashes on and off and then an alien pops out of nowhere, that kind of horror. Even though I had to give up after just 1 hour, this is a great game.

AtariKidX
AtariKidX

Dead space 3 is the best Dead Space game......very good game.I hope for Dead Space 4.

Mikey2K10
Mikey2K10

A rare occasion where the demo is actually better than the full game.

josh7845
josh7845

Fuck the grapple, hacking and lack of horror. Other than that, surprisingly fun to play. I say surprisingly because horror games aren't meant to be fun.As an action game, it holds up though. It's a shame we don't really need anymore action games.

Sparhawk122
Sparhawk122

Gameplay. Well some of the combat felt that it was designed specifically more with co-op in mind then by standalone gameplay. E.g. enemies rushing you from behind and in vast numbers where in coop your buddy would be watching your back but in single mode was more irritating then scary. Co-op only side missions which in a few years will no longer be playable due to the online part of the game dying and achievements that are only co-op which will also be unachievable in the future when co-op will nigh be impossible. Online gaming dies but offline single player remains eternal and can outlast time.

Sparhawk122
Sparhawk122

Story: Glaring inconstancies such as the unitology drop ships being able to survive the minefield without a scratch and the leader conveniently not meeting an untimely ending via death from necromorph because he had the usual bad guy invincibility cloak. Plus the romance side where Clark who only recently lost his wife was in a winging mood over Ellie. More acting like a whining errand boy instead of emulating the bad ass he is and not taking shit from people who don’t appreciate his saving their asses time and time again. Plus characters dying in such predictable ways you could see coming from a mile away. That elevator death with the African American women, well for someone who seemed scared of the elevator you’d think she would run for the exit when it arrived which would have been a believably action… The story in the game is so inane in so many aspects but still a good story nonetheless.

Gameplay. Well some of the combat felt that it was designed specifically more with co-op in mind then by standalone gameplay. E.g. enemies rushing you from behind and in vast numbers where in coop your buddy would be watching your back but in single mode was more irritating then scary. Co-op only side missions which in a few years will no longer be playable due to the online part of the game dying and achievements that are only co-op which will also be unachievable in the future when co-op will nigh be impossible. Online gaming dies but offline single player remains eternal and can outlast time.

Necromorphs that in 200 years should have logically gone cannibal and eaten each other to death to stay alive or just froze due to the extreme cold. 200 years is a bloody long time to go without a food source and be in a hostile environment. Also space is cold, really cold so those necromorphs in space should have become frozen and with the briefest touch disintegrate into itty bitty pieces. WTF people… Also a mass force of that magnitude in reference to the massive fleet of ships over the planet would not have gone unnoticed by EarthGov. Thus the event could never logically have been a secret. Also I despise boss battles where the boss runs away and this scenario transpires another three times before end battle. It gets old. MY goodness how old those boss battles get...

max-hit
max-hit

The game is not as good as its predecessors and the survival elements are not there anymore but the fact that it took me +24 hours to beat it makes me think it should still be given it some credit. The new Tomb Raider took me about 5 hours to beat, Crysis 3 was less than 5 hours, the new DMC was 9 hours, and many other games that I played within the past few years were also short.

matiancai74
matiancai74

Have to say I'm enjoying it so far - started playing today and couldn't stop for 4 hours - a sign of a good game for me, a bit like a good book. A lot more reminiscent of the first game, but yes, of course, the formula is not shocking any more, even if it does still make you jump sometimes. It's now more of a straightforward sci-fi action game. I like it.

btavares1980
btavares1980

And....thats why i have a JTAG Xbox! I'm going to play the game without spendig a cent. You can blame the greedy milky cow for destroying a piece of art.

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

In the first dead you miss plausible explanation on the story, to add the drama that you soon discover on the second and that is a good thing. But in the third, the direction just trows it all in the garbage. And the worst is, many people are accepting it. After reading this article and seeing some reviews, i found that if the game has action then it is good?

The sense of completion is poorly narrated and interpretation have problems like they are trying to hide a good, but loose conception? From the problems of plot at the end of mass effect to the new simcity, what's wrong with EA anyway?

tangibleghost
tangibleghost

"when your enemies evolved,.. You shall too,.."

-10/10 for me

FarQall
FarQall

After playing for an hour or so i got bored and annoyed. The first two are great and i was excited for a third but the beginning is a mess and quite terrible.

riot_drrrk
riot_drrrk

dead space is one of my favorite works of sci-fi fiction, including the games, movies and comics. i was certain that EA was going to mangle up the series with this entry when i heard about the co-op and microtransactions, so i moved my pre-order over to bioshock.  then, i found it on sale and picked it up. to my surprise, it is an excellent and worthwhile edition to the series. the stray from survival horror is the only stinky part. items are far too easy to come by. PS do not support microtransactions!

karnage27
karnage27

Good enough game, previous Dead space games are better.

SirSka
SirSka

I enjoyed the entire experience. The story closes the series very well, one of the few games in which I liked the ending now a days. The gunplay was tight, good atmosphere (not as scary as DS1 though), and the guncrafting was simply awesome. It would get a nine  from me from being just an overall great experience

msanin
msanin

I've just finished the game in solo campaign and it is full of awesome.  The graphics and the locations are really good, the story has a good development and the end is just appropiate for the whole trilogy.  It is true there is action but actually not enough to make you feel it's not horror anymore.  The fact that some (not all the game is like that) locations and maps are so repetitive that you get lost,  gives you even more sense of danger because in the back of your head you keep repeating "I need to go back to the last bench, or to a safe place", especially in the side missions.  In my opinion this game was as good as the first one and with the same level of horror (in solo campaign).  The only con for me is the weapon crafting because makes you spend a lot of time at the bench but you can only carry 2 weapons so the game doesn't encorage you to use all the weapons you craft.   I think this game deserves a higher score for sure... an 8 is not a fair score to this game.

zephyros09
zephyros09

"Great amount of environmental variety??" I don't think so. One of the things that's pissing me off more and more is the LACK of unique environments. Has anyone else noticed how many map areas are just copied over and over and over to a point where you get confused as to where you are and think you're just going in circles? How lazy can you get EA??? And IMHO the weapons crafting system is unnecessary and a complete bother... it does nothing but totally disrupts the flow of the game. I don't want to waste time fiddling with my weapons and spending all that time figuring out the lousy user interface for it all... I just want to play the game. This Dead Space is a huge disappointment. I blame EA Corporate Greed. 


redbat41
redbat41

played it did not like how they went away from the horror and instead had people with guns now attacking you

killadam
killadam

whatever. geting it this week


yusep01
yusep01

boring game, without history, and the question:How is possible that a game that its name is dead space, during the 50% of the game you are in a planet?

Doobsac
Doobsac

If I have to see another person comment about how they buy a game for the story, and how the story is the most important thing, I'm going to puke. If you want a great story read a book or watch a movie. It's a video game, the most important thing in a video game is the gameplay. It's nice if they add a quality story to the game, but some of you people put way too much weight on the story of a game, when the gameplay is by far the most important element.

Zekethompson22
Zekethompson22

This game looks so epic! I still need to play the second one!

el_mariarchi_01
el_mariarchi_01

An 8 out of 10? That is way too generous a score for this game. I completed the campaign and for me this was the WORST Dead Space of the trilogy. Think Resident Evil 6, thats how bad this game is. The only good thing is the graphics. They ruined the game by making it an action game just like what happens to all the horror franchises. The human enemies were rubbish and so was the story. I really struggled to complete this game, not because it was hard but because it was just sooooo bad! I give it a 5 or a 6 out of 10 fools.

charlyk88
charlyk88

Worst boss fights ever... seriously.

Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

No one cares about story, they care about GAMEPLAY

Jzagmen
Jzagmen

ive played this game for about 10 consecutive hours until now & i can say its holly awesome ,,,, 

every one says its not scary ,,,, its not scary ,,, bla bla bla bla 

i challenge u to mention one game scarier than dead space on this generation of consoles  ??????

sorry for bad lang

M3troids
M3troids

...WEAK STORY ,Less Scares , Dead Space 2 is better in this part too , when I  play DS3 I've Waiting more :S

solidus2_1
solidus2_1

Man clark sure does have some women trouble doesn't he?

Kaz32
Kaz32

I finished the game just now. It's an epic way to end the game. Overall the game's like RE6's Leon's and Jake's campaign + a more down to earth Mass Effect. I piece together the first letter of each chapter like the first game, and it reads BROTHER MOONS ARE AWAKE. I'm expecting a sequel. 

Too bad though, EA threatens to cancel it if the game doesn't sell more than 5 million copies.

Leistalhamr
Leistalhamr

This game feels like Dead Space to me and I'm running the solo mission. There is more action but not a ridiculous amount, and it still gets creepy. I'm only 15% through the game. Lots of snotty geeks are whining about this game, don't listen to them. Buy this game if you liked the other Dead Space games! Tons of futuristic sights and sounds packed into this one.

dobpat
dobpat

When can we expect the review of the pc version?

dobpat
dobpat

when can we expect the review of the pc version?

doremonhg9x
doremonhg9x

@slambryan Then you'll love the first game, yeah I mean you'll puke all over the place if you play Dead Space lol.

Yeah and I did think that Visceral Games did an outstanding job on the Visual part.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

@Sparhawk122 Yep...after that big ass spider thing came back for the third iteration I was like.....so over this. I never finished the game and doubt I ever will.

doremonhg9x
doremonhg9x

@max-hit Tomb Raider in 5 hours? You rush to the end and skipped every cutscene and everything else than the main objective I guess?

Gray_Fox14
Gray_Fox14

@SirSka The fact that it isn't as scary as DS1 also gives the feel that your experienced in the field of necromorphs and that you and Isaac have came a long way, so it fits.

el_mariarchi_01
el_mariarchi_01

@redbat41 My thoughts exactly. It was shit. Lets have a new horror game that is all about exploring, tension, atmosphere, suspense etc and make it an 18 rated game for mature adults only. Someone stop these companies from churning out watered down dull horror games that are more like action games. It's too lame.

DrHyde
DrHyde

@yusep01 Dead Space refers to the field the Markers emit which prevents Necromorphs from getting near them. 

wavelength121
wavelength121

@yusep01 boring post, without volition, and the question:How is it possible not to know that planets exist in space?

Lockjaw2000
Lockjaw2000

@Doobsac ...No...just no.  I agree that game play is obviously a major part for a video game, but...just...wow.  Video games fall into the entertainment category along with books and movies...thus they need a story to kind of survive.  Even games without an emphasis on a story always have SOME kind of story.  However, if you have amazing game play with a weak story...well then you get Kingdoms of Amalur.  Terrible game, I sold it because I was bored with the STORY.  So, person, I have to completely disagree with you.  Metro 2033.  Game play is rather mediocre, a pretty standard shooter, but the atmosphere and the story is so damn good it pushes you on.  Thus, I think you're kind of what's wrong with the industry, you and other people like you that just want some shell of a thing that's barely a video game, and only is one because you push buttons to do something.  There needs to be a balance between the two for a really good game, because games with one or the other don't make it far. 

zephyros09
zephyros09

@el_mariarchi_01 I could not agree more. This DS3 just RUINED the series for me. Convoluted story, nonsense weapons crafting waste of time crap disrupting the game flow, map areas copied over and over and over to a point where I keep getting turned around, wondering if I'm going in circles... and have you guys seen the sheer amount of Pay As You Go DLC's?? OFF THE CHARTS with this game. We can all thank the greedy Corporate A$$holes at EA for ruining yet ANOTHER game because of their obsession with nothing but profit. 

Lockjaw2000
Lockjaw2000

@Ezioprez9709 If that's all you care about, then you're what's wrong with the gaming industry.  I have to say that because the games that come out nowadays are just...absolute trash with big explosions and some half-assed story.  The game just makes you go "oooooo, aahhhhh" and not "wow, what an amazing plot twist, I didn't see that coming!" now to me, the latter sounds a bit more intelligent rather than sitting there and marveling the same explosions and ridiculous cut scenes that we've seen all of these years.  Story is actually the most important thing, because if you think about it, you really base the entire game about what the game is ABOUT.  Why are these people fighting in this tournament?  We want a game with zombies, how did they get there?  A war is about to break loose, we want a medieval game, it's all based on what the story will be.  It's rather hard to find a game that isn't story based.  Even if the story is weak, it's still there.  Thus, you are wrong.  It's not all about game play.

josh7845
josh7845

@Ezioprez9709 Games should be a marriage of story and gameplay, if anything. Just look at the Half Life series, the PoP Trilogy, Assassin's Creed 1, Spec Ops: The Line etc. Not to say that there could be some great games that focus solely on story (Monkey Island) or solely on gameplay (can't really think of any examples, all games tell a story of some sort). Anyway, a game with good gameplay, can be made so much better if it also has an engaging story. It's like saying that film should be all about cool visuals and not about the story that can be told through those visuals.

omegaregal
omegaregal

@Jzagmen For those who say this game is not scary I call BS, especially if you are a veteran of the series. If you have beaten both DS and DS2 on zealot mode than there is no reason for anyone to attempt this game on hard on the first try. I played this game on hard straight out the box and found myself jumping more times than I can count (DS is made of 9 o'clock to midnite playing, no lights and turtle beaches on full blast). The story was good, my  issue was with Carver  i felt that all the cut-scenes on "Carver" mode should've been viewed from his point of view not from Issac single player POV (to clarify  If I am Carver all cut-scenes should be from his POV). Also, I was hoping for more banter between the two during "Carver mode" aka co-op.    

I think DS the original received a 9.0 or a 9.5 when it came out..if so then I would rank both DS 2 and Ds3 at an 8.5, I don't see much drop off from DS to DS3. The amount of enemies that Issac face in DS3 makes is relative to the story, you have a planet and 4 ships full of crew members who died an were turned to necromorphs, untouched for 200 years, with very little resistance to thin out their numbers. Co-op is very easy unless you play it on hardcore without the ability to pick you partner up when he goes down; playing it like that gives both players that authentic DS "i can die at anytime" feeling.   

pitosga
pitosga

Lol, hell, you even admit you've only gone through 15%.

TheOnlyConan
TheOnlyConan

@dobpatYou will need to go to a site like PC Gamer. Gamespot has been catering to consoles for a long time now. Look how many times games get the same score across all three platforms (which ignores modds/graphics upgrades that many games get with the PC version). They seem to only dock points for bugs, but will not give any for better graphics or modd content (etc). For instance look at Skyrim. No one can deny that the PC version (with modded content, vastly improved graphics, and bug fixes) is far superior. Yet it gets the same score for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Some of which was not available during release (even though they could and should update their scores), but they specifically said they where going to stop focusing on better graphics getting better scores. That is just one example.

Dead Space 3 More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • 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.
    7.9
    Average User RatingOut of 1898 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Dead Space 3
    Developed by:
    Visceral Games
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    3D, Shooter, Third-Person, Action, Team-Based
    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