Oh, man! Even my friends, who're only watching me play, channeled the tension and the fear that I genuinely felt!
The premise is simple: You're an engineer off to find The Ishimura, a U.S. chunk-o-high-tech ship, to repair it 'cause there was a 'distress call' from the massive vessel's bridge. So, basically, you and a team of experts go to the other side of space to fix the old thing and get back to Earth to retrieve your paycheck. But, when Isaac (that's the main man in this game) and his team reaches The Ishimura, all hell breaks loose when these weird creatures start hunting you from within the bowels of the ship. Isaac is separated from the team and now it's up to you to solve the mystery that engulfs the whole fiasco and get out of the Ishimura alive. Cue in some strange happenings on hologram and picked up transmitters; sew them all to get the whole drift of the story, which is fun and eerie.
The graphics is amazing, that I have to say. The level of detail integrated in the game is astounding. The vastness of space in the opening (in-game) cut scene was the baby that virtually acts as the initial enticing factor that the game needs to lure gamers to the game. The corridors of The Ishimura are detailed in a 'mechanical' way; it's all shades of gray, brown and iron-with all the dark feeling of an abandoned (not to mention bloody) facility. When the game wants to convey claustrophobia, it's evident; when it wants players to be in a panic state, well, it's "hello, masses of carcasses and blood-stained walls." Isaac's suit is unique, too, although it mainly looks only like a generic old-fashioned diving suit than a cool space suit of the future. The necromorphs are the stars here. They really look like the remains of half-eaten caribou which were devoured by rabid lions on a midsummer morning. You could just imagine all the detail on the internal-mind you, internal-organs, the frightening look of the mutated body parts and the abnormality that the people in E.A. wanted to deliver.
Space never really was quiet, and this game proves it. Though, in the game you go outside and hear muted mix of things when you battle packs of necromorphs out to get your skin, it's still noisy-in a good way. The pipes within the ship shudder as air or fluids flow within them; the clinging of distant metals shroud the player, making them think it was the sound of approaching necromorphs; the ambient music fills you up like cold water; the creature sounds-oh man, the horror that they bring! Whatever you do, don't turn down the volume! You'll regret not hearing just some of gaming's best sounds and music.
Control Isaac in a third-person way, one that is very reminiscent to the Resident Evil 4 camera. The controls are typical but it's always fun to forget all those simple button presses and hotkeys when a pile of necromorphs suddenly sneak up on you from behind. There's a lot of variety in fighting; the strategic dismemberment feature was a good innovation, and should be looked upon by other gaming developers; there's the kinesis bit (move things with a device on your hand-hello, Half-Life 2); the slow-down-time-thing that's attached to your suit is also helpful, too (especially when encountering malfunctioning doors); the guns, too, are a feat to experience. It's really fun to be what everyone wants to be in games: the butcher!
It's a really headstrong game. The removal of the traditional heads-up display would also bring a strange smile (see your life bar on Isaac's spine). Saving doesn't pause the game, as well as checking objectives and such. These details really make the game feel so demanding, when it comes to the fear factor. The only downside is that the objectives can sometimes be repetitive (open this, get to that, go here, etc.) but what matters is the scariness of the game. Oh, sh_t, indeed.