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Dead Space 3 Review

  • First Released Feb 5, 2013
  • Reviewed Feb 5, 2013
  • PS3

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.
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.

Even sunsets are creepy in Dead Space 3.
Even sunsets are creepy in Dead Space 3.

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.
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.

When it comes to love, Isaac is forever dancing with the wrong lady.
When it comes to love, Isaac is forever dancing with the wrong lady.

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.

Back To Top
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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dead Space 3

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Avatar image for rdx_xact

@smtgfx @felipe_k3 Its one hell of a solid game. 10/10

Avatar image for rdx_xact

Playing the game currently on Level 13. So far, its been a tremendous experience. Where previous Dead Space were good this one is great. The level design is ingenious. Not all the times you are fighting the cramped corridors & same rooms of the space ship. Here you fight on the frozen planet, interior, exterior and its a refreshing change to see sunlight on the icy mountains as you fight through the game. The upgrade system is beautiful & the story as well.

Also playing through all the side missions as well & the story is brilliant. The boss fights, enemies and weapons etc. everything stands out. Hats off to Visceral for making a great horror shooter & with a decent 22 hour campaign that doesn't get boring for one second.


Avatar image for maek123

@smtgfx @felipe_k3 Nope, I enjoyed it too. Sorry.

Avatar image for leonel1028

Free in PlayStation Plus ! !

Avatar image for d-man

Incredible game. Campaign is 20+ hours easy, add to that new game+ and multiple other game modes (classic, pure survival, hardcore, etc.) Also one of the nicest looking games I've ever played, it's quite beautiful to look at. Combat is as fun and tense as ever. The human enemies are a nice addition. The story is a solid piece of space opera and wraps the trilogy up nicely, and the motion-capture acting really sells the characters. Only thing that bugged me was the co-op only side-missions. Since Origin has no apparent community hub there is no way to fish for partners, and scanning for open co-op games is a dead zone. Otherwise, loved every minute of this game.

Avatar image for jayjay444

If this really dose have a 20 hour campaign then when i buy the game tomorrow i'll feel i got my moneys worth, and one other thing, I don't get why people bitch about the game having coop i think coop sounds much better than DP2s MP but i suppose people have opinions and so do i, and i think the game looks really good.

Avatar image for Fryboy101

@smtgfx @felipe_k3 way to appreciate people's opinions. did you see the user score? A lot more people enjoyed this game than you believe. shut up and let people have their opinions. I'm enjoying it too, you gonna ridicule me as well?

Avatar image for smtgfx

Visceral Games - You Suck!!! U ruined Dead Space for me. Horrid story, characters and over all feel of the game. Where is the passion????

Avatar image for FAIL_TR0LL

I waited through the credits for THAT? Screw you Dead Space!

Avatar image for smtgfx

@FAIL_TR0LL - No you wanna screw Visceral Games.

Avatar image for daviz88

no screw EA

Avatar image for daviz88

the problem with reviewer is that there certain aspect of a game they tend to expose depending on whether they like the game or not.dead space 3 gets significant negative point for the story but RISING has a stupid story but most reviewer completely ignored it,the glorified MGS 4 also had convoluted story but yet most didn't pan the game for that.

Avatar image for Starsailor_IT

@daviz88 ok MGS4 story is convoluted but 200 million times better written and interesting than Dead Space 3. There is no comparison...without even mentioning the quality of the dialogues.

Avatar image for felipe_k3

got this yesterday. I'm really enjoying it

Avatar image for smtgfx

@felipe_k3 - you are the only one!!!!!

Avatar image for daviz88

i haven't played this game yet so i don't know much about it.i am not arguing with the score but i am just wondering dead space gets panned by critics because of its action paced style which is a valid point because i played dead space 2 and it was scary as hell.but RE5 was more or less an action game and less scary, infact RE5 just used the innovative game play of RE4 and pumped more action into it at least DS3 try to add 1 or 2 new element,and besides DS game play seems more vast then that in RE5. Don't get me wrong i like RE 5 it a very good game and i'm not trying to defend DS 3 short comings i just saying the scores sometimes tend to off.

Avatar image for issac00ezio0076

oh my god!!I finished this game was FANTASTIC!!!!!the boss was really big...

Avatar image for smtgfx

@issac00ezio0076 - How was that different from the first game?

Avatar image for Garhadragon

This game deserves a 9.0 out of 10. I have had it since feb.20 and trust me it is fun. It's not as scary as Dead Space 2 or 1 but still i get creeped out at times. Atleast give it a 8.5

Avatar image for kelt321

I loved the game, especially the crafting system.

Avatar image for llm7676

The game is great especially and offers an adrenaline rush from chapters 16 to the end in 19, not gonna give it away for those of you who have NOT finished it yet. In my opinion it gives you the feeling you had back in Dead Space 1 where you didn't know what would happen next and would scare the shit out of you. The weapons crafting in this game is awesome and has made playing on Impossible and other difficulties a breeze. I myself has always loved the Pulse rifle and this gave me the ability to make my own rifle in the way I enjoy it, a semi-auto rifle with a force gun attachment, crowd control and max damage.

Avatar image for Xanstation

Just finished it earlier today. I liked it a lot, especially the last quarter of the game. Solid addition to the series, almost up there with DS2 IMHO. I still love this series.

Avatar image for Jaydog_1976

I have started to play DS3 and am enjoying the game. Definitely different that is for sure. But I kind of expected this. I am just a huge fan of the DS series that the changes are small compared the completing the story and seeing where it goes. I think that most people agree that DS 1 is still the best of the series but progession is a must and will always be part of the gaming community. You will always have players that love or hate the game. For me I just want a good story and have fun playing.

Avatar image for norman69

I like how Gamespot is making the storyline of the Dead Space series out to be really hard to follow, when honestly, it really isn't that complicated compared to some series. And besides, that 'Previously on Dead Space' video plays when you start a new game, it's not just 'buried' away in the Extras menu.


Up to Chapter 14 right now and enjoying it so far. I'll agree the story isn't as involving as the other games (DS2 probably has the best story in the main trilogy, IMO), and some of the characters aren't as fleshed out as before (Norton in particular starts off as a prick and ends as a prick). The main game play is still pretty solid though, and challenging- can clearly see where a co-op partner would make some sections a lot easier when you're being assaulted by four or five necros at a time- and the weapon crafting system has so much choice and potential behind it as well. Haven't played co-op yet so can't offer an opinion on that yet, but I've enjoyed what I've played so far.

Avatar image for Xanstation

Ok a little more informed opinion now by me. I'm currently in Chapter 9 (just hit the planet), and the game is great so far. It's not as creepy/scary as the first two but it's definitely worth playing. The story also gets a little better as you play.

What I don't like...

1) The game being made to reach a "broader" audience, original coke is still way better than Coke Zero.

2) The flavor of the weapons in general are a tad too military than the first two games. I love the fact that the weapons were primarily based on engineer tools in the first two games which fits with Isaac being an engineer, in this installment the weapons feel more military than tools modified to be weapons. I'm not gung ho about the crafting either. It would be a lot of trial and error creating weapons and wasting resources unless you look on the net for recipes.

3) The Plasma Cutter feels very weak this time around compared with the preorder weapons, it was my favorite weapon in the last two games, now it stays in my safe for nostalgia.

Overall 8.5 with me. Dead Space 1 and 2 would be 9.5 and 9.0 respectively. YMMV of course. :)

Avatar image for smtgfx

@Xanstation - I agree with all your point. I found the graphics to be fantastic but the look and feel is not original and tries to be too many things for too many people. Its a fail for me but I will buy form the bargain bin.

Avatar image for Metroididiot

@smtgfx @Xanstation Why would you buy it from the bargain bin? Clearly you already played it, if you are making so many statements about it...?

Avatar image for Derekgilreath93

took me little over 15 hours to beat it and the ability to cuostimize your wep is pretty cool alot you can do i do like it alittle better then lvl up your wep. also the co-op is pretty sweet you got two choice do co-op or reg mission so it puts a twice on things. The graphs on the game is great keeps the flow thrugh out the game.

Avatar image for SmartGhost

is there a survivor mode

Avatar image for sensei_hEnRY

About 1.5 hour on the game and i must said, it's not a good 1.5 hour. I remember getting amazed by Dead Space and Dead Space 2 even on the first 15 minutes. One thing that i noticed very early is the character designs, they look like a cartoon! What's with the big eyes and funny nose? It's Dead Space, not Dishonored!

Another thing that really bother me is there is a slight delay between each shoot for the plasma cutter. I hope it's just because i'm still using a standard plasma cutter, not because of my ps3 because on xbox 360, i can fire the standard plasma cutter as fast as an FN FAL. Hope the game could get better the more i play because so far i'm not impressed.

Avatar image for chun-IDGAF-li


**** you sony! i just purchased a 3 month membership for playstationplus because it said that i would get like 15 games for FREE instantly, and when i started downlodind my "Free" game it said: "you will be able to play it as long as you remain Member of playstation plus" im smart enogh to know that is a fraud because they omit or pass over the fact that i wasnt buying shit more like rent rite? so again sony **** you.
Avatar image for smtgfx

@chun-IDGAF-li - Sony Said Gottcha!!!

Avatar image for ticklemonster1

@chun-IDGAF-li true-ish...just dont let your subscription lapse..also they claim ps plus to be a major point for their future system with no end of the service in the forseable future..3 month is set up to fail admitadly..

Avatar image for ForceFedBullets

@chun-IDGAF-li Perhaps you should still be able to see Sky Movies even after your subscription has finished?

Avatar image for leviathanwing

@ForceFedBullets @chun-IDGAF-li hes been trolling boards and articles for a while now using the exact copy/paste paragraph so you guys are conversing to a under bridge dweller.

Avatar image for ptnull

@chun-IDGAF-li of course, you will be able to play them only while you are plus member... everyone knows that. for 4 bucks per month you will get 3 or 4 new games for ps 3 and 2 more for vita (expensive games like mortal kombat for vita batman arkham city for ps 3, or watch dogs this month). In my opinion that's very cheap.
if you buy the full games it would be much more expensive, my collection of ps plus games are around 30 in only 3 months of use so far, imagine how much you would pay for that...

Avatar image for ILuvGameSpot123

@ptnull Did I miss something? Because last time I checked Watch Dogs doesn't even have a confirmed release date yet... Maybe you mean Sleeping Dogs?

Avatar image for Bhemont

It's a decent game, been an avid fan of the series and of horror genre in general, this game doesn't stir far away from its roots. It is worth mentioning however that ammo (so far I'm only few hours in the game) isn't scarce and I am playing on hard mode (2 had me out of ammo far more often, in DS3 I find my self being overloaded with ammo and health packs, that may change though). I'm currently playing solo and there are plenty of oh shit moments but nothing as scary as the Ishimura, sadly... :p

Avatar image for RustedTruck650

@Bhemont The sprawl had far more scare-factor than the ishimura(fact).

Avatar image for llm7676

@RustedTruck650 @Bhemont The sprawl had far more scare-factor than the ishimura(OPINION).

I fixed it for ya!

Avatar image for franzito

May be great but not so great like the 1st and the 2nd games judging by the score GS gave it. I'll still get it anyway, Dead Space kinda made an impression in the space horror genre.

Avatar image for BillKam

i think that visceral overcame my expectations as it concerns technical specs (game mechanics/gameplay) and level design(graphics/sound) ...i must admit that as a fan of DS series i expected something to be missing but thank God i was wrong..the game is a complete experience (of course its mandatory as i see it to play DS1 and DS2) if you just pay attention to the game story by reading text or sound logs, or explore the whole environment without running to the next door (sometimes i did it ).Weapon Crafting is a welcome feature and takes a little time to get use of it...i could write a whole page for DS3 but reviewers do it better than me (sometimes) the game without hesitation :)

Avatar image for deactivated-597794cd74015

Whoa...a linear game thats 15-20 hours long ? Haven't seen that since Half-Life and Far Cry.

Avatar image for danusty

I wish I could play deadspace trilogy so bad but I can't play 3rd person shooters or FPS if my life depended on it. I guess I'll only be able to play the on rail shooter one for the wii.

Avatar image for HoldingAjar

its cool co-op was in this one but if they start pumpin out dead space 4 5 6 7 8... LAME.. this one does look alil better then 2 tho wasnt crazy about 2

Avatar image for maxpatne1940

looking forward to friday when i buy deadspace 3 loved playing deadspace 1&2 will enjoy deadspace 3

Avatar image for Rambolike

The game's amazing -- packed with stuff to do, great graphics, neat new additions, and yes, the horror. It's all here. A solid 9/10 for me. Well done, Visceral!

Avatar image for samus_my_life

I Already Rate it 9.0 because dead space 1 , 2 deserve the same rate :)


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Dead Space 3 More Info

  • First Released Feb 5, 2013
    • 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.
    Average Rating2020 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Dead Space 3
    Developed by:
    Visceral Games
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language