Preview: Dead Space

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Readers of the blog. I have written a preview of the upcoming Survival Horror title Dead Space.. due to the horrors I have uploaded it to the Square-Go information repository, find it there, and learn about what awaits you…

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Dead Space – First Impressions

 
Dead Space – First Impressions

Space…it’s about the only place you’re guaranteed to die in a horrific fashion at least once a week.  Usually it’s because of aggressive alien warships or planets filled with ugly multi-pedal savages, ready to tear our very limbs apart.  EA, normally such a family friendly company, have decided that in their space game, things are going to get nastier than you could ever imagine.

In Dead Space, Isaac Clark, engineer and everyday future bloke, arrives onboard the ISS Ishimura to find it the sort of grim and desolate charnel house that has been perennial to science fiction since Alien. It’s here that he finds the terrible results of an unknown evil, and must fight for his life against unnaturally horrible creatures formed from the corpses of the ship’s (mostly) dead crew. From the screen shots and videos available it looks to be a brilliant combination of action and survival horror, inspired by everything from Event Horizon through to Alien and The Thing, and the game looks to be a pants-filling rollercoaster of pure terror. What’s more, each enemy has to be destroyed by literally taking it apart, as each limb will still come after you unless it’s cut apart.  With headshots useless and shadows everywhere, the immersion is made even deeper by only letting you see what Isaac can see: with your remaining ammo and health displayed on Isaac’s guns and uniform, removing the abstract ‘HUD’ used in other games and upping your connection to the character and his situation.

With release only a few weeks away you’d forgive EA for pumping out the usual few trailers and a demo, as most companies might. But in this case, they’ve outdone themselves, creating an all-round mediagasm of a kind usually reserved for movies involving kung-fu hackers or lightsaber-wielding knights. What’s more, EA’s horror experience extends beyond the game itself, and starts off long before Isaac Clarke’s arrival. There are a plethora of ways to acquaint yourself with Dead Space‘s universe long before you stick the disc in your drive this Hallowe’en.

The back story to Dead Space is one of the most intriguing and well formed ever to feature in a video game. Not surprising, considering it received a bit of spit and polish from comic ubermensch Warren Ellis. The saga of events leading up to the start of the game are chronicled in a series of comics, an anime movie and a puzzle-based website already running online.

Ben Templesmith, who previously pencilled the Silent Hill comics, has worked hard to bring this gunmetal-and-wire future to life in the Prologue series, which tells the discovery of an artefact on the AEGIS 7 colony, detailing the madness, hysteria and death it caused before it was brought aboard the Ishimura. Although these comics are already out, they’ll soon be re-released in a single volume and if buying comics isn’t your style, there are great animated versions available to download on PSN, XBLA and online from the official site.

Also due for release shortly before the game is the feature length anime movie Dead Space: Downfall: which completes the story by showing the last days of the Ishimura. Featuring an all-star cast and coming from the guys who made the classic Spawn cartoon series, this is sure to be a guilty pleasure.

As if that weren’t enough to sate even the most obsessive fan, fleshing out the story and universe even more is the flash-based website No Known Survivors. Detailing the unsettling events and tragedies befalling the ship’s organ-replacement surgeon and his ill-fated girlfriend, and a similarly unlucky group of men on a space-station. What’s more, each chapter has a series of clues hidden in the videos, audio files and documents within it. As you find clues you build up points, and the top scoring hundred payers will all receive a free copy of the game.

Dead Space will be out October 24th on PS3, 360 and PC.

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