If one were to go into Dead Space 3 and ignore its history, holding it up against others of its ilk - games like Gears of War and Army of Two, Uncharted and Spec Ops: The Line - it compares quite favorably.
The cutscenes are awful, due in no small part to a ham-handed script - but otherwise, it's a delicious dish.
Nice graphics, steady framerate, and a gorgeous sense of progression thanks to a weapon crafting system (the mechanics and menus of which kinda suck) that goes way above and beyond, permitting the player to personally assemble a glorious firearm, honed sharp for one purpose: Killing the crazy monsters out here.
The shooting is snappy and lethal and very satisfying, as your monster-rific enemies can get cut (or blown) apart by your weapons for additional damage.
Your avatars (they're kinda' boring, rude guys who have fuses about an eighth of an inch long), are quintessential space marines, thumping down flickering spaceship corridors in slick future-armor with ridiculous weapons in hand. You can team up with a friend (online-only) co-op for the entire campaign, which zips along when you let it and backs right off when you walk away to explore optional areas on side missions for cool extra backstories and weapon caches.
This lasts about twenty hours, and then Dead Space 3 invites you to c'mon back with a ton of different campaign modes, difficulties, and New Game+ for all of them. It's a well-constructed, comfortable shooter with some wicked set pieces, and it lets you jet about in open space to explore derelict ships before you go down to the planet : awesome.
I give it an eight outta' ten. Story coulda' been better, the boss fights were pretty meh, and the art direction, while strong, had some missed opportunities - but very playable, good-looking and lots of fun, whether solo or in co-op.
|I know what you're thinkin', but Ellie's top is actually some kind of phenomenal future space-armor thing.|
If one were to go into Dead Space 3 armed with intimate knowledge of its predecessors, it's a rather disappointing game.
The game part is delicious, that's certain. But you're no longer bound by the need to dismember enemies, and so can invest yourself into other firearm options - ending up with something rather similar to every other shooter you've ever played. While the plot is fine, the storytelling is weak, clearly abandoning the carefully constructed horror and atmosphere of its roots.
It's not a horror game any more, and while exciting, the comfortable shooting is no replacement for the tense, mechanically-fresh dismember-fests of the past.
But you get to go on some awesome space walks.