Editor’s note: Please welcome Trevelyan to the SHR! stable of bloggers! I think you’ll get a good feel of what to expect by reading this review. Enjoy!
(Before you read my first story, know that the first 6 or so paragraphs has nothing to do with my review of Dead Space. If you bore easily, skip to the 2nd part with the asterisks.)
After coming off of an otherwise decent experience off of Silent Hill: Homecoming, I knew not just from intuition, but FACT that Dead Space would kick the ass of it’s unintentional rival. That’s why I played through it first; there wasn’t really much debate on what game would truly scare the shit out of you this holiday season, since there aren’t a whole lot of games to choose from in that department.
(I’m not a great writer, but I do know that I’m much better at ranting than raving when it comes to entertaining people that bother with any blog of mine. I must first bitch about the current situation to get myself warmed up before I blow this game. Seriously, Dead Space may be Game Of The Year, and without the chance to pirate Gears II, I declare it the best so far.)
The ranting an raving continues, after the break!
I’ve waited for a modern Silent Hill game to come out for what seems
like forever; horror titles of any kind are a niche of mine, and
apparently are either difficult to develop, or aren’t in demographics
to earn publishers that sweet, sweet green stuff. Whatever the reason,
it pisses me off; I want blood, gore and to be afraid when I play my
games, not play ANOTHER WORLD WAR 2 GAME, Treyarch!
Any who, the
wait for me is finally over, and 2 games come my way to send goose
bumps up my nether. Basically they are released at the same time, and
oddly way short of October 31st.
(I assume the tidal wave of awesome titles for the 360 and
uhm… (cough) PS3 are in a need of proper spacing, so the crumbling
economy can be stimulated properly by idiots not paying attention to
the outside world.)
So to get to my brief rant, what the HELL? Couldn’t Silent Hill have
come out some time sooner, so the chance of me forgetting it’s
existence instantly not be so blatant? Seriously, I hate to compare
games, but they ended up being unfortunately similar due to Foundation
9′s unfortunate decision (not a bad one, mind you) to make the game
action oriented, with a controlled camera. The game goes from artsy
scariness to being right in the same genre as Dead Space.
So the fight card has been set (by me), and the Pay-Per-View is about to begin:
In the red corner, hailing from Shepard’s Glen, we have Silent Hill: Homecoming! (insert fake cheering sounds)
Silent Hill has exactly the same ideas taken directly from every other
Silent Hill title! If you like the first 4, you’ll like this game! And
if you’re wise like me and want an unnerving experience like the
previous titles, you’ll go right to HARD mode from the get-go, and run
for 80% of the game! Otherwise the game is (chuckle), “not scary” as
dubbed by the geniuses at IGN. Read how the music in Silent Hill:
Homecoming is TOO GOOD FOR THE GAME PLAY! Seriously, I fucking hate IGN.
Silent Hill is really a good game. But it’s like any good film that ran at the same time Jurassic Park was released: Fucked.
So if you haven’t got a chance at either title, and love
horror games, rent and blow through Silent Hill first. Now on to the
We have Dead Space: Game Of The Year!
Like I said earlier, I expected this game to be good. The creepy
“animated novels” prior to the game’s release set a good mood for the
game, and you can check it out here.
What is immediately evident from the opening sequence, to the end of the 1st stage is the fluidity of the gameplay. From
Alone In The Dark (the old piece of shit PC game that started survival
horror to my “knowledge”), all the way to Silent Hill: Homecoming, one
of the main issues not faced with this type of experience is the need
to load between rooms, or pause the game to heal yourself.
Every game of this nature has had technological or design problems which result in stopping the fright factor.Resident
Evil had you running through “3d doors” between rooms while the disk
loads. Silent Hill 1 through 17 has you press start to drink a bottle
of health that makes the pain go away. These things don’t seem like a
big issue, but they will, since Dead Space raises the bar to heights unfair.
solve these issues, Dead Space’s interface is all on-screen; Issac’s
spine is lit to display your health bar. Ammo for your weapons are
displayed on the guns themselves. Holograms projected from your suit
display the game’s map, inventory and objectives. In an ingenious move,
pressing the control stick in displays the path to your next objective,
preventing you from ever getting confused on where to go next. The
loading between rooms (sliding doors that are very, very similar to the
Metroid Prime games), is never noticeable; that is unless you’re an
anal nerd such as myself. At either rate, it’s amazing how smooth the
stages flow, and how well the controls are. You DO need to get used to
the controls, since every button on your controller is required to
operate Issac’s suit, and less coordinated individuals will have issues
doing the wrong thing, especially when the monsters jump out at you.
I can’t honestly get myself to claim Dead Space hasn’t ripped
off a half-dozen game’s to be this good. The developers borrowed just
about every core feature from every awesome game in recent memory and
combined them into some kind of… supergame!.
It’s not fair to even say that they borrowed these features, when it’s
done far better than any of the games it’s borrowed from. So anyway,
the game’s basic premise that’s been pitched for a while is the need to
“dismember” your horrific enemies in order to kill them; I played
through the game initially on Medium, and found myself on the edge of
my seat trying to slow down the demonic hordes of mutated humans that
really do, in fact, everything possible before you kill each and every
one of them. Blowing the legs off of a creature will only slow the
progress of it, as he continues on his… Back legs.
It’s a concept that not only works, it’s downright satisfying. The aim
is precise on your initial weapon, the Plasma Cutter; you can blow off
the legs and arms of anything in your sight if you have the skills and
nerve. You’re provided with a foot stomp and melee strike, but are all
but completely useless unless you’re desperate. Other weapons are at
your disposal, and all of your equipment can be upgraded via a
“branching path” system.
allows you to customize your player to whatever style you prefer in
dismembering your enemies, from precise hacking, to engulfing them in a
huge ball of fire.
The other weapons and equipment are bought from various mini-shops
scattered throughout the ship; credits are earned from dead monsters
and item boxes. All of these gameplay elements are very similar to
BioShock, and like I said earlier, it’s done better in this game. I’m
not comparing those 2 games, but the similarity of gameplay between so
many titles really stuck with me throughout the game.
Graphically, I can’t think of any game that compares to this one; if
you were to argue with technological differences between other games
and this one, I have one point to make:
The detail of this game is absolutely breathtaking.
Every, and I mean EVERY room and hallway in Dead Space is crafted with
a level of care and technique that still amazes me. If you knew me,
that’s a statement. I’m up there with the most jaded gamers on the
planet with 3rd person games; they’ve reached such formulaic patterns
that almost nothing surprises me in any type of shooter. For example, I
can usually tell you when I’m crossing an “agro-line” or “trigger” to
set off a monster attack or earthquake; it’s annoying if you’re me,
trust me. All I want is to stare at the screen and NOT notice little
things like that.
This game, with all my jadedness, scared the SHIT out of me, almost
literally, countless, COUNTLESS times. The designers know what gamers
do, and it shows. From beautiful (scary) room to beautiful (gross)
room, you will feel a tense need to constantly sway your camera looking
for the next monster. It’s made even better by the fact that the
“danger music” doesn’t start playing until the player him/herself has
actually spotted the monster! It just keeps on adding to the tension
until you finally turn the lights back on. (You DID turn them off,
It needs to be noted at this point that the music and sound are
absolutely top-notch. I can’t describe music well, so I’ll leave it at
Horror games haven’t really needed much of a plot to go by, but they
managed to put together a decent one for Dead Space; despite a really
lame plot twist at the end (if you don’t figure this one out, you’re an
idiot), the million fetch missions you’re sent on make sense. I assume
IGN and other brilliant reviewers are complaining about the shorter
length of the game, but I would disagree; like Gears Of War, the game
ends JUST BEFORE the gameplay get’s overused. Add in extra difficulty
settings and you have plenty of reasons to go back for more when you
beat the final boss. (BIG SPOILER THERE!)
I left out all the other cool parts of this game, since I’ve made my
point about how amazing Dead Space is to play, and how immersible the
overall experience is. It’s a perfect blend of action, horror and FUN. Did I mention the last encounter is the most amazing final boss since the Legend Of Zelda O.O.T? (I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.)
So yeah, Dead Space is the winner of the fight that I put together, beating out… What was that game again?
Whew, that was a long blog post, but games this good don’t come along often in this lifetime.
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