Gaaah! Dead Space video game
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
I know I haven't blogged about video games in awhile, so here's a post for my readers who enjoy that sort of thing.

I'm a sucker for a good horror game, even though they give me nightmares and fill me with the irrational fear that weird zombies, Japanese ghosts or demons from hell might be lurking for me in the corporate bathroom or just outside my bedroom door. If you are a fan of horror films and you aren't playing horror games, you're missing out. If you thought watching The Ring was scary, try actually living it out via your virtual avatar in a game like Fatal Frame 2 (hands down, the scariest game ever made). Instead of the passive experience of watching horrible things happen to someone else, you get to engage actively in the storyline. The improved graphics only contribute to the horror, since everything feels more real and the gore/monster effects are much more visceral. Game makers further immerse you by utilizing surround sound to simulate the sound of footsteps behind you, and by utilizing the "rumble" technology in controllers to jolt you physically. In the aforementioned Fatal Frame, the controller begins pulses in your hand in time to the heartbeat sound from the game every time your character gets close to peril.

So naturally I'm intrigued by the new Dead Space game that just came out. The fact that Warren Ellis, the great comic book writer, had a hand in writing the game's script only makes it more attractive to me. I was a little disappointed by Wired's review which gave the game only 7/10, stating:

Real immersion is a lofty goal, and Dead Space just about nails it. But it is a horror game, after all. Is it horrifying? No, not really. Dead Space falls into the widely popular shock-horror pit that's been an industry staple since Doom first hid an imp in the wall behind a suit of armor.

Here's a scenario that's played out all too often: You're walking down a hallway, listening to the voices in your head. Suddenly, the music surges, and a tentacled attack-fetus clambers out of a vent, followed by a few more baddies. You charge, your adrenaline pumping thanks to the furious pace of the music, and get to severing limbs and thwacking foes. Then the music calms down and the enemies leave items behind for you to pick up. Now imagine that this scene is repeated throughout the entire course of the game, with little variation.


While Dead Space certainly isn't the only game to load you up with too many supplies, knowing that you're armed to the teeth definitely detracts from the terror.
That was disappointing to read, as I do hate games that have infinite ammo and a predictable game play pattern. As the reviewer astutely points out, the real terror in a game like Resident Evil is the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach, as you realized you haven't rationed your ammo smartly and now are just about to run out. So the unlimited ammo thing makes me think this is going to play more like a standard FPS with things that jump out at you rather than a truly innovative horror game.

On the other hand, you have the Warren Ellis story which gets high marks from Wired, and the Meta-review post at Joystiq shows that most reviewers were more generous in their evaluation of the game. Even though the Wired reviewer complains that the game is rigidly linear, I've played and loved games like that (Bioshock), so that's not really a problem for me.

I'm a bit torn. What about you, readers? Does Dead Space intrigue you? Do you plan to buy the game, and why/why not?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.