THE most stressful game I’ve ever played.
The USG Ishimura has stopped communicating. The planet cracking space vessel was on a mining mission but has been silenced. Isaac Clarke is a technician that has been dispatched as part of a small team to reinstate communication with the Ishimura and her crew. Clarke has a vested interest in this vessel as his girlfriend is part of her crew. Soon after boarding, the team finds that things are not right. There appears to be signs of fights and dead crew all over the ship. Strange noises and sounds haunt every corner of the vessel. The team is separated and Clarke must work mostly by himself to survive the same horrors that ravaged the Ishimura’s crew.
Even though the game was released in 2008, it still stands up very well six years later. Dead Space’s graphics are superb given that this was an early game in the life cycle of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. From a control standpoint, it is a quick learn to master the weapons and abilities. Several different weapons become available throughout the game but used only the plasma cutter. It not only keep the weaponry simplified but also earned me a gold trophy. The inventory system gets better as you upgrade and can carry more items. It was an early aggravation to balance and choose what items I could keep in the limited inventory. The true demeanor of the game comes from the blending of sight and sound. The soundtrack adds immense terror and isolation to the game. The eerie feel keeps you on guard constantly with the sounds of screaming and rustling coming from the ship’s duct work. Subtle instruments accent the lonely corridors and lull you into a false state of relaxation just before the next wave of Necromorphs attack. At times you begin to question if you or the character are going insane with the voices speaking and singing coming from unknown origins.
Not being a fan of horror based movies or games, I was reluctant to play this game. However, I decided to try it after playing and thoroughly enjoying the Dead Space game on iOS. The full console experience was far better than the iOS compliment. The full-scale of controls and environment are used to their utmost. This was possibly one of the best console games I’ve ever played. A truly solid control set kept any game play frustrations to a minimum. It took me the better part of a month to finish this game. Even though the campaign clocks in with a length of about twelve hours, I found myself playing in only one hour increments. It wasn’t the difficulty that kept my pace slow(admittedly I played on the easiest setting), rather it was the amount of stress and terror I felt during every game session. I really wanted to play more but just found it too mentally exhausting to do so. Every time I quit playing I looked forward to playing again. It was even the small almost nearly unnoticeable things that added to the game. For example, you could walk into a room and there would be storage crates that you can open to obtain items but sometimes if you left them unopened, you could turn around only to find one of them to be open when you look at them again.
Best part is that you should be able to get this game on the cheap. I managed to get all three Dead Space games used from GameStop for less than $30 during a promotional sale. Currently, Dead Space is listed as $15 used at GameStop or $20 new. Amazon has it for about $17 new.
After I play something else to ease my nerves, I plan on carrying on into next chapter of this series.
A side story to the console classics that makes me want to play the full Dead Space games.
Vandal is tasked by the church on a special mission. Quickly, the mission goods terribly wrong and Vandal’s actions have released an unknown horror that raises the dead as horrible, thoughtless, and violent creatures. In trying to stop the creatures from spreading, Vandal is betrayed again. There is only one last chance to halt the creatures escape and find redemption.
Having never played any of the Dead Space games, this was somewhat new territory for me. I knew a little bit of the Dead Space background and that the iOS game did not have the same characters as the console games. That was not an issue since this game played as a separate story in the same universe. The tone of the game was well done. There were several times I found myself genuinely surprised. Many times it seemed like you were mundanely walking along only to be suddenly attacked.
If you want to play this game you’ll to accept some of the limitations of the platform it is on. The graphics and sound are good considering the platform. For a third person shooter to work the controls had to be modified. Moving around works much like a left analog stick but panning up, down, and side to side is swipe based. The character will only turn so far based on how far you swipe, it will not continue to turn if you leave your thumb at the end of your swipe. This seemed to be more workable than emulating dual analog sticks as other iOS games I have played chose to try.This game played well on my iPad but I felt that the controls may have been better suited for the iPhone screen. I tried to play it on my tv via Air Play but found myself having to look at the iPad when an action required me to tap a specific area.
As much as this game made me interested in the Dead Space universe and story, there is little chance that I’ll actually play the console games. There is just too much coming up that I want to be in on. Perhaps if there is a lull in new releases I’ll come back for these.
At $9.99 the game is in the pricey range for what it is. Beware of the micro-transactions in the game. A lot of money could get dumped into this game real quick and I’m not sure it would be worth it. I had gotten this game for free while Apple was giving it away and I don’t think the in-game purchases are worthwhile even with not paying for the actual game.
Do you like cars? Do you like fast cars? Do you like cars racing? Do you like loose plots of people racing cars and fighting crime? Then you are a Fast & Furious fan. While you wait for the sixth movie to arrive, take some time to download this game but set your expectations appropriately.
Let’s take a look at the good and the bad things about the game.
Good things – it’s free, great graphics, and good controls. The base game is free but it uses micro-transactions(more on that later). I played this game on an iPad 3 and was very impressed by the quality of the graphics. Every car looks exactly like its real world counterpart and as you add upgrades the detail is shown every time you race. You don’t steer your car in this game. The game is based on drag racing so your controls are for shifting, drifting, and nitrous.
Now on to the bad – unclear ranking system, micro-transactions, and waiting for purchases. Each car is rated based on the its abilities/characteristics(grip, power, weight, gearbox, and suspension) but it doesn’t seem to correlate correctly. For example, in one race my car has a rating of 300 and the opponent has a rating of 278. Based on that I should be able to win but some how this opponent blows past me on the last half of the race every time. As far as the micro-transactions, some are not so micro. There is a $99.99 transaction in this game and I’m not sure that gets you everything in this game. To get upgrades and cars you have to spend the points and gold you earn racing. If you want to fast track you can buy fake gold for the game with real money from your life. To further exacerbate this, when you buy upgrades for your car you will have to wait fifteen minutes for it to be delivered or you can use gold to get it immediately. This is a blatant and terrible way to draw people into spending money on this game.
The game is both fun and frustrating at the same time. The races are short but well laid out and the controls are easy to follow. Trying to progress through the game is limited by your car’s ability. You won’t be able to progress in the main story line until your car is good enough to win certain races. This goes back to doing other races or straight out paying to earn upgrades. If you are willing to drop cash into an iOS game, you can spend as little as $2.99 or as much as $99.99. I’d be really curious to know how may people paid $99.99 in a free game but I’m sure we’ll never know. The game is good if you want to jump in and out of a quick race every now and then. Check it out and if you don’t like it just delete it. I won’t cost you anything unless you want it to.