Dead Space was great 15 years ago when it was released. Have the developers done enough to bring it to the current generation?
Developer: EA Motive
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC, PS5, XBS
Price: PC: Rs 2,999; PS5/XBS: Rs 4,499
Remakes are almost never as good as the original, and they always seem to lose their soul somewhere along the way. While the original Dead Space is a classic game, I wasn’t expecting much from the remake. However, the Dead Space remake proved me wrong.
Let’s start with the original. At the time of its release, Dead Space was one of the most ground-breaking horror games of its time. It was created with a lot of thought process and care. Its gameplay was oppressive, and the environments it created throughout. Dead Space made you feel you were a character from one of the Aliens but ten times scarier and even more dire. There was the attention given to all aspects of the game, and it is the reason the original is still playable today. This is exactly why I was skeptical about the remake beings good.
The new Dead Space has been rebuilt from the ground up using the Frostbite engine that is also used in the last Need for Speed and FIFA game. The story is the same; you are Isaac, who is on a mission to repair the mining ship Ishimura and find his partner Nicole who is lost somewhere on the ship. Except the ship is now infected by zombie-like alien creatures named Necromorphs. You can’t kill them with a single headshot. Instead, you have to destroy their appendages and then destroy the remains. Since it’s a ship in disarray, you can expect minimum lighting and dangers hiding around every corner.
The graphics in the game have improved dramatically, and the lighting is superb and plays a huge part in keeping you on your toes. While the entire game, from start to finish, is poorly lit. In some instances, you are aided only by the flashlight on your gun. In those moments, you can feel the claustrophobia creep in perfectly, aided by jump scares and appropriately scary audio. The characters and cutscenes are also changed, they have been remade with voice actors.
The actual gameplay is not easy. There are no magical one-shot kills in this game, and at the same time, you are struggling to find ammo, so every shot counts. This is hard even in the easiest mode, so be prepared to die multiple times and have the bejesus scared out of you. You can feel the tension every time things go quiet; you know something is lurking at the corner about to jump at you. It is a jump scare at its finest, building up tension and releasing the horror in a single intense strike.
The game is also not a single run-through like the original. You can now backtrack, explore and revisit places you had no clearance for through the entire stretch of the ship. Opening up the game like this makes exploration fun and adds more dimension to the game. The developers have also taken the time to make boring missions fun, like the asteroid blasting chore in the original has been given an entire makeover. You are no more inside the ship; instead, you are outside, calibrating the ship’s defense system. Seems more fitting for an engineer onboard a ship.
There is also this one mission where you have to divert power away from the lights and then navigate through the darkness, which had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. There are also extra storylines to explore in the game which were not there in the original, these gave a better context to the overall finale making the game more cohesive than the original.
For the remake, the developers seemed to have analysed every aspect of the game and had put their heart and soul into making it better than the original. They have improved every aspect of the game, from graphics to sound and even some of the more annoying bits of the original game. This is really how a remake should be done, instead of just enhancing textures and repackaging stuff. *cough* Rockstar *cough*. Is it worth the exorbitant price of R4,499? it certainly is. If you like the survival horror genre, this one is possibly the best one you can buy today. Don’t miss it.