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Dead Space
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:27 pm    Post subject: Dead Space Reply with quote

This game is a revelation after Far Cry 2. While FC2 has no atmosphere, Dead Space oozes it. A creepy survival horror, with a uninspired story about a repair mission to a huge mining ship suspiciously out of contact and presumed damaged. On arrival you receive the obligatory garbled spooky message before radio silence, followed by the bungled docking attempt that sees you stuck on the derelict mining ship. So, basically the opening plot from 'Event Horizon' then? However, the implementation is so wonderful they can be forgiven. The sound effects and music are fantastic. Faced with what appears to be a monster corpse, you KNOW it's going to leap back to life and grab you, it's the ultimate horror cliche, but the music and sound effects make me jump out of my skin every time!




Just like 'Event Horizon', the ship looks like a nightmare just in it's basic design and lighting. Who designs these things? In Event Horizon the scientist responsible was mad anyway, not sure what this designers excuse was. If I was looking for a mining job, I certainly wouldn't get on this ship voluntarily. The lighting effects are also spot on, swinging chains and machinery cast long eerie shadows, flashing strobe lights give all too swift glimpses of hidden corners. It reminded me of some of the scenes in Alien.

The characters are cliche too, but well voiced and given some flesh, there's the studious commander whose quick to rush in, but with a shadow of doubt hanging over his motives, does he know more than he's letting on? Then there's the plucky female character, always suspicious of the commanders motives and soon getting herself into peril. Again, the implementation so good it's easy to forgive.

What's less easy to forgive are the perennial design flaws we see over and over again. Repetition and back tracking, nothing excessive, but the game starts with such promise and then the fights start to drag on and on, running from one fetch mission to the next re-routing the power shenanigans. I know, I know. The game has to justify $60 by lasting at least X hours, but the content is so high quality it takes ages to make, therefore it gets re-used. Sigh. Oh well, it's still an excellent game. Hang on! NOOooo! Not a turret section! Oh yes. Man the turrets and shoot s_h_i_t, do it perfectly or start over. Run down this corridor and dodge s_h_i_t, do it perfectly or start over, one hit kills. Why? Don't do it! It's damn annoying and lazy. You repeat the same content to pad the game, then you realize it's too dull and need something cheap to add variety here and there. Out come the turret sections and timed sequences. Damn.

Just when I'm souring of the experience, they go and do something wonderful again. Zero gravity areas. Now, I'm thinking, this is going to be half arsed and annoying,a gimmick, but it isn't! It actually works. Aim somewhere, push off, land and clamp on while reorientating the camera. Cool. All the while admiring the nearby planet and asteroids as seen through huge gashes in the ship.

Another novel idea, enemy dismemberment. You can unload into an enemy, but it takes lots of precious ammo to bring them down. Alternatively, aim carefully and remove arms and legs to kill them quickly and efficiently. A metered 'time freeze' weapon lets you slow the fast moving enemies down enough to be able to take careful aim. Genius.

I'm about 8 hours in now and I'd be quite happy if things wrapped up well, I'd prefer that to them stringing it out for 30 hours. We shall see.
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Rup



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 363
Location: London, UK



PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, Dead Space is great. I don't think the turret sections were too bad - I remember having to fiddle my mouse sensitivity but I got it after two or three goes - and there's the grabbed-by-the-tentacle sequence too. But a lot of it is quick-and-accurate dismemberment of (increasingly fast-moving) enemies. There's an element of ammo conservation, particularly on one of the harder difficultly levels, but I stuck to normal or the one above it I think.

There's also loads of weapons. You seem to get random ammo divided up between the weapons you own (or are carrying?) and since the plasma cutter is awesome it almost makes sense not to investigate other weapons since you'll get less plasma cutter ammo. I think you realistically need the assault rifle too, but probably no more than that. (Of course I may have missed something awesome later on, though.) It's also refreshing - if a little jarring at first - not to have regenerating health too.

IIRC it was about 10-12 hours play so I expect you're most of the way through it now. But there's always Dead Space 2, which is every bit as good - and hopefully a bargain now too!

In fairness to the plot the Unitology thing was a reasonably fresh idea, even if it's a thinly-veiled swipe at Scientology - I guess I could come up with some parallels if I really think about it though. And some of the audio recordings were very good.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the problem with turret sequences in every game ever made, their difficulty seems arbitrary. It took me 12 attempts to get past that bit and my blood was starting to boil Wink Still, there's only been one so far, I remember GearsOfWar2 having loads of turret sections that drove me nuts.

I was just starting to wonder about the ammo/weapon thing. Initially I had tons of ammo for the plasma cutter and it seemed more than capable. After picking up three other weapons I'm no forced to constantly switch as I run out of ammo. Is there a way to un-equip the other weapons I wonder, or sell them back tot he store? Not that big a deal really, it forces some variety on combat anyway, but it is odd.

The upgrade system was similarly making me wonder, it would seem to take ~30 or more 'nodes' to get everything upgraded even half way, yet I only found about 5 nodes in the first 4 chapters of the game!

I haven't got to the explanation of 'unitology' yet, so that sounds interesting. Although I picked on it for cliche, it is done very well.
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Rup



Joined: 19 May 2003
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Location: London, UK



PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I had to drop the difficulty for those in GoW2 - really annoying.

I think in the first Dead Space that if you store the weapons you don't want in your safe then you don't get ammo for them. You can sell them too I think but I'm a bit of a pack-rat. In the second game I think you start getting ammo for stuff you don't own too (once you could have owned it), although probably more for the weapons you're carrying still. I agree I don't mind being forced to switch tactics as ammo runs out, but I ended up with lots of Line Rack ammo and I never found it very effective.

You're probably right that you get more power nodes later but I'm not 100% sure. You can also sell stuff to buy them (e.g. excess statis and oxygen recharges, small med packs, spare ammo) although you might have to find a schematic first - can't remember. IIRC I ended up with the cutter mostly upgraded, the rifle upgraded except for alt fire and my suit health upgraded but the was still lots left to upgade.

Actually I've got 17 hours logged for Dead Space in Steam, which was only one play-through plus a little more I think so it's longer than I thought.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been so busy going back to university I never finished this one, but I rectified that now it's xmas holiday time. Decent final chapter too, some games fizzle out or repeat content but make it annoyingly hard. Deadspace avoided those pitfalls thankfully.
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