DEAD Space’s ship, the USG Ishimura, is an oppressive industrial machine that destroys planets.
It was the same in the 2008 original, but with advances in graphics and audio technology, the fear has increased significantly.
Broken doors slam furiously as walls hiss with steam and on-board computers sparkle with disuse.
Everything engages your senses and it’s impossible to tell which direction each sound is coming from.
Combined with the Necromorphs chasing you for the shift, it becomes difficult to tell the dripping of water from a leaky pipe by the pounding of their feet.
Sounds bounce off the walls around you, amplified by the whispers heard inside your head.
You feel so small in the vastness of the transport; the smallness rattles around in you.
It’s laid out exactly as you remember it, but the enhanced graphics add to the terrifying atmosphere.
Visual updates render clouds of steam obscuring your view, the flashes of emergency lights, and the ominous shadows they cast.
Details like the spinning of a fan can seem like something is scurrying out of the corner of your field of vision.
Art Director Mike Yazijian says, “There are a lot of impressive things.
“In the audio experience, the volumetric lights, and that also ties into the gameplay systems.”
Creative Director Roman Campos-Oriola adds, “When there are sparks and these little bits fall on the armor and fall on the ground, each of them is physics based and they also cast light and have shadows.”
Dead Space takes its inspiration not so much from other survival horror games as it does from itself.
The team went straight back to the original game’s concept art and looked at films like Alien and Event Horizon.
Then they thought of new ways to improve on the best parts of the original game.
Part of that improvement is the all-new “peeling system,” which is exactly what you think it is.
The Necromorphs are humans who have transformed and have new limbs and claws.
You’ll have to focus on quickly stripping those perks off with plasma cutters or stomping them to death with heavy gravity boots.
Each weapon has a different function; some cut off limbs, some peel and others crush.
In addition to your engineer role, there’s a whole new set of fuse-based puzzles where you can sacrifice certain machines to activate others.
This means you may have to sacrifice the lights to turn on the elevator and move the location.
One of the more controversial changes is that the protagonist now has a character that makes him feel like the Issac Clarke that appears in the other games in the series.
Within hours you will see his face and hear him speak.
While his looks are nothing special, it has made him as funny as Nathan Drake.
He’s a man with a plan, which makes sense since he’s an engineer on a broken ship.
Campos-Oriola explains: “What we didn’t want is the isolation.
“So our rule is that Isaac only talks when spoken to. So you have a discussion, you will speak no more.
“You’re in this dark corridor, you hear some monster in the wall, Isaac won’t go, ‘Ahh, what the hell is that?'”
There’s a new AI Intensity Director that changes each area as you progress through it.
The tension mounts each time you re-enter the area to ensure you’re never completely safe.
This could be something as simple as an audio scare, but something in the environment could also change.
Campos-Oriola says: “Sometimes it can just be the ambiance, like a fan starts spinning, it sparkles, and that’s it.
“And sometimes a monster actually walks through that fan. It becomes dynamic.
“There’s also a lot of spots between situations where it activates, but it doesn’t necessarily spawn an enemy. It plays with the lights, it plays with the sound.”
Despite all these changes, the gameplay is still as you remember it.
The frame rate is smoother and the character controls are nimbler, but Isaac still has the limited mobility you’d expect from a man in full armor.
Carried over from the original version, each shot must be accurate, and abilities like telekinesis can be used to conserve ammo.
However, there are now more options to improve each weapon through upgrade trees.
Dead Space will be released on January 27th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC.
Written by Kirk McKeand and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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