To feel scared, on edge, tense, it's an easy thing to convey in a movie theatre, but not quite so simple in your own home... Or is it?
After a lot of attempts to frighten gamers (zombies, vampires and so on, you know the ones!) and some being moderately successful, it's clear the survival horror franchise is desperate to make a stand above all others. Now along comes Dead Space and within the first 5 minutes of game play expect your hands to be cold, clammy and have your nerves trembling in suspense of what's round the nest corner. EA has developed something very special here and I believe it's going to give the upcoming Resident Evil 5 a run for it's money.
Dead Space begins with you sat aboard a rescue vessel on the way to the Mining ship, The Ishimura that has lost communications, it quickly transpires that what you thought was a routine maintenance mission is something far, far more sinister. I'll say no more in reference to the story as you really need to experience it first hand suffice to mention that for once we're provided with a plot that really will leave you gasping for breath! This title oozes outstanding graphics, awesome sound effects and eerily appropriate music. Each of these making the next even more immersive, sucking you deeper into a futuristic nightmare that you wont be getting out of for at least 12 hours of play. The level design consists of mainly cramped corridors and tight corners, swaying lamps, creaking gantry's and the distant scratching of something trying desperately to creep up on you before you drop the controller in shock and your character gets torn into pieces. As un-nerving as it is, being made to feel that you constantly need to check what's behind you is a brilliant touch that this game has so many of. It's been fantasticly thought through as the classic movie moments that usually mean something is about to jump out at you remain quiet and cautious yet just when you think it's safe to relax you find yourself firing wildly in any direction!
Creature design is another brilliant achievement, the dis-memberment of your many adversary's is extremely satisfying and the sheer amount of variety in how you choose to dispatch them is staggering, head, arm, leg, other weird gloopy slime covered thing and so on. Make no mistake the content of this title is not for the faint of heart! There are a decent number of enemies as well and the idea of boss fight's has had a huge overhaul, you've not seen anything like this, believe me!
Ok so I'm shouting praises like I never thought I would here, but that's a testament to just how awesome this game is. I honestly can't think of a bad thing to say, sure I'm probably a little bias as I've always enjoyed survival horror titles (Res3 was alright, barely) and it's great to be able to be so positive about something you didn't expect to meet the highest expectations.
To sum up, I think even the most sceptical gamer would be daft to pass on Dead Space, it piles on shock, intrigue and story in equally good doses and an aspect of horror and gore that would make John Carpenter proud and will leave a big lump in your throat. Turn up your volume, draw the curtains, dim the lights and have a fresh battery pack stood by. Dead Space will keep you awake for a long time to come!