EA’s job is to get me excited out of my mind for Dead Space 3, but all they’ve done so far is make me wonder if this will be a bargain bin title.
I am a fan of the the Dead Space universe — from the books and graphic novels to the rugged animated movies that provide more story than visual entertainment. Dead Space 1 was one of the best gaming experiences of my life. I enjoyed its sequel enough to give it the first Did Not Finish Game of the Year award.
So, why can’t I get behind Dead Space 3?
EA has highlighted the co-op and talked about how they “would rather go to a scary movie with a friend.” So they’ve established that they’d prefer not to focus on the single-player experience. But single player and co-op versions of Dead Space 3 have to take place in the same locations and feature the same fights — they are not going to craft two entirely separate games.
This means set pieces constructed with two people in mind, and solo players left feeling like something is missing. I have seen the company line, that the game changes to accommodate you if you don’t want co-op, but how far can you really veer from the co-op story?
Adding co-op just follows the trend of jamming co-op modes onto titles that aren’t a natural fit. Case in point: I tried Dead Space 2’s competitive multi-player mode, and couldn’t figure out why it was on the disc. Moving co-op from an unwanted peripheral to a central part of the game is just going to distance Dead Space 3 from the experience provided by its predecessors.
I don’t buy games so I can play them with strangers online. And coordinating with my friends so that we can all play games online is next to impossible. The thought of co-op play perverting the experience makes me worry. A lot.
Will Dead Space 3 retain the thrill of getting through an engagement with next to no ammunition? That gut-wrenching churn when you’re low on bullets and see some for a gun you left behind?
When I equipped the Seeker Rifle in Dead Space 2, I was next to unstoppable. Running out of Seeker ammo left me vulnerable and exposed, which added extra thrills by reminding me that these were survival horror games. I don’t see how putting any ammo in any weapon will retain that experience.
When Mass Effect replaced weapon cool-downs with universal rounds, fighting was simplified to dullness. I understand the appeal of making more money by reaching “consumers that perhaps were not open to Dead Space 1 and 2“ (especially when you need that money to pay for separate single and co-op experiences in the same game), but using universal ammo to attract that audience risks oversimplifying the game.
Is it possible to retain the claustrophobic scares of Dead Space on a level designed to utilize cover fights? Does EA think a cover system will attract new players? Or is it another tacked-on feature thrown in because it’s in other big sellers? I want to know whether Necromorphs will take cover, or if Isaac will engage human opponents.
I don’t see how Dead Space can keep up the feeling of being threatened by your very surroundings when you can just press up against a wall to stop the barrage of horrors assaulting you from every direction. It risks having gameplay reduced to waiting for an enemy head to pop up so that you can cut it off, turning Dead Space 3 into another Gears of War engagement.
Isaac started this alone. Let him finish it that way. He’s the constant between the first two games, with everyone else ending up as a throwaway. I don’t care whether EA’s focus groups told them that this was a good idea; I am two games invested in Issac’s plight, and I don’t care about a new character joining the adventure.
After all that.
I could be wrong about all of this, but EA has done nothing to convince me that Dead Space 3 isn’t going to Hell in a handbasket. I took to Twitter to voice my concerns, and their response only made me more worried.
In all fairness, EA Games’ marketing boss Laura Miele only said the game was “pretty scary,” and Ben Parfitt turned that into “EA research said Dead Space 1&2 were too scary” when he wrote the article. I’m still left having to take EA at their word that this will be “survival horror, through and through!”
EA keeps saying that co-op is optional, but didn’t mention whether Carver would be an integral part of the story. So I asked them to elaborate.
Yes, Ellie helps you in Dead Space 2, but she is passive to her core and never fights by your side. (Well, she did drive the digger.) I don’t believe Carver will be “in the background” until they explain how he’ll be “integral” at the same time.
I fear that someone was playing Call of Duty and noticed all those weapon unlocks and perks. I’m a Dead Space fan who is unhappy about all these changes, and their response is to gush about how they’re introducing more changes? Here’s where I decided the conversation was pointless.
I have yet to get excited about any Dead Space 3 announcements besides its location and the fact that it exists, but they think I’ll like this one? I have a feeling it will make me cry.
It’s no light thing to write that Dead Space 3 has me worried; I was out of my mind with joy when they left the door open for it. When Dead Space 2 ended, I immediately started a second playthrough and went on to beat the game five more times. It kind of hurts something inside me to not be excited for the next installment.
True, I haven’t played Dead Space 3. But I haven’t played The Last of Us, and I get more excited for it after every new trailer or announcement released by NaughtyDog. I hope this is just bad marketing on EA’s part; I want Dead Space 3 to be a Did Not Finish game of the year. However, I have no interest in buying it right now. (Of course, if EA wants to invite me down to play a build of Dead Space 3, I am open to it.)
Risking your old players to attract new ones is a dangerous gamble. If you don’t win a new audience at the same time that you lose your existing fans, then what’s left? Let the Isaac trilogy end the way it began, and leave the risks for Dead Space 4.
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