Dead Space [360] – First Impressions

We had a little Dead Space party here at Casa Buttonmasher this weekend, celebrating the arrival of Dead Space on the Xbox 360.

In preparation for a full review, Ehergeiz is currently putting it through its paces. But since my 360 is kaput, he brought his machine over here and we put a couple hours in together.

So some initial impressions: In a generation of expensive development cycles and heavy focus testing, it’s clear that Dead Space is game of very high production value. Both the graphics and sound are superb. Not to be gushing, but these are Gears of War-level graphics, but in space. The environments are creepy and eerily quiet. Tension is real and when a baddie drops in behind you, it’ll make you jump. In the dead space of space, no one can hear you wet your pants.

Erhegeiz will have to go into specifics of actual gameplay, but from what I observed, control seemed pretty intuitive and responsive.

It’s hard to be innovative and appeal to the mainstream at the same time. There’s nothing new here, but that’s not a bad thing. There are lots of little tweaks and enhancements. It’s going to be compared to games like Gears of War and Resident Evil 4 for obvious reasons. But it takes its own approach. Marcus Phoenix’s curb stomp has nothing on you dropping the big boot.


Devastating.

RE4 had a great weapons upgrade system which Dead Space apes to a certain extent, but does it its own way, giving you upgrade paths with limited resources to max everything out.

The story has been enhanced by things like the No Known Survivors website, but is mostly standard sci-fi fare. You pick up snippets of what has happened (and clearly something has happened) as you begin exploring the space station. I love the details like writing on the walls (Portal), the audio and video files you find (Bioshock) and the monsters jumping out of ventilation ducts (Doom 3). Again, there’s nothing wrong with imitation. Dead Space does it with flair.

Now I can’t wait until Ehergeiz is done with it so I can get some time with it.

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