Nintendo released the Wii U a few months ago, Sony just announced the PlayStation 4, and by all accounts the new Xbox will be announced before the E3 Expo in Los Angeles a few months from now. It is amazing how time flies. Can you believe the Xbox 360 is now almost eight years old? It is in fact just recently, in the twilight of the current console generation, that games are really using everything the hardware can provide. The skill that developers have harnessed with the hardware along with evolution of current franchises makes it a great time to be a gamer.
One of this generation's current franchises, the survival-horror and third-person shooter hybrid Dead Space, began almost five years ago. Like competing publisher 2K’s Bioshock, EA’s Dead Space has been popular with core gamers looking for a darker, more immersive experience than other shooters provide. Dead Space 3 doesn’t make quite the drastic change that Bioshock Infinite looks to make later this year, but it is a significant evolution from the original. While the feature list of Dead Space 3 is certainly longer in this newest outing, these features don’t necessarily make the experience better.
Dead Space 3 continues the series of misfortunes that makes up the former engineer Isaac Clarke’s life. After a look back in time, the game picks up in not an entirely original way, in the middle of Isaac’s pity party after his girl split. Isaac Clarke’s apartment and situation is reminiscent of Korben Dallas’s in The Fifth Element and similarly the feds show up to recruit the space veteran. The fact that story borrows heavily is forgivable, but the lengths to which it reaches, particularly at the end, is embarrassingly laughable.
Isaac Clarke, formerly a ship’s engineer, is nothing if not resourceful and Dead Space 3 really exploits those assets. Isaac has also picked up some more combat abilities for this adventure. For the most part, the controls are like any other third-person shooter. The movement and camera adjustments are made with the analog sticks and the aiming and primary firing are done with the triggers. Isaac’s customizable weapons also have a secondary function which is used with the right bumper. He can create a temporary stasis; utilize kinesis; and now, he can combat roll out of danger. On the Xbox 360, voice commands can be used for interface options as well as gameplay actions like reloading.