With the recent influx of information portraying Dead Space 3 as an action shooter, and sites writing sensationalist headlines for hits, I figured I’d do a quick preview of the game just to show you the scares aren’t going anywhere in Dead Space 3. It has become a major issue these days, where people judge a game before they even play it. Countless times I’ve had friends watch me play a game like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Dead Space and get bored while watching saying “eh, the game isn’t scary”. That’s when I hand over the controller and let them play, and what do you know. About 5 minutes after handing them the controller, they’ve had enough. My point being, watching a video of a horror game is never going to give you that thrill that you get while actually playing. Maybe for some people it does, but Dead Space is not scary unless you are playing the game.
The idea that co-op was only added in to make Dead Space less scary is ridiculous. From the interview that created this whole firestorm of ridiculous articles across the net, here’s the real explanation as to why EA put co-op into Dead Space 3. “The horror of Dead Space is still all there. It’s still true to its roots and no less scary, but people felt far more comfortable playing it with someone else than they did doing it on their own.”
So, where exactly does it say the game will be less scary? Journalists and gamers alike take the word accessible and really toss it out the window and replace it with “dumbed down”. This is actually a great move by EA to add co-op into the adventure. It will allow more squeamish people to play the game which will generate sales and increase the fan base for the series, which is never a bad thing. “We’re looking for that to reach out to consumers that perhaps were not open to Dead Space 1 and 2.”
With the inclusion of co-op into the game, Visceral also had to expand the environment a bit, making roomier areas should players want to explore, but this doesn’t mean that the horror is going anywhere, especially out in the open areas of the world. When you are out in the open, at any time a whiteout can occur, limiting players vision and mobility. At this point, enemies can pop out of the ground or come sprinting at you through the mist and since you are out in the open with no cover, no where to escape to, it’s either fight or die. In my opinion this will be a great change for the series natural corridor elements. When I read those details, I literally had an image in my mind about a Slasher Necromorph come sprinting at me from who the hell knows where. To me, that’s almost freakier than having one just pop out of a vent in the wall.
The open environments in the game also mean non scripted events will happen. In an interview with OPM, Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis stated, “When you choose to go off the rails and explore stuff off the A to Z path, now you’re into an area that’s not that tailored, scripted, authored experience because we don’t know you’re going to be walking through this door at this exact moment, like in Dead Space 2. So it is a little bit different, but the trade-off is we’re allowing players to experience more game, and experience it with friends. And hopefully that trade-off is a good one for players.” Again, players and journalists alike made the very quick assumption that open environments were just made to make the game “less” scary, but in the words of Visceral, it was to add even more content to the game. And we all know we don’t want more content in our games.
After playing both Dead Space 1 and 2, I can firmly say that I have no doubts that EA and Visceral will live up to the Dead Space name once more. I find it very silly when we treat developers like they have no experience developing their games, even after they’ve already created two games in the series. The idea for co-op literally came from fan feedback, maybe not the hardcore fans, but at least it shows Visceral is listening to some concerns. You can still play the game alone though, as Carver will only appear when another friend jumps in to play co-op. He’s not just one of those partners waiting for someone to pick up the controller and play him. When you don’t have someone to play co-op with, it’s a complete single player experience. As an example of how this works, think of Ellie from Dead Space 2. She was never actually with you during the game except for a few segments, and the rest of the time you only saw her in cutscenes. The same thing is being done with Carver if you decide to play the game alone. If somebody jumps in to play with you, the game will seamlessly merge into a co-op experience. Enemies will be scaled in co-op, giving them more damage and health to keep the game challenging.
I hope this preview of the game has answered a few of your questions about the co-op and horror elements in Dead Space 3. I’m not saying that I’m completely correct in the fact that the game won’t be less scary than the previous games, you never know until you actually play the game for yourself. But, make sure you go through and actually read through articles with sensationalist headlines like that, otherwise false assumptions about the game in question get thrown around and give the game a negative vibe before you even play it. I’m looking forward to Dead Space 3 and you should be too. Have faith in your developers.