Anticipatory Dead Space Review
Dead Space came out today.
The question remains: Why don't I have it?
Perhaps you should call Game Stop, Wal Mart, Target, FYE, Best Buy, and Blockbuster, like I did. On a sushi-fueled, iPhone aided trip around the greater Rochester area I learned that, despite the press release we got today, and the countless reviews that I've read online, that I apparently was wrong.
Not surprisingly, the only place that didn't give me the runaround on my pothole-laden journey was the one independent game store in the area, who assured me that they had sold out already. I believe them, kind of, but they've also been selling the same hollowed-out "pimp my ride"-esque whip out in front of their store for the past year, so they were probably bullshitting me too. I'm over it (clearly), but why can't game stores get their shit together? With the amount of hype every game gets these days, it's still shocking to me that there's still an over/under of about a week on any given release date, even for big roll outs such as this. Anyways, I digress.
What is Dead Space?
Dead Space is a third-person action video game, developed by EA Redwood Shores for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. The player takes on the role of an engineer named Isaac Clarke, who battles a polymorphic alien species called the 'Necromorphs' on board a stricken interstellar mining ship.
Although the description makes "Dead Space" sound like a very run of the mill sci-fi shoot-em-up, anyone that has been keeping up with the hype recently knows that's not the case. First of all, "Dead Space" is OBSCENELY GORY. Opting out of the traditional instant kill headshot model of most games of this style, "Dead Space" encourages "strategic dismemberment," meaning that in order to kill the toughest baddies, you will have to deliberately break them apart limb by limb. Oh yeah, the Necromorphs can re-spawn limbs and give birth in the process of being shot at too. Thankfully, "Dead Space" has built in game mechanics that allow the player to use improvised weaponry in a haphazard, yet effective way. In short, a Resident Evil rehash, "Dead Space" is not.
"Dead Space" is also notable for reasons independent of its gameplay, specifically the marketing campaign that has accompanied the roll out of the game itself. NoKnownSurvirors.com, a site which sets the stage for the game by channeling the point and click nature of a game like "Myst" (of all things) to deliver live action clips and interactive features relevant to the environment. It doesn't give a way a whole lot, which is good, and in my opinion, things like this go a long way to show how much EA has invested in this game's success.
Frustration with the gaming retail situation aside, I'm frothing at the mouth to get my hands on this game. If "Bioshock" zapped a little life back into a stale genre, "Dead Space" is going to be more like a full on re-animation. As someone who thought the genre peaked with "Resident Evil 2" on the O.G. PS1, I couldn't be happier to see legitimate revival. Stay tuned later this week for my definitive impressions, or if you're feeling froggy, go out and buy the damn thing and beat me to it!
For those of you who can wait, click on the image above to view the full size "Dead Space" teaser trailer in your current window (we wouldn't want you to leave our site, after all!). Note the gratuitous ironic use of Sigur Ros' music, a trend which I'm sure we'll see more of in teaser trailers for games to come.