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Warning: contains plenty of Dead Space

Wednesday, 30th January 2013 12:12 GMT By Brenna Hillier

During the time she spent with Dead Space 3, Brenna Hillier didn’t experience any quick time events, didn’t end up in a boss battle every few minutes, and didn’t mow down waves of enemies. The demo this is not.

“We can’t make a demo that’s 30 minutes long and have 15 minutes be creeping along corridors with the lights off, even though that’s a significant chunk of the actual game.”

Dead Space 3 doesn’t begin the way the demo does. I played it for two hours at an EA preview event recently, zipping through several chapters, and didn’t even get close to Isaac’s stumbling journey across the white-out wastes.

What I did do was creep through a lot of spaceship corridors, desperately trying to take out foes before the limited ammunition I was carrying ran out. It felt a lot like Dead Space and Dead Space 2 – maybe less scary, in the brightly lit and crowded preview room – and not at all like the demo I’d played.

I’ve already argued that the demo is unrepresentative. It feels like Visceral mashed together as many of the new elements Dead Space 3 contains as it could paying no heed to the natural flow of exploration and narrative which is one of the franchise’s hallmarks. Producer John Calhoun pretty much confirmed that this is exactly what the team did.

“It’s cut together from a couple of sections,” he said. “It’s very similar to our E3 demo, which was designed to show everything that’s new, in as little time as possible.

“It’s a great way to say look – what we have to say is that the full game is Dead Space through and through, but for the demo? Here’s what’s new.

“We can’t make a demo that’s 30 minutes long and have 15 minutes be creeping along corridors with the lights off, even though that’s a significant chunk of the actual game. So when people say, ‘This demo, I don’t get it, it’s a lot of action,’ we’re hoping people like you will say ‘I played the bigger picture and there’s high intensity and low intensity’. The game kind of comes and goes. The demo was cut together from bits and pieces.”

Dead Space 3′s launch trailer features an
unusual soundtrack which makes a lot more
sense once you’ve experienced the opening
hours of the game. But I’m under an NDA,
and so I can’t tell you why. Please feel free
to speculate, though.

One element from the demo which did show up is the new enemy type, Waster, which morphs as you dismember it. Cutting bits off enemies is a Dead Space mainstay, but now it really makes a difference how you do it. These new enemies change their form in reaction to your carefully placed slices, and terrifyingly, are no less dangerous in any configuration.

Shoot them in the legs and their upper bodies crawl towards you at a rapid pace on newly sprouted limbs. Cut off their upper bodies, a much easier target, and they’ll spawn three flailing tentacles, difficult to pinpoint in the frenzy of battle and eating your face before you can say “what the actual”.

Because I kept lazily hitting the torso, I got used to being mobbed by these nasty creatures, but I didn’t enjoy it. Calhoun had said in an initial presentation that Dead Space 3′s weapons crafting is about having the right tools for the job at hand – but what tool can take down these unpleasant foes?

“You will have to find weapon parts that are kind of biased towards them. When you get on that first ship, you can build a line gun, which is an extremely wide electrical weapon. It fires a projectile that’s about as wide as this table.

“So: stasis them, and with the three tentacles exposed, you can actually chop them all off at once. That’s one example of how the weapons and the enemies are designed to play off each other.”

I hadn’t bothered fiddling with the weapon crafting system much, and therefore had made my play session much harder. Calhoun said this is a problem Visceral noted in both previous Dead Space games – players don’t experiment, and never realise that enemies are partnered with specific weapons – like the Pack and the Force Gun.

“We designed Dead Space 1 and 2 to be played with a variety of weapons. But then we realised, people weren’t playing that way. 90% of the content that we built, most people never even had a chance to play. It was out there, but they chose to ignore it.”

“We can get reports on what weapons people are playing with, and the graph kind of goes like this – whoosh,” Calhoun said, making a gesture which was nearly vertical in its steep descent.

“Plasma cutter way up here, and then pulse rifle, and then,” dropping his hand to the table surface, “everything else. Which disappoints us at developers, because that’s not how we play,” he added.

“We designed Dead Space 1 and 2 to be played with a variety of weapons, and we like to think like ‘oh, make sure you have the flamethrower for this, and the force gun for that’, and all out setups were designed that way. But then we realised, people weren’t playing that way.

“90% of the content that we built, most people never even had a chance to play. It was out there, but they chose to ignore it. So, the weapons crafting system was another way to put that content into the player’s hand. You’ll see benches about every 15 minutes in the game. Knowing that you can take stuff apart and put it back together – we’re hoping that people will just experiment constantly.”

No part in Dead Space 3 is ever wasted, and Calhoun urges new players to strip down their starting weapons immediately in order to make better ones. Don’t worry, your beloved plasma cutter will be back very, very soon, and even more badass then you remember. Which is a good thing, because you’re going to need it.

Dead Space 3 is due next week on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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22 Comments

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  1. absolutezero

    I don’t want more badass, this is not Borderlands.

    I must admit I saw the ending yesterday, chuckled through it. I’m sure yet again this is a perfectly passable game but its just not for me anymore. Ill pass like I’ve done too many times recently.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. foxmulder555

    on another note re the pc version and the lies they tell e.g better on kinect !!

    http://www.dsogaming.com/news/dead-space-3s-executive-producer-blatantly-lying-about-offering-the-same-experience-on-all-platforms/

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Hirmetrium

    Honestly, I was super excited about Dead Space 3. I had preordered from GAME until last week.

    But lately, I don’t see why EA/Visceral deserve my money. Dead Space 2 was highly enjoyable, but nothing special. It had no replay value – I completed it on the most difficult setting (because the hardest is disabled the first time around… why) and it was frustrating at times, but that was it. I didn’t get any benefit out of the slog, other than a short, satisfying game-play experience.

    I don’t see what Dead Space 3 will provide to me, as a gamer, that the first two haven’t done, or a game designed with co-op in mind can’t do. Not only that, I just don’t have time to play it. MGR:Revengeance is out a week or so later, and there’s plenty of other games to play until then.

    Then, I hear the PC game is a no frills port, that there’s a load of DLC (why? I don’t want to pay even more for the game, and have to come back to it and keep it installed) and the price is the typical premium of £35, vs the £25 I paid for DS2. That was nail in the coffin.

    I’ll pass thanks.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. orakaa

    I’ll wait for reviews AND players feedback. The demo was really bad. I understand why it was bad, and not necessarily representative of the final game, but still, it leaves a bad taste in mouth. Actually, different videos (focusing on different aspects of the game) and no demo at all might have been better.

    I loved the first Dead Space. Liked the second one a lot (but less than the first one). For this one, I don’t know yet. I’d love to play a horror action game on my HDTV when my wife/daughter are out of town (so that I can put the volume really loud and let the subwoofer scream), but I’m not sure if this will be appropriate for me or if it’s not going to be “too much action-oriented”.

    I’ve replayed the demo yesterday, in co-op this time. I took absolutely no pleasure out of it. And the drill sequence is still as frustrating and unpleasant as the first time (maybe a little less as your co-op partner can deal with necros while you take care of the drill)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Samoan Spider

    Like I’ve said before, I’ll get it on steam later on down the line, or maybe just to piss someone off and convince myself I’m taking a harder line, I’ll buy from G2Play. I have plenty of things to play and complete at the moment so I’m in no hurry.

    @2 Spot on, its all just marketing shite and they think we’ll just swallow it whole. So now, will I for example have a ‘consistent experience’ on my pc if I use a kinect sensor? I didn’t think so.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Galford

    Wow, people still believe that EA games are getting released on Steam.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Samoan Spider

    @6 Its not inconceivable, but if not, buying cheap and applying a crack would be the sure fire way to avoid the EA client that shall-not-be-named.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Moonwalker1982

    While it sounds good and all, i spoke to someone who has played the game, don’t ask how…you know how that goes. He says he encountered 4 different Necro’s and soldiers and it lacks that real Dead Spacey feel. And apparently if you play solo you will miss some areas that you can only access in co-op. But that doesn’t sound like a big deal to me. But if the real Dead Space vibe is gone…that would be a shame.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Faceless

    So, how long until we get an article from Brenna that says, “Dead Space fans are a crying shame and need to grow the fuck up”?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Clupula

    @4 – It’s weird. I actually really liked the drill sequence, more so than any other part of the demo. It was frantic, but in a panic-inducing way, which felt like some of the best parts of 2.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Sublimeone

    “90% of the content that we built, most people never even had a chance to play. It was out there, but they chose to ignore it……”

    I read that statement, and burst into laughter. It seems they are aware of the end user behaviour. The Devs, should hop on those streaming sites and watch people that already have their copies.

    From watch I saw, from at least 3 different streamers – They yet again continued in the past behaviour, this time by IGNORING the so called “Weapon crafting” mechanic and every time they came across the bench or even after dispatching that bot that finds parts for you, it was met with a kind of meh expression. To some extent I could understand their behaviour/logic.

    1. Didnt not bother with the weapon crafting section in the main menu
    2. Were playing the game on the impossible setting – which I assume resources were limited, so as for crafting weapons – “nah I’m pretty good with Plasma cutter (if it aint broken very trusted sidekick) and HP”

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Hellhound30x

    Yeah, I have to agree… after playing the demo I have since decided against buying Dead Space 3.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Eddie Rodrigues

    So if the game is indeed different from what the Demo brought, it might be nice. Next week we shall all see if Dead Space 3 is actually what it is supposed to be: a sequel that learn from its predecessor.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Moonwalker1982

    People said all kinds of negative stuff about Dead Space 2 but i experienced it in a totally different way. In a positive way, that is.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Bomba Luigi

    The Balance of Action or Horror is not the Point that makes me not buying the Game. What keeps my Money back is the Fact that DS3 is a Coop Game, beause I don’t play Coop.

    Coop-Games are not a Bad Thing, and I can imagine that DS3 is a great Coop-Game. But they are not my Thing, I play 99% of the Time Single Player, and Games that are Designed to be Coop are a Pain in the Ass to play SP.
    It can be the Greatest Coop Game in History, but thats just nothing for me.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Telepathic.Geometry

    Well, I’m in. I like crafting weapons. :)

    Brenna (or anybody), do you know if you can play co-op offline? Like, will Carver be an NPC?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. absolutezero

    He is but not in the same sense as say Sheva from RE 5. He appears in the game but he’ll never actually be fighting along with you as an AI partner. In fact if you do play a little online and your partner drops out he’ll just vanish.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Brenna Hillier

    @16 nope; there are no AI companions. It’s a shame if you can’t get online, as the co-op has some really, really cool horror stuff, but it means the single-player is self-contained, not compromised by the co-op. (hem hem @15)

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Brenna Hillier

    @17 yes you’re right he is in fact IN the game, but he doesn’t follow you around simulating the co-op experience (and getting stuck on doors and being useless in fights and other typical AI behaviour)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Moonwalker1982

    @19

    So you don’t agree with some folks that say the game doesn’t seem to have that Dead Space vibe? That it’s not really creepy anymore and what not?

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Telepathic.Geometry

    Ehhhhhh… :/

    I’m not sure how I feel about that now. I’ll need to navigate that fucking online pass again, and probably have the same shit time I had with ME3′s fucked online. :/

    #21 2 years ago
  22. monkeygourmet

    First Dead Space I will miss out on.

    Reasons being:

    Co-op
    Micro transactions
    Online pass

    Sale lost EA, not that they give a fuck! :)

    #22 2 years ago