Dead Space 3 Review Round-Up: Joyless Slog Or Magnum Opus?

By Pete Haas 2013-02-05 08:44:40 discussion comments
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Today Dead Space 3 arrived in stores throughout North America. The review embargo has been lifted so now you can find out what critics across the world thought of the action-horror game.

In Dead Space 3, Isaac Clarke heads to the frozen planet of Tau Volantis. Long ago, someone stopped a Necromorph outbreak there and Isaac wants to find out how. Along with new companion Sergeant John Carver, he'll travel across Volantis in search of answers. The two will have to fight Unitologist cult members as well as the always-deadly Necromorphs.

The introduction of co-op and the new action-oriented elements of the game stirred up controversy before the game's release. Everyone's wondering whether this is a "true" Dead Space game or if it's been boiled down into just another co-op shooter. This presents a second question: if it's just a co-op shooter now, is it at least a good one?

The reviews for this game are all over the place. Game Informer declares DS3 "one of the best games of this generation," while Gaming Nexus calls it "Visceral Gamesí magnum opus." On the flip side, you have Xbox360Achievements calling it "something of a joyless slog." Videogamer says it's a "substandard horror game."

Ten of the most interesting reviews we've spotted are linked below. It's a mixture of both positive, negative and so-so reviews to hopefully give you a sense of what to expect from the game.

Edge - "Dead Space 3ís cover-based shooting is competent but uninspired. Clicking the right analogue stick causes Clarke to crouch. You duck behind walls. Enemies take cover and shoot at you. You pop upright and shoot at them. Occasionally, they throw a glowing red grenade to flush you out of cover, forcing you to shoot at them from behind a different chest-high barrier. Eventually they die. But this approach doesnít feel like a natural extension of Dead Spaceís combat, which is traditionally physical and takes place at close quarters."

Game Informer - "Visceral laid the foundation for a terrific horror series with the first Dead Space. The clean, HUD-less presentation, dismemberment-focused gunplay, and expertly crafted derelicts have made each successive entry feel ahead of its time. Dead Space 3 evolves the winning formula into a title not only befitting of the fantastic series, but also one of the best games of this generation."

AusGamers - "Weapon crafting is engaging and offers an immense amount of diversity. Once enough parts and attachments are unlocked so many options open up for variety of engine combinations, tips and attachments. Better experimented on individually, I will say that attachments really change the the possibilities, with some attachments aiding health and stasis use, some offering scopes -- which donít really seem appropriate but may be relevant in Unitologist battle -- and others offering elemental upgrades such as fire, electricity and acid; very satisfying to use on any enemy."

Escapist - "Dead Space 3 positively nails its science fiction storyline, slowly spiraling up to a go-for-broke conclusion. It's a different tone than the first Dead Space, for sure, but it's a damn good one. The fighting never evolves past point-and-shoot and the boss fights are dull , but the weaponcrafting is a lot of fun to tinker with."

Gaming Nexus - "Dead Space 3 is bigger, longer, and more expansive than its predecessors. Itís Visceral Gamesí magnum opus and itís the best Dead Space yet."

EGM - "This isnít to say Dead Space 3 is a subpar experience. In fact, itís probably one of the more polished games Iíve played in quite some time. The storytelling, character development, co-op, graphics, and gameplay variety are all top notch. But if you were anticipating a good scare, youíll have to look elsewhere. This is definitely a game you donít have to worry about playing in the darkóeverything that made Dead Space special before is gone now."

AtomicGamer - "As it often is with final entries in big trilogies, fans of the Dead Space franchise are well-served buying into this third game, and those who disliked the past two aren't likely to be moved to a change of heart. But at this point in a trilogy, the most important thing is to keep things fresh for the built-in fanbase, and that's something Visceral Games mostly accomplished, especially with the cooperative mode. They didn't really add much more on top of all that, but I think that's at least acceptable at this point, especially for the third game in a trilogy. Dead Space 3 won't revolutionize horror games, but it's still a fine horror-action game and a competent port on PC."

Destructoid - "A step down from Dead Space's high standards don't necessarily make for a bad game -- far from it, in fact, for this is still a bloody great game and well worth any fans' time. It's sad that market pressure and industry fear tried so hard to ruin things, but one can at least savor the victory of Dead Space 3's creative success in spite of commercial encroachment."

Videogamer - "Dead Space 3 isnít a let down because Visceral decided to turn it into an action game. No one can tell them what Dead Space Ďisí - they decide to make whatever game they want. And there is enough lore and scope to make Dead Space an action game, even if that choice is probably a poor one. Dead Space 3 is a let down because itís not a very good action game, and a really substandard horror game. It is devoid of ideas, hung up on laborious combat and obsessed with making even the exciting seem boring. In truth, itís a bit of a shocker."

Xbox360Achievements - "In short, Dead Space 3 is something of a joyless slog Ė despite a slick and unexpected opening segment - for the first nine chapters or so of its 19 chapter campaign, seemingly forgetting what made the first two games so special in the first place. As far as its intrinsic gameplay mechanics are concerned, DS3 seldom puts a foot wrong however, and continues the stellar work of the previous two games. Nonetheless, it still suffers from some pacing problems that really only even out once the narrative begins to gradually unfold and escalate."
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