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Title: Dead Space
Players: 1
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Price: $59.99
Release Date: Oct. 21st, 2008

The Xbox 360 and PS3 will be getting a real tricky treat this Halloween with Redwood Shores’ horror-shooter, Dead Space. Featuring an average (and possibly the most frightening) engineer as the main protagonist, gamers will embark on a terrifying quest to uncover the secrets of the infested ship, the USG Ishimura.

Take one part Hellraiser, one part Event Horizon, and two parts Resident Evil, and you might have an idea of what Dead Space is like. Featuring a massive desolate and degenerating ship as the main location, Dead Space puts players in a haunting tale of survival by using the environment as aspect of the story-telling process. While players explore the ship and uncover the secrets of the mining vessel, the USG Ishimura, they’ll encounter all sorts of ghastly creatures.

The game’s primal focus is on close-call, combat situations. This means that players will have to deal with terrifying threats in sometimes ridiculously small, cramped, or complicated areas. In some cases both the environment and the monsters will pose a threat. Fighting in a zero-gee atmosphere or with ship debris flying around causes for a high regard for combat tactics. But regardless of the environment and its hazards, the creatures themselves will always prove to be extremely dangerous. Much like Resident Evil 4, Dead Space contains quite a few instant-kill attacks from the monsters. Suffice to say, there are some very gruesome deaths that the lead protagonist, Isaac, will suffer if players get reckless.

I think, though, most readers have a good idea of what dangers they will be facing. So it’s time to talk about the different ways in which to dispatch, dismember or avoid these dangers. Unlike a lot of other action/horror games out there that encourage gamers to kill or be killed -- in just about every scenario -- Dead Space approaches enemy encounters as an obstacle for players to simply survive. So while battling some knife-handed, undead zombie, players might simply use Isaac’s laser-cutting tools to slice off an arm or a leg. From there, players can either stay and finish the creature off, or continue on and finish the mission. Sometimes survival in Dead Space is more important than the kill count. However, players who do prefer to rack up kills have a way of doing so with a large array of melee and projectile weapons. Such items can be attained by finding credits scattered throughout the game. After acquiring enough credits, they can then be used at in-game stores. These stores offer upgrades and new weapons and equipment. Isaac’s standard issue, engineering suit can also be upgraded as well, allowing players to endure more damage or breathe longer when there’s no atmosphere around.

Another highlight of Dead Space is the lack of a HUD. Players will have a greater focus with the action on-screen, rather than always checking their health gauge or ammo counter. Instead of the traditional life and ammo displays, Isaac’s health meter is located on the back of his suit, clearly visible for players to see. His ammo display also appears when players activate a weapon, so they know exactly how much ammo they have once they start firing (i.e., Halo, Doom 3)

With more than eight hours of gameplay, a thrilling narrative and a large, haunting atmosphere to explore, Dead Space is almost like the perfect Halloween treat. The game will be hitting store shelves on October 21st for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games for more news and info for all your favorite games.

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