When I first heard Dead Space 3 would have a co-op, I was hyped. The first 2 games are some of my favorites from this generation. I couldn’t wait to blast necromorphs with a buddy and this mode would surely be better than the half-baked, Left 4 Dead multiplayer knockoff Dead Space 2 featured. However, as more details emerged, I felt like Tom Hanks in Big (or Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, for you old-school folks) with the maxim “be careful what you wish for” echoing in my head.
Based on the released details, it seems that Dead Space 3 will be much more of an action game than a horror game. Let’s look at the items:
- Co-op confirmed: On the most basic level, the game cannot run scripts specific to individual player progress. This breaks the continuity of the game and will, no doubt, make it less scary.
- Now has universal ammo pickups and ammo is more plentiful: This works toward removing the critical “desperation” component of a horror game. Personally, I thought ammo was too plentiful in these games already.
- Cover system and weapon mods: This emphasizes shooter game mechanics over adventure/horror game mechanics.
- Less linear and more open-world: This removes a sense of urgency from the game. To date, Dead Space games have been focused and controlled. Now, instead of the wonderfully simple “get off the space station before necromorphs kill you” plot, we will have a “get off the space station before necromorphs kill you, but take your time and don’t miss any fun collectables” plot.
In conclusion, I am sure Dead Space 3 will be a good game. I trust Visceral Games to deliver a quality product but I do not expect to enjoy it for the same reasons I enjoyed the first two games. When I think about my favorite moments from Dead Space 1 and 2, I never think about the gun play, action sequences or exploration but instead I think about panicked moments of distress and feeling completely alone.
Who knows? Maybe my speculation is wrong. I hope it is.