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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Dead Space Member Review for the Xbox360

Diomedes By:
Diomedes
12/03/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Shooter 
PLAYERS 1- 1 
PUBLISHER Electronic Arts 
DEVELOPER Electronic Arts 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

I have never written a review for this site before so I thought I would approach it as systematically as I can in an effort to be as clear, and concise, as possible.  Bear in mind, I did not finish the entire game for fear of wrist damage (see below) and lack of interest.  At the end will be an arbitrary letter grade based on my interpretation of the following criticisms.  Feel free to disagree Toto, we're not in North Korea anymore.


1) Rehashing cliche idea: Small rescue ship comes to space station and gets stuck. Uh oh zombies. Series of go to come back missions. End.  Sure, I am simplifying but to not be this honest would be deception.  There are some unique moments where one might say "ooo lala, tres majestique!" but only if you live in France - where everything is linear.

2) No genuine character development and the huge assumption that we're going to sympathize with a guy who never speaks. Also, the wife - blond clear skin oh help me help me trail of breadcrumbs crap is really tiresome.

3) Terrible dialogue: Really terrible dialogue. "What do you think you're doing you could have gotten us killed!" "I was saving our lives." (insert token black guy who mysteriously misses every stereotype whereas the latin-ish woman falls into useless hysterics here)

4) Clunky controls: Every aspect of the controls was unique - for a reason. They were clunky and having a map is useless when you have the magic blue line to follow.

5) Camera angle: This could be construed as something that the game has going for it but only to a certain degree. Yes it does create a more horror movie atmosphere. Yes it's innovative and it's good developers are trying new ideas. But the fact aiming from the side is completely different (geometrically) from aiming in a fps or over the shoulder ruins realism when you need to shout "What the *uc*! I just said a little to the left not *uc*ing Noam Chomsky!"  Included in the camera angle problem is that when you're constantly panning left and right it does hurt your wrist. Most games have ways of avoiding this or at least no doing it so oppressively. 

6) Graphics: They're good until something moves. I found the environments nice to stand around in but the monster blood, for example, and the monster movements, were poor.  This is by no means to say there are bad graphics in the game.  If other games had these high quality graphics I would be happy to ejaculate out of my tear ducts but, when used in conjunction with poor monster design, it just feels inadequate in the context of the genre. 

7) The monsters themselves are pretty uninteresting too. It was great that there was actually a reason to aim at specific monster parts (i.e. limbs) but very soon this just felt like an added level of unnecessary difficulty. Beyond that there's the cliché monster types: little buggers who mob you faster than you can say "oh aren't they cute!" (Jurassic Park), big ones with a tail (Scorpion King), gormless flying things (Jurassic park, Lara Croft, etc.). There were a few others but they seemed mostly to be sub categories of other famous monsters.

8) Completely linear. Room, hallway with shaking vents, room with cylinders, hallway with shaking floor, room with boxes, etc.  I know this harps on #1 but it's important to have a level of symmetry, especially when you start with a long, narrow, zombie filled tunnel that only has a somewhat nymphetic quality about it because you just know it's going to be a pleasurably false hope. 



Summary for those who were smart enough to read ahead and for those who made it this far - even past my horrendously enigmatic and pretentiously lofty closing sentence of the previous paragraph:  It was a letdown. I downloaded it (thankfully) and was shocked to play a game that was just not good to me. I often think games are "okay" or "if only-" or even "just ignore-" but on this I thought: neat premise, poorly executed, some redeeming qualities but nothing we haven't seen before and done better. Not to say that I base my judgement upon it's uniqueness, rather, what does it bring to the table. Clunky controls, non-immersive, and no surprises.



 


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