Piss pants! Scream like a little girl! Show objective!
At an event in early December, Electronic Arts laid out their entire 2013 catalog (so far) and let us go to town. Despite new games like Fuse or big-budget FPSs like Crysis 3, I was most interested in seeing more of Dead Space 3.
The space-horror title has gotten a lot of flak in the past few months for a number of issues gamers identify as "selling-out" or "pandering to the lowest common denominator." Many readers at GameRevolution simply stated "f***ing Electronic Arts." The same reaction was heard when the publisher revealed that the Xbox 360 version of the game would come complete with Kinect voice commands (as Mass Effect 3 did earlier this year).
I'm here to remind everyone that Visceral Games has smartly incorporated these features, from the cooperative campaign all the way to these Kinect controls, and they're completely optional. If anything, these options for gamers of all experience levels have added to the studio's workload, not detracted from your experience (yet).
Picking up the controller, I quickly began tooling around with Isaac Clarke while waiting for my partner in the other room. Clarke handles as he did in previous Dead Space games. He can run, pick up items, and generally fight necromorphs as before, but in the heat of battle you can save time by using voice commands to activate health packs or even freeze enemies with stasis.
It might not make the most sense to pick up crates with your voice, only to smash them with another Kinect command, but that's all there for you if you wish. It works exactly as it did in Mass Effect 3 so if you bothered to fiddle with voice in that game, you should know what to expect in Dead Space 3.
The developer from Visceral Studios at the demo said he understood the fears fans have when things like multiplayer (see: Dead Space 2) are added into games and franchises they care about. That didn't mean the studio would ignore the opportunities they had to open the game up to anyone and everyone.
Of course, I made it through the admittedly short demo with ease, assisting my co-op partner and tearing necromorphs limbs off one by one, but when Isaac and company had to climb a sheer cliff face, barking out "Quick Heal" saved my life. I thought I was comfortable with a few yellow bars on Isaac's back, but after taking a boulder to the face, an instinctive verbal order was twice as convenient and fast as remembering the right button press or, god forbid, navigating a menu in-game.
You might not want to use Kinect voice command or you might not even plan on playing Dead Space 3 on your Xbox 360, but for those who have with a little more difficulty in fighting off the hungry necromorphs (like Jessica_Vasquez), rejuvenation is two syllables away.