Dead Space 3 Awakened takes place right after the end of the co-op campaign Visceral Games and Electronic Arts unleashed at the start of February. If you haven't finished the game and plan on doing so, I suggest you stop reading here, because I'm about to spoil everything.
We've been told to expect the most horrific, vile, and violent terrors we've ever seen in the Dead Space universe in Awakened, but that might sound too good to be true for fans who found Dead Space 3's emphasis on action the scariest part of the full game. I'm here to tell you that Awakened just might deliver on those lofty promises, and we've got Isaac Clarke's broken psyche to thank.
Again, Awakened picks up at the end of Dead Space 3. I was told that you and Carver (if you're playing the DLC in co-op) will wake up in the deathly quiet space left behind from your fight with the moon-sized Necromorph orbiting Tau Volantis. I wasn't able to play this particular section of the DLC, but Clarke and Carver eventually board one of the derelict ships you visited in the beginning of the main campaign.
My preview at EA's offices was single-player only, and the franchise's now signature sound design really sold the point that anything might jump out at me at any second. It wasn't a tentacled monster waiting for me, but a vision of chanting, masked men that haunted Clarke.
Moving through the environment, I'd come across hallucinations of NPCs dressed in tribal gear, all chanting and praying to their base God. I was convinced what Isaac was seeing was an apparition, but then they started to attack!
You can still use your weapons from the end of Dead Space 3, so I mowed the aggressors down with my Plasma force-gun and a burst-fire assault rifle. The visions cleared and Carver's radio communication came through. While Isaac seemed to have control over his dementia in the proper-campaign, it seems to have flared up after the main-game's epic conclusion.
If you've played the co-op missions as John Carver, you'll remember the alternate plane of existence that Carver's transferred to. Isaac's hallucinations can take this shape too, and one particularly challenging section had me fighting off a horde of Necro-kids led by the leader of Isaac's hallucinated prayer group. I felt genuine fear crawl up my spine as the soundtrack slowly built to a feverish pitch, like a pot left to boil too long.
It's been a while since Isaac has confronted his neuroses so head-on, but Awakened brings that layer of confusion back to the forefront. Whereas I abused the run button in Dead Space 3's main game, Isaac and I started to slow down as my distrust for the environments on my screen started to grow. I can't say for sure what Awakened holds for players, but it's probably safe to say you should be ready to scream.