Weapon Crafting & Objective Choice
The first and most noticeable is the weapon and resource crafting mechanics you'll access at Benches strewn throughout the game. Benches allow you to craft new attachments, engines, and modifiers for your tools of dismemberment, whether you've discovered a new engine type in a crate somewhere or you've just gathered enough raw materials and scrap metal for the job.
I've got a long-standing fondness for the base Plasma Cutter, but attaching a Tesla coil to the gun added a shockingly effective Necro stopper as secondary fire. Before moving on I decided to attach the military engine to the lightweight stock my Plasma Cutter was built with. This gave me an Uzi-like weapon I could use to perforate Necromorphs.
Following that, I attached the Plasma core to a heavyweight stock I had in my inventory and found that it created a shotgun-like force blast that knocked charging enemies to the ground. While they struggled to get back up I quickly switched to my Uzi and sprayed them with enough ammunition to keep them down.
Experimenting with different weapons will yield incredibly varied results, but finding one you like can still result in the kind of satisfying gunplay Visceral attained in previous entries. There are still plenty of developer-crafted guns as well, allowing you to rebuild the Ripper you fell in love with or the Detonator Mines you used in Dead Space 2.
And then I came to the end. Instructed to jump to another ship and rendezvous with the rest of the cast, Isaac boarded a small cruiser called a "SK-1P." On my way to the transport, a comm line opened up and a Secondary Objective was added to my menu.
"That's odd," I thought briefly. With my oxygen running lower and lower, I boarded the "skip" and looked at the menu screen in front of me. Dead Space 3 doesn't just push you down a path, throwing Necromorphs and plot points at you. The "skip" allows players to choose their next destination.
It dawned on me that Dead Space 3 wasn't about to follow Resident Evil despite the intense similarities between the two. Instead, Visceral Games and Electronic Arts seem to smartly ape Metroid and Castlevania, rewarding players who explore with enhanced equipment, credits, suits, and guns. At this early stage, the skip would allow me to choose one of four floating cruisers locked in orbit around the planet Tau Volantis.
I could only assume how far the skip might take me as the demo was over at this point, leaving me to stare at the looming white planet in front of me. The suggestion of so much player autonomy left me hungry for more. Metroid's mysteries have always been enticing, playing off our limitless wonder of space and alien lifeforms. Dead Space 3 hopes to play off our fear and excitement for the unknown and alien monsters. We'll see if Visceral can capitalize on this newly expanded vision of Dead Space in the coming weeks.