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Dead Space Preview

GAME INFO
publisher: EA
developer: EA
genre: Action

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PIV 2800, 1GB RAM, 7.5GB HDD, 256MB video card
ESRB rating: M
homepage:
www.ea.com/deadspace/

release date: Oct 20, 08
» All About Dead Space on ActionTrip


Amongst other countless titles EA has in development right now, the publisher decided to tackle the horror genre with the BioShock-ish sci-fi shooter Dead Space. While BioShock may be the first obvious comparison, it looks as though Dead Space relies on the classic survival horror formula (think Resident Evil), on top of offering several cool unique features. This should, EA hopes, set it apart from the lot.

EA says that around 15-18 programmers have been working secretly on this one for well over a year. With the game slowly taking shape, the developers start expressing their ideas about creating a truly scary in-game ambiance. According to the makers of Dead Space, the project was developed with that very concept in mind - ultimately, making the game as creepy as possible and delivering the sort of atmosphere that can send shivers down your spine. This is achieved by molding together diverse ingredients that make a decent psychological thriller. Unexpected attacks from monsters, followed by realistic sound effects, are the usual scenes that await players in this game. Well, we have yet to see if it actually does the trick.

The game takes us some 400-500 years into the future. Humans are forced to scout for resources away from their homeplanet. Consequently, resources are being collected from other planets throughout the galaxy - this operation is called planet cracking. Miners are frequently sent out to establish colonies on dead planets. The mining procedure is simple: the planet is divided into colossal chunks, which are then smelted and processed until they are completely drained of all their resource potential; precious minerals and such. The process is, evidently, very complex and it usually takes several years to complete. The main character heads out into space to locate and investigate a mining ship, named Ishimura. The ship lost contact with Earth, but given the extensive period needed for mining, the loss of communication isn't considered a rare occurrence. Under such circumstances a second, smaller, mining crew is sent to the location to help restore communications and get the process going. As part of a routine maintenance inspection, another crew arrives, consisting of an engineer, scientist, security officers and a small number of additional personnel. Isaac Clarke (an obvious tribute to sci-fi authors Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke), the fully armored engineer from the screenshots, is doing his best to discover what went wrong on Ishimura. Pretty soon an unknown alien species attacks your team and starts turning them into hostile mindless abominations. Isaac must now fight to stay alive on the ship.

In an effort to survive, Isaac gets to wield numerous weapons, one of which is an upgradeable energy-based mining tool, used for dismembering hordes of monsters that will be coming at him. Presumably, dismembering enemy creatures plays an important role in the game. The alien species is extremely resilient and will continue to move and attack even after you've sliced one of them into many parts. Chop off a foe's arm, and you'll watch as it spawns little appendages, continuing to wriggle and move towards you. The inspiration for such nifty little moments clearly comes from horror sci-fi flicks such as John Carpenter's The Thing.

Dealing with these baddies may not involve conventional methods. Headshots, for example, won't have much effect. In fact, they can make things worse. Shooting off the head of an alien creature may cause swarms of tiny, rather deadly, insects to emerge and attack the main character. On different occasions, blowing off a monster's head could make it go into a blind fury, after which it becomes considerably more violent. (He did lose his head after all. - Ed) Either way, you're going to want to adapt and consider your actions.

Improving your weapons to give them that extra "oomph" won't be easy when there are bloodthirsty enemies nearby. You won't be able to pause the game and slowly fiddle around with weapon upgrades. Instead, you must find a safe spot away from enemies to catch your breath and install any available upgrades you might have for your arsenal.

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4.5
Meh?
HOW HOT ARE WE FOR THIS GAME?

WHY HOT?
Some cool weapon and monster ideas, doesn't look bad either.

WHY NOT?
Borrows too many familiar design and gameplay elements from other games in the horror genre.




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