Thursday, September 08, 2011

Dead Space - Xbox 360

Why has it taken me so long to actually getting round to playing this game? My middle ginger, Martin, the only other passionate console gamer and survival horror fan in my house, gave it a huge thumbs up when it was released back in 2008. He reported that it delivered scares and mindless gaming fun in equal measure, with plenty of gore and explosions along the way! The critics gave it scores in the eighties and nineties, and even it's offshoot game, Dead Space Extraction for the Wii, received favourable reviews despite being an "on rails shooter", a seemingly dated medium through which to expand on the core story.

But it's taken me sooooo long to get started on it, and it's only within recent days that I've played it with any consistency. I'm within sight of the finishing line now, and as the story begins to reach it's conclusion, I've only just concluded that I rather like it! Various elements have conspired to stifle my enjoyment of the game until now. Silly things that really shouldn't have bothered me. The main protagonist for a start, he has no personality. Compare him to Gordon Freeman (Half Life) or Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil) or even Jack Wade (Headhunter), and he's a no-one. Faceless and forgetful. I can't even remember if we know his name, and I'm up to the middle of Chapter 10 of 12. That's got to be THE worst 'costume' for any alien slaughtering hero to date. It's so boring, souless even - and it looks shit! Like it's made out of sellotape. I'm only up to the level 4 suit, so if the level 5 suit turns out to be pimped out, bling-tastic and super-cool looking, I apologise.

Then there's the stark and austere surroundings of the ship. Compare it to the varied and spectacular backdrops of games such as Resident Evil (Gamecube/Wii) or Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube/PS2/Wii) or even the other worldly vistas of Half Life (PS2/PC) and you'll understand why Dead Space doesn't cut the visual mustard.

*FK takes a small break from writing which strteches into a week's break...*

Still, the whole Dead Space experience creeps up on you... I've now finished the game and It's only then that you see our protagonist's face. I think his elusive air of mystery was very much intended to be juxtaposed to his bare faced and open humanity at the end of the game... or something like that.

What's great about the game is shooting hideously grotesque mutants with a variety of space age weapons and then stamping on their entrails till they pop! That is essentially the best element of the game. My son Martin was genuinely scared by the experience... I wasn't at any point. I felt the game was very playable and apart from final boss I found it fairly plain sailing.

Now, whilst this game shows I have slipped back onto the 360, it doesn't mean my commitment to the Wii is over. Far from it! In fact I only wanted to complete it because:

a.) I started playing Ocarina of time on the Wii's Virtual Console and I realised it was such a huge game, that I should tie up a few loose ends in terms of unfinished games before I fully embarked on it...

b.) I have received Dead Space Extraction in the post and I thought I should finish the main game in the IP before I played an offshoot game...

There has been a slight problem though... playing 'Extraction', an on-rails light gun shooter, is very strange after freely exploring the environment of the doomed space ship, the USG Ishimura, on the Xbox! I'll be reporting on that pretty soon.!