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dead space


Dead Space 3 is the latest game to have officially failed

Electronic Arts declares the game performed below expectations
May 08
// Jim Sterling
It had co-op and cover-based shooting, but Electronic Arts' flailing attempts to make Dead Space 3 "appeal to a wider audience" apparently failed. Visceral's latest game now joins Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Resident ...
EA sales photo
EA sales

EA: SimCity sales 'solid,' Crysis and Dead Space were not

Well, that's unfortunately backwards
May 07
// Brett Makedonski
Electronic Arts held an investors' call today, and one of the talking points was the performance of some of its biggest properties. Unfortunately, some of the information that was divulged was sort of disheartening. EA appear...

Replica Dead Space Plasma Cutter will burn your face off

No really, it will burn you
May 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
YouTuber AnselmoFanZero built himself his very own replica Dead Space Plasma Cutter. Oh yeah, the gun can actually burn stuff, as demonstrated in his video. As for the gun itself, it weighs about 4.4 pounds, took about 200 hours to build, and features 1,500-milliwatt burning blue lasers. Space zombies beware – hobbyist builds a real-life Plasma Cutter [Gizmag, via Gizmodo]
Dead Space photo
Dead Space

This Dead Space fan movie blew me away

It might only be a few minutes long but it's worth the watch
Apr 20
// Alasdair Duncan
We might never get around to seeing a live-action Dead Space movie on the big screen but I'm not sure if a film coming out of Hollywood would nail the aesthetic of the games as well as this short, fan-made film. It...
Jimquisition photo

Jimquisition: Dark Souls and Dark Sales

Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
Dark Souls sold over two million copies and is a bonafide success. Tomb Raider sold over three million copies and is a disappointing failure. Wut? Different projects obviously have different standards for succ...
Jimquisition photo

Jimquisition: Bullshit In Sheep's Clothing

Jimquisition is a thing that happens!
Apr 02
// Jim Sterling
Join Jim as he celebrates the 100th episode of Jimquisition ... and complains about EA. Again. Companies (mostly EA) have started to learn they can get away with pulling their familiar stunts by giving them a new coat of pai...

Saints Row IV, Battlefield 4 & The Phantom Pain

The Destructoid Show waves a big purple dildo around
Mar 15
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! I'm back from wherever I was, and I've brought with me today's Destructoid Show! Big news today with the first trailer for Saints Row IV, which looks as nutty as you'd expect it to. That'll be shown off at PAX East ...

Review: Dead Space 3: Awakened

Mar 15 // Jim Sterling
The Necromorph Moons aren't dead and they're ready to attack the universe. That's the big story point in Dead Space 3: Awakened. This is not a spoiler, either -- it's revealed early in the expansion chapter, and should be considered obvious since the Necromorphs are still around. More importantly, this vital plot point is not really built upon -- very little else of note happens during Awakened's two-hour run, only potential stories that never truly get told. To its credit, the new chapter attempts to bring back a sense of horrific, Event Horizon-style atmosphere. The surviving Unitologists on Tau Volantis are going insane and have begun to kill or mutilate themselves, evoking memories of the crazed Ishimura crew members. An offshoot of cultists who have taken to modifying their own bodies so they closer resemble Necromorphs make for some deeply disturbing foes, while Isaac's own mind is subject once more to hallucinations and haunting voices. It's all effective stuff while it lasts.  Isaac's co-op buddy, Carver, is also notable for having suddenly found a personality. Approaching a level of likability, Carver's banter and general attitude have improved to the point where he stands out as a legitimate character now, rather than a weak excuse to bow to industry gameplay trends. The dialog between he and Isaac feels a lot more natural as a result, especially once they start disagreeing with each other on the best way to deal with the Necro Moons.  As well as the new cultists, we get a variant of the Stalker Necromorph, and the Pack return from Dead Space 2 to give Isaac yet more dead children to slaughter. As one of the creepiest enemy types across the entire series, the Pack's reappearance is welcome, even if it is generally brief.  General briefness is by far Awakened's biggest problem. It's not just that it's a short adventure -- nobody expects a DLC add-on to last another ten hours -- it's that not a single idea presented in the game is fully formed, existing instead as merely a surface level showcase of what a good idea might possibly look like. The self-maiming Unitologist splinter group is a great concept, but never gets much screen time, while its mysterious leader is barely present in the plot. One seemingly invincible zealot that stalks the player à la Pyramid Head has a lot of potential, but again barely does anything of note and is dispatched in a most underwhelming fashion. The Ishimura-style atmosphere is terrific yet, again, merely dabbled in.  All this leads to an abrupt cliffhanger ending that's even more of a sequel tease than Dead Space 3's was, an issue made all the more galling for the fact the story only starts getting really interesting in literally the last few seconds of the campaign. Until then, nothing worth mentioning happens. Clarke and Carver wake up, not dead, tread water for an hour or two, then encounter some narrative -- then it's game over.  Speaking as a fan of Dead Space, I feel I could skip Awakened and miss absolutely nothing of value. While some of the new ideas are nice, the sense of disappointment that none of them are capitalized upon offsets any good they do, while the story is nothing you couldn't explain in a single Tweet. While the gameplay is as solid as anything found in Dead Space 3, it could also be acquired simply by replaying chapters of Dead Space 3.  Dead Space 3: Awakened is a whole lot of not much at all.
DS3: Awakened review photo
Go back to sleep
It's very hard to believe a studio when it claims work never begun on a piece of downloadable content until after the main game was finished, especially when that DLC is a direct continuation of the story and was essentially ...

We need to stop letting hate define us

Mar 12 // Brett Makedonski
Before we get too far, this isn't intended to convey the message that you need to love everything. In fact, I believe that the opposite it true. Criticize and analyze everything. Without criticism, nothing would ever grow or evolve. Nothing would stick out above the rest. We'd be stuck in a perpetual state of middling, uninspired product. Instead, we need to tone down the undue cynicism. It's human nature for people to bond over shared experiences, but if we focus it on the positive instead of the negative, everyone will be much better off. Do you hate EA? Chance are, you probably do. About a year ago, it was voted the worst company in America. More recently, EA garnered more negative press for its statements about how microtransactions will eventually be included in all of its games. While CFO Blake Jorgensen has since gone on record to state that they meant all mobile games, the sentiment remains the same. It's not a unique opinion to think poorly of EA. However, without EA, there's a solid chance that your gaming experiences would be diminished in some capacity. Do you like Mass Effect, Battlefield, Dead Space, or Rock Band? Those franchises all exist, in part, because of EA. The same can be said for about a thousand other titles. There's absolutely nothing wrong with speaking out against its business practices that you don't agree with. That, along with voting with your wallet, are the only two ways that exploitative conventions will change. Still, it isn't fair to throw around blanket phrases like "I hate EA," because the company has had more of a positive effect than immediately comes to mind. The interesting niche about videogame culture is that there are considerable barriers to entry to even have an opinion. It requires both a monetary and time investment to be informed. Then, it takes the urge to go share your opinion. It's all much more complex than "Justin Bieber is stupid." As a result, it's a very vocal minority that engages on Twitter, forums, and comments sections that comprise the voice of the industry. Relatively speaking, it's a pretty small chunk of the population. In a way, we're more prone to falling into the trap of becoming overly pessimistic because we hear the same opinions recycled from all directions. And to be honest, it really doesn't even matter all that much. While our outcries feel loud as hell at the time, they're usually pretty muffled. Do the thoughts of Diablo III and Error 37 conjure terrible memories? The game still sold a ton of copies. I bet by the time that the SimCity fiasco is completely straightened out, its sales figures will be pretty impressive too. The truly disconcerting facet of this isn't even necessarily how overly cynical we've become, although that's certainly a problem. It's how, as Stump pointed out, many of us have become defined by the things that we hate. Rather than simply dismissing something that doesn't please us, we make an effort to stomp it into oblivion. I've been guilty of it, and I'm sure that many people reading this have been too. To quote Stump, "Near-masturbatory complaining has brought together more people than cheap liquor." He could not be more right. We feed off of others' spiteful opinions, and then we reciprocate. There's a cool kids' club for everyone that says the right things, and we all want to be included. It's incredibly easy to find a litany of bitter commentary about the popular topics, and with each opinion read, we become more and more influenced, and increasingly likely to weigh in ourselves. This is a mold that needs to be broken. It reflects poorly upon us, and frankly, it can't be healthy. I don't necessarily have a lot of hope for society-at-large, but being surrounded by like-minded people, I like to think that we're better than this. We naturally connect with one another via shared opinions, but there's no reason that these can't predominantly come from a place of positivity. Keep the critiques flowing, but let's stop hating things simply for existing. If we can do that, I can't help but feel that we'll all be much better off. [Image courtesy of Fogs Movie Reviews]
Where is the love? photo
We are the Pretty Hate Machine
I was recently inspired by a blog entry from a member of Fall Out Boy. If you're already rolling your eyes and making snarky remarks in your head, then this article is targeted at you. Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy's lead singe...

New releases photo
New releases

New releases: God of War: Ascension keeps the faith

Plus Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Darkstalkers Resurrection, and more
Mar 11
// Fraser Brown
Another Monday rolls up, acting like it's the boss of the week, so that can only mean one thing: a week of new releases. I'll be saving my cash this week, not really seeing anything to interest me, but I may grab God of War:...

Deadpool, Dead Space & Dead Tired Of SimCity's BS

The Destructoid Show got sent home from school today for cursing
Mar 08
// Max Scoville
Hey everybody! Here's today's Destructoid Show! I'm guessing you guys have heard about all the nonsense going on with SimCity, so if you're sick of it by this point, I apologize. There's a new trailer for Deadpool, which I'm ...

Dead Space 3 DLC work began after main game was finished

Mar 07 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ultimately, Awakened feels different and it should, as a separate team worked on the new content. "It's definitely not the case where we take a level, and just decide we're not going to include it in the main game," John told me. "This was not even part of Dead Space 3, it was developed by a smaller set of our team that were run with a different producer, and all that stuff. You're looking at something that was wholly created as a standalone product." Sure, initial planning probably happens during development, but as John told me the actual work on DLC doesn't start up until the main team has wrapped up the full game. Dead Space 3: Awakened will be out on March 12, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. For hardcore fans of the series, it's shaping up to be exactly what you wanted out of the game in the first place.
Dead Space 3: Awakened photo
EA producer details their DLC design process
Dead Space 3's Awakened downloadable content was announced the week the main game was released in stores. DLC announcements made early on in production -- or even right around a game's launch -- typically draw fan rage by th...

Dead Space 3 photo
Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3: Awakened is a return to survival horror

It's everything you wish Dead Space 3 was
Mar 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Overall, I really enjoyed Dead Space 3. There were points that it dragged on, but a lot of the stuff near the end in those last few levels made it up for me. Still, Dead Space 2 is my favorite of the franchise largely because...
Office Chat photo
Office Chat

Dead Space needs a break, SimCity launch woes and Thief!

Another casual discussion from the Dtoid news room
Mar 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
In another casual discussion from Dtoid's virtual news room, I'm joined by Jordan Devore and Spencer Hayes to discuss the deflated rumor of a Dead Space development hiatus (one we kind of wish were true). Plus, SimCity's rocky launch demonstrates once again that you can't count on anybody to successfully launch an online-only game and the gang discusses the recently announced Thief reboot.
Dead Space canceled? photo
Dead Space canceled?

Rumor: Dead Space franchise may be on indefinite hold

Sales targets for Dead Space 3 not met
Mar 05
// Chris Carter
[Update: Gamasutra reached out to Electronic Arts and the rumors of an announced Dead Space 4 being cancelled are "patently false."] According to a report from, the Dead Space series is no more -- at least, for...

Ten psychedelic freakouts and hallucinations in games

Mar 04 // Taylor Stein
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Turn off the game Raiden!!! Scrape together all of the bizarre, hilarious, and confusing thoughts that you can muster, and fashion them into a particularly wacky scenario. Add a dash of nudity and the ramblings of a rogue AI, and what are you left with? Arguably one of the strangest scenes in the entire Metal Gear series. A butt-naked Raiden is bombarded with continual calls from an advanced artificial intelligence that has been infected with a debilitating virus. Crazy Colonel as I like to call him, covers a multitude of topics while in his fanatical state, from alien abductions to irritant plant juice. In an especially creepy encounter, his speech deviates from the randomness aimed at Raiden and shifts to a command intended for the player. "Raiden, turn the game console off right now. The mission is a failure. Cut the power right now." I know that I am not the only one who actually considered turning the system off at that very moment. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Screaming ... eerie screaming Link has always been a relatively reserved guy. Besides a set of exclamations and fighting sounds, the boy clad in green is about as laid back as they come. Behind those baby blue eyes is the perseverance of a champion ... or the thoughts of a madman. Considering that the hero is continually reincarnated from one generation to the next, forced to battle the evils of the world for all eternity, it's no wonder he finally snapped. Upon reaching Lake Hylia Spring in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link cleanses the region of darkness that has entrenched the area. He then falls into a dream-like state that begins rather informatively; backstory is revealed and the player is enlightened with a deeper understanding of the narrative. In traditional nightmare fashion however, the vision takes a drastic turn for the worse and Link is joined with the company of dark doppelgangers, complete with glowing eyes and eerie screaming. Not only was Link puzzled by the revelation, upon viewing the scene, I too was struck by the disturbing nature of the dream. I don't know exactly what the craziness means, but it's certainly not what you expect from the tried-and-true Zelda formula. Batman: Arkham Asylum - I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Gasman Batman is a beast among men, there is no doubt about it. When an average person is pitted face-to-face against his innermost demons, he crumbles under the weight. The Dark Knight, on the other hand, punches his deepest fears in the face. After being exposed to the Scarecrow's signature fear gas in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bruce Wayne's most painful memories, worries, and regrets are given a life of their own, taking physical form with a single purpose of crippling Gotham's savior.Batman relives the deaths of his parents multiple times, defeating nightmarish versions of the Scarecrow in each encounter. He is pumped with enough crazy juice to kill an elephant but he somehow manages to trek onward. The cat and mouse game is finally trumped thanks to an unlikely source, Killer Croc, who literally takes a bite out of crime. Far Cry 3 - Giant slaying with a side of fornication? What would you do to save your friends from murderous, slave-trafficking pirates? Cali boy Jason Brody goes above and beyond to fulfill the role of a hero in Far Cry 3. Unfortunately, privileged immaturity does not bode well against an island riddled with danger in the form of wild animals, homicidal pirates, and a mysterious tribal faction. Brody aligns with the latter camp, and his quest of rescue slowly evolves into a pursuit of revenge.In a rite of passage ritual, Brody is tested as a true Rakyat warrior. After chugging a ceremonial drink, the ancient temple exudes a darker more intimidating aura. Then an enormous red-faced shadow creature emerges front and center. Foreshadowing at its finest. With only a bow in hand, the drug-induced Brody must battle toe-to-toe with the beast while dodging dark projectiles, and assault from shadow-men. Are you wondering what his body is doing while his mind is engaged in mental gymnastics? Getting down and dirty with Citra. Talk about tripping balls. Ni No Kuni - Girl you're crazy If this list conveys any message at all, it's that the mind is capable of crazy things. Loneliness is an especially potent catalyst of mental instability, one that can manifest in a variety of ways including multiple personalities. What better way to counteract isolation than talking to oneself? In a narrative of great sadness and good intentions gone bad, Queen Casseopeia of Ni No Kuni accidentally altered the entirety of her kingdom into mindless monsters. With the population of sentient citizens reduced to absolute zero, Casseopeia vowed to sit in waiting upon her ghastly throne until someone came to free her from inadvertent, self-induced seclusion.Days became months, months became years, and the empire was eventually lost to the hands of time. The queen of a once prosperous nation, the daughter of the legendary Wizard King, was reduced to a bitter shell of her former self. Driven mad by solitude, she created not one, not two, but over 12 different personalities to help alleviate the sting of separation. While many of these mental actors were united under an evil agenda, a few actually came to the aid of the protagonist, helping him to put an end to the ruler turned tragic figure. So she was talking to herself the whole time?! Yes, yes she was. If having a dozen cerebral characters isn't enough to strongly suggest lunacy, their bickering and disparate goals are icing on the nutty cake. Fallout 3 - Swamp plants and psychedelics If there is an award for gullibility, the Lone Wanderer in Fallout 3 might take the prize. In order to appease a tribal cult leader, he is ordered to traverse a sacred bog, slay mutated crab monsters, and retrieve the mother of all fruits. Sounds simple enough, but is it ever that easy? Approaching the vegetation causes hallucinogenic gas to spew from the plant, resulting in the player falling unconscious. This is where the fun begins.As my character came to, I remember thinking, "Oh, I guess nothing happened" until I began heading towards the exit. In a flurry of weirdness, the seemingly ordinary swamp is overwhelmed by random events. Collectable Bobbleheads featuring disheartening inscriptions become littered across the terrain, a camouflaged saw can be seen floating in the air, baby-sounding explosions  detonate without warning, needle and thread stitch the ground in a sewing motion, and oh yeah, you see the Lone Wanderer's mom as a skeleton in a pointy birthday hat. WTF is an understatement. Adding to the weirdness, while you were dozing by the Mother Punga tree prior to the psychedelic trip-out is that someone sliced your head open and removed a large chunk of your brain. I guess he's physically and mentally scarred for life. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Drugs drugs and more drugs Treasure hunting in remote corners of the world is a hazardous pastime. Doing so while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs is even more so. During multiple instances in Uncharted 3, Nathan Drake experiences strange visions. Twice after being shot in the neck with a dart, again while stranded in the desert. Drake even enters a delirious state after drinking the water. I've heard about Montezuma's revenge but diarrhea is nothing in comparison to temporary insanity.Fighting an entire private army is much more difficult to handle when the mercenaries shoot fireballs, and teleport, that's for sure. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Madness incarnate The entire Shivering Isles DLC in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion immerses players into the epitome of lunacy. Split into two lands, Mania and Dementia, the realm of insanity is ruled by none other than the Daedric Prince of Madness, Sheogorath. With a title like that, you can expect enough absurdity to last a lifetime. Rather than a specific incidence of hallucinatory psychosis, the entirety of the narrative, including the world, is surrounded in unusual happenings.Sheogorath quests the Champion of Cyrodiil to defeat the evil lord Jyggalag who makes an appearance every era by conquering the land. In a series of events, it is revealed that Jyggalag is actually the Daedric Prince of Order and Sheogorath's true form. Cursed long ago by god-like beings, the master of order was forced to live as madness incarnate for all eternity; becoming his true form only sparingly. Who sounds crazy now? Dead Space 2 - The worst relationship ever Struggling to survive against an onslaught of reanimated corpses is a challenging feat. Any false move or lapse in concentration can easily fulfill a death wish. At least they're usually slow, mindless drones. Unfortunately, the Dead Space franchise doesn't feature run-of-the-mill zombies. Necromorphs are more like grotesque, appendage mishmashes with brains and brawn to boot. If the enemies weren't bad enough, battling insanity while exploring infested terrain surely adds to the intensity.Due to exposure with numerous alien artifacts, Issac's brain became imprinted with an alien code that causes him to experience an assortment of odd visions, voices, and images. The most common of which is a reoccurring hallucination of his deceased girlfriend. Out of the three installments of the series, Dead Space 2 definitely takes the cake in showcasing the Marker's influence over the mind. The guilt associated with Nicole's death consumes Isaac who is unable to accept the loss and move on. Though he is able to "reconcile" with the illusion, thus reconciling with himself, overcoming the vision is not a simple feat. Stalking, choking, and attempted stabbing were all in Nicole's repertoire of tactics, only defensible with sudden button-mashing frenzies. Domestic abuse is never funny ... even if it's between a guy and his own brain. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - Face your deeds in the river of death With two entrants from the same series, I'm sure you can tell that I'm a huge Metal Gear fan. The mix of history-rich story, extremely diverse characters, and the tone of seriousness flavored with hilarity is exactly why I hold the franchise in such high regards. Rather than leading with the humor theme, The Sorrow fight in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater joins the ranks of Twilight Princess and Dead Space in category creepy.After jumping off of a dauntingly high waterfall, Snake awakens in a ghastly spirit realm personified as an endless river. The Sorrow explains to Big Boss that he would be forced to walk down the waterway for all eternity so that he could, "feel the sorrow of those whose lives he had ended." As a player who went absolutely knife crazy on just about every grunt in the entire jungle, that's a whole lot of sadness on my part.Every enemy that was slain appeared before Snake in the chilling landscape. Soldiers screaming in pain, some on fire, and plenty grasping at their necks from slice wounds pressed onward, appearing exactly as they did upon their deaths. Upon finishing the spirit walk, players are able to return to the land of the living, but not without deeper insight into how The Sorrow actually died. Spooky, deep, and all-around creative for a trip into the afterlife. Other notable favorites: Catherine - Daily nightmaresMass Effect 3 - Child visionsHeavy Rain - Madison's nightmareSpec Ops: The Line - Ending  [Image source]
Ten psychedelic freakouts photo
WTF sentiments all around
Have you ever heard the saying, we're all a little bit crazy? I don't know about you, but "a little bit" might be an understatement, especially within the world of videogames. While virtual protagonists often reflect the abso...

Space sims are horror! photo
Space sims are horror!

Dread space: Why space sims scare me more than zombies

Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Mar 03
// TriplZer0
[For his Bloggers Wanted essay response, Destructoid community blogger TriplZer0 explains why the vast emptiness of space scares him more than jump scares ever could. Want to see your own words appear on the front page? Go wr...
Dead Space photo
Dead Space

Origin has a big sale on all three Dead Space games

Plus the DLC, but spending anything on that is a waste of money
Mar 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Origin is currently offering between 30% to 50% off on every Dead Space game in their store. The first Dead Space is available for $10 as a PC download, and Dead Space 2 can be grabbed for $10 either as a PC download, or phys...
PlayStation All-Stars photo
PlayStation All-Stars

Dead Space's Isaac Clarke joining PlayStation All-Stars

Plus Zeus from God of War, and a Unfinished Swan stage too
Feb 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
IGN sat down with PlayStation's Seth Killian where he revealed the next downloadable content for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Dead Space's Isaac Clarke and God of War's Zeus will both be joining the fight. Plus, a ne...

Game Debate to the Death! Favorite Dead Space game?

NASA needs cooler helmets
Feb 26
// Tom Fronczak
Last week's Assassin Creed debate turned into a rogue race between the first two games in the series, with Assassin's Creed II coming out on top by a few votes . . . and jumping to its close demise in a pile of hay below. Bro...
Dead Space 3 photo
Dead Space 3

All the horrific ways you can die in Dead Space 3

Don't eat while you watch this
Feb 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
One of the things you can always expect from a Dead Space game is that Isaac Clarke will get torn to bits in so many wonderful ways. You can also expect someone on YouTube to take the time to great a big old montage full of ...
Dead Space 3 photo
Dead Space 3

Get Dead Space 3 for $39.99 on Amazon, and Groupon

I didn't know Groupon sold games
Feb 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
I just beat Dead Space 3's single-player mode this past week and overall enjoyed it. I need to do some co-op still, which I hear is a better way to play the game. While it was overall a fun experience, I'm not so sure I would...

Co-op and horror don't work together in Dead Space 3

Feb 18 // Taylor Stein
With the admittance of co-op functionality within the horror genre, it begs the question, is it possible to produce an authentic fear-driven experience while playing a game with two players? How scary can a dark room, narrow hallway, or eerie mansion be when you've got a geared-up teammate watching your back? Many of the recent horror titles such as Resident Evil 6, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Dead Space 3 have embraced the action-driven narrative, but adding co-op might just tip the scale in determining whether we're left with a true horror game or just another third-person-shooter. Let's take a trip down memory lane to explore how the videogames of old, the grandmasters of horror, were able to convey terror in the simplest of ways.The titles that put the horror genre on the map, Resident Evil and Silent Hill just to name a few, carved a unique space within the videogame gamut. Without the use of high-def visuals or stellar controls, the early horror installments were able to successfully embody the atmosphere of trepidation. Fear was derived from the fact that the odds were not often in your favor. Fighting a deformed nightmare monster with a baseball bat almost always ended in getting your ass kicked. Run out of bullets? Kiss your sweet life goodbye.Survival was the overarching sentiment, not guns-a-blazing battle. With a combination of fixed camera angles, few health packs, invulnerable enemies and ineffective weaponry, terror tactics of the past were brought to fruition by making the player as vulnerable as possible. It wasn't about how many necromorphs or zombies you could kill, rather, how you could get from point A to point B without running into a giant monster that would instantly reduce you to a bloody pile of mush. Nowadays, it seems like people just like to shoot stuff. Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski shared similar concerns about the fate of the horror genre in his blog. Within the current gaming market, Bleszinski predicts that horror games will be unable to flourish; instead, he points to indie and PC titles as the next step for the genre. He states, "When we’re fully digital we’ll see more true horror games coming back. Look at Amnesia and Slenderman on PC."Action is one potential strike against the effectiveness of in-game apprehension, strike two and possibly the icing on the cake, is co-op. Gun battles and explosions are welcomed inclusions to any shooter, but it's arguably difficult to maintain the same level of nail-biting suspense or edge-of-your-seat anxiety when you're equipped with weapons galore and a buddy who is ready to lay any ferocious creatures to waste. Dead Space 3 is the most recent title to deviate from its single-player, nightmare entrenched roots. With a friend, players are able to explore the frozen wasteland of Tau Volantis and the decrepit remnants of derelict space vessels together. While two heads are definitely better than one, two guns make all the difference. Taking on a horde of necromorphs with an added set of autonomous weaponry highlights each room as a tactician's dream. Quelling waves of resistance is as easy as positioning your character relative to your squad mate to cover all avenues of attack. If an enemy unsuspectingly emerges from an overhead air duct, my partner has my back. While tag team monster annihilation is amazingly entertaining, the last thing I would describe the experience as, is frightful.The shift within the genre from perseverance to action, from defense to offense, was one that reflected the popularization of shooters within the gaming landscape. Horror developers are forced to adapt, and what we are left with, is an attempt to maintain the same level of suspense captured during the golden age of scary gaming, while providing room for the mechanics that represent the current trends within the mainstream industry. The reality is, the vision of crafting an insanely scary experience is often lost when combined with multiplayer features, over-the-top action, and shooting elements. The good news is, Dead Space 3 allows players to complete the campaign alone OR with a friend, so thrill-seekers have the option of pursuing the story in the scariest way possible. Unfortunately, minus a few jumps here and there, I haven't found the two-player gameplay to be the least bit intimidating on a horror level. The co-op functionality enhances the playability of the game by welcoming a shared experience between two players, yet it adds nothing to make the title more suspenseful or daring besides adding a bit of character back story via co-op side missions.  This is not a discussion about whether Dead Space 3 is a good or bad game, even though I quite enjoyed it personally. It's not a debate about which genre is better, action or horror. This article serves to ask a simple question, does combining action with the comforting appeal of 2-player support create an authentic horror experience?What is your impression of the complicated relationship between co-op and horror? If you played Dead Space 3 with a friend, did you find the game to be as nerve-wracking as the previous installments? Sound off in the comments below.
When co-op meets horror photo
Action plus co-op is fun, but scary? I'm not so sure
The room is dark, cold, and unusually calm. The once bare walkways are now riddled with blood and severed limbs. In the distance, a faint hum can be heard echoing throughout the metal encampment. Its repetition is a solid rem...

Roses and tears: 10 depressing videogame romances

Feb 14 // Taylor Stein
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – Big Boss and Eva Love can blossom anywhere. If the Metal Gear series has taught us anything (besides the usefulness of a cardboard box) it is that romance is especially prominent on the battlefield. Why would bullets, explosions, and a team of evil super soldiers deter one from indulging in a little affection? While Big Boss fought off Eva’s motive-driven advances, he was unable to resist her overt feminine charm indefinitely. After a romantic encounter complete with wine, a fireplace, and a bear skin rug, Eva skipped town, leaving the battle-hardened veteran heart-broken and empty handed. I guess Snake would've been better off sticking with his M1911A1. Final Fantasy 10 – Tidus and Yuna Ah, there’s nothing sweeter than teenage love. Combining raging hormones with the responsibility of saving a world tormented by perpetual death is certainly a unique formula for passion. During their pilgrimage to defeat the ever-returning nightmare Sin, Tidus and Yuna found romance as a convenient way to ignore the foreboding reality of their quest: Yuna’s death. Throughout a series of plot twists and extensive battles, players save Yuna from her sinister fate. Too bad the protagonist Tidus turns out to be from a dream world and disappears into a poof of nothingness. Dead Space – Isaac and Nicole The horror genre isn't ideal for heartfelt connections. The closest that scary games often get to featuring physicality is through a zombie bite to the neck. Too bad no one sent the memo to Isaac Clark. What started as a standard repair job on the intergalactic mining vessel the USG Ishimura, quickly turned into a terrifying test of survival among reanimated corpses and alien monsters. Did I mention that his girlfriend Nicole was stationed aboard the ship? I’m sure you know where this is going. Not only does the poor systems engineer discover that his girlfriend has been dead since before his arrival, he develops mental instability causing him to see visions of her, courtesy of an alien artifact. Thanks, Nicole, insanity is a perfect parting gift. Infamous - Cole and Trish There are very few actions in life that cannot be forgiven. Being held responsible for an explosion that wiped out a chunk of a city, killing thousands, would definitely be one of those unforgivable moments. Ever since The Blast, Cole's relationship with his girlfriend Trish took a turn for the worst. Blaming him for the death of her sister, Cole became a monster in her eyes. In an effort to win back her trust, the now super-powered hero went above and beyond to assist Trish and the citizens of Empire City. Just as affections were beginning to turn around, Trish was kidnapped, forcing Cole to make a difficult choice. Save the love of his life, or save a team of doctors; serve his personal desires or act on behalf of the greater good. Either way, Cole is pretty much screwed. Choose Trish and she spends her last dying breath describing how much she despises what Cole has become. Rescue the doctors and Trish praises his decision yet still dies from her injuries. Lose-lose situation is an understatement. Final Fantasy VII – Cloud and Aerith What does a spiky-haired soldier, an innocent flower girl , and a well-endowed bartender have in common? In the boring arena of reality, absolutely nothing. Within the fiction of videogames however, the trio arguably represent the most notable love triangle in the gaming world. Regardless of who the player chooses to pursue as a romantic interest, Aerith or Tifa, fate intervenes in the cruelest way possible. A scene of tranquility is instantly transformed into the epitome of shock, alarm, and terror. While praying at an alter, the silver-haired villain Sephiroth seemingly appears from the heavens and impales Aerith with his eight-foot-long Masamune. In an instant she is gone, collapsed in Cloud's arms. To hit the point home, Aerith's theme song begins to play in the background, and the reality that Final Fantasy VII actually had the audacity to kill off a main character halfway through the game, is fully realized. Mass Effect 3 – Commander Shepard and Romantic Partner Saving the galaxy from sentient machines may seem like a tall order, but after three installments of the Mass Effect series, it's pretty safe to say that Commander Shepard always finds a solution. Whether through diplomacy or a firefight, humanity's savior has proven to go above and beyond the call of duty. This applies both on and off the battlefield. Seducing a slew of men, women, and alien crew mates is all fine and good, but the end of the world has a way of offering a sobering reminder as to what is at stake. There will be no civilian life for Shepard and her partner; no white picket fence and no blue children. Ensuring the survival of the entire galaxy is not a job that one simply comes back from. All that can be said between the larger-than-life figure and her significant other is a somber goodbye before the true suicide mission commences. At the end of Mass Effect 3, the hero alone ventures into the depths of the Reaper operated Citadel. The first human Spectre is given a choice that will forever alter the course of the galaxy, to end the cycle of destruction that has continued in secret for millennia. Ultimately, Shepard's decision opens a new chapter for the galaxy, while putting an end to her own. Whether truly dead or not, Commander Shepard's closest squadmate is forced to hang her name on the Normandy SR2's memorial wall. In an act of remembrance signifying Shepard the soldier, the legend, and the human being.  Shadow of the Colossus – Wander and Mono Love has the power to transform a young man into a hero; a vigilant civilian into a seasoned warrior. In the case of Wander, the desire to revive his romantic interest Mono, inspires him to commit a laundry list of questionable choices. Stealing an ancient sword is risky yet understandable. Entering a forbidden land is yet another precarious decision. But following the instructions of an ominous, obviously evil, being is a step in the wrong direction. Whether due to naivety or injudiciousness, Wander proceeds to slay 16 enormous colossi in the hope that his new "ally" will reawaken the beloved maiden. Instead, the sinister lord Dormin possesses his body, transforming Wander into darkness incarnate. In the end, Mono successfully opens her eyes and returns to the land of the living. Wander, however, regresses to the age of an infant, marked with horns upon his head to signify a curse. As the only bridge connecting the forbidden land from the rest of the world falls, only Mono, altered Wander, and his trusty steed Agro remain. The two are together again, yet they are worlds apart. Alive but isolated in a land of danger and mystery. The Darkness - Jackie and Jenny Hit man with a heart of gold may seem like an oxymoron, but in the case of Jackie Estacado, the seemingly opposing identities are more than true. After the death of his parents at a young age, Jackie was sent off to an orphanage where he met the love of his life, Jenny Romano. Their childhood friendship blossomed into an adult romance; a relationship seemingly too good to be true. Unfortunately, Jackie's profession would be the factor to catalyze the sudden change from conjugal bliss to marital tragedy. On the eve of his 21st birthday, Jackie was targeted in an assassination attempt by his own organization due to fears that he was attempting to take over the Franchetti Family. In an effort to shake Jackie at his core, Don Uncle Paulie kidnaps Jenny and travels to the orphanage from their youth. Jackie arrives in a homecoming of sorts to witness his enemies berating Jenny. In a scene of absolute helplessness,  the Darkness seizes Jackie's body, preventing him from intervening as the Don raises his gun to Jenny's face. Boom. Jenny crumples to the floor and the antagonists escape. Even through suicide, Jackie is unable to find peace. The Darkness cannot live without its host, and thus he returns to the land of the living, forced to continue his existence as a pawn of the malevolent being. Gears of War 2 – Dom and Maria Battling for humanity’s survival against a horde of reptilian humanoids may seem like a challenging feat, but the steroid-pumped, macho men of Gears of War claim otherwise. Corporal Dominic “Dom” Santiago, one of the elite soldiers chosen to fight against the Locust, is forced to not only deal with the hardships of war, but also with an internal struggle fueled by the death of his children and disappearance of his wife Maria. When news is received about her whereabouts, Dom trudges through hordes of alien forces to her rescue. The good news is Dom finds his wife alive. The bad news is she is malnourished, scarred, and mentally broken from the torment of slave labor. In the ultimate display of love, Dom ends her suffering with a single bullet to the head. Damn. God of War – Kratos and Lysandra Kratos may be Sparta’s most prominent ladies man, boasting encounters with countless women and even the Goddess of Love, but he wasn’t always the king of promiscuity. Before the demigod was known to partake in threesomes with advanced button-pressing sequences, he was a devoted husband and father. In a desperate move during a losing battle, the Spartan devoted his allegiance to the god of war Ares in return for victory against enemy Barbarian tribes. Through a twist of fate fueled by Kratos’s thirst for power, he was tricked by Ares to raid a nearby village. Blinded by Ares' power,  Kratos slaughtered every man, woman, and child in the village, including his own wife Lysandra and child Calliope. If that wasn’t enough, Kratos was cursed by a village oracle, forcing him to forever wear the ashes of his dead family on his skin. From that day forward, Kratos became known as The Ghost of Sparta; and ever since then, God of War has represented one of the most depressing love stories in videogames. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What is your favorite videogame romance? Have you ever felt moved or saddened by gaming love affairs gone wrong?
Sad videogame romances photo
Still think love conquers all?
Valentine’s Day inspires a variety of emotions. While love is in the air for many, cupid has more sinister plans for a select few. A poor Valentine's Day for an average person might include seeing a movie alone or a sol...

Dead Space graphic artist: Games are the new mythology

Feb 13 // mrandydixon
Destructoid: What excites you most about working with the Dead Space IP? Christopher Shy: Well, the fact that I can be a small part of such an incredible franchise from its infancy, to start with. Games are really the big franchises of our generation: the new mythology. Before that, we had books and movies, but those fantasy and fictional worlds were very infrequently translated to film, which at the time were the apex of where you could go. Now, we have games that unfold, and stories that we can be a part of as we play. Dead Space -- and the games for the last ten or fifteen years -- are becoming part of our collective consciousness. We know and remember those mythologies, and we look at those games as the perfect apex of what you could be immersed in, and any films as mostly poor adaptations of those games. It is interesting to play in a universe and immerse yourself before you illustrate any of those characters in a graphic novel, knowing that sometimes you're adapting an almost perfect story already. Knowing that even a film would fail to capture it. That is why games are so interesting to us, and why there is such a difficulty in adapting them to film. You have to play the games before you write that script, otherwise you are doomed. Good luck finding anybody outside gamers to be that passionate about the new mythology. How does working with a property like Dead Space differ from other projects you've been a part of? And do you prefer to work with established properties? Well, from the very beginning the whole team at EA was extremely supportive of my process in approaching a novel. None of these stories are adaptations, and I don't do those. If the film has already been made, I don't want to touch the material, because really, what's the point? Each of the Dead Space novels were outside of what was going on inside the two previous games, and this novel told the events before the third, so there was a universe outside of the window I could make my own. And for me, making anything my own is the first step. I may be a hired gun, but I treat these books as if I own them completely when I work on them, and EA made me feel like rather than being a hired gun, I was one of the family. Did you work much with Visceral directly on this project? And if so, how much of an influence did they have on the direction of your work? Yes, Cate Latchford and Chuck Beaver have always been on point to make sure I don't go off the rails. There were a few designs that I needed to pull back from, things that I needed in to bridge the gap between the game and the novel, but for the most part it was mainly a very strong support network as I laid out the pages and sent them in. Is there anything you wanted to include, but didn't get to for whatever reason? (-smurfee mcgee) I might have wanted to extend some of the Necromorph sequences. I always find myself thinking a book could always use more monsters. Were you a fan of the Dead Space games before being approached to do these graphic novels? (-Corduroy Turtle) Both of them, yes. Although with the number three, it was more of a visual walkthrough to examine the details. I wanted to push this novel closer to the look and feel of the third game, since the novel needed to lead into that, and merge with it. I am pretty excited to get a chance to play number three. Are there any other games or series you're into? (-Corduroy Turtle) There are certain games that always stick out in my mind, and really resonated with me. I don't get as much time as I would like to explore everything that is out there. I was a fan of Dead Space before coming onboard to illustrate the graphic novels. I always thought Half-life was incredible, and Half-Life 2 blew me away. Dead Space was the same for me. Dead Space 2 was almost an overload of new material; the universe really took off. Is there anything you learned during your work on Salvage that you were able to draw on (pun intended) for Liberation? I think being more familiar with the universe always helps, but I always try to approach each book differently. I was able to draw upon my previous library of creatures and monsters that didn't make the cut during the first concept phase, and there is always the hope that something that didn't work the first time around, may work in a second installment. There is a kind of design aesthetic I am following with the Necromorphs, something I am chasing in the work. Having exhausted some paths on the first book, I felt a bit freer on this one. Did you know right away what direction you wanted to go? (-smurfee mcgee) Generally within the first few hours of reading the script I will start to get an idea of where I want to go, and then I will fill up my notebook with sketches and notes. I always try to find some key element of a design that pulls the whole project together, and will inform the look and feel of the book. It could be a certain color scheme, or visual motif. In Salvage, it was the claustrophobic madness of Benedykt Malyech as he knelt before the Marker and slowly changed. The colors were muted; it had an almost Enki Bilal, Stanley Kubrick framing to that sequence. That led me to make cuts and color changes to the rest of the book to reflect that. In Liberation, it was the vastness of space and the cold gray tones that led me to keep the book devoid of color in the beginning, so that when the action and explosions started, that would be the start of a whole new tonal shift in oranges and reds. It's always a process on each one, and sometimes you may be 50 pages in before that anchor image arrives. What were your influences for drawing this besides the source material? (-Occams electric toothbrush) For the Necromorphs I looked at a lot of medical studies on tumors and cancers. The Necromorphs, to me, are more of one cell mass attacking another, mutating beyond their host. I always imaged when the Necromorphs finished attacking pure human hosts, they move on to each other, and those combinations were what I was most interested in. That worked well in Salvage, as the Necromorphs had been on the Ishimura for quite a while. I also built a lot of the ships in Salvage from scratch, they are still sitting in my studio. The largest is three feet long. For the ships I went for a much more heavy military use, something that was defined but lots of metal and redundancy. In space, no one can call a tow truck.* [*Possible tagline for a Euro Truck Simulator 2 sequel, "Space Trucker"? I think so! --Andy] Which artists or artworks inspired you? (-infinitestrike) Enki Bilal and Stanley Kubrick on Salvage, for sure. Kubrick, for framing and pacing. I looked at a lot of 70s and 80s street punks for inspiration on Salvage. I wanted that to come back as a style in the future, a lot of shaved heads, makeup on both men and women. Odd Nerdrum touches here and there. I have always been a very big admirer of Hiroaki Samura's work, and the last ten years of artists coming out of japan. When designing, were there any obvious or notable influences you wanted to avoid? As in, were there any previous artists whom you were conscious of and wanted not to mimic? (-TheCiderMan) Not really. At this point in my life, I wouldn't say anyone or anything influences me too greatly. But having said that, I do find myself not wanting to watch Ridley Scott's Alien anytime around working on Dead Space; that movie is so iconic that it would dominate and infect my thinking process. I admire that film and Ridley Scott so greatly, that I have to remind myself to find my own path. How did you try and define your work in the Dead Space universe? (-TheCiderMan) I always define my own path on a project by what serves the story best, and what my first impressions of the story are. Sometimes I see something the writer doesn't, and that will become the anchor that grounds the entire story in my mind, and that can change how I see the art, significantly. Every book is part of my life's work, and as I am passionate about Dead Space, I don't mind fighting for those ideas and changes I feel will deepen the story, and universe. What was your favorite thing to draw during this project? (-SephirothX) John Carver was especially fun to draw; he is a very interesting guy. I wouldn't mind revisiting him, once we see where he ends up.
Dead Space Art Interview photo
An interview with Dead Space: Liberation artist Christopher Shy
Christopher Shy is a man who knows his Necromorphs. For two books now, he's helped craft some of the scariest creations seen outside of Visceral's own games; first with Dead Space: Salvage, and again most recently for the bra...

Horror won't fly in $60 games? The industry won't let it!

Feb 13 // Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts made headlines last year when it revealed Dead Space 3 needed to sell five million copies to secure its future. Likewise, Resident Evil 6 failed to meet Capcom's expectations despite shifting almost five million copies itself. This is ridiculous. It's absolutely fucking ludicrous that games selling over one million copies could be considered a failed project, under any circumstances. The sheer extravagance of game development has painted publishers into such a corner that their ambitions are now far exceeding reality. While digital distribution cuts costs of physical manufacturing and makes it easier to get games into the hands of customers, I don't think major publishers will seize that opportunity to create horror games, or any other kind of niche title. If they were prepared to, they'd already be trying it. Instead, they're just going to continue to put out PC ports of console games and charge $60 for digital copies. They've evidenced their belief that, to them, digital is not a way to take more risks, but a way to simply make more savings on the same old shit they've been pulling at retail. The problem is not the constraints of the retail market, it's the constraints of an executive's brain.  Amnesia and Slender are successful not through sheer virtue of their digital nature. They're successful because they weren't obsessed with beating Call of Duty. They had realistic goals, and they met them. This is evidenced in retail just as much as digital, too! Look at Demon's Souls. That game was a success because it had a humble budget, a decent (but not indulgent) marketing push, and Atlus manufactured copies to meet demand. With such reasonable expectations, the game's performance was cause for celebration. It's also interesting to note that, as a reader reminded me, Sony originally meant to publish Demon's Souls and got cold feet. Cue a smaller publisher with less lofty goals sweeping in and making treasure of Sony's trash! Major publishers can't be happy with that kind of success though, and they're not interested in games that can't become major rivals to Call of Duty and the like. I somehow don't think that mentality will disappear in a far-flung digital future.  Once Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Activision all move fully into the world of incorporeal distribution, it'll just be the same game on a different playing field. They'll still be fighting tooth and nail to beat each other, and thus remain too afraid to stray too far from their comfortable boundaries. There's not actually much evidence that interest in horror games suddenly disappeared overnight. Resident Evil was still doing just fine before Capcom panicked and turned RE6 into Mainstream Videogames: The Official Videogame. They're simply not guaranteed to be THE most popular item right now, and it seems publishers want the whole cake, or otherwise reject even a sizable slice.  So it is that independent developers and smaller publishers are left to pick up the slack, and continue making games that aren't the most successful in the world, but still successful -- provided you're not short-sighted, greedy, and obsessed with dominating your market, rather than simply doing well in it.  Horror games won't fly in the retail space for one simple reason -- publisher clipped their wings before they were given a chance. 
AAA horror photo
Cliff Bleszinski thinks horror's doomed at retail, but who's doing the dooming?
As Dead Space 3 trades terror for cover mechanics, and Resident Evil 6 gives up all pretense of being a scary game, it's becomes ever clearer that mainstream publishers have no faith in horror games. Developer Cliff Bleszinsk...

Violence photo

David Cage is right: Violence is not essential

Even if it is jolly good fun
Feb 12
// Fraser Brown
Earlier this week, Allistair suggested that violence is integral to immersion, that it could draw us into games that lack it even more. This was in response to a presentation given by serial pompous twit and occasio...
Art of Dead Space photo
Nightmare fuel
[Update: Contest over! Winners are ghostbody, Occams electric toothbrush, and Zidago.] Our friends at Titan Books have given us three copies of The Art of Dead Space to hand out to lucky Dtoiders! This lavish hardco...

Dead Space 3 thievery photo
Dead Space 3 thievery

Attorney: Dead Space 3 resource exploit might be theft

IP expert likens resource farming to stealing
Feb 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Dead Space 3 features an exploit which allows players to circumvent the game's microtransactions by acquiring infinitely spawning items. While Electronic Arts has no intention of removing the feature, an intellectual pro...
Dead Space 3 glitch photo
Dead Space 3 glitch

EA: Dead Space 3 microtransaction workaround not a glitch

Publisher claims exploit was intentional
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Electronic Arts claims that the infinite items exploit in Dead Space 3 is "not a glitch" and that the publisher has "no plans to issue a patch to change this aspect of the game." Responding to a Forbes inquiry, an EA represen...

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