tldr: Don't buy Dead Space 3 because it'll make everyone at Visceral Games alcoholic unemployed industry professionals.
Also this: http://youtu.be/f_Hx043D_0E
Isaac's Face at 5 minutes says it all http://youtu.be/tuXZ5K6Hy0A
Nothing says desperation like a burst of varying underhanded marketing tactics being thrown at a single title. I'm sure the thought process behind co-op multiplier is that it directly correlates to more single sales of a title so that more people will play together. The counter to this of course is that most online and multiplier experiences are re-hashed, overused, and bland ideas which hold little to no footing for a consistent audience. Because every other title and those titles squeals contain a multiplayer experience and that directly invalidates and dilutes a consistent online audience even further. Dead Space 3 does just that to by directly invalidating the online experience of Dead Space 2, just as Uncharted 3 does to Uncharted 2. Minor improvements over previous installments might as well be swept aside with the overwhelming avalanche to conform and purchase the latest title. However, this criticism is not based on Dead Space 3's multiplayer experience, it is a far more superficial analysis than that. Instead, the purpose will be to direct the attention to disgusting, lazy, and unintentionally horrific details about Dead Space 3 which contrast with such atrocities as the Geoff Keighley Mountain Dew and Doritos incident, as well as the worst most tasteless tri-colour pasta of videogame endings even conceived at the end of Mass Effect 3. Wherein then does this rant fall onto Dead Space 3 and lend itself to previous rants/expositions/editorials about industry trends? This is a forecast of the Dead Space franchise and Visceral Games.
Dead Space 3 is a well sculpted piece of shit that Electronic Arts has special selected out of the intestines of Visceral Games. EA's fist is so far in and so deep into the ass of Visceral Games that over time EA will have worked that companies asshole into a seamless cloaca. Blending the virtues of a penis, a vagina, and an asshole into a single entity capable of being both fucked and sucked synchronously by a single puppeteer arm. This cloaca will piss a scientifically engineered cocktail with which EA sustains itself.
EA is without a doubt enforcing policies and creative control at Visceral Games. There are some interesting changes that go beyond blending more action into the title. Dead Space did well enough to spawn a very well executed sequel. By no means are the Dead Space games a pinnacle of the interactive arts, but they are examples of how a narrative can compel and captivate an audience. Unfortunately to promote a franchise with unique story elements that diversify it from other current titles certain aspects of that story may be engineered into a marketing ploy to make it appear more original that it actually is. A franchise may even become dependent for cliff hangers to be present to establish the facade of a continuation of what was once a compelling or original narrative.
The presentation and quality of Dead Space 3 is disturbing in the most unintentional and stupid of ways at times, laughably so. Elements which are essentially redundant are in place as filler around every corner. Specifically speaking, Dead Space 3 is notorious for offering up moments of uninspired superficial player interaction. There are ladders, elevators, and stairs visible everywhere in Dead Space 3 which may require some running around to get to, power up, or operate. These interactions use every other excuse to invoke some kind of trivial switch box for the player to click on to activate or drop, this is superficial player interaction at its worst and it is rampant throughout the title. Go to X, do X, go all the way over to Y, enemies came back between X and Y take them out, pat on the back by npc, player is made to feel like they did something, get to the chopper, reward for getting back to X, narrative continuation, etc. This is an adventure game algorithm which is setup to deliver an allocated amount of time for a reward system to deliver. If the player spends X amount of time doing Y the reward and the continuation of the narrative should happen at an interval that won't cause boredum or gameplay stagnation and ceases to be entertaining. Basically, it's chunks of gameplay that are in place to make the game feel like a game without delivering anything more than mechanics which have been done in videogames since Quake 25 years ago. It is uninspired and lazy. These moments leave something to be desired of the capabilities of current videogames. As open world games and fps titles become more advanced the players interaction can develop into new types of gameplay. See a door you can't open but you've got a rocket launcher that took five hours to get, blow it up. You hate an NPC because they annoy the shit out of you and are portrayed in a way that irks you, do away with them. Creating situations outside of a linear algorithm is actually very easy as they are mostly fully automated mechanics. So why is it that Isaac can't climb over a guard rail? Why does he need to use a ladder to get up a two foot high blockade? The worst instances of superficial player interaction include the interaction with a four foot ladder, no more than a few inches from the ground, it requires the player to interact with a switch box which is larger and more impractical than the ladder. It does not focus the gameplay experience or narrative it takes players out of the game and says, "This is a videogame." its condescending, but I suppose in the name of branching to a 'wider audience' dumb is the way to go.
The things that were done with physics and space ships in "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" was as fun to interact with as it was to watch. The ability to use the environment in a way that impacted gameplay in a positive way was everywhere. Gameplay interactions which impacted the environment in a way that benefited the gameplay and narrative and could have been done with ease in Dead Space 3, instead it appears almost as though intentional steps had been taken to add as much stiff filler gameplay moments as possible. With the incredible plethora of tool available why can't metal bars and doors be melted or destroyed? At times its less like you are playing the game and more like EA has its hand up your ass playing you saying, "This is how the game is meant to be played." while also saying implying that if you want to express individuality to express it by creating inefficient weapons, it is literally the only way the player can actually express themselves in some way in this game.
There is nothing worse than an overarching story which spans books, movies, and videogames to have conflicting story elements between mediums. Retroactive continuity and continuity problems effect a medium in a lot of ways, for the most part it stops you from enjoying it. A little thing like a blue cup turning red or perhaps entire set pieces like islands or buildings disappearing between shots in a movie can disturb and actually subconsciously distort an audiences perception and make them less receptive. A lack of continuity or even a spelling error in a book may even create deep feelings of doubt and dread. A lack of continuity can alienate fans, as a producer you never want that to happen. This is one of the reasons why the “The Last Air Bender” movie fell apart, the director fucked up very badly.
A lack of continuity can be as easy as writing dialogue for a character and having a misstep in what that character may think or feel in a given situation. When Isaac had a needle pierce his brain through his eye he didn't shout, “A goat made of pudding killed my girlfriend and lick my asshole she drowned. Whores!”. It wouldn't have been realistic or relevant for that kind of dialogue. The sequence was exceptionally well done, the animation on Isaac's face perfectly reflected the tense situation. If the fourth wall were to be broken during the sequence I'm sure Isaac would have been muttering, “Don't fucking kill me, don't fucking kill me.” but because the sequence is so well done, nothing needs to be said. You understand how tense the situation is each time you try and manipulate that needle into position. The sequence is exceptional and is an example of how interaction between narrative elements, gameplay, and digital performance can consume a player in the atmosphere of a videogame and truly captivate them.
In Dead Space 3 after Isaac and Elie's ship is ripped in half, he has a blank face. His character looks clearly not animated at all. Ellie's face on the other hand had been distorted and exaggerated beyond recognition. Ellie in this scene is adorned with a low cut red top and for the most part her chest remains clearly visible as fire and debris scatter around. I'm sure Ellia was originally written to maintain her persona and really her entire character from Dead Space 2 and that during this scene she was meant to die. Ellie comes back latter on to serve as a superficial love interest with two cardboard cutouts for antagonists trolling behind her. What's with the low cut top? Why does she have to be a love interest? If it's so easy to find a spaceship, why doesn't she just get into one and fly home? What in the fuck is she even doing?
The story elements take a turn for the worse when Isaac reffers to himself as the 'marker killer' at which point I'm sure many fans of Dead Space face-palmed a little bit. In the first game Isaac was a voiceless nobody with nothing but tools at his disposal. Not only did his character work well in Dead Space but he was actually developed as a character when he took on a voice in Dead Space 2, it was an addition which also helped players to care about the character so that in desperate moments players wouldn't be just be thinking, “I don't want to die and have to start over.” but that they would also take into consideration Isaac as a character and not want to watch him get killed. Isaac had been through some hard times between the first and second installments if you cared about the story it would be second nature to really feel as though Isaac Clarke, an unsuspecting engineer who went to fix a radio, became hunted by the decomposing irradiated remains of people he may have known. Not to mention he was uncertain about his girlfriend being alive and was dealing with conflicting psychological issues revolving around her disappearance. On top of that in Dead Space 2 the introductory gameplay is a cross referencing of other canonical material from books and two side-story games. It's a full circle of material that continues to develop throughout and then suddenly contrasting to all of these developments Isaac looks and acts like a douche and talks funny. The fuck Visceral?
I played Dead Space[i/] without really knowing what it was. Finding out it had an intesting corporate and religious subtext present in its story I really felt there was some depth to it. When EA noticed Visceral Games was amassing a bit of a following it was like watching Chris Hanson asking them to take a seat like they'd done something wrong. There was something reserved about the press material presenting itself near the [i]Dead Space 2 launch. Like some EA QA analysts sat down and verified that the product would make money, giving EA the go ahead to send in some foot soldiers to oversee the development of the third installment. Then rumors about taking some of the horror out of the game surfaced which presented questions like, 'If you take the horror out of 'Survival horror' what kind of game do you get?” And then a co-operative campaign was announced and that Isaac would have a partner who looked like a Gears of War COG reject. Fans across the internet intensified their worries exclaiming that if the narrative was still in place everything would be fine. Then the biggest bomb dropped before release, micro-transactions. EA probably had a lot to do with all of these design decisions probably more than anyone at Visceral Games would like to admit. I'm sure they had something to do with the low cut top, the mobile game pay to win formula seeing an inception into a multiplatform title, I just tell myself Isaac's face in that scene where that ship is getting torn apart is the expression of a metaphor. The metaphor a separation from a company and its creative license and control over something it worked so hard to create.
And then it get's reincarnated with breast implants and suddenly everyone around you is mental handicapped and nothing makes sense.
The boss is a moon.
I don't care anymore.
Please don't buy Dead Space 3, you'll only be supporting the problems with underfunded and overstaffed development projects. It leads to mass layoffs and the destruction of beloved stories and characters. Not to mention, if you purchase Dead Space 3 it will only provoke EA to seize even more control over the development process and cause the senior staff at Visceral to mail-it-in so hard that it'll make shit worthy of a Andres Serrano exhibit. I loved Dead Space, I have the zappy gun flashlight happy meal toy and everything. But what it was is dead. I'm not saying this because I'm a purist. Too much evil is taking place between EA and its partners and the masses appear to be supporting their idiocy and manipulation. I can't support microtransactions and the condescending mediocrity that comes with it.
If you want a review score it's:
A sign of entrenched mediocrity out of two micro-transactions.
These people never played the game either.