I think it's best to evaluate things as what they are, and as what they're intended to be. Most of my contention with the modern gaming media and gamers themselves comes from the inability for people to separate themselves from preconceived notions of what something, in this case a game, should be be and to actually look at it. It's for that reason that I am beginning like this: Necromorphs are not zombies. They are not even individual creatures. They are extensions of a hive mind that act with varying degrees of intelligence, from a chunk of meat on a bulkhead that swipes at whatever comes near, to raptor-like pack hunters which circle and strike when Isaac isn't looking. Each "unit" has always attempted to avoid it's own destruction, but they have more in common with insects or elements of an immune system than they do with zombies, and will sacrifice themselves with little hesitation. They are completely expendable if it means survival of the whole. In fact, since they're made of the mutated biological matter of things they've encountered, Necromorphs are basically the Zerg (or Tyrannids, if you prefer) with less bug and more dead. I have seen more than one "zombies with guns" comment and I really have to wonder how much those people were paying attention. My guess? Not very much, because they still think necromorphs are zombies.
As long as we're on the topic of the necromorphs, I love their new, more active, mutations. It could be compared to the lambent enemies in Gears of War, but Gears' enemies were just redoubling their bulletsponginess by changing in predictable and even manipulatable ways. These are much more The Thing and being in the snow only adds to that. At one point, I was being attacked by a legs topped with lashing tentacles, a shambling miner armed with picks, and a dismembered torso with a couple sets of chunky spider legs. They all attacked and behaved differently, though they all were out for my blood. The old dismemberment system was cool, but it was a bit simple. Taking off an arm and a leg guaranteed that the beastie was dead. Now? I have no idea. It seems like they start as human and become more alien as you lop bits off and those parts are replaced by the corruption hiding inside them. Oooh, horror. There's probably still a formula there, dictating how you take them apart and what happens, but it seems to have more options and I haven't figured them all out yet. Yeah, ok, there are necromorphs with guns. It is a thing that happens. These horrible. disembodied heads slither around and jam tendrils down the necks of corpses, much like one of the special death animations from Dead Space, and then they stiffly jerk around to aim at you and they don't really seem to know how guns work because they're tendril-powered baby heads. There were already dart-throwing babies, standard necromorphs with a rare spit attack, and things called "pukers" that do exactly what it sounds like; ranged enemies are not a new addition, but the presence of Unitologists as actual enemies means there's no shortage of people getting turned into dead bodies with guns in their hands.
Graphically, it's pretty as hell. Lighting is good, scenery is pretty, environments are varied just through the indoor, outdoor, snowfields, and mining facilities seen in the demo. I like it because it feels like moving through a mostly realistic place. You go into a building, come out in a different place, the buildings are different on the inside. It's like having bathrooms on the Ishamura. I don't need to step out into a different reality every time I go through a door, but they just need to feel realistically different. They do, I'm happy.
Now, weapon crafting. My first thoughts when hearing "weapon crafting" in relation to Dead Space were about how out of place it seemed. But it isn't a Call of Duty-esqe slapping of extra bits onto guns. You have parts and can assemble them into something that suits you. I initially just threw some things together and ended up disappointed, but then I broke them apart again and assembled them into something I liked more. I found a heavy cutter much like the Line Gun in previous games, so I put that onto a frame and broke the Force Gun off of the default paired weapons and put them together. What I had then was a gun that allowed me to blast things away and cut them really hard, though neither function repeated fire very quickly. Also, I broke them apart again! How nice is that? It's almost like things are made of parts that don't need to be annihilated to be removed. The upgrade system also comes with more options to weigh, balancing clip size, damage, and reload speed into benefit and penalty circuits. I can handwave the ability for Isaac to fashion whole new weapon frames and nozzles from scrap as functions of the bench rather than him crushing them into shape with just his hands, Ferrus Manus style. It is the industrial space future and it's a fine thing to use my "suspension of disbelief points" on if it means I can take things apart and bolt them together as I please as though highly qualified engineer Isaac Clarke has some sort of job skills or is at least competent with technology of the industrial space future in which he engineers things for a living.
Universal ammunition is a thing now, but you know what? That's just the game not bullshitting you. If you always hauled around 4 different tools in the previous games, you might not have noticed that, aside from what I think were predetermined ammo drops, Dead Space has always given you ammunition for the weapons you're holding. Making everything run on the same batteries is just the developer acting like you're smart enough to notice that. Try it, if you don't believe me. Go out with just the plasma cutter or ripper and you will end up with a million billion extra ripper blades or plasma cutter... plasmas, whatever the hell they were. Carry one weapon and you will overflow with whatever it consumes. You are always given what you need, but now what you need is one type of thing. If anything, I'd criticize them for just calling it "ammo" and not making up a better name for it.
Overall, I loved it. Yeah, there are jump scares, but it's still got good sound, a good score, and foreboding enough environments that those jump scares aren't uncultivated. You've been prepped for it when things spring up, and it makes the springing more effective. As always, having effective combat and movement controls makes it possible to have aggressive and dangerous enemies. Even the much-lauded Resident Evil 4 had enemies that would charge up, slow to a crawl, and sidle around so you could run away or shoot them by way of lousy controls. If both enemies and player controls are made good, it's even more intense than fighting with bad controls so dumb enemies seem dangerous. Dead Space is still Dead Space, so I'm pretty excited.