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Five space horror games worse than Dead Space 3

4:00 PM on 02.05.2013 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

Better purchases can be made

By now, you may have heard the inarguable, absolute truth -- as is the case with Destructoid's reviews that are handed down from the maker to our holy reviewers -- that Dead Space 3 is not as great as the first two games.

Before we brashly label Dead Space 3 as less than great, we should put things in perspective. How? First, by remembering Dead Space 1 and 2 are two of the greatest games of the past decade. Secondly, by taking a look at these five turds of space horror.

It astounds me that Capcom hasn't brought the Resident Evil franchise to space -- though some Dino Crisis 3 detractors will insist that this is a good thing -- so Galerians is the next best thing. Except it's really not "best" at anything. Exploring a futuristic lab as an androgynous, psi-enabled 14-year-old boy is an okay concept, but developer Polygon Magic (Incredible Crisis) piled on convoluted mechanics, muddy backgrounds, and unintuitive controls. Its PS2 sequel didn't fare much better.

After releasing the little-known pioneer of survival horror Doctor Hauzer, developer Riverhill Software took the genre to space with OverBlood and its even more baffling sequel. From the voice acting to combat, OverBlood stood as a reminder of how much Capcom pushed things forward with Resident Evil -- which, let's be honest, didn't have good voice acting or combat to begin with. OverBlood was rescued from complete obscurity by Game Informer's Super Replay series, in which the crew played through this bizarre series in its entirety. Laugh at their misfortune, instead of suffering yourself.

As an anxious new recruit at Destructoid, I jumped at any review opportunity that entered my inbox in 2011. When I played Afterfall, that habit was corrected. Afterfall begins well enough -- despite looking like an Unreal Engine 3 school project -- but things go horribly wrong once the the plot sets off into generic sci-fi horrorland. The game's shameless coping of Dead Space wouldn't be so bad if the shooting and puzzles were remotely enjoyable. I was praying the game would just end, and my prayers were answered: I was playing an erroneously labeled retail copy that was really a preview build. Bullet dodged!

Here's one nice thing I can say about Lifeline: It was ahead of its time. And now, here's the truth: It's still hot garbage. Trying to control an avatar by voice commands wouldn't even be fun if it worked properly, which Lifeline didn't. Watching this space waitress run into walls and open the wrong door is enough to make anyone pine for the days of tank controls.

From Software was never a developer of hit titles -- not until Demon's Souls that is -- but Echo Night is a notch more obscure than its King's Field and Armored Core series. Beyond, the third entry in the franchise, takes place in space and accurately depicts how boring it must be to live on a space station, ghosts or not. Beyond has some great ambition and atmosphere, but the end result is game so dull that I wanted to open the air lock and go spiraling out into space. In many ways, it feels like precursor to Frictional Games' excellent blending of first-person adventure and horror. I can only imagine how great Beyond could have been in Frictional's hands.




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Allistair Pinsof,
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