I have been apprehensive to try to buy into any hype around most new games, especially since my fallout I had with Fable years ago. I almost never read or follow anything on upcoming games, in hopes that they will not build up my hopes and then immediately pull the rug out from underneath me. So is Dead Space yet another example of false hope and ruined expectations?
Make no mistake, Dead Space will be one of the best games of 2008, and looks to live completely up to the hype, as far as this blogger is concerned, as I was able to sit down with Chuck Beaver, producer on Dead Space, and try out one of the levels in the game.
Braving a rather long line, myself and Colette were finally lead into a closed off room in the EA booth at this year's Comic Con. There I met Chuck Beaver, who sat me down and handed me a 360 controller. He asked me if I had known much about the game, which thanks to our dear own Husky, I knew that it was amazing, but not much else. Chuck grins and asks me whether I want to fight big enemies one at a time, or go into an area with tons of enemies attacking you all at once.
"Bring them on," I say proudly, and Chuck quickly guides me into a room once the level boots up.
Something you will notice immediately with Dead Space is how gorgeous it looks, even in this stage of development. The main character's suit is extremely well done, and the level that I played on, although rather sparse, completely added some suspense and tension to the game as I slowly walked down the empty corridor that Chuck was leading me into.
Chuck told me that they wanted to make Dead Space a very immersive experience for the player, and as such, there is no HUD or health bars. Your character's health is displayed on the spine of his suit, letting the player know how close to death they are, while at the same time keeping you feeling like you're actually experiencing this game, not just playing it. Menus and inventory management is done through a holographic pad on your character's arm, which is accessible at any time during gameplay. The menus are also designed to keep you from being pulled out of the experience; they're all in real time (meaning if you are being hunted by baddies, inventory management is not gonna be something you want to be concerned with), and they are directly linked to your character. Rotate the camera around 360 degrees and you'll see the menu stay in the same static location as your character.
As I am walking through a corridor to a doorway, Chuck stops me to show me how to use my weapons. Your character has four regular weapons at his disposal, as well as additional abilities such as telekinetics and a very awesome power known as Stasis, which will freeze enemies in their place for a short period of time, which gives you the opportunity to get away to safety to heal yourself and reload your weapons, or blast the crap out of the frozen enemies. Your main weapon in the game's focus can be changed on it's axis, so blowing the limbs and legs off of the various enemies in the game can be made easier depending on your current location in the zero-g world compared to the enemies.
After showing me how to quickly jump from weapon to weapon (all with the D-pad), I am told by Chuck to open the door in front of me and walk inside. I cautiously enter the room and begin walking to the opposite side when all of a sudden I hear a loud disturbing noise coming from my side. I turn around to see three separate enemies slowly making their way towards me. I ready my weapon and aim for their chest, to which Chuck quickly yells at me for. "Don't ever aim for body shots. Take out their limbs first, then take out their legs."
I aim for the closest enemies legs and fire, and watch as the enemies leg is ripped right off of it's body and it falls down to the floor. As it begins to try and get back up, I walk up to it and, with the tap of one button, crush it's head between the floor and my boot. Blood flies everywhere, and the haunting screech of the enemy quickly ceases.
I throw my hands up with joy and start to laugh happily before I notice that the other two enemies flanked me and being to attack me. One lunges for my head with it's mouth, which activates a QTE where you have to tap a button quickly to prevent the enemy from turning you into lunch. I push the enemy aside and kick it in the head, then run away to regain my bearings.
The room I run to has two explosive containers sitting on the ground. Chuck tells me I can use my telekinetic powers to pick up the containers and launch them at the enemy. I pick up the container and turn for the doorway, waiting for the two baddies to try to enter. As soon as I see their ugly faces in front of the door, I hurl the container at them, causing a massive explosion and leaving the two enemies in a bloody heap all over the room. Chuck throws his hands up with joy and starts to applaud me.
I spent another ten minutes playing through the level, blasting and slicing enemies apart and watching Chuck over and over raise his hands above his head in violent, joyous rapture before I reached the end of the demo. I asked Chuck if he ever gets tired of his job, which he laughs and says that it's the most fun he's ever had, and I have to completely agree.
Dead Space will be arriving on October 21st for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360.