News What We Are Reading Today: Lessons for Survival

LONDON: “Dead Space” was originally launched across formats in 2008 and spawned several sequels.

It is now back in a digital deluxe version completely rebuilt from the ground up to offer a deeper, more immersive experience.

Available across all the main platforms, the remake of the survival action-horror classic retains its core identity with all the added power of the modern consoles and controllers.

For those new to the series, it owes a lot to the classic “Alien” film, combining a decaying industrial spaceship with various creatures looking to do you harm. It also has elements of the “Doom” game series with a storyline pointing toward monsters being unleashed from hell. This background familiarity is the bedrock to what is, however, a unique franchise.

Players take the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer on a rescue vessel looking to see what has happened to the vast USG Ishimura mining ship that has gone silent.

Quicky, it becomes apparent that disaster has befallen the ship and its crew of 1,000, leaving it in a decaying orbit being slammed into by asteroids and overrun by monsters. As if this level of jeopardy is not enough, Clarke’s partner is one of the ship’s medics and needs rescuing.

The full story of what befell the Ishimura is a mystery that unravels as users progress through the game – told in snippets of audio diaries or text documents discovered while exploring the ship.

The quality of the story which brings in big company corruption, religious zealots, as well as more imaginative alien dynamics underpins the tension that the game delivers through the darkness of the ship, areas of zero gravity, or the terrifying whispers that seem to be carried on the air.

In addition, the game has a content warning as the monsters prowling the ship have dispatched much of the crew in the bloodiest of fashions. Bodies lie strewn across corridors, blood strained messages are written on the wall, all adding to the fear and isolation felt by players as they guide Clarke through an over-the-shoulder view. Vents suddenly burst, the music shrieks, and the controller starts to throb uncontrollably in the hand; all very effective devices.

Clarke travels the ship, with advice from his two remaining crewmates who remained holed up elsewhere, completing tasks largely based around getting the ship’s systems back online and preventing it crashing into the planet below.

Despite Clarke being supposedly a space engineer, his ability to survive the Ishimura is all down to his amazing space suit and the assorted tools that he can weaponize. The suit has thrusters, can navigate zero gravity, and is able to slow enemies with a stasis charge or grapple debris through a gravity device it has.

Weapons wise, plasma cutters, flame throwers, and saw guns allow Clarke to take down mutated alien-like enemies that were once humans. These Necromorphs have vulnerable limbs and vary in form. Some throw acid, others move quickly across the ceilings but with ammunition limited in tight settings Clarke must be spot on with his targeting and knowing which vulnerabilities each opponent has.

Despite the terrifying setting, the character of Clarke is a bit of a black hole with no internal monologue or real personality, leaving the space to be filled by players’ own paranoia.

Whether its intentional or not there is also a frustrating inability to use medical packs outside of the heat of battle.

More helpful are the plethora of save points, meaning that frequent deaths do not result in huge losses in progress.

All in all, the remake is a polished and excellent one and highly recommended for those new to the terrors of “Dead Space.”

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