Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Gamer Dad And His Guide To What To Games To Spend Your Money On: DEAD SPACE

I've been twittering my thoughts on the space-themed horror game, Dead Space, but I haven't really put my thoughts into any cohesive form. So, with the advent of my other gaming post (and it being a week before Christmas and there still being time to purchase some last minute gifts), I thought I would give a formal review of the game.

First off, if you have played another game called BioShock, you will like this game. Dead Space utilizes some of the same storytelling techniques as BioShock including movies, text logs and audio tapes to lay out the tale of what looks like a medical experiment gone very wrong. There are a lot of nods to horror movies like The Thing and Aliens, and you will definitely be nervous as you turn corners.

I had read another review of this game that said I would be scream out loud while I was playing it. I originally thought that was an editorial exaggeration. But they weren't kidding. There are moments in this game when I found myself yelling out loud from being startled so bad. Things pop out at you and fall on you at the most inopportune moments and some creatures also sneak up on you, making it even worse. It definitely has captured the feeling of watching a good horror movie, which loud sounds and skittering unseen monsters adding to the suspense.

As of this writing, I'm about 70% through the game and it's still keeping my interest. The difficulty factor isn't much of an issue if you continue upgrading your weapons as you go along. One nice thing is that the story is set up in chapters and each one takes about an hour or so to complete. So if you have limited gaming time, you can finish one chapter in a sitting. If you're still having issues, however, there are multiple save stations. Plus, getting lost on the sprawling ship is close to impossible thanks to a very detailed three-dimensional map.

FAMILY TAKE: Dead Space will startle you. My teenage son loves the game, but it still scares him. There is a lot of blood and dismembement, but my kids see it as cartoony and not frightening. If your kids can handle the blood, it should be fine to let them check it out with parental supervision. Do be aware that some of the audio logs that your character picks up can contain some salty language, and watch out for bad language scrawled on the walls of the ship.