Dead Space 3’s New Direction Does It Right

The Dead Space 3 demo released last week was my initial firsthand experience with the franchise. This reality is not a direct result of disinterest, either. To be blunt, I can’t stand being scared. Horror films are frightening enough — a form of entertainment I also actively avoid — though there’s something extra terrifying about adding interactivity into the mix, taking a character into a situation where all sorts of nightmares await in the shadows to strike with a simultaneous spike in the no-longer-silent music. If given the option, I’ll go with smiles, sunshine, and cuddles before ever setting foot into video game darkness.

Unfortunately, that darkness draws me in.

To those doubting my sincerity, consider that I only “survived” a Slender playthrough because I knew it would all end in a quick instant or two. Consider that I still couldn’t take more than ten minutes of Resident Evil 4 in a well-lit room on a 13″ TV surrounded by three friends. Consider that my greatest prior exposure to Dead Space comes from a series of YouTube Let’s Plays I started watching shortly after the launch of the original, only to shut them off forever when my bite-sized bravery eventually left me.

But the darkness attracts, always holding my interests tight despite that fact that it shouldn’t. Compelled by an undying drive, I want to enjoy Dead Space like so many others … which is why I must warn you, Internet, for the impending bit of blasphemy heading your way. I’m about to compliment EA. Beware.

In my eyes, Dead Space 3’s new direction does it right. When compared to the first two — from what I can tell with my limited experience, at least — the latest Dead Space entry dials back the survival horror aspects and fills that area with action-oriented gameplay. For series die-hards, such a statement is obscene, an injustice imposed upon a beloved framework. Tinkering with what isn’t broken, if you will. I have heard these cries, fans declaring EA is dumbing down Dead Space 3 to expand its audience. After playing that demo, they don’t seem to be wrong.

Yet at the same time, I’m adoring what EA did.

Dead Space 3 MonsterStill creepy, just tolerably creepy.

For once, I can finally get into Dead Space. No longer will I be forced to linger away with my lack of courage, missing out on what many are expecting to be a spectacular game because I can’t control my fragile mental state. This Dead Space is still freaky, mind you, its rushing monsters, reanimated and mutated corpses, and aggressive aliens all intact and guaranteed to make most of you jump. It’s scary, but no longer survival horror scary. No longer scary enough to exclude. Terribly tense, yet stopping short of inducing heart attacks upon the weak — like me.

The snowy environment creates an ambiance that is just as isolating as it was to MacReady over 30 years ago in the Antarctic. However, exchanging the eternal darkness of creaky spaceship monster closets was enough to finally reel me in without a personal, constant urge to quit and crawl into bed. You may continue to spew hatred toward EA, but this would have been just another Dead Space experience for me — and many others, I imagine — to ignore if not for this new approach that broadens the appeal. I never thought I’d say it, yet today Electronic Arts receives my seal of approval.

Just don’t mention the in-game microtransactions.

Written by: Luke Frazier

Gaming industry addict. Twitter fiend. Unabashed lover of Kingdom Hearts. Other favorites include The Legend of Zelda, Portal, Bioshock, Journey, and peanut butter & banana sandwiches. Also, oatmeal. Let's be friends. @LukeAFrazier – Steam/PSN: GodAlliz

  • Phatty

    The drill room in the demo terrified me.
    It was a bit action-oriented, but that’s what happens when you face the fear….shit goes down!
    While the whole Thing homage is getting me to buy it rather than rent it, it seems a bit desperate on Visceral’s part…using an already tried and true horror theme to boost appeal. Just a bit though. Haven’t lost respect for the amount of lore they’ve already developed with this game.

    • Totally on board with you. Tense is the word I used, but “shit goes down” works just as well. It’s terrifying without relying on cheap jump scares.

  • Ridge

    This is a lot like how I felt whe Resident Evil 6 came out.
    People all over the place complaining it isn’t anything like the old scary games. But myself having not played those games just got to not care and have fun with my new game…Oh well.
    The whole Dead Space trilogy is on my to do list eventually. They look good but I just haven’t had time.

    • From what I’ve heard, Resident Evil 6 isn’t a good game no matter which genre you cut it into. However, if Dead Space 3 ends up being a stellar sometimes-scary experience, I don’t see why fans of the original two have to complain about it…Having a new version of something you don’t like doesn’t ruin the old ones.

      • Ridge

        RE6 wasn’t a great game for sure. But if you just want to run around shooting zombies and other weird enemies for awhile it’s fine.
        As for the point about fans complaining. Gamers are entitled. So when something they like is changed, especially to appeal to a broader audience they often take it as a personal attack.
        People need to speak with their wallets. If you don’t like something don’t buy it. No amount of complaining is going to change a game that is already far enough along to piss you off.

        • dakan45

          Well RE6 was a tleast a long shooter as opposed to most games nowdays. You could play it like that.

          • Ridge

            Valid point. I swear each campaign was about the length of an Uncharted game..

  • dakan45


    with phil collins in the air tonight.


    It is the biggest trolling yet from ea.

    So they got microtransactions on a 60 bucks game to give your free resources which destroys survival horror and balance and they said they added microtransactions to appeal to mobile phone audience.

    So you say that you couldnt get into the previous dead space games but now you can. Does that not strike you as a betrayal to horror and theme of the game? Dead space 2 was uncharted-ly enough, now this? Seriously ea?

    But i keep on forgeting, unless this game sells 5 millions, its a failure.

    • Not a betrayal, no. I see it as providing a similar experience in the same universe, but one that more people can experience. Even babies like me.

      • dakan45

        in other words they mess up the game. You must be new at this, every time they change the game to satisfy the non fans, the fans get a crappy version.

    • I don’t get the In The Air Tonight reference. PLZ RSPND this is relevant to my interests.

      • dakan45

        The tlaunch trailer is called “take down the horror” and has phil collins “in the air tonight” music.

        Maximum trolling from ea.

        • HAHAHAHAHA. You tubed and thank you!

  • I’ve never played any of them, been wanting too thou. Just bought Dead Space when the whole EA games where free with the promo code 🙂

    • Yeah! Almost forgot I had that free! Someday, when those Dead Space graphics look as dated as the N64 does now, maybe then I’ll be able to handle it…