Some gamers have mixed feelings about the Dead Space franchise. The survival/horror purists say that these games don’t necessarily qualify for the niche genre, simply because they’re more like scary third-person shooters. But it’s undeniable that “horror” is a main element, and that element will return in full force in Dead Space 3 . The addition of the cooperative aspect might make things even more intriguing, especially considering that your partner won’t always see what you see…and that alone is worthy of discussion.
The implementation of a co-op mechanic has its pluses and negatives. On the downside, one has to appreciate the solo style in any game that hinges on fear; after all, we’re always more frightened when we’re all by ourselves. This is how the best examples of interactive horror have operated in the past. But developer Visceral Games has opted to ditch the traditional in favor of a more modern approach, and as we all know, the popularity of multiplayer has skyrocketed this generation. Besides, the designers can do all sorts of freaky stuff with the co-op mechanic.
One thing you’ll have to remember when playing with a friend— What you see on your screen isn’t necessarily what your buddy is seeing. There are times when one of the characters might be hallucinating and while he’s in total freak-out mode, his partner won’t fully understand why he’s freaking out. Well, how come? Because those hallucinations aren’t visible to the character who has remained sober and fully conscious. This idea could result in some truly memorable sequences, provided the developers don’t make things too disjointed, to the point where one player is always a little confused as to what’s happening to his partner.
Another difference will be the increased speed of the Necromorphs, which should serve to amp up the urgency and intensity. My only issue with this is that aiming in the Dead Space games was critical for two reasons: 1. Ammo was always relatively scarce and 2. The Necromorphs really would only die fast if you severed their limbs or cut off the heads. Randomly firing at their body would result in wasted ammunition. Now, while the third-person shooting mechanic has always worked beautifully, I’m a little concerned about facing super fast foes when ammo is just so damn valuable. Well, maybe that ammo won’t be so scarce this time around.
Oh, and don’t forget the enhanced customization . We’ll be able to fiddle with our weapons by adding new pieces to existing weapons, and even fusing two firearms to create a brand new bad-ass weapon. Apparently, there are a great many options for the sadistically imaginative. Above all else is the atmosphere, which appears to be fittingly dark, hellishly gory, and hopefully, downright petrifying. Whether it’s survival/horror or not (and most will say “not” for DS3), this title will still thrive on thrills and chills, so they need to be in extreme abundance. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d say Visceral has that covered. Hope you're not squeamish.
Dead Space 3 is slated to launch on February 5, 2013. If you’ve got a willing friend, this should be high on your priority list.