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Dead Space Remake(2023)(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday

Back in 2008, EA gave us a gem of a horror title with Visceral’s “Dead Space”. It was a quick hit that went on to spawn two mainline game sequels, a graphic novel, a couple animated films, and a spinoff rail-shooter game. Fast forward 15 years to 2023 and we now have a brand-new remake that had a lot of anticipation that shuttled it all the way to its release window last weekend.

For those of you who are new to the series, in a bit of a nutshell (since its lore honestly runs pretty deep), ‘Dead Space’ has you play Systems engineer Isaac Clarke who joins a search and rescue team for a planet-cracking mining ship named the USG Ishimura. It has gone radio silent after Isaac received a strange and ominous message from his girlfriend Nicole, who is a physician/scientist aboard it. While attempting to dock and board, their ship suffers massive damage and forces them to crash-land onto it. While the rest of the crew assess the situation and search for a means to leave, Isaac explores the ship to look for Nicole. What we discover is that the ship has been overrun by alien-human hybrid cosmic horrors called necromorphs, forcing Isaac to defend himself by weaponizing his mining tools and his spacesuit. Through a series of blood-strewn messages written on the walls, you learn that the only way to defeat the necromorphs are by dismembering several of their limbs – which forces strategy in order to dispatch these creatures that take on different shapes, forms, and threat levels.

This game is a toybox of visceral gore, chaotic violence, puzzle solving, philosophy, and deep space exploration. The story itself goes to some very deep trenches involving a fanatical religion, government corruption, and the lurid pursuit of human evolution. But even just on the surface, it is an extremely charming and fun action-adventure-horror game that needs to be played to be appreciated.

Now, onto the new wave with the remake. Most critics were skeptical as the release window grew closer and closer, but immediately upon release it was met with nothing but raving reviews. It is completely faithful to the original creation while incorporating updated creature designs, updated sound design, altered weaponry, re-vamped jump scares and level building, and an overhaul of new features to make sure even returning players had surprises to explore. It feels just like the original, except even tighter. The controls handle beautifully, the monsters are scarier than ever, and the weapons all feel much better than they ever did. There are new features such as a ‘Security Clearance Level’ that requires you to level up in order to open special doors (often for loot-rooms), loot chests, and things of that ilk. There are also many more changes to the possible upgrades you can choose to use for any of your weapons or your suit – allowing a level of freedom and customization to match your preferred play style – the upgrade system operates the same way by using Power Nodes you collect through the levels at a work bench and ‘unlocking’ particular upgrades like ammo capacity, damage rate, reload rate, etc. The entire playable area has also been changed to become and feel like one MASSIVE level that you enjoy sections of, rather than feeling like an older game system where you progress from one different level to another – it’s a welcome feature that makes the game feel so much more alive and organic. The dread-inducing atmosphere of each section is utterly terrifying and just oozes with creepy, goopy gore, almost pitch-black lighting in particular ideas, ambient noises that sound squealchy and mechanical, and fantastic micro-details to things such as wall art and scenery that elevate the eye candy. Pro tip: play this game with headphones on if you can, the soundscape is unbelievable and highly elevates the terror to make you quiver even while playing during the day.

It’s honestly one of the better remakes I’ve played thus far. At a base level, it feels very similar to the ‘Resident Evil 2’ remake where there were welcome changes on top of just updating the graphics and gameplay, but all of the details put into the new ‘Dead Space’ just make it feel so much more alive and welcoming. I still haven’t beaten it yet – seeing as how I’ve only had one night to really play it before going back to work for one of my long weeks – but I’ve been so excited at the idea of going back in. It’s dramatically more impressive than I was ever expecting and is sure to satisfy the beastly hunger of newer and returning fans alike.

5/5
“Dead Space” is currently available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, & Steam Deck.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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