I was honestly very skeptical of the Dead Space remake at first. I mean, not only is the original still easy to play on current systems, but it’s also held up quite well over the years in terms of both visuals and gameplay mechanics. It’s the sort of game that one would think really wouldn’t need any sort of remake treatment. Even so, the Dead Space remake is here, and I went ahead and got it thanks to all the interesting developments the team at EA Motive added to it. My findings: while not it’s not strictly needed, this remake is fantastically done and should set the example for all similar projects from now on.
Just to make things clear: this is still basically the same Dead Space as before. Same characters, same overarching story, same major beats, much of the same dialog and more or less the same gameplay. This is not a Final Fantasy VII Remake-style project, but neither is it Demon’s Souls (2020); it’s more like what Dead Space would have been if it had been made today instead of all the way back in the mid-2000s. It’s the same basic game, but with better visuals, some story embellishments, extra chances for player choice and some new, behind-the-scenes, features.
Starting with the visuals, all I can say is that this game is absolutely breathtaking on the PS5. I’m generally not the kind of guy to drool over visuals (in a technical sense), but even I can’t help but stop and appreciate just how incredibly good this new version of Dead Space looks! It’s not so much the visual fidelity (which is also good), but rather the incredible lighting and the sheer attention to detail going on here!
The lighting is perhaps the most impressive. The lighting was really good in the original, but it’s on a whole different level here. Everything just looks…right; I mean, every room looks like you would expect on a dead ship in desperate need of repairs. It’s so much more dank, so much more foreboding, so much more claustrophobic and so much more in desperate need of maintenance.
This version of the USG Ishimura is every bit the horrifying place we all picture in our heads when we think about it, so to see it actually brought to life is just incredible. The extra attention to detail, being able to see all of the mechanisms work in things like the doors and weapons elevates it all further. It’s not so much that it’s a more realistic Ishimura, but rather a more believable, compelling one.
More than that, I’ve been enjoying the slightly expanded story and newly-voiced Isaac Clark. We’ve all heard him talk before of course, but that was only after his horrible first brush with the Necromorphs. This is our chance to see how he’d actually react as someone who’s still just an industrial engineer thrown into a terrible situation. They aren’t adding too much here, but it’s still nice to see what he’s thinking as it all unfolds. As for the other characters, they’re about as present as they were before; they’re well-acted, but you still don’t really care about them.
The real star of this newly-made version of the game has to be the Intensity Director though. This system makes it so that Necromorph encounters are more unpredictable. They won’t always jump out at you when you think they will; they won’t always appear from the same spots, and even the kinds that appear can vary. Heck, even replaying a room after dying often goes very differently. In other words, it’s not as easy to predict Dead Space’s enemies as it was, ensuring that the game stays tense. It’s still not “scary” per se, but it does make you sweat a bit.
I put a lot of time into the original over the years, so to see it come back like this is quite treat. Just about every aspect has been noticeably improved, with some even possibly overcoming one of the chief problems of horror games: players getting used to it. The Dead Space remake isn’t radically different from the original, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s more than enough to be able to play the version of the game I only ever just imagined before now. It’s everything one could want in a remake: better looking, more compelling, better story and it’s even scarier! Here’s hoping EA Motive can work its magic on another series soon!
What do you think of the Dead Space remake? What do like or dislike about it?
Image from EA News site
I’ve never played a game in the Dead Space series before, but I have been watching 8-Bit Ryan play the Dead Space remake lately. The game certainly looks amazing!
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