Dead Space Remake Review – A Brilliant Return
Dead Space Remake Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Motive Studio has done an impeccable job at developing this remake of a beloved game. They have successfully transferred everything that people loved about the original Dead Space from 2008, and given it a fresh coat of paint.
- Crisp and Responsive Gameplay
- New Upgrades For Gear
- Alternate-Fire Modes
- Phenomenal Graphics
- Impeccable Sound Design
- Back-Tracking Sections Feel Weak
With the dissolution of Visceral Games by Electronic Arts back in 2017, no one ever expected to see another entry in the Dead Space series. But enter 2023, and Motive Studio has picked up the mantle in order to continue the legacy of this legendary franchise with a remake of the very first game.
The impact of this series on the modern survival horror genre is undeniable, and the remake holds up to that legacy as well as we could have ever hoped. So with our Dead Space Remake review, we aim to make it clear why you should play this game.
Story And Setting
The Dead Space Remake features more or less the same story that fans of the series have come to love, but with a few small changes. Once again, players step into the shoes of Isaac Clarke, an engineer who is responding to a distress call from the USG Ishimura, a name that diehard fans of the series will immediately recognize. Onboard this space station is where almost the entire game takes place, and the person who sends the distress call is none other than Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole, who is the station’s acting medical officer.
But everything is not as simple as that, and as soon as Issac and his fellow crew members set foot onto the station, they are attacked by inhuman creatures called Necromorphs. And as you explore the location to look for answers, your start realizing that the situation at hand is something that might not even be salvageable. So it is now up to Isaac to uncover the secrets behind the events that led to this situation and to find out what happened to the civilians on board the Ishimura.
It is once again worth mentioning that the overall story is more or less the exact same, but with some additions. So it would be more appropriate to call this version of the story a reimagining of the events that transpired in the original game. This is because major game events still unfold as you expect them to, but with slight variations. Motive Studio has taken some creative liberty in order to re-tell a beloved story, and the vast majority of the changes pan out for the better.
Another major difference from the original is that Isaac now has an actual voice actor in the form of Gunner Wright, who took over the voiceover role for the character in Dead Space 2 and 3. This means that he has brand new lines that complement both his development as well as the overall narrative. This was a great decision by Motive Studio as it breathes new life into our protagonist, and it makes him feel like a real character with actual motives. Most of the scenes in the game have also been rewritten to accommodate this change.
Additionally, another prominent group in the game, The Church of Unitology, is much more active in the remake. They are a group of religious zealots who have a much larger role in the series lore, and the additional writing reflects that as well. This time around they are given the center stage early, which sets the pace for the rest of the game. The actions and consequences of those actions are much more explicit now and integrated into the plot.
Some of the supporting characters have also been rewritten as well in order to make them more life-like. Kendra Daniels, who is an important NPC in the game, has been tweaked a bit. Instead of being antipathetic and hostile to an extent, she has been rewritten to be more compassionate.
In addition to the main story, side missions also paint a perfect picture of what happened on the Ishimura before your arrival. They complement the narrative of the game in such a way that develops the world at a natural pace. Playing through these missions will broaden your understanding of the Dead Space universe. But the new lore isn’t the only incentive to play through them though, as you get a lot of rewards for completing them as well.
Other than that, the story remains more or less the same. The influence of pop culture and films like Alien is still apparent in the remake. We will be discussing the gameplay in the next part of our Dead Space Remake review.
From the moment you step into Isaac’s suit, you will start to notice the small but many changes in the remake. The gameplay of the original was so good that it didn’t need any major overhaul, but this new game has some changes that make the overall experience much smoother to navigate.
For starters, the combat remains as tight as ever, with its crisp response time and satisfying use of weapons. The game paints a picture of horror and unease with the environment on the Ishimura, and coupled with the shooting mechanics, the remake is without a doubt one of the best games I have ever seen in the survival horror genre.
The AI itself is very smart in the game and at times the Necromorphs even cooperate to get to you. The enemies can jump you at any second so keep your guard up and stay away from the air vents. The movements and reactions of the Necromorphs make them more terrifying than ever and make it that much more satisfying to kill them. Plus now their limbs actually have layers, so you can see your weapons shave off skin and muscles as you get to the bones underneath.
Speaking of weapons, the remake added some new bells and whistles to the iconic arsenal that fans know and love. The unique thing about Dead Space is that Isaac is not a combatant, he is just an engineer who is using the tools at his disposal to fight the Necromorphs. This allows for the game to be much more creative with its definition of a weapon, and lets us use interesting tools as weapons as a result. For example, the Plasma Cutter, which is actually a mining tool, is still one of the most intuitive and fun weapons in any third-person shooter.
The franchise is still sticking to its unconventional method of disposing of enemies, which is dismembering their limbs. Compared to the most widespread idea in modern games where getting a headshot means killing an enemy instantly, this isn’t the case in Dead Space. The only way to eliminate Necromorphs is by removing their appendages first and foremost. This mechanic feels like a breath of fresh air and sets this game apart from its contemporaries, even in 2023.
Each of the seven weapons in the game also has a new alternate fire mode now. These add a lot of variety to the limited weapon pool of the game, and it allows for a lot more creative approaches when dealing with Necromorphs. For example, you can pair the alternate fire mode of the flamethrower which puts up a huge wall of fire and pull your enemies through it, setting them on fire. The gun which stands out the most is the Force Gun, which was given an entirely new effect that shreds the skin off of enemies that get caught in its deafening boom. Similarly, the Pulse Rifle can be used as a grenade launcher by utilizing its proximity mine. Moreover, it can also be used as a trap for luring enemies into it.
Each weapon can be upgraded by attaching various mods to them. The Plasma Cutter for example has one of the best mods in the game. By unlocking it, you can have incendiary rounds and burn anything that you shoot. This allows for a lot of in-depth layering of attacks and you can go about a situation in a plethora of different ways by using various weapon combinations. Similarly, there are other upgrades as well and you can come across them by exploring the map. The game rewards exploration in this way, so leave no stone unturned if you want to have the complete experience.
Speaking of which, the exploration in the remake is another one of the features that have been heavily altered compared to the original. Through the use of the zero gravity sections in the game, players can now control Isaac and use his suit to freely fly around the levels. This makes these sections much more natural to traverse and cuts down on the tedious aspect of jumping from platform to platform. Admittedly, these sections do take some time to get used to since the controls can be disorienting.
Moreover, certain sections of the Ishimura are now more fleshed out as compared to before so exploring them feels more rewarding and new. A security clearance level is used in the game to bar off certain sections of the map, and you can only access these by revisiting them after getting the required clearance later in the story. This keeps the sections that require backtracking fresh and keeps you on your toes.
As we discussed in the previous section of our Dead Space Remake review, the new game has added certain side quests that require you to backtrack through the Ishimura. To make this easier, a certain fast travel-like mechanic was introduced which allows you to go back and visit older areas of the station. Some fans of the series may not like this change, but I feel like it is a very welcome addition.
Visuals And Performance
Without a doubt, the visual and audio departments are where the biggest changes took place. During its original release back in 2008, people thought that nothing could top the art direction by Visceral Games. The remake in 2023 has proven that anything can look better with improved state-of-the-art graphics and sound design.
Even though the original game does not feel outdated at all, this new coating of next-gen graphics has completely elevated the experience and turned it up to an eleven. The Ishimura and its haunting atmosphere are gory and gut-wrenching, the Necromorphs look and feel like they can jump out of the screen at any moment, and the overall ambiance greatly complements the air of mystery and suspense.
The attention to detail is unmatched, and that is apparent from the very first moment you start playing the game. Isaac’s suit, The R.I.G., is the perfect example of this. Each part of the suit feels like it was hand-crafted to fit there as if it were real. It actually looks like a real piece of science fiction and makes the original look like a cartoon in comparison.
And yes once again, the entire game is experienced with a virtually non-existent HUD. Isaac’s health is once again indicated by the glowing spine on his R.I.G, and the lack of traditional HUD elements immerses you in the world and helps you focus on the game.
There is also a new feature now called the Intensity Director. According to the developers, this mode will track how you play the game and makes adjustments. These adjustments are made according to the playstyle of each player, and they ensure that everyone gets an experience that is made for them. The feature will spawn enemies dynamically so that you can never feel too safe aboard the Ishimura.
On top of all that, Dead Space Remake also has a ton of accessibility options. These options include features like colorblind mode, menu narration, and various ways to control what you see on screen. These make it possible for people who are sensitive to blood and gore to still play the game and enjoy it while being able to toggle on or off aspects that they might be sensitive to. Returning fans of the franchise, can leave this option off and play the game as it was intended to be played in all its glory.
When it comes to the performance on PC, the game runs without any flaws. The framerate remained consistent throughout my playthrough and I never faced any stutters. Moreover, you can mess around with the settings to see what works for you. People who have a GPU that supports DLSS, can make use of it and experience a smoother performance at a higher resolution. I did not encounter any bugs during my playthrough either.
Motive Studio has done an impeccable job at developing this remake of a beloved game. They have successfully transferred everything that people loved about the original Dead Space from 2008 and given it a fresh coat of paint. The game isn’t just better looking visually, it’s better in almost every other regard as well.
From the decision to give Isaac a voice, to the new upgrades and alternate fires on certain weapons, it is safe to say that this remake is one that deserves your attention. The game made slight changes to the narrative as well, which might not be as welcome by some hardcore fans of the franchise. But other than that, the overall story pretty much remains the same. The backtracking sections might be the one area where the game feels a bit weak, but other than that there are no complaints.
The Dead Space Remake takes full advantage of current hardware to bring the now 14-year-old game to a modern audience. The graphical fidelty is just as one would expect from a game coming out in 2023, and the Ishimura looks as haunting as ever, and the new animations and visuals elevate your overall experience.
The legacy of Dead Space has been retained by Motive Studio, and we can only hope that the next entry in the franchise, if there is any, matches the bar set by this game. If you are a returning fan, you probably don’t need any convincing to play it. But if you are a newer player, this is the perfect place as ever to start.
That has been our Dead Space Remake Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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