Dead Space 3 Demo Impressions Nikki P January 16, 2013 Editorials, Featured, News After anxiously waiting for my early access code (yay XBL!) yesterday, I got the chance to sit down and immerse myself in Visceral’s Dead Space 3 demo. Overall, the demo was shorter than I expected, but it certainly show-cased the new changes and improvements that EA and Visceral have been promising! Single Player: After a mini opening cinematic scene, players take control of main character Isaac Clarke to go in search of a safe-house. Stepping out into the frozen tundra of planet Tau Volantis was a spectacle on it’s own. Clarke’s boots leave prints behind and kick snow up as you walk/sprint to the objective. Weather patterns change, indicated by Clarke putting his shoulder down and hand up to battle through the blizzard like conditions and standing relatively straight when it’s clear. The curb stomp remains vicious, and Clarke’s heavy arm swing can now be aimed/focused rather than a hopeless last effort melee attempt. The first encounter with a necromorph occurs in typical Dead Space fashion, while your casually jogging up a ramp and got my heart pumping a bit. After dismembering the zombie alien you continue into a small cave, take out two more necromorphs and move up a ladder. Soon the first button mashing QWERTY happens and I officially remember why I love the Dead Space series as much as I do. During the first ‘boss’ battle, we see Carver for the first time ( a NPC in single player, but Clarke’s partner in co-op). The boss battle, during solo mode, felt easy and reminded me of a standard fight with a spider like creature typical of most games now-a-days. Kinesis and Stasis are even easier to use, and I found myself using both more in this short demo than I did in any of my play-throughs of the previous two titles. The new addition of cover based combat didn’t feel forced, and against human enemies worked quite well- necromorphs..not so much. Cooperative Mode: The addition of cooperative play, online and off, was one of the more questionable changes made to the series. After this demo though, I’m not all that worried. Carver was featured in each cut scene we saw in the demo and was even crucial in QWERTY segments. While I wish they went with a different section of the game for each demo, I am also really glad they didn’t. By keeping it the same game-play, players interested in trying out co-op when the game releases February 5th, will get to see how different the modes are and how different the story feels with the addition of Carver. While in boss battles, while playing co-o with fellow writer (and friend!) here at GAW- Avialence the difficulty felt ramped up, while one of us mercilessly shot at the enemy- the other hit repeatedly with stasis. Communication will be important during co-op play. The most interesting aspect, I think, is how developed each character feels- even in co-op. Inventory (as far as we know for Normal setting), is individual, with loot items changing for each player. Avialence and I were able to use the weapon crafting table simultaneously, rather than one player stepping in and the other waiting. Weapon Crafting: Weapon crafting is another new experience for seasoned Dead Space players. While personally I’ve never been a huge fan of customization, I enjoyed the time I spent doing it. The idea of weapon crafting encourages players to explore Tau Volantis, and compliments the much more open world of Dead Space 3. The demo, I imagine, to get players interested in it allowed the creation of some pretty overpowered weapons and I hope in the complete game some of those aspects will be locked until further into the campaign. Overall Opinion: I wish the demo was longer! And that the game’s release wasn’t a few weeks away still. The controls felt smooth, and better than ever. The menu system was simplistic, and map-design feels like Dead Space. I didn’t have the chance to experiment with the kinect features (don’t own one), but I hope it’s as responsive as it’s promised to be. The short time spent with it introduced me to Carver, and adaptive necromorphs (they have guns! ahh!). The demo certainly didn’t disappoint, but nothing is flawless- some of the small cut scenes seemed over-dramatic, and the difficulty felt too easy (hopefully it was dumb-ed down for demo purposes). But I plan on spending a lot of time with Dead Space 3 when it releases; I’m going to play as Isaac Clarke in single player and in co-op, and again as Carver. And probably a few more times after that.