After a ridiculous “Xbox 360 time-exclusive” period where you had to sign up to Origin, Xbox Live and the Dead Space official website to get the demo, it’s finally available for free on PSN. I downloaded it and decided to write some impressions because I really liked the first Dead Space (and Extraction). The first thing the game asked me to do is read two large documents and agree to the “terms and conditions”. I just scrolled down and agreed to whatever it was like a good consumer. The next screen told me to sign into my Origin account, this was so I could get access to the online mode and a possible patch for it. No thanks EA; while it’s nice that the demo has access to online play, I don’t have an Origin account and I will never get one. It’s one more step between starting the game and playing it that nobody needs. Playstation, Xbox, Wii U all have accounts we’ve already signed into. By the way, a patch for a demo is called a “game”. After declining to sign into Origin, another popup appears asking “are you sure?” as if I’m doing something wrong. I already hate this game.
Anyway, the game starts off pretty well once you make it that far. You’re in some blizzard and it looks great, it gave me an intimidating Cursed Mountain vibe because you can’t see more than a few metres in front of you. Movement feels like New Resident Evil but a bit clunkier and glitchier. There’s a weird stiffness to the movement where your pace changes really quickly without much transition. It feels like the guy is going to fall over when he changes direction. The immersion of the awesome blizzard quickly died when I started “exploring” and crashed into invisible walls. Clicking the right analog stick down revealed a path which I followed to the first enemy. You have to hold R3 though, because if you click it then you’ll crouch instead.
Here’s a nice headache, the controls are a convoluted mess. Double tapping the run button to roll shows that they ran out of buttons but tried to cram more shit in anyway. Aiming is terrible but I’m completely over dual analog controls, they just aren’t conductive to accurate gunplay. I couldn’t play Binary Domain for the same reason. It’s even worse in Dead Space though because you have to target specific limbs on the enemy to neuter them, I like the idea but the execution is too awkward to enjoy. If you’re one of those people who spends hours a day playing dual analog FPS online then chalk that up to personal taste and ignore this whole paragraph. Or try holding a Wiimote.
I was enjoying walking around and looking at things, the environments are pretty damn amazing without going too over the top like Resident Evil 6 does with explosions in every scene. Not-so-subtle details like bodies buried behind ice walls and are also quite an ominous sight. I was very close to that feeling called “enjoyment” when a QTE sequence started. Oh no, the platform is breaking! Better hold up on the L stick! Now mash the X button! Faster! Press the L stick forward again! Fuck off, this isn’t a videogame. I almost turned the console off right there.
After that there’s an interesting boss fight where an object goes out of control and you have to slow it down while fighting lots of enemies that spawn out of nowhere. It was quite terrifying and overwhelming, and I died twice because I forgot the controls and pressed the wrong button. Legitimate survival horror! After this you see some dudes and I thought they were my team until one started shooting at me. Apparently there’s some fight going on between two human groups but everybody looked the same so I just kept shooting the ones that responded to the bullets. Maybe in the full game there’s some context but it felt like a typical confusing Homefront / Call of Duty scenario which doesn’t belong in a survival horror game or anywhere at all really.
That’s about it, I’m curious about how some of the scenarios are going to unfold in the full game but it’s just not worth it. The gameplay is garbage, Dead Space is dead, and EA’s new strategy of ruining every videogame they touch hopefully spells the death of the company. Thanks for playing!