Graphite and Photoshop ~ 250 minutes
As has elsewear been mentioned on this blog, I’m playing through my older games with the goal of either beating or getting rid of the ‘back inventory’ before I actually purchase any new games. Currently I’m tackling the Dead Space series, having purchased the entire available catalog en masse sometime last year;
Dead Space (one) has now been tackled, and I’m damned glad about it.
ON WHY DEAD SPACE (ONE) IS FRIGHTENING AND I'M GLAD I FINALLY BEAT IT
As was also previously mentioned, I’m arriving very late to the series. I see this as beneficial because (similar to watching television show’s released on DVD) I now get to play through the complete series (to date) without having to wait 18 months at a time for new games to be released. And since the Dead Space series has bounced around a bit timeline-wise, I also get to experience the story in a linear fashion, which is cool. I beat the ‘first game’ in the narrative last year (brief review here); Dead Space: Extraction was a shooter on rails that turned out to be pretty fantastic. As a prequel to 2008′s Dead Space (which I’ll refer to as Dead Space 1), it gave a great deal of background on a few of the events that had occurred in the narrative. It’s storyline concluded with the arrival of the spaceship USH Kellion, and aboard it the main protagonist of the series; engineer Isaac Clarke.
You control Isaac throughout Dead Space 1 as he winds his way through a nightmarish death-ship called the USG Ishimura, battling monsters called necromorphs. They come in a number of gruesome shape’s and sizes, and are prone to leap out at you from dark corners, around shadowy bends in a hallway, or from flimsy ceiling tiles. All told the game was very good at making me jump, which is something that’s new to me in gaming. I usually stray away from your typical ‘survival horror’ game on account of the fact that they usually make your character extremely slow and cumbersome. This is by design; they want you to creep slowly down hallways waiting for things to leap at you from shadows. But Dead Space 1 struck that balance where I felt I could get around, and I only slowed down when I was already really freaked out, gun drawn, unblinking and holding my breath. Honestly I’m kind of glad I’ve beat the game and it’s over with. Full disclosure though; a huge part of why I was even able to beat the game is because I chose to play on the easiest setting. Besides the fact that I’ve never really been that skilled at playing video games, the ‘going easy’ choice had a lot to do with the lack of man-hours a week I have to commit to playing my backlog of games. If I play every game at ‘Normal’ or ‘Hard’ as I usually do, this project would take forever, and I wouldn’t be able to purchase BioSock Infinite the second it comes out (as I fully intend to do).
All told I really like the Dead Space series so far, and I started the ‘second’ game in the series, Dead Space 2, this evening. Despite my efforts to remain fully ignorent of anything to do with story or design for the second game, I did hear lott’s of good things about the opening. My first impression, which is actually my crystal-solid, for-all-time impression, is that the beginning is kind of neat, but I hate the voice actors, and I really don’t like it when you have to race through a level and don’t get to play ‘video game archeologist’. Which is what I am – I crawl over every inch of a level, looking in corners, studying the posters on the wall and the small squarish books on the shelf, becuase I want to know 1) everything there is to know about the narrative I’m experiencing, and 2) how the level designers and environment artists spent their many hours while putting the game together. So when at the start of the game I had to blindly run through a medical bay, compeltely ignoring entire ROOMS of beautifully rendered stuff, it kind of broke my heart. Ah well. ALSO the game is really, really shiny. I liked the supremely grimy look of Dead Space 1, but I’m only about a half hour in and so shouldn’t cast judgment on the overall look of The Sprawl just yet.