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Dead Space Pack
Isaac Clark, as you might imagine, wants nothing to do with necromorphs—the horrific reanimated corpses of the dead and much of what you shoot in the Dead Space franchise. So why does he find himself fighting them yet again in Dead Space 3? In a word, Ellie—but let this new story trailer for the game show you what I mean.
Here you also catch a glimpse of the charming, silver-tongued villain that I mentioned in our last preview. He sounds off the rails, right? Like an eco-terrorist or something, actually.
A damsel in distress, an unwelcoming ice planet and a terrorist on top of the necromorphs? Dang, Isaac. I don't envy your situation!
There are songs that work in video game trailers because they're great. There are others that work because they're ironic. This is neither. It's a hilarious disaster.
Many Dead Space fans were disappointed this week after hearing that Dead Space 3 would feature microtransactions—or, the ability to buy in-game goods for real money. Today in an interview with CVG, Dead Space 3 producer John Calhoun stated that microtransactions exist because they intend to court mobile gamers.
There's a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions. They're like "I need this now, I want this now". They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they're 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it.
We need to make sure we're expanding our audience as well. There are action game fans, and survival horror game fans, who are 19 and 20, and they've only played games on their smartphones, and micro-transactions are to them a standard part of gaming. It's a different generation. So if we're going to bring those people into our world, let's speak their language, but let's not alienate our fans at the same time.
Would a typical mobile gamer be playing Dead Space 3? I don't think so, but maybe some. I think it's more likely that the people taking advantage of microtransactions in Dead Space 3 will just be impatient Dead Space players.
Patience is not platform-exclusive, after all. Mobile just happened to capitalize on it early; it hasn't weaned players to suddenly expect to be able to pay for things in a game. Having that luxury is just plain attractive (to some.) No conditioning necessary.
Regardless, everyone is free to abstain from purchasing anything if they want, instead opting to earn things the good ol' fashioned way.
On February 7 at the Dernier Bar Avant la Fin du Monde in Paris, France, EA and Geek-Art will be putting on a show to promote Dead Space 3. Because when I think co-op space shooting in the dark, I think of Paris, and paintings.
For those of us nowhere near the city of love, you'll be able to buy prints from Geek-Art's online store. One of the pieces up for viewing (and sale) is Caroline, by Aussie artist Benjamin Guy, who you may recognise from his other large paintings featuring small children wearing giant pop culture helmets.
It's hard to get good at a video game. It can require a ton of practice and effort. You'll have to hone your skills over time, training your eyes and fingers to react with split-second precision and speed.
Or you could just use your credit card.
Dead Space 3, an upcoming sci-fi horror game from Electronic Arts that will be out for 360 and PS3 on February 5, will allow you to pay money for weapons, according to a new Eurogamer report. Real money for fake weapons.
"You can buy resources with real money, but scavenger bots can also give you the currency that you can use on the marketplace," associate producer Yara Khoury told Eurogamer. "So you don't have to spend [real world] dollars."
So, yes. It's hard to get too mad at the idea of optional micro-transactions—in many ways this is just like the cheat-enabling Game Genie that you could buy for many Nintendo systems back in the day—but it's also hard not to envision a future where some unscrupulous publishers force their developers to make unbalanced games in which you pretty much have to buy optional weapons to proceed.
And you thought Dead Space 3 wouldn't be scary.
The answering machine goes off. It's Ellie, trying to get a hold of Isaac Clarke. He doesn't answer. He's standing in a disheveled apartment located on a lunar colony, but it's not your typical bachelor pad type mess. It's dark, it's grimy, it's gross—it looks as if this is a cave, a personal hell which he has retreated to perhaps. As you muse over this, sergeant John Carver—the character your co-op buddies will play—bursts into your apartment, demanding to know if in fact you are the famous Isaac Clarke.
Carver and his acquaintance Robert Norton need your help in Dead Space 3. Guess what, the predicament involves a damsel in distress (Ellie, from the previous games) and it involves Markers—which is to say, it probably involves the horrific, reanimated corpses of the dead (otherwise known as necromorphs.) Great!
Isaac wants nothing to do with Markers after the events of the first two games, but this involves Ellie, so he begrudgingly agrees to help. Naturally things have to get even crazier at this point, so this is where the overzealous Unitologists—the people who have formed a religion around the Markers—come in.
Guns blazing, the Unitologists set out to look for you. The Unitologists are out to kill you, wouldn't you know it.
This is how the game sets up one of the initial levels in Dead Space 3, which I experienced earlier this month. It's also where I discovered rolling and taking cover. Like most well-implemented rolling mechanics, it's a joy to move across levels entirely through rolling, but I can't say I ever used cover again outside this initial chapter in the ~3 hours that I played Dead Space 3.
My first time going through, I didn't feel there was much that was notable Chapter 1 beyond the lunar colony having a similar look and feel to that of Mass Effect's cities. You'll also come face to face with the man that I assume is the leader of the Unitologists, a silver-tongued charismatic fellow that tells you all about his sinister plot with the Markers. He intends this information to be the last thing you experience before death.
He doesn't manage to actually kill you, of course; you narrowly get away.
Ellie? Eh, I didn't really care. But she's there, if that interests you!
But this continues the larger narrative in Dead Space, which addresses the role of the Markers and necromorphs in society—and, admittedly, was much of the reason that I kept going forward in the preview. Ellie? Eh, I didn't really care. But she's there, if that interests you!
I was new to Dead Space, you see—there wasn't much about the previous games that captured my interest. I'd initially avoided Dead Space because I'm not much for scary or tense games. When it was clear that I was going to preview Dead Space 3 I tried looking up the science of the jump scare—which I heard Dead Space was full of—to try to soften the blow. If fear stems from the unknown, then knowledge helps, right?
Haha, yeah okay, like Wikipedia pages were about to lessen the terror of WELL TIMED LOUD SOUNDS and NECROMORPH BURSTING INTO THE FRAME UNEXPECTEDLY.
Making things 'worse,' Dead Space 3 likes to put you in tight spaces without too much room to maneuver. Even if you see the necromorphs ahead of time, it's likely you'll often find yourself nervously backpedaling while trying to reload, necromorph viciously trying to swipe at you. Hopefully you don't get backed into a corner! This is where rolling comes in handy.
Personally, I found myself frustrated at the difficulty on normal, especially later in the preview when juggling one of the game's 'puzzles' (if you would even call them that) with necromorph waves. I died more than I felt I should have.
But with a buddy? Things felt much smoother, much more fun—though admittedly I felt jealous that Carver had the cooler black and red suit. Grr. Ah well, it's probably appropriate. It seems that you and Carver will have a complicated relationship thanks to how harsh Carver is. When you apologize for something, he angrily tells you to try harder next time for instance.
Anyway, there is a bit less tension when you know a friend will have your back with a pesky necromorph, and it wasn't uncommon to double-team enemies. One person suspends the necromorph, and the other rips it apart sort of deal. Co-op presents a wonderful opportunity for more nuanced tactics, and Dead Space 3 isn't any less engaging when you cut some of the anxiety out. The game remains just as chunky and visceral as it has in the past.
It was through co-op that I also learned how much Dead Space 3 rewards exploration. My buddy liked to go off and meticulously search through the levels for artifacts. Sometimes, this will mean taking a closer look at a seemingly empty room that's right along the way. Sometimes, it'll mean going deep into space while navigating outside of a ship. Sometimes, it'll mean shooting down something in the background that doesn't seem as if it holds anything—like maybe a deer head. I was impressed.
Not all the things you'll find are artifacts. Some of it will be materials for crafting. New to Dead Space 3 are moddable weapons, allowing you to have tools with more than one function. You have the ability to modify a weapon's upper tool, lower tool, frame, tip and attachments, allowing for variances in damage, reload, clip size, shooting speed, as well as bullet effect (exploding rounds, for instance.)
Isaac is an engineer, right? He's smart and uses his intellect to solve problems, yes? Crafting is justifiable by the story, then. While I didn't find too much to tinker with, my co-op buddy seemed to find all sorts of materials and his weapon looked intimidating, beastly and effective.
Isaac is an engineer, right? He's smart and uses his intellect to solve problems, yes?
Also included are side-missions and optional objectives. Toward the end of my preview, for instance, I had a choice between two locations depending on which mission I wanted to take up. Unfortunately the demo ended right there, but it's obvious that Dead Space 3 is incorporating modern design elements that all games have to have nowadays like Choice and Customization and Social Play.
I swear that I find it difficult to tell if these things actually improve an experience rather than giving us stuff to cross off a universal games checklist. However, I can concretely say that Dead Space 3 felt much better with a friend than it did playing alone, though I was sad to see little of Carver's supposed compelling storyline. Alas!
Dead Space 3 releases on February 5th in North America, and February 8th in Europe.
The Dead Space sci-fi horror games have nothing to do with the Mass Effect sci-fi shooter/adventure games, other than that they're published by the same giant corporation, EA. But now they're ever-so-slightly crossing over.
EA is letting people who have a Mass Effect 3 save file unlock special Mass Effect N7 armor in next month's Dead Space 3.
We're checking with EA about whether the unlock works across platforms, if, say, you played ME3 on PC and will play DS3 on PS3.
UPDATE: An EA rep confirms that this is platform-specific. You'd have to be playing Dead Space 3 on the same console (Xbox 360 or PS3) as you played Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect armor is also unlockable in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Everybody's wearing it!
Dead Space 3 - Mass Effect N7 Armor [YouTube]
There's been some unsavoury talk of statues today. Let's clear the air, then, with a look at a statue that does gross the right way.
This piece, of Dead Space's creepy wall-hugging lurkers, sadly isn't available for purchase. It's a custom job, by British artist Sean Schofield, and if you think it's just a wee statue to sit on your desk, nope. It's 1:1 scale. Meaning it measures just under three feet tall.
Impressive, if also slightly terrifying.
It's full of Dead Space goodies. We're talking the standard art books and posters and neat statues...
But what's more fun about this particular $100 set ($160 with the game) is that, much like the series itself, it's encoded with mystery. What does that entail exactly? Is it about Isaac? About the Necromorphs and the Markers? The Church of Unitology? What? What? Tell me already!
Who knows. Here's what we do know:
- Dead Space 3 Limited Edition: Includes the "First Contact" and "Witness the Truth" bundles.
- Tin Collector's Case: Measuring nearly 14"x9," this case is covered with mysteries and trivia from all three Dead Space games, debossed with full color art based on the designs from Ben Wanat (Creative Director for Dead Space 3) and Dino Ignacio (UI Designer for Dead Space 3).
- Serrano's Journal: Dr. Earl Serrano's journal full of clues and haunting artwork of his findings on Tau Volantis has come to life with exclusive content by Chuck Beaver (Story Producer on Dead Space 3).
- Art Book: A 4.75"x6.5" hardbound book containing 96 stunning full color pages, plus exclusive material from the Dead Space art department headed by Alex Muscat (Art Director for Dead Space 3).
- Flip Book "Data Pad:" A 10"x7" book with a metal cover that contains 9 image sets made with clear PET cover sheets over heavy-weight cardstock. The flip book was designed by Dino Ignacio to be a functional prop version of the Dead Space User Interface in the game.
- Marker Statue: A 8" hand-sculpted, custom-molded polyresin statue that's coated in metallic paints to replicate the maddening glyphs of the Black Marker.
- Med-Pack: The med-pack in the game has been recreated as a 14 oz. PET water bottle, perfect for carrying your beverage of choice.
- Poster Pack: A set of three 5"x10" single-sided posters replicating the nostalgic posters found throughout Dead Space 3 that depict an older age of space travel.
- Postcard Set: A set of six 3.75"x6" Peng themed postcards, double-sided with art on the front and Dead Space-branded postcard information on the back.
The med pack water bottle could be a bit more metallic to look more Dead Space-themed and less flimsy, but, hey, that Marker doesn't look half bad. (Literally...the top half is nicer than the base.)
Take a look at the full-size version:
Some are from 2011's Japan Expo in Paris, others from the latest show, which is held across the new year's break.
Kevin's suit is so good that he's done some promotional work for EA with the Dead Space series, and I don't think there's a higher compliment a games cosplayer can receive than that.
Face of Hero 2 [DeviantArt]
Ellie Langford [DeviantArt]