In just a few short weeks, the third installment to Visceral Games and Electronic Arts’ highly anticipated action-horror series will hit store shelves. Dead Space 3 is set to be released on February 5, 2013 in North America, but a select few have received early demo access starting today. Here is everything that you can expect from the Dead Space 3 early demo including a look into the new weapons, enemies, and game mechanics.
The Dead Space series has transported players from the confines of space faring vessels to the inner sanctum of a Unitologist church. This time around, Dead Space 3 forces players to traverse the frozen wasteland of Tau Volantis. The demo begins with Isaac escaping from a crashed ship, immediately pitting the protagonist against the harsh landscape of the ice planet.
The wind and snow look great. The visuals paired with the sound of whirling wind in the background makes for a realistic and authentic setting. As far as the overall graphics go, the demo showcased exactly what you’d expect. The facial graphics aren’t amazing but Dead Space 3 adheres to the style and atmosphere of the franchise, instead, focusing changes into the gun upgrade system and assortment of new enemies.
Dead Space 3 introduces the Isaac that we know and love, only with a few more tricks up his sleeve. The controls are the same, which is great for long-time fans of the series, and Isaac is a bit less clunky than he has been in previous games. As a new addition, players now have a dodge roll added to their arsenal. Tapping LB (on Xbox 360) twice allows for Isaac to perform a roll in any direction which is increasingly useful against the hordes of new necromorphs.
Another majorly new gameplay element is the cover system. Players have never faced enemies with guns and have thus never needed to get behind cover before. Dead Space 3 changes all that. Due to the wider array of enemy types, long-range battle against projectile based foes will be standard practice. To help Isaac with the new encounters, the protagonist now has the ability to crouch as well as hide behind boxes to avoid enemy fire.
As someone who has played an enormous amount of third-person-shooters, I will point out that the cover system is not spectacular. There is little resemblance to the games that have done it right like Gears of War or the latter Mass Effect titles but with several weeks to go we can only hope that it’ll be fixed before the official Dead Space 3 launch.
New Weapon System
The biggest change to Dead Space 3 is undoubtedly the weapon system. Change is an understatement in this case, overhaul is a much more fitting term. Rather than buying a new weapon and upgrading it among predefined paths as was the standard in Dead Space 1 and 2, players will now be able to build weapons from the ground up in any way they choose. Gone are the power nodes. Scrap metal and other materials are required to build, modify, and upgrade weapons and items.
After finding some supplies and locating a work bench, you can get to work on building your dream gun. In Dead Space 3, each weapon is more like two guns in one. Remember in the previous Dead Space games how each gun had an alternate firing mode? This time around you can mix and match guns with ease, defining exactly which weapons you want together. Want an assault rifle combined with a Force Gun? Sure. How about a shotgun attached to a Line Gun? All is possible.
Beyond the upper and lower projectiles, players are able to customize everything down to the weapon’s frame. The frame determines whether the weapon will be one-handed or two-handed and how many circuit slots, or upgrade slots are available. The Dead Space 3 early demo showcased several options: compact standard, heavy standard, compact elite, and heavy elite. The heavy varieties are associated with two-handed weapons like the Line Gun, and the compact frames allow players to create smaller single-handed weapons like the most notable Dead Space weapon, the Plasma Cutter or a Flamethrower for example.
In addition to those customization options, each gun can be outfitted with an attachment and multiple upgrades. As stated earlier, power nodes are no more. Players now upgrade everything from gun stats to health and armor with materials that can be found throughout the environment. After building a weapon from scratch or choosing a ready-to-go blueprint, each weapon can be upgraded in several areas. These include reload speed, rate of fire, damage, and clip size.
The improvement process is a bit unique as well. Rather than choosing simply to upgrade one element, players are required to pick from multiple options. For example, when choosing to increase a weapon’s reload speed, players can choose to increase Reload +2, Reload +2 Damage -1, Reload +1 Damage +1, etcetera. The crazy thing is, since each weapon can house two guns, each can be improved independently of the other.
If the Dead Space 3 early demo remotely resembles the final product, than fans are sure to enjoy the newest installment. The game is similar enough to its predecessors that fans of the series won’t feel alienated by unfamiliarity, yet it adds new mechanics such as co-op play, more diverse enemy types, and intense customization options to make it feel fresh and unique. The demo is available to the public on January 22.
What are your impressions of Dead Space 3?
Editor’s Note: This preview is based upon a single-player playthrough of the Dead Space 3 Early Demo on Xbox 360.