Dead Space 3
My comrade and I, me a lowly space engineer and he a soldier, floated through the cold vacuum of space while gaping wide-eyed at the beautiful iridescent glow of the nearby planet. We’d originally entered a far orbit around the distant world after warping in, in order to investigate what had happened to a sprawling mining station that suddenly went dark.
After our jarring jump, we found ourselves in the middle of a debris littered field which began hammering the ship and literally tearing it apart. Quickly donning our spacesuits allowed us to barely escape from being suffocated by the vacuous void of crushing space, but our suit’s internal oxygen gauges indicated that soon we’d be sucking on nothingness and wheezing like one of those poor souls in an anti-smoking advertisement if we didn’t find more.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we were still in the field of wreckage and our orbital capacity was diminishing quickly. We hit our suit’s built-in thrusters, which catapulted us toward the derelict station. After a harrowing through a nearly fatal trip through the debris (in cinematic Hollywood style), we safely landed on the mining station and began to enter its inner confines…
In truth, our little space-borne jaunt had given us a temporary reprieve from the horrors we’d faced earlier; misshapen monstrosities of unknown origin. Were they supernatural spawns or space born beasts? We didn’t quite know—all that we did know is that they were trying to take over humanity and we were trying to stop them. As we collected our wits and gained entry into the teetering station, we activated its life support functions and reluctantly removed our suit’s helmets.
After a brief initial inspection of a command and control room that we came across, we activated a audio log that was left behind by the captain of the crew that had mysteriously vanished without a trace. He warned anyone who was listening of sadistic entities that were bearing down on his position. He knew that it would be his last broadcast. Suddenly, we heard something stirring in the next room. It was different from the already eerie creaking and groaning noises that the wrecked station was emitting; it was something unnatural and it was getting closer…
A gaming buddy of mine had told me about a creepy little science fiction/horror experience called Deep Space a while back. I’d never played it and so tried it out a few years ago. I found it pretty darn good, story-wise, and filled with enough disturbing atmosphere to keep me playing it to the end. He mentioned that we should try Deep Space 3 since the first one had been too scary for him to play all the way through, and the third one featured co-op play. So, I jumped in and we began our journey into one roller coaster of a game!
After installing it onto my gaming PC, I quickly realized that although Deep Space 3 had a decent and compelling enough story to keep me engaged, but it lacked the overall creepiness of the original. Not to say that it didn’t have its share of panic inducing moments. Much like its predecessor, Deep Space 2, it eschewed much of the deliberately slow-paced gameplay for a more action-oriented experience, and relies on long, scripted sequences in order to further the narrative.
What really kept me on my toes in this latest Deep Space game is that just when I thought I was in a safe area and could relax a little, I’d notice something that was a little off. Maybe it would be a foreboding message as on board the aforementioned space station, or perhaps a puddle of dried blood where it wasn’t supposed to be. And what really creeped me out were the sounds that the Necromorphs (the main baddies in the game) made while in the vicinity.
For instance, I could be on my way to a workbench area in order to craft a newer weapon from some resources I’d found (there is weapon-crafting), when I’d hear some unsettling hissing or growling noises coming from a nearby air vent. I quickly realized that these sinister emissions served as a warning that the horrid entities had a lock on me and were closing in for the kill; except I was never quite sure where they’d attack from.
Deep Space 3’s expansive plot does veer off its rails here and there, including an unnecessary romantic subplot (does ‘human interest’ drivel have to seep into almost every game these days?). But for the most part it kept a pretty steady pace. By the time we’d completed the game, in around 30 hours, my friend thanked me for playing it through with him, since he said he would have been to frightened to get through it on his own (I won’t mention any names here).
Visceral Games also really did an outstanding job in the graphics department, overall, with ancient facilities, colonies, abandoned spaceships, and the like, having a real gritty feel and look to them. The character models are great and the weapons look really futuristic and solid, as if you’re really holding them in your hands. Some of the space scenes are simply stunning, especially for those lucky enough to have 4k gaming setups. The visuals in Deep Space 3 are pure eye-candy for the gaming PC community, indeed. The sound is also masterfully done, and lends a subtle hint of horror to the proceedings (although not as quite as well done as the original). In all, it was a blast to play and I heartily recommend it to fans of the survival-horror genre.
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