Dead Space review | We return to the spaceship USG Ishimura, after originally surviving it in 2008. Sadly the original developer was slashed by a necromorph. EA closed down Visceral Games in 2017. And yeah, I’m still disappointed about that. The Dead Space franchise is one of my favorite horror franchises, beating Resident Evil or The Evil Within. The first one was the best in the trilogy and while the franchise lost a bit of what made it so great in Dead space 2 & 3, I was still a huge fan of Isaac Clark. So who is behind this remake and breathing new life into the series? The developer from the fantastic Star Wars: Squadrons, Motive Studio. Remaking a highly loved and critically acclaimed game isn’t the easiest thing, Motive Studio changed and improved a few things but the core of the original Dead Space remains. There is one big difference, Isaac is fully voiced by Gunner Wright. Initially, our protagonist was silent in the 2008 release. Let us take a look at the different changes before continuing with the review for Dead Space.
Changes Dead Space (2008) VS. Dead Space (2023)
- Improved visuals and lighting.
- Better frame rate.
- Isaac has a voice.
- Isaac takes off his helmet much more and resembles Gunner Wright.
- New features for exploring the Ishimura, and new areas have been added too.
- New side-quests
- Alternate ending for New Game +
- Annoyances from the original solved or removed. Weapons have been updated, controls have been fine-tuned, you have a map of the Ishimura, and turret gameplay has been removed (trust me, these turret moments sucked).
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Worth it for previous players! | I think this is an important one. Players who played the original will find enough reasons to revisit the scary and dark Ishimura. I’m hoping that new players will fall in love with fighting necromorphs and the dark atmosphere, Dead Space is truly something completely different in the horror scene. All the small changes and the additional content make it fresh again for gaming veterans that played it in 2008 or later. Motive Studio carefully listened to feedback and simply improved an already fantastic game.
- Creepy audio | Dead Space relies strongly on audio, making the player uncomfortable with cracking ship sounds, the creepest necromorphs sounds, and a claustrophobic atmosphere that felt better than Prey or Alien: Isolation’s audio. The main title theme of the song The Hive Mind is an incredible piece of music. The music features a lot of violin parts or piano parts that get under your skin emotionally. The voiced performances are also worth the praise, a silent protagonist from the original or Isaac’s version from this Dead Space remake is a huge difference in the storytelling and overall believability of what is happening. You and Isaac will spend 80% of the game in dark environments so the emphasis on sound is more present than in other games. Hearing where exactly a necromorph is coming from is really important if you wish to survive. So big applause for the sound guys from Motive and the voice actors, they did a fantastic job. For the first time ever I noticed that sounds are completely different depending on the environment. Compare it with driving in a tunnel in Forza Horizon. When you enter that tunnel sound slightly changes, right? This effect is present all the time while exploring the Ishimura, depending on how narrow or wide a room is, or if the corridor is long or curved. Sounds will realistically be shaped and get echo or sound distortion, really impressive stuff.
- Lighting is the visual crown | SCORN and Callisto Protocol look slightly better but the lighting in Dead Space is so damn great. Every light creates a realistic shadow and when you turn on raytracing it gets even more impressive. The frame rate drops to 30fps when you decide to turn that on though. I tested it out a little but went back to the performance mode as the slightly better presentation wasn’t worth the drop in frame rate performance. Dead Space was a great-looking game on Xbox 360 and this remake, running on the publisher’s in-house Frostbite engine is a vastly improved visual experience. If you start to play it I suggest turning off film grain as this effect makes the screen less clear. Some of the newly improved anti-gravity areas will drop your jaw on the ground, the endless space and bright stars look fan-tas-tic. Isaac’s signature light spine suit never looked better.
- Nicole, where are you? | Humans are stripping other planets for resources. The USG Ishimura is a massive spaceship that is used for collecting precious resources. Isaac Clark and other crew members are sent to that ship as Earth lost contact with the crew. You control Isaac Clark and this mission has extra meaning, Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole works on this ship as a medic. Upon arriving you will quickly understand that things went terribly south on the Ishimura. With the remake, the story is even better than the original, Isaac speaks now and has an extra emotional influence on what is happening. Compared to the original you really care more about Isaac, Nicole, and the side characters.
- You are now encouraged to do more exploration | Ishimura is still the same ship as in 2008 but Motive made some renovation work. The player is now encouraged to explore the ship more. You can travel back to previous chapter locations to open up security doors and discover newly added rooms or weapons. You could say it has some light metroidvania elements. You’ll always be on the top of your toes as Motive added random encounters. You can pass the same pathway three times and face no monstrosities but get swarmed the forth time.
- It is even more gruesome! | Part of the addictive gameplay from Dead Space is dismembering limbs from enemies to defeat them. Kinda like Gears of War the gore was part of the franchise. They take things even further as Necromorphs will lose skin or body parts. Not only visually but the audio reflects what is happening too! you’ll jump out of your seat the first time you use the force gun on an enemy, so bloody gruesome. Brilliant stuff!
- Motive, you should have changed the boss fights | The original Dead Space wasn’t perfect, I’m glad to see that they removed the annoying turret shooting sections. But why they decided to keep the boss fights is something I don’t really understand. They aren’t bad but they are so easy and uninspiring. For me, a boss fight should be memorable or at least give the players some challenge. Unfortunately, they didn’t touch or added things so you’ll have the same disappointing boss fights from the original.
What we Disliked
- Nothing | nothing bad can be said about this Dead Space remake. Hopefully more will follow, I would love a brand-new Dead Space!
How long to beat the story | 12 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 25 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | The Callisto Protocol, Alien: Isolation.
Motive did some fine work remaking Dead Space. They clearly respected the work from 2008 and only made improvements to make it better. The visuals and audio are excellent and playing as Isaac Clark never felt better. Now excuse me, I’m back to killing necromorphs.
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