Someone somewhere has decided the best way to show off Dead Space 3, an EA game only four months from release, is to keep only showing the tiniest bits of the thing.
The latest third-person horror/shooter adventures of space miner Isaac Clarke could be wonderful. They could be terrible. It's impossible to tell.
The latest parts of Dead Space 3, revealed in a chopped up demo that I recently played at an EA showcase:
- In co-op the second player, who controls a character named Carver, occasionally hallucinates. In a scene I played, I was seeing toy soldiers like walls of some darkened ice-world outpost. The player controlling Isaac saw none of them. I got sucked into some sort of hallucinatory plane; the Isaac player had to keep me safe while I was going nuts. Could be a cheap trick. Could be a twisted way to play online co-op that will get two players devilishly confused about what is really going on. Insanity effects! But with co-op! Maybe. Settle down.
- Gun crafting is more complex. You can now change eight components of a weapon to make your own: its engine, its frame, what it shoots, how it shoots. Each weapon winds up having two main uses, merging familiar guns from previous games. Say shooting buzz saws but also spitting flame or firing acidic bullets and also zapping out lasers.
- You've got robot buddies. Players can collect and dispatch scavenger bots that will roam an area and pick up elements that can be used in crafting. Handy, right?
What kind of game does this add up to in your mind? So far, Dead Space is a Rorschach blot. It's another dimly lit, slightly scary game. It's a bolder-than-ever shooter. It's an expansive adventure on a snowy world with off-planet offshoots. It's less linear. It's more mainstream.
The only thing we can be sure of at the moment is that Dead Space 3 is not a cart racer.
The last few Dead Spaces were pretty good. Sometimes too hard. Sometimes too in love with the same handful of enemies. But all were graphically impressive and punctuated with some amazing low-gravity action. Maybe this also describes Dead Space 3. We'll find out when the game releases in February.