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Dead Space 3 And Co-op: Will It Blend?


Sean Dimagiba

Dead Space has always been a marquee example of the definite single-player survival-horror experience. That being said, it would seem that an addition of any kind of co-op would hamper the traditional experience. And of course, with impeccable timing, the recent showing of Dead Space 3 revealed some new things such as a new environment, movement upgrades, and also an added cooperative mode.

 

No longer is Isaac Clarke alone in his latest adventure, but now he has a new best friend. Games like Resident Evil 5 and F.3.A.R. have added co-op options in the past in an attempt to enhance the experience and give players another way to play. Whether or not it was the co-op or simply the way the game was designed, these titles became considerably less scary than their predecessors. Is Dead Space 3 doomed to follow this same unfortunate fate?

 

It“s important to note that co-op is only an option. According to developer Visceral Games, the game can be enjoyed in both single-player and co-op. In fact, depending on which way you choose to play, some lines of dialogue, cutscenes, and scripted events are changed around.

 

For example, in one of the gameplay videos, one part shows Isaac approaching a building and at the top you can see Carver, the new playable character, fighting off necromorphs and calling to Isaac to meet him up there with him. The footage then shows the same sequence except in co-op mode, and since Carver is with Isaac at that moment, instead of the aforementioned cutscene there exists instead lines of dialogue that wouldn“t have been heard otherwise. It“s neat additions like these that will add more replay value to the game because players will want to see the different changes between the single-player and co-op.

 

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Isaac and Carver will have to watch each other's backs. Frontal assaults like this one won't be abundant.

 

As far as how Dead Space plays now, it“s more of the same, if anything. You still get all of the same over-the-shoulder third-person shooting that you“re used to. The only difference here is that you“ve got an extra pair of eyes watching your back.

 

Carver seems to be a decent partner; he usually dispatches enemies that you“re not concerned with, provides support against the big bosses, and assists you in puzzles in ample time. He also seems to be the comic relief to Isaac“s more serious side, which is a nice touch considering all of the severed tentacles flying around. It“s nice to hear a lighter side of things, but some fans may not appreciate his banter so we“ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

 

While Visceral managed to carry over the classic Dead Space feel, the action seems to be more fast-paced than before. Enemies move at considerably faster speeds than their necromorph brethren. And with the added roll and crouch functions, not to mention human opponents that can shoot back, the action definitely has a more amped feel to it.

 

This has been the trap of many survival-horror games. Developers feel as though they need to “get with the times” and they compare their games with bigger titles. They think that by adding more action over horror, they can gain more fans and widen their scope. While this may be true, it doesn“t change the fact that these titles originated in horror, and more often than not, it was the scares and thrills that brought in the majority of fans.

 

Now that these games that have been made famous (thanks to their roots in horror) become more generic shoot“em ups, they also become more mainstream, companies make more money, but at the same time fans become disappointed with the final result. Can we expect the same fate to befall Dead Space 3?

 

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"Not sure if Carver is for deep gameplay experience... or EA sell-out."

 

From the limited video clips shown at E3, Dead Space 3 seems to be running at a much faster pace. One of the bosses, which wasn“t even a necromorph, was a huge spinning drill that was rapidly flailing around as running necromorphs began to swarm Isaac.

 

I“m not sure if this is to compensate for the extra player, but most likely this is the kind of fast-paced action we“ll see for the remainder of the game. Not that there won“t be tense moments, of course.

 

Early in the footage, Isaac is shown walking through a blizzard, his path completely impossible to see. All of a sudden, a necromorph jumps in front of him and Isaac frantically decimates the foe. It“s moments like that which will preserve the classic experience we“ve come to know and love. We“ll see how Dead Space 3 shapes up in the following months, but until then, keep your fingers crossed.

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