död i rymden

it all started with me reading this which got me a bit interested. then I thoroughly searched youtube for every trailer available. here's one:

this was a week ago, and I quickly spread the word about this cool space survival horror game to everyone I'm aquainted with here in the land of the rising sun. coming this weekend I sat down together with Peter to play it through. first time for me, but second for him as he didn't have the patience to wait until the weekend to play it.

said and done. we've spent this whole weekend eating, sleeping, and playing Dead Space. yeah, we threw in a birthday party for Elias saturday night too. but mostly we've been playing the game, clearing it about 5 am monday morning. which in turn is cool, as we didn't have any school today, monday (you've gotta' love japan for all it's three day long weekend, second one for me (us) so far and we've just been in school for a month!).

with that said I can now pass judgement on the game: good but not exellent. and it's as easy as that.

the game consists of twelve chapters, of which the first two ones are excellent. capturing the everything that you want from a horrorgame. really scaring the shit out of me a couple of times.

and then the game goes from 'scary mindboggling deep space survival horror' to 'massive monstermasher with bad camera but cool weapons'. the story goes into the bin, all the stress moments circles around weather you'll have the time to reload your gun or not while hordes of enemies storm towards you, enemies which look remotely alike every single one of them and even sharing the same movement bios and attackpatterns. the game goes so out of style that you even stop to care weather your support characters get killed or not. it's really sad.

enter chapter eleven. someone at EA HQ comes up with the bright idea that interaction with NPCs might really be a good idea after all and finally lets you do it face to face (after several hours of interaction by radio and videolink. it's not the same, I tell you!). you finally get some information about what's really going on (you've more or less been wandering in the dark up until that point (haha, what a pun...)), and the tempo of the whole game is uppened a little. yeah, there's a gigantic last boss too, as always.

one thing that is really cool though is that the necromorphs (the aliens) have their own alphabet, and whenever you enter an area previously occupated by humans there's always a mix of frantic last breath messages ("infidels!", "they are coming!", "cut of their limbs!" and messages written in this necromorph code.

we stumbled upon a cipher for this code around chapter four or five which we of course copied down on a scrap of paper, and henceforth we stopped to interpret every new alien message we found. here are a couple of examples:
"humans will learn that by death of their worldly spirit they will be reborn in unity as a stronger community"
"unity is forever! death is only the beginning! keep us whole!"
"dont you dare questioning y faith!! believe or die!"
"do not fear death for it is the ULTIMATE JOURNEY a necessary step to NEW LIFE"
"let us be one"
pretty darn spooky, considering the atmosphere the game delivers. a really, really cool detail which made the game so much more enjoyable. but it's just a detail, and not a fundamental basic.

no. good concept. really darn good concept and an excellent start of the game. but then you're introduced to so many hours of grinding that you can't call it a great game however much you want to! the game screams stereotype and it makes me a bit sad due too the fact that it was sooo cool in the beginning of the game.

all in all game developers seem to think that killing of dozens and dozens of alien enemies in dark corridors by yourself is what certifies a game as survival horror. I don't agree. survival horror should be based around the fact that you are dead scared that you won't survive. and you don't have to be alone to feel that... and why not have fever but tougher enemies instead of hordes of those easy-to-kill ones?

to wrap it up: if the manuscript for the whole game had been as good as in the first two levels then this game would have been one of my best gaming experiences in a long while. but they didn't. and it's not. controls, graphics, sounds, weapon upgrades - everything works really good with no big glitches anywhere. but without an interesting story and good level design a great concept won't get you far, sadly.

all this dissapointment is mostly based on the fact that the trailers promised so much and the first two levels made you hopeful that it would keep up, but didn't. Dead Space is not a bad game if you like killing aliens en masse but that's not what I wanted. I wanted survival horror, not alien shooter. why EA, why?


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