Dead Space (PlayStation 5)
Also available on Xbox Series and Windows
The original Dead Space is one of my favorite horror games. I remember playing on the PlayStation 3 not long after I first got my PS3, and it scared the absolute dog shit out of me. With how good Capcom's remakes of Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3 were, I was super excited when EA announced a Dead Space remake...and prayed to whatever god may or may not exist that they didn't screw it up with microtransactions in typical EA fashion. I am pleased to report that they absolutely did not screw it up in any way, shape, or form.
The basic story of Dead Space is that the USG Ishimura, a massive planet-cracker mining ship, has gone dark, and you're on a small ship sent to investigate the loss of contact and repair whatever happened (everyone is operating under the assumption that it's just a mechanical failure of some kind). When you and your handful of crewmates get to the Ishimura, however, you find that something is horribly wrong. Mainly that the crew of a thousand people are dead. To make things worse, they're specifically undead abominations. You play as an engineer named Isaac Clarke, and while he's terrified of the creatures that have taken over the Ishimura, his girlfriend, Nicole, was assigned to the Ishimura as a doctor, and he's hoping desperately that he can find her alive on the infested ship.
Having played the original Dead Space on PS3 and the remake of Dead Space on PS5, I am blown away by how GOOD this game looks and sounds. The sound design was always super impressive in the original games, but it's extraordinary in the remake. Everything just SOUNDS terrifying. You never really realize how important sound is to the atmosphere of a horror game until you play a game that absolutely nails the sound design. Visuals, as well, are top notch here. The original release always looked good for the time, in my opinion, but the improvements, the texture detail, and the resolution - a jump from 720p to 2160p - of the remake give the horror an entirely new dimension (as one would hope being two generations and nearly twenty years later).
There are a few side quests that you can complete to unlock some bonuses and extra goodies along the way, and it's a good risk-vs-reward type of situation. The side quests require a little more exploring, so you'll have to contend with some enemies you might otherwise have been able to avoid. On the other hand, you'll get the opportunity to gain some extra lore and extra items. I, personally, completed all of the side quests, and I'd say it's worth it, but it definitely threw some extra enemies in my way. If you complete the game once and want to go through it again on a harder difficulty, you do get the option of New Game Plus which gives you some bonuses to take into your new playthrough. If you're a completionist on upgrades, that's the way to go since it's virtually - if not literally - impossible to upgrade everything fully in one playthrough.
The original Dead Space was the pinnacle of horror video games in my opinion when it came out in 2006, and I think the 2023 remake is today's pinnacle of horror. It's tough but fair, it's got some fantastic lore, the controls are great and fluid, and it's absolutely terrifying. The only complaint I have is that it does get a little repetitive and last a little longer than I might want. I spent about 18 hours with the game between dying and losing progress and my fervent exploration, and I realistically could have gotten through the game in 9 or 10 hours probably, but by the time I cleared chapter 10 (there's a total of 12), I was honestly ready for the game to be over. Still, though, the game's ending is extremely satisfying, and it ends on a rather open-ended note that leaves the player wondering what happened. If you have a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S or X, or gaming PC, I absolutely recommend giving Dead Space a go.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.