Dead Space 3 preview: for those afraid of change

What happens to Dead Space 3 when you get rid of the giant alien bosses? The human enemies? The action-packed co-op sections? Well, it happens to feel a lot like the original Dead Space.

Ever since E3, the producers of Dead Space have been keen to note that fans of the original game can play the game sans fioritures. In this twenty minute video walkthrough, executive producer Steve Papoutsis promised that "the people that really enjoy the single player Dead Space game... that's going to remain the same."


At EA's Summer Showcase in Visceral Studios last week, I got a chance to play a new area of Dead Space 3. Unlike the E3 demo, it did not take place on a snow planet. Instead, I was trapped inside the confines of yet another derelict ship. Even more crucially, I was playing solo.

The experience was reminiscent more of Dead Space 1 than 2. I found myself tapping in R3 to find the route forward, as sounds of enemies lurking around would haunt me. Encounters were few and far between, but I still remained cautious as I turned around corners, or walked pass vents. It was nice not having to fight dozens of enemies at once.

At one point, I had to figure out a way to open a door by rerouting the ship's power. There were multiple switches, each with a different value. Keeping the switch to the left would power the lights, but moving it to the right would power the doors. Each process had a limited range of operability, and Isaac would get shocked if anything became overloaded. Seeing the lights shut down only added to the tension--but it was necessary to make my way further into the ship. This single sequence served as a good reminder that Dead Space 3 isn't an exclusively action-packed affair--it can be atmospheric as well.

From a single-player perspective, it seems like Visceral is making good on its promise of making a game that feels like its predecessors. And there are other features to get excited about, other than co-op. The EA representative prefaced my demo, saying the mission I was on was simply an optional sidequest, in one of the many explorable ships that surround the frozen planet of Tau Volantis. That should provide an interesting twist to an otherwise linear adventure.

Dead Space 3 will be out in February 2013.