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AICN Games: Monki checks out EA's Upcoming DEAD SPACE!!


Greetings humans, Monki here with a look at Electronic Art's upcoming title Dead Space.

A few weeks ago I got the chance to go out to Electronic Art's Redwood Shores studio to get an early peek at the game. To prep the horde of video game dorks for Dead Space we were treated to a digital screening of Evil Dead 2 and Danny Boyle's Sunshine the night before we dug in to the game. It was a pretty great way to get that taste of horror/space in to our collective mouthes.

The next morning started off with a quick breakfast and then a jaunt over to the studios for a hands-on session with Dead Space interspersed with various presentations ranging from concept art design to lighting to a meeting with the producer of the game. It quickly became apparent that everyone wanted as much time with the game as possible, fidgeting and checking watches during the presentations was common as we all knew more alien dismemberment was awaiting us in the next room over.

In Dead Space you take on the role of Isaac Clark, a mysterious figure who somehow has ties to the USG Ishimura. (He is the one with the glowing helmet you see in the above photo.) Isaac finds himself aboard the Ishimura trying to figure out what the hell is going on and why exactly there are these enormous creatures running around trying to eat his face off. Oh, and the babies...fuck those creepy bastards.

The key to this game is something called "strategic dismemberment." You can unload a full clip of future-weapon in to a baddie's gut and they won't pause. You have to go all Splatterhouse on their ass and take off limbs in order to put them down for the count. Aim for elbows, femurs, kneecaps...these are the weak points of your enemies. Keep in mind though, this is a learning A.I., and I found after some time of blowing legs off that my targets would start avoiding my fire towards their legs...so off went their arms.

Another interesting development in this game is the complete lack of UI. (User Interface.) All of the details about your character and your weapons are located on Isaac himself. There is no health bar in the lower corner of the screen, there is no grenade meter on the top...it is all literally on your character. Isaac has a glowing backbone that represents your health meter and your ammo is shown on top of your weapon. This simple aesthetic choice makes for an immersive feeling in the game and helps add credence to the horror aspect of the title.

Speaking of the horror aspect, damn, does it work well here. You are constantly changing scenery, from industrial zone areas to the flora and fauna of a plant nursery to a medical bay...all very realistically too. In each of these areas though, an overwhelming sense of dread reeks from every crevice. Shadows hint at something behind the corner, the sounds of skittering baddies come from the grates overhead, messages written in blood adorn the walls. Not exactly the same kind of space that Richard Branson may be dreaming of.

The design of the game is excellent as well. There were a few moments where I had to pause and just take a look around at all the crazy shit that was going on around me, sort of like some of the early moments in Gears of War where you just were in awe of the level design...that kind of stuff comes up here. You'll spend a bit of time sightseeing, you know, if you aren't trying to not get killed.

Oh, and the difficulty...wow...it's been ramped up quite a bit. You can't really fuck around with this one. If you think you are just going to run and gun your way through Dead Space, you are severely incorrect. As I said before, the AI learns your techniques as you play and they adapt to your style. If you don't mix it up a bit you are going to endanger your controller as you sending it flying across the room.

Electronic Arts has really outdone themselves with the story of Dead Space as well. As opposed to traditional FPS plots (You are on planet X, kill Y.), there is actually a fully fleshed out backstory to this one.

EA has been releasing comic books that flesh out the backstory while simultaneously releasing the animated versions of them as well...you know, for the people who can't read good and stuff.

Also, if you have a free hour or three, go check out No Known Survivors.com. This is seriously one of the coolest game-based websites I have ever been to. The freaking menu is a series of floating body parts! Awesome! Here you can delve even deeper in to the world of Dead Space, and hopefully get a better understanding of what the hell these creatures are running around in a bigass space ship in the future.

I am anxious as hell to get my hands on the full version of this game. The brief couple of hours I got while I was in San Francisco were not nearly enough to satiate my desire. I need to kill more shit in space. I need to blow off more body parts! Good lord, October 14th can't come quick enough.

Alright, there is always more where that came from, until then though, back up the tree I go!

-Monki



Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Wow!

    by Pogue Mahone

    Looks very nice indeed!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Whispers from my asshole...

    by Sailor Rip

    ...this does look pretty good but from what I understand you spend most of the game using improvised weapons rather than big ass futuristic guns. <p> I'm going to wait until ALIENS:Colonial Marines comes out. That will kick all kinds of ass.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Sailor Rip

    by choptop

    Why are improvised weapons a bad thing? Lasers is lasers, whether they're for killing or welding.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST

    my favorite games of the past (before i had kids and work all th

    by future help

    Doom 2, Heretic, Quake, Dark Forces 2, and Mappy.(haha)

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:34 a.m. CST

    foist!!!

    by surprider

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:34 a.m. CST

    foist!!!

    by surprider

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Where were you...

    by onezeroone

    when MGS4 was launched? Did you not get invite for that? One would expect gaming section on a movie site to cover the most cinematic of all game series.<p>And yeah, am psyched up about Dead Space [am a BIG Survival Horror fan] but won't be coming here for my dose of gaming. I wonder if the tree you go up to is a gaming studio/publisher's ass. I mean, c'mon, it's so very obvious how this is trash handed down by PR folks.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Damn dude, that looks bad ass

    by Heckles

    Never cared for the 'horror' games like Resident Evil, but this shit looks off the chain. When does the movie come out? Heh.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 11:52 a.m. CST

    I need this

    by pendergast

    seriously I need this

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Still...

    by Sailor Rip

    ...I want my M41A Pulse Rifle with 10mm explosive tip caseless ammunition.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:20 p.m. CST

    I get a The Brood vibe

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    from x-men comics from those pics

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST

    PC version?

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Don't own a game console and no plans on getting one

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for this one

    by SpawnofAchilles

    been following it since it was announced, I love good survival horror, RE 4 is my favorite game of all time and I am salivating over 5. I like that it looks like you use engineer type weapons (like the sweet buzzsaw in the first pic!) It's something different and we all know different and original = good. I also love that dismemberment is a key part of the game, I love dismemberment! Yay!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:35 p.m. CST

    oh and

    by SpawnofAchilles

    not to be one of those guys, because I can't stand guys that do shit like I'm about to do, BUT Joblo had their impressions up from I believe this same event like over a week ago...In any event this sounds like really cool event for the movie/game crowd and it's awesome of the developers to set it up. Obviously the game looks and sounds really cinematic (also love that there is no HUD and how they integrated it into the character.)

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:39 p.m. CST

    prequel?

    by joegiant

    heckles....caught this on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmcwexN8MQA

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST

    On second glance, reminds me of Event Horizon

    by Heckles

    Just a little. Not a bad thing though.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Why is Snake Eyes from GI Joe

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    fighting aliens, and why does his mask now glow in the dark?

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:14 p.m. CST

    meh

    by ironic_name

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Monki

    by rxse7en

    Any word on Aliens: Colonial Marines? Thanks for reminding me Sailor Rip. http://tinyurl.com/5e4an9

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:24 p.m. CST

    rxse7en

    by Sailor Rip

    This year would be nice but I think the earliest we can expect is Q1 2009. So far it's looking like an ALIENS wet dream.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST

    sorry but

    by ArcadianDS

    this is the same thing everyone was saying about Gears of War. Its gorgeous. Do some sight-seeing. The story is fantastically amazing. Its not a run-and-gun.<p> and then we played it and other than the 18 shades of red arterial blood, the whole game was in shades of stone with lightning bolt blue accents, and replacing Run N Gun with Run N ChainGun isn't exactly a revolution in gameplay theory.<p> The story looks like someone took the plot of Halo, Gears of War, and the Lost in Space movie, ran them through a paper shredder, and then taped them all back together into a single screenplay.<p> Im going to have to rent this one - it looks great, but only because it borrows from 8 great games I've already played before.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    also, asking for a Politically Correct version is tarded

    by ArcadianDS

    lol you probably read that and replied to it with a host of "zomg you idiot he mean Personal Computer." If you did that, you have made my lulz come true.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Reminds me a little of the old PS2 game

    by skimn

    Run Like Hell w/Lance Henriksen that showed so much promise. BUT, this looks to be so much better.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    EVENT HORIZON THE GAME!

    by Zeke25:17

    Remember when Fishburne and a coupla crew members watch that horrific tape for a few secs and then Fishburne says: "We're leavin'!" If they had stayed...it would look like this game. Can't wait!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Are the aliens hive-minded?

    by maddox

    Else why would the AI alter other aliens' behavior based on how you killed previous ones?<p>Sounds like the AI is more of a difficulty enhancer than realistic if the aliens aren't hive-linked or something.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I say we just bug out and call it even!

    by Sailor Rip

    I mean what are we even talking about this for!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 3:05 p.m. CST

    What happened to your regular articles Monki???

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    I know some people weren't big fans, but I was! It was an easy way to learn about new games that you might not have heard of. Yeah, sure, I mean, I guess you may not be a "professional" to some, but that's bullshit. Why can't we just have an easy way to get video game info? <p> Anyway, Dead Space looks awesome, I'm hearing good things </p>

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Where you been Monki!?

    by FILMFUNK

    Thought you got the hairy sack! There's been a good few nice games out since you last posted but no sign of you! What gives? Just as your column was starting to settle into a cool little groove you get replaced by a cock eyed bird with big knockers reading script reviews?

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Arcadian DS (double screen?)

    by SpawnofAchilles

    Your forgetting the awesome and pretty revolutionary cover system(it was done poorly in other games before this one) employed in Gears, along with the mind blowing graphics (I agree that the color palette and variety of the level textures needed to be more diverse, something that is supposedly being addressed in the sequel) Plus the chainsaw bayonnet is just rad, especially being a big horror fan over here haha. The plot looks NOTHING like Halo except for the enemies looking like flood (and the flood was a huge rip off from a thousand other things to begin with) It looks nothing like gears of war because lets see it takes place on a ship not a planet, its one man who is an engineer (not some roided up space marine FOR A CHANGE) and there is no huge war going on. I dont know what lost in space is although the title at least evokes the imagery from this game. I would say it looks much more a mashup of the original alien with some aliens mixed in, plus doom and quake, minus the roided space marines

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Sailor Rip

    by rxse7en

    Don't know how I missed this one: http://tinyurl.com/5khhfn Can NOT wait for this game.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Adverticle Alert!

    by Fixthe Fernback

    I agree with onezeroone. The only time we get any game coverage is in crap unbalanced pr bullshit such as this. Anyone who uses AICN for game info/reviews needs their head examined...

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 4:40 p.m. CST

    trailer looks good

    by Ultron ver 2.0

    Welcome to EARF!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 4:56 p.m. CST

    game designers

    by blonde redhead

    do me a solid and when you're making your games, give me an option to play as a chick. bioware does it all the time and i'm sure there's not even any story in this game that requires me to be packing cock and balls. i hate playing as a dude as i am not possessed of a flaccid hang-down. thanks and please get on it. you will see more money when you do.

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Yikes!!

    by Harold-Sherbort

    That guy in the third picture down looks like he needs a hug. That's fuckin bad ass!! And, to anyone that's played Too Human, why the fuck is that last level so fuckin difficult? It's unfair!!

  • Sept. 9, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST

    PLANT! PLANT! PLANT!

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    Does no one else notice the hyped tone? Do You guys do realize that PLANTS exist in every aspect of marketing, not just film promotion? It may be a decent game but the tone of this article smacks of EA promo shit. PLANT PLANT PLANT!

  • And I hear there is lots of graphic gore too, and explosions! GOOD LORD, THIS PRODUCT WILL CERTAINLY REVOLUTIONIZE THE VERY FACE OF GAMING!

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST

    "The guys at EA sure outdid themselves this time!"

    by David Cloverfield

    Best job ever.

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Not seen any games coverage in AICN before...

    by GetEveryone

    Nice! Two of my favourite things. Dead Space doesn't look revolutionary, but it seems to be putting a great twist on a pretty formulaic concept.<BR><BR>I just bought a load of slightly older/cheaper games in preparation for hungover uni days. Its all about F.E.A.R. Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, Snake Eater Subsistence and Silent Hill 2 from here. Of course, a bit of Street Fighter Alpha for flat high-jinks.<BR><BR>Also, Spore is truly not as good as expected. Very little depth and the jewel in its crown, Space, is repetative and dull (but terra-forming planets and doing so to kill another race is great). MGS4 on the other hand is absolutely terrific.

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 3:03 a.m. CST

    *repetitive

    by GetEveryone

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 6:41 a.m. CST

    No mention of which systems it's for...

    by Ckuouka

    The review, without mentioning the systems, and only showing the 360 version, implies it's only coming out for the 360, instead of for that and the PS3. Just saying if I was someone who didn't have it reserved for my Playstation already, and had just read this for the first time, would think..."Oh, it's a 360 game."

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 10:51 a.m. CST

    I don't know if Monki has a PS3

    by Johnno

    But the fact that if this site wants to start up a gaming section and while Halo is all good and stuff there was barely a mention of anything Metal Gear-ish, means you dropped the ball big time! But I'll give you another chance. Dead Space is doing a lot of cool things and looks to be pretty good. I've enjoyed those animated comics, though they're nothing compared to the MGS DGN in terms of presentation... but anyway Monki, if you're gonna do a big time games thing, you oughta consider investing in all current consoles, DS, PSP, Wii, 360, PS3, and a decent PC for good measure... and seeing as how PS2 games are still coming out, you might want to keep one of those around too, that is unless you have a PS3 with BC... Anyway if you want to please me, try getting us some early impressions for Silent Hill: Homecoming.

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Also i don't think i saw it mentioned...

    by Johnno

    But there is also an animated prequel straight to DVD movie for Dead Space coming out...

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    I would just assume..

    by Harold-Sherbort

    ..that it's for 360. It gets all the good ones, and this one looks good.

  • Sept. 10, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Harold-Sherbort

    by Ckuouka

    That's exactly the point. this was actually one of the first games that was developed on ps3 first and then development moved onto 360 (for a long time, companies did it the opposite way). And there's quite a LOT of great PS3 games that don't get anywhere near the hype that a Gears of War or Halo get. Johnno is right to mention MGS4, but there's also Siren, Resistance 2, Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, etc... Not to mention 99% of the good 360 games are multi-platform (meaning they are out for the PS3 as well). I agree with Johnno. Gonna start a videogame section here, cover both systems, or get someone who does own a PS3 to cover those games (and I guess someone with a Wii for those).