Several days ago, I was talking to Herbalist about horror. We then turned our attention to the Dead Space games. A beautiful series that blended sci-fi and horror to create an impressive series to date within this genre.
I shall be looking at Dead Space: Extraction, the prequel to the amazing horror, Dead Space that graced our homes in 2008. Extraction was released originally on the Nintendo Wii, but later ported over to the PlayStation 3. A phenomenal game, that explains some of the events of the Dead Space game.
It all began on Aegis VII, the mining colony that discovered the artifact, known as the Red Marker. The intro mission is incredibly designed and offered a glimpse into the chaos that engulfed the game. The horror undertone is set quite clearly from the beginning, with a wasteland of a planet, and a mysterious alien structure, it is obvious the age-old recipe for disaster is used, and quite rightly so.
The Red Marker is extracted, and the disaster begins. You are required to investigate the several systems damaged in the area and repair them. As you progress you are soon attacked by monsters, and at the penultimate scene of the mission, you realize that in fact you cannot trust what is real. You stand before the colonists you murdered and wonder how can you justify this. This faithful mix of horror and your fragile mental state makes the player question what is real? You control several characters, especially Nathan, and you all experience various bouts of hallucinations with varying intensity. They make you wonder what will happen next, and if the Necromorphs you face are real or a figment of the player’s imagination.
The fact that you have a group of individuals travelling together, offers a form of horror that is rarely experienced in the Dead Space Series. Of course, there are times when the characters are alone. However, the constant communication is a reassuring part of the game, and you form an attachment to these characters. You miss them and their dialogue when you are off exploring the depths of the Ishimura on your own. This is effective in reinforcing the horror that makes Dead Space so well liked.
This game crafted a fascinating story that not only shows the demise of the colony on Aegis VII, but also of the USG Ishimura. The ship fell and its crew infected, it slowly becomes devoid of life. The areas become darker, the staff are all trying to survive and slowly die before your very eyes. You listened to audio, video and read text logs throughout this game and Dead Space 1 and uncovered a faction of what happened on the planet and the Ishimura. It is incredible to watch all this unfold on the ship, as you know yourself the eventual outcome of what happens to the crew. It is also interesting to see how your actions in this game carry over to Dead Space 1.
There are clear connections between Extraction and Dead Space 1. At one point, you disabled the Ishimura’s cannons so your vessel can escape. Only to realize that this was the reason why they were not functioning in Dead Space. This action resulted in you running around in the Bridge in chapter 4 of that game. There are so many connections in this game to be made. The use of hallucinations I believe set the standard for all future Dead Space games, and this is only the icing on the cake.
The gameplay is incredible, you have the standard array of weapons from Dead Space 1, but also my favorite, the Rivet gun. A weapon used for repairs and reinforcing objects. It is used numerous times to reinforce the ventilation grates to prevent Necromorph attacks. It is used to create and remove barricades. The latter was particularly important in keeping mentally unstable colonists out of the security building at one point. Sadly, this action exposed them to the Necromorphs and allowed them all to be slaughtered.
The game is a rail-shooter, so would make use of the motion capabilities of the Wii remote or the PlayStation Move. Essentially allowing more freedom to aim and co-ordinate your gameplay. As with all Dead Space games, problem solving is a core aspect of the game, where one must think how to solve the variety of puzzles available. There are simple hacks to strategic attacks on the various bosses in the game. There is so much to experience with the unique gameplay this game offers to you. At the same time, it retains the dismemberment that allows for the death of Necromorphs which made this series stand out from the start. Furthermore, it allows you to in fact traverse the ventilation shafts so frequently used by Necromorphs and watch events unfold around you.
The game is a definite yes, it is well worth your money, and offers a truly incredible horror experience. The hallucinations are truly incredible. My personal favorite was the one where you enter the morgue and the camera pans slowly across the room. In a well illuminated area a dead body rises, causing a jolt of fear to run down your spine as the game positions you to look once more at the motionless corpse. This game is incredible in what it offers, the standard Dead Space play style, but also so much more. For a valuable experience in the horror genre, this is a must have.
This is Reclaimer, signing off.
Images from the Dead Space Wiki.