A decade ago, Electronic Arts and Visceral Games’ “Dead Space” seemed like one of the most creatively robust and successful franchises in the world. And then “Dead Space 3” disappointed me—I was one of the few fans of the game, even if it doesn’t compare to the first two in the series. Before you knew it, Isaac Clarke was adrift, a part of video game history instead of anything in development. Of course, in pop culture, nothing really dies.
After the success of the remakes of “Resident Evil 2” and “Resident Evil 3,” and the acclaim for last year’s “The Last of Us, Part 1,” it made sense that EA would return to “Dead Space,” a breakthrough, influential game that has now been completely rebuilt from the top down with voice work (the first game initially had a silent protagonist), new mechanics, new environments, and even some new story twists. It’s not just a coat of paint. It’s a game that feels new. Sure, some of the structure is a bit dated—constantly looking for save spots instead of auto-saves, a clunky movement style for Clarke, an outdated inventory system, etc.—but what works about this game has not only been maintained but enhanced. It’s still a terrifying, riveting experience, a game that echoes films like “Alien” and “Event Horizon” while also feeling distinctly original at the same time. I hope this one is no one-off and that it’s successful enough to put the words “Dead Space 4” on a release schedule again.
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