Developed by EA Motive, the remake for the first “Dead Space” game that was originally released all the way back in 2008 was announced roughly two years ago. The franchise seemingly met its untimely demise when EA decided to shut down Visceral Studios and, with it, shelve an IP that was not only loved by the gaming community but also had a ton of potential with its unique take on the survival-horror genre. To see the franchise getting another chance or a revival with the announcement of a remake was definitely a sight for sore eyes and sparked hope and excitement once again in the hearts and minds of people who loved this game.
Built from the ground up for current-generation consoles, with everything being re-done, streamlined, modernized, and some stuff getting added, the deck was stacked for this one, and with the updates and glimpses that EA drip-fed players over the course of the game’s development, things were looking good. The game got a January 2023 release date, and while fans were eager to get their hands on this game, back in December 2022, they got another treat with “The Callisto Protocol,” a game that is a spiritual successor to “Dead Space” and is made by the guys behind the original games. I haven’t played “The Callisto Protocol” personally as of yet, so I can’t comment about the game, but it was met with a lukewarm reception and didn’t bode well with most players, who ultimately were quick to call it a disappointment. This created a crossroads of sorts, with a bunch of fans lingering towards the side that screamed that “Dead Space” would cleanse their palate in less than a month, while the others sided with the side screaming that “Dead Space” would be disappointing as well, and people’s love for the game was nothing but nostalgia.
The date came, the game was released, players played it, and their patience was rewarded. The remake of “Dead Space” was not only a success, but it was quick to demonstrate how remakes should be done in this day and age. Everything wrong with the original game has been addressed or fixed here, with the horrors still intact and the gameplay modernized to modern standards, making this game not only look like it was built for modern consoles but also play like it.
Series protagonist Isaac Clarke, a man on a mission to look for his wife, returns here, and the events play pretty much exactly like the original, with his arrival on the USS Ishimura and quickly realizing that things have gone awry here. I played the original a long time ago, during a period when I was quite young and didn’t understand or appreciate the art of video games that much, so despite me knowing and remembering a lot of events from the first game, this was pretty much a new/never seen before experience for me.
Dark corridors, an atmosphere that oozes terror and death as far as the eyes can see, the presentation here in “Dead Space” is nothing short of impeccable. All of this is thanks to the incredible use of lighting and effects combined with the brilliant sound design behind this game. If you’ve played the original and gone, “What the *bleep* is that!?” followed by screams when you saw a Necromorph for the first time, don’t worry; you’ll have the same reaction pretty much here as well. They have done an incredible job of preserving the original and not changing too much, with every change made here impacting the game in a positive way and not taking away from the experience.
For starters, the Necromorphs have always been terrifying beings that you wouldn’t want to encounter in any capacity in real life. The only way to take them down is to dismember them limb by limb and pray to God they don’t grab your leg as you walk past them. That is made even better here thanks to an added layer to the dismemberment where flesh and muscle tear off of them as you shoot them. “Dead Space” was never shy of getting gory, and thanks to modern hardware, all of that looks even better and feels even more cathartic. I swear I am not a psychopath.
Then you have diverging paths across the Ishimura. The way this game works is that you can somewhat roam around the map at your own leisure with paths that are blocked initially but can be accessed as you progress through the game and unlock more upgrades and items. This makes the game a Metroidvania of sorts and adds another layer to your experience alongside converging pathways where you get choices like traversing dark corridors where you can get jumped by Necromoprhs from any angle or run through halls with a depleting supply of oxygen. These choices make you think before progressing and, once again, truly impact your gameplay.
The gunplay remains almost unchanged, with weapons and their alternate firing modes returning. Despite not changing the core of the gunplay that much, it is responsive and a lot smoother here, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. The game also has an added alternate ending that you can unlock, which once again is a nice added incentive. Isaac also speaks here, which he didn’t in the original, which adds another layer to the game’s immersion, and his voice is used sparingly here, which once again was a call well made. The music works even more to build atmosphere, and the visuals are just plain stunning.
The “Dead Space” remake proudly sets a standard in the industry for how remakes should be handled and made, and I’d easily put this one right next to the “Resident Evil” remakes; it is THAT good. EA has been in troubled waters with the gaming community thanks to their comments towards single player games and their huge focus on microtransactions in multiplayer games, but it seems like times are changing as EA is focusing on building great games once again like the “Dead Space” remake, “Wild Hearts,” “NFS: Unbound” and the upcoming “Star Wars: Jedi Survivor” and EA Motive’s “Iron-Man” game, truly fantastic stuff. The long and short of it is that the “Dead Space” remake is fantastic and immaculate in every sense of the word and is a game you should happily pick up with your eyes closed, especially if you are a fan of this genre. Here’s hoping that EA Motive gives us a remake of “Dead Space 2,” a proper and better version of “Dead Space 3,” and maybe even a “Dead Space 4,” a game we never got, sometime in the future, now that this brilliant franchise has picked up steam once again.