(This game is rated 18 in the UK and should not be played by those under that age or those sensitive to mature topics. It has strong gore, horror, murder and suicide themes so caution is advised before playing)
My experience with Dead Space (2023) is that I have beaten the game on the Medium difficulty option. All my time playing was on the PlayStation 5 version of the game, so my experiences may not reflect other ports of the game.
Dead Space (2023) is a remake of the space horror action game Dead Space from 2008 developed by Visceral Games before that studio was dissolved into EA, the new remake is developed by Motive Studios with this being their second sole developed game with the previous being Star Wars Squadrons.
I spent the majority of my play through in “Performance mode” so the resolution was cut down from 4K down to roughly 2K and below at times to ensure a stable 60fps while playing.
Even playing on Performance mode the game looks amazing and really shows off what the Frostbite Engine can do to the old game, and while I prefer playing on 60fps for games that require quick reflexes I would recommend players try out a 4K exclusive playthrough just to see how much the environments are improved with enhanced shadows when playing without Performance mode on.
Particle effects are much more dynamic now as you can see sparks bounce off Isaac’s suit like a real life spark would do from hitting metal.
This is also seen without the Zero G outside environments where there is a realistic build up of frost on his suit that when the player re-enters the Ishimura players can see the frost slowly melt leaving the suit damp and wet from the dripping water.
All of these add several layers of realism to the game that helps immerse players in the world and feel like they are looking at a real person going through these environments.
While the original game targeted 30fps there were several times where the game would drop below that into the 20s. Whereas now the remake is mostly locked to 60fps in Performance mode giving the players much more reaction time.
If players want to play the game with a framerate matching the original game then they just need to turn Performance mode off and the game will run at 30fps.
The frame rate in my experience rarely dropped from 60fps except for a few occasions over my entire playthrough but it wasn’t frequent enough to detract from my overall experience with the game.
To avoid spoilers I will say that the game features several new elements for its story and gameplay that greatly enhances the port compared to the original game.
The Ishimura itself is now a seamless world with no camera cuts or loading times making the game feel like one continuous camera shot like the recent God of War games to make the game more impactful.
The game also features several new sidequests that will add more lore to the game and bring in more plot points from Dead Space 2 and 3 to help this remake feel more connected to the overall narrative.
The weapons from the original game have also been redesigned to help them feel more unique and stand out with new alternate fire attacks.
The old faithful plasma cutter is still a great standby when fully upgraded and is always useful for cutting off limbs from Necromorphs with little ammo that is cheap to restock up on from the shop.
If a player wasn’t a fan of a weapon in the original game I would say it is definitely worth it to try the weapon again as with the new buffs for less used weapons, it may just surprise players with how they work now to allow more creative kills on Necromorphs.
Borrowing inspiration from Left for Dead with its A.I director, the new Intensity Director dynamically changes events of the game depending on how the player is progressing through the game.
According to the developer there are over 1,000+ unique events that can randomly trigger based on your gameplay from flickering lights to enemy spawning near you.
This is to keep the players alert at all times and on their toes, I experienced the complete randomness near the end of my playthrough when I was backtracking for all the weapon upgrades. I had air vents bursting open with no Necromorphs in it to having the tram completely stop during fast travel and shake around like a Necromorph was attacking before starting again and continuing on.
This is great for replayability and means that no two players will experience the game in the same way leading to the game always feeling exciting and unique.
The remake features a new 2D map that is very useful for checking any rooms you may have forgotten during your play through since now locked doors are not opened with Nodes and instead with new security clearances you get from story and side missions.
The map can still be a little difficult to navigate at times but it is still a very useful addition to this remake, as in the original game it was very easy to forgot about locked rooms or where you need to go as it has a key for every icon in the game so you can find workbenches and save points.
With the new remake they have greatly expanded the sound design to make the ambient noise echo around the player and felt most effectively with 3D headphones.
Now you can hear Necromorphs scraping their blades from around corners and now it is more realistically designed as it sounds like they would be around a corner in real life.
New Game+ broken.
As I was making my way through the game I was rotating my save files by saving in new save slots at every opportunity in order to not lose progress if my current save file became corrupted.
When I got part way through chapter 7 I stumbled across a message during saving saying no new save slots could be created, I thought nothing of it and began overriding my save slots from the start of the game since I wouldn’t need to go back that far anymore in case of corruption.
Little did I know that when I beat the game for the first time it wouldn’t let me save over a previous save file for my New Game+ run and instead my last save was just before the final boss.
To resolve the issue and get a NG+ file I loaded in my last save file before the final boss and tried to delete some of the save slots to free up a slot for the NG+ file, but for some reason the prompt would be greyed out and wouldn’t delete a save file.
Due to this error it means that I cannot progress into NG+ and am now locked out of the rest of the exclusive trophies and the final platinum trophy due to it needing trophies that can only be gotten in NG+, so I cannot access the rest of the game’s content until this mistake is fixed in a future patch.
During my time with the game I found a number of occasions where the game would hard crash.
This happened to me 3 times with just launching the game from the PS5 home screen alone where the game would bring up a black screen but not load the main menu and instead would crash and send me to submit an error report to Sony.
I also had a couple of occasions where the game would crash during normal gameplay with it being either before a horde of Necromorphs would spawn with the frame rate dropping suddenly before the crash. The other times it would crash commonly would be after I had finished a horde encounter when the biohazard quarantine would be lifted and the lighting effects go back to their normal mode.
At a few points during my playthrough I found several textures that would partially flicker in and out of existence rapidly, this normally happened with the signs or writing on the walls around the Ishimura for example I had a worker’s notice sign rapidly flicker.
Broken enemy spawning.
On a few occasions in lifts I had it where Necromorphs would spawn under the floor and would attack me through the floor leading to me taking damage unfairly.
Most of the time my weapons wouldn’t dismember or kill them, with my only option to deal damage was resorting to the boot stomp as the hitbox went through the floor to hit the Necromorphs.
No custom map waypoints.
A minor issue is that with the new map there is no way to apply your own custom waypoints to follow on the map, this made it a hassle at the end of my playthrough where I would travel back through the Ishimura to collect all the weapon upgrades and nodes I had missed behind locked security clearance doors and crates.
At the point of no return towards the end of the game I had to re-explore the entire ship looking for weapon upgrades and extra power nodes.
During this time I found it annoying as the game kept spawning in the same several Necromorphs at set locations during my backtracking making the encounters very tedious to the point of turning down the difficulty from Medium to Story just to get through them and not waste more of my ammo as that section wasn’t scary and just tedious.
To help alleviate this issue I think they should have kept areas that you’ve cleared of Necromorphs five times or more should be permanently clear on future revisits. This was felt most at the end of the game they just kept spawning the Necromorphs with the most health as a way to artificially lengthen playtime for players who wanted to get as many upgrades as possible in their first run instead of making the encounters more challenging with unique Necromorphs spawning.
A fantastic remake that takes everything great about the original game from 2008 and enhances it for a modern audience after a 2 console generation gap from the PS3 to PS5 and after 15 years since the original.
If you are a fan of the original then I would highly recommend this remake, as players will find it familiar yet distinct with all the changes to help this remake standalone to keep players on their toes in a similar way as Resident Evil 2 remake did compared to the original.
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant
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