The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Some thoughts on Dead Space

I’m hardly your go-to guy for video games, but having just finished Dead Space, some thoughts.

Dead Space is (on the whole) well done. Nice horror ambiance, a good mixture of enemies. It’s story isn’t as well handled as BioShock, but not many are. The adventure is  “on rails” and it’s all “Complete this task to save yourself … oh, now you need the next task, oh now you need the subtask, etc.” So, no points for story design.

Also, there are a few places where your objective is unclear, but how to do it is opaque. Most provided clues, but one was “Give up and go to the Internet to explain.” (This happens very early, and I’m far from the only person to encounter it.  Play-testing should have caught this).

The near- breaking point (for me) was an arcade shooter subgame.  It’s difficult and (unless there is a cheat I don’t know about) absolutely mandatory. (You fail, game over).  Despite being on “easy,” I failed something like 10 times in a row (with a reload after each one) before barely squeaking by.  If that part of the game gets harder, I would literally not be able to get past it on “Medium” or harder.  Now, there are plenty of other places where you have to do things to advance, but they are what you’d expect in this game … first person shooter stuff, or the aforementioned puzzles.

I did like the objective mapping, with the ability to ask the game where you should be going. Once or twice it wasn’t exactly clear (and computer path generation is sometimes wonky in 3-D) but it was a god-send.

All the plot twists were relatively easy to see.

Still, despite how many nitpicks I gave, most games get turned off after an hour or two. (The early problem kept me from playing for 5 months, but I eventually went back and played it fairly obsessively for the last week). I may even try to see if I can do the game on hard. So, consider that a recommend. And I’m now looking for a new game (I’m going to borrow Batman next week, anything else you’d recommend for the XBox? I don’t like RPGs).

Oh — we had the SABG’s Top 50 geeklist released.

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Written by taogaming

July 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Non-Gaming

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Too bad you’re asking about Xbox. Because “Uncharted 2” may be the best action game ever made. It’s pure Indiana Jones style gaming with an amazingly accessible shooter to boot. It’s great stuff.

    Eric

    July 4, 2010 at 10:10 am

  2. Bioshock 2 would be the obvious pick if you haven’t played it yet but liked the original. Apparently it’s even better than its predecessor but I can’t say because I bought it but haven’t played it myself.

    Not sure how much you like open world games but since you complained about Dead Space, you might want to give them a try. Both Saint’s Row 2 and Just Cause 2 are good examples of the genre. For something newer, there’s Red Dead Redemption. The latter is basically Grand Theft Auto set in the Wild West. You don’t often see videogames use a Western theme.

    Wan Kong Yew

    July 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    • I’d have gotten BioShock 2, but I’m apparently allergic to paying $60 for a game. (I’m willing to wait a year or two for the price to fall to $20-30 used for almost all games except Rock Band-y stuff, and if there were a great strategic game for XBox, I’d consider it…)

      I don’t particularly mind the open-endedness (or being on rails), I think I just want a game I can achieve closure on. Games that take 20-30 hours, or are episodic and can be picked up and put down (Left 4 Dead), as compared to the “Go, explore, find a quest.” Actually, I want a plot hook from the beginning. And I apparently like zombies that aren’t necessarily called Zombies.

      taogaming

      July 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

  3. Have fun with Batman, I just finished it myself this past week and it was a blast. Extremely well polished game and, by golly, it was fun too! Please do a review of it, too; it’s not a terribly long game as I finished it within my one-week rental.

    I absolutely HATE paying $60+ on a game but I splurged on Alan Wake, so far I’m both exhilarated and terrified at the same time. You should also look into Assassin’s Creed (1 and 2) as they have just enough of the “Go, explore” but keep you nicely tied to a story.

    David

    July 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  4. Batman: Arkham Asylum is full of win. Great choice, possibly the best game released last year.

    Have you played Shadow Complex, on XBLA? Also terrific. If you like tower defense games, I recommend XBLA’s Defense Grid.

    Mass Effect 2 may not be your thing if you don’t like RPGs, but there’s no inventory management and the character stats are very neatly streamlined. A huge improvement over the first Mass Effect in every way.

    Also improving on the original was Assassin’s Creed 2. Better mission design, better collectible design, and climbing is still fun.

    I just finished Splinter Cell: Conviction which I enjoyed, and can be found less expensively now. Last night I wrapped up Borderlands, which is essentially an FPS guns-and-mutants version of Diablo, nicely executed.

    If you haven’t played the original Crackdown, good God, man, what are you waiting for?

    Peter Sarrett

    July 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    • If you haven’t played the original Crackdown, good God, man, what are you waiting for?

      That invitation wasn’t engraved.

      Thanks for the notes.

      taogaming

      July 8, 2010 at 7:09 pm


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