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Letters from the Front

Retro Throwback is a brand new series that revisits games of old. Today, for our third issue in this brand new series, I’m taking a look at Dead Space.

2008 was an remarkable year for gaming, it rivaled the previous year which shattered the glass ceiling. From Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to Crysis to BioShock, there was no way that 2007 would’ve been beaten but 2008 was the one to bypass 2007 with the amount of legendary and iconic games that released this year and one of these iconic games that released in 2008 was Dead Space.

After losing contact with the Ishimura, the owners of the massive planet cracker ship send in a small team to find out what happened to their property. When they get there the Ishimura appears to be abandoned, the communications have gone dark, and the lights have gone out, so they board the ship and so the game begins.

In the 11 years since the game released, I came to the realization that Dead Space isn’t quite unique with its ideas but it makes up for that by how it presents those ideas and just by being really really good horror that at the time was changing, thanks to Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 4 had a big influence on Dead Space and most of the horror games that released in this period. Borrowing a lot from Resident Evil 4 and a lot of sci-fi films, Dead Space is and was a great homage to horror and sci-fi cinema.

Dead Space is a game that has hold up well, even 11 years after its release in October of 2008. I’m amazed by how the game looks, even if its extremely dated but the Ishimura still is a wonder to look at, all these years later. It’s a wonderful setting.

The Ishimura is a claustrophobic metal box that owes it’s design and atmosphere to the Nostromo from Aliens. The Ishimura is a lot like BioShock’s Rapture in a lot of ways, the setting alone gives the game a massive boost and becomes its greatest strength as Visceral Games had the chance to dig deep into the setting and bring it life. The Ishimura felt like a real place which makes it even more eerie when you see the state and the shape that the Ishimura is in.

You move through the areas in a similar fashion that BioShock moved you across the game. You begin in engineering and make your way to Medical and then the crew quarters, revealing more of how the people on the Ishimura lived as you go further into the ship.

The horror aspects of the game has taken the biggest hit as the jump scares has turned into cheap jump scares and the tension doesn’t necessarily go anywhere. The game is more like a ghost train and that’s okay because this particular issue is mostly time-related, whatever the product released in is the product of that era and represents whatever it was in that particular time-period.

No matter what, it still holds up as a classic horror game. It’s a game that is still very scary in certain areas but the horror has aged dramatically and the Necromorphs aren’t as scary as they used to be in 2008, their behavior of jumping out of vents, crawl spaces, feigning death are all cheesy and predictable. However, Dead Space is an iconic game and very influential for what it put forward in that particular time and for that, it remains a solid game. Definitely give it a shot.

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