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'Dead Space 3' preview: Five reasons to pick up the sci-fi shooter

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'Dead Space 3' screenshot

© EA

EA's 'Dead Space 3'


Dead Space 3 continues Isaac Clarke's tortured battle against the terrifying Necromorphs. And this time the battered engineer is out of the dark spaceship corridors and into an icy and more action-heavy world.

This third game certainly takes a more action-focus compared to previous titles in the series, and that has got some of the fans worried. Yes, a lot of the tension and horror has been replaced by cinematic action, but the shooter remains a blast to play.

After playing the first few hours of the main campaign, here are five reasons to be interested when it launches next month.

'Dead Space 3' screenshot

© EA



Dead Space goes blockbuster action

OK, let's just tackle this straight out of the gate; Dead Space 3 is not a survival horror game. If that worries you, then this preview probably won't ease those fears.

But Visceral has ensured that the new game is slick, engaging and still atmospheric, right from the opening sequence; a breathless escape from a giant spaceship sliding down an ice slope backwards.

Sure, there is seemingly less time spent in claustrophobic corridors, but even the most diehard Dead Space fans might admit that previous games suffered from a bit of monotony at times.

Ammo is in abundant supply in Dead Space 3 and there are plenty of big set pieces, but we feel that this does still seem like a Dead Space game.

'Dead Space 3' screenshot

© EA



The scares are still there... just

Dead Space 3's new action focus does unfortunately mean it is less scary. That sense of claustrophobic terror has eased slightly, but the game still has the power to unsettle.

The opening hits you straight away with a load of Necromorphs bursting out of a door. They are dressed in snow gear and advance with their arms morphed into slashing ice picks.

Indeed, the series stays in the realms of horror because the Necromorphs are such a hideous foe, and one that evolves with each title.

Visceral has continually mixed up the nasties, from the standard slashers to Kamikaze nutters that come running at you in a whirl of blades. There are little ankle biters that can reanimate corpses, and beasties that attack in zero gravity.


Dismemberment is still fun as guns get an upgrade

Dead Space has always set itself apart in the dismemberment, and the third game sticks to the programme.

Bucking the usual shooter trend, head-shots are pretty much pointless in Dead Space and instead you must blast off those horrible limbs. It's still a pretty frantic feeling when multiple Necromorphs come at you at once, flailing away with their spiky limbs and mangled bodies.

The weapons in Dead Space 3 are pleasingly punchy, and the third game also offers a completely redesigned Weapon Bench system that looks promising.

You can gather parts from the environment to create some pretty awesome firepower, and even combine two weapons into one super-gun. This upgrade system could please the people who lament the shift to action.

'Dead Space 3' screenshot

© EA



Horror gets a nicer view

EA is backing Dead Space 3 with everything it's got and that certainly shows in the visuals. The character models in the game are really well crafted; the attention detail in the environments and objects is impressive, particularly in Isaac's RIG suit.

There are also some truly dazzling vistas of the snow-covered planet. Within minutes of entering the game we were standing on a cliff edge, looking out at snow-capped mountains plunging down into a deep valley with a seemingly deserted base perched on the other side.

Later, we were transported to a future city with myriad spaceships criss-crossing the blood red sky, like some apocalyptic superhighway. These are the kind of views that make you stop and savour.

Leaked screenshots of 'Dead Space 3'


Take on the terror with a friend

The good news is that Isaac is not alone in Dead Space 3, as EarthGov soldier John Carver is tagging along for the ride, albeit not particularly as his bosom buddy.

But this means that you can bring along a friend too for some co-operative dismemberment. Co-op is online only, rather than local, but the drop-in/drop-out should make it accessible.

Switching to two players boosts the number of Unitologist soldiers and Necromorphs that you face, and you always get the feeling that there is enough for both players to shoot.

And yes, there is more ammo about and you fight some massive monsters; but when shooting spiky limbed monsters is this much fun, is that really such a bad thing?

Dead Space 3 will be released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on February 5 in North America and February 8 in Europe.

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