The original Dead Space was a terrifying and welcomed addition to the dying horror genre. Dead Space 2, although less terrifying was still a game that sent chills down players spines with a slight hint of action game elements. Dead Space 3 takes place often during the daytime in the snow which I wouldn't consider to be that scary when compared to the original. I can honestly say that the scares have left the franchise.
In Isaac Clark’s third outing, the universe’s most unlucky man is back to dismembering Necromorphs after a rescue mission (yes, another one) to locate his ex-girlfriend (yes, another one) goes terribly wrong (again). Visceral's writing appears to be making an attempt at connecting the stories in a more coherent fashion but still falls short. The cult behind the chaos, Unitologists, and their leader Jacob Arthur Danik are an interesting topic of discussion but are rarely expanded upon. Instead, the game relies on the assumption that players are thoroughly invested in the world that's been created and has read the supplemental materials out there including comics and animations. I didn't dedicate that time as most others didn't so some of the back-stories were lost on me although I do appreciate what they are trying to do for their fans.
Clark has company in Dead Space 3 with Sergeant John Carver in the new Co-op mode. This was incredibly surprising to most as usually the series has been a lonesome journey into the mouth of madness. Having Carver alongside left me feeling like somebody often had my back which diluted the sense of fear that I had in the previous entries. One of the best story elements about Dead Space 3 were Carver's side story missions which aren't available unless you have a friend with you. There also isn't an option to go back and select these side missions in a lobby type arena so unless you know exactly where these side missions launch from, I would highly recommend grabbing a friend for this 20 hour long ride. The exclusion of a separate lobby for co-op is unfortunate because as a character, I was more invested in his next move as opposed to Isaac's "I still love my ex so I have to save her" mentality which leaned on cliche and drab. Carver's story is one of love for family and will almost immediately pull you into his world and make his decisions matter.
The gameplay handling and dismantling of foes are still the most gratifying in games today. The gruesome ways that Isaac can dispatch of his enemies are still the pinnacle of the series. Sadly, quite a few of the enemies you will face are human which isn't nearly as entertaining as the Necromorphs. With a very welcomed addition of the weapon customization bench, you can use salvage you find on the planet Tau Volantis or in space and combine them for some interesting combinations. Combine a Plasma Cutter kit with a Line Gun kit, add a scope, and you have a weapon great for picking off enemies far away or in groups. It's a wonderfully intuitive concept for a game that has highly increased in action, but it gives so much empowerment to players that the terror is gone.
The unwelcome addition of human enemies and a story that still suffers from incoherence lands this on our “Rent It” list. It’s time to let Isaac rest. He deserves it.