Dead Space: A Conversation

The following is a series of emails between Gregor and myself discussing Dead Space. [WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS]

Eugene says:

I played like 6 hours of Dead Space yesterday.  I’m really enjoying the game.  Sure, the store is dumb, and necromorphs dropping cash money and plasma packets is lame, but I can get over those plot conveniences.  I ended my night last night by blowing up the huge boss in the zero g tube in horticulture.  That chapter was kind of annoying, what with all the running back and forth to blow up the necromorphs who had flatulent backsides.

I love the zero g launching (it can get confusing!).  And thank god for stasis cheats, or I’d have died a lot more.

My favorite gun is one I downloaded…it’s called the Big Force Gun.  I’ve powered it up a bit.  At close range it just shatters the necros into pieces, though it’s useless at long range.

It is tough to choose what gear to use your power nodes on, that is for sure.  I wish there were a few more laying around to make it a bit easier.  Heck, I even used a cheat to get 10 extra nodes and still wish I had some more.

The little things I enjoy are the vid screen when your buddies talk to you and the video logs.  It’s cool how they are just a mini green screen in front of you and you can still interact w/ the main game while they play.  It’s also jarring sometimes when they first call you up…the static from the initial comlink sounds disturbingly (I’m sure this is intentional) like a monster sneaking up behind you.

It’s also freaky how the necros appear out of nowhere.   My default maneuver in shooters is to walk backwards while strafing and shooting baddies coming at me…but often in DS they are right behind me too!  Yikes!

Gregor says:

A powered up Force Gun would be pretty unstoppable, at least at close range. I used the Line Gun most of the time, after noding it up all the way. But I liked having the Force Gun as my readied gun, most of the time. So if something jumped out right next to me, I could demolish it without worrying too much about aiming — or wasting my line racks.

The Contact Beam and Pulse Rifle were useless to me. And I never even tried the Ripper, though I heard it’s fun.

How did you like the Regenerator guy in Chapter 5? Personally, I hated him, at least while I was in the pitch black lab where I had to kill the other guys, too, before Kendra could unlock the door. The cryogenics lab was more fun. But I just didn’t like that there’s a monster that’s indestructable, by normal measures. It changes the game’s tacit agreement with the player: monsters get to scare you, and you get to kill them. Then again, that was probably the point, letting you know that there are no hard and fast rules, so you always have to be worried. I know a lot of people love him.

I actually enjoyed the hydroponics area, if only because it was a change from fetching items. I guess fetching noxious fart monsters isn’t really any different, but it changed how I played, for some reason. I decided not to use the right stick to clue me in on where to go next (which I did compulsively the rest of the game). Instead, I just explored every inch of that level to find the guys. It was like hide and seek. There are are no other levels like that though, so you’re safe in that regard.

The game’s interface — the pop-up with the menus, videos, and map — really is fantastic. I hope other games start to use something similar, so you don’t always have to have a HUD onscreen. I also like that time doesn’t stop when you’re browsing that stuff, so you feel just a bit of tension, in case something jumps out at you.

The zero-g sections are the best. I could’ve spent most of the game in zero-g.

And yeah, I did the stasis cheat all the time. I wasn’t above giving myself extra oxygen, too.

Node management is tough. I spent every spare cent on nodes, even if it meant having to use the plasma cutter more than I wanted, to conserve my other ammo and keep me from buying any.

Eugene says:

I’m glad you mentioned the indestructible monster!  I almost brought that up in my email to you.  It pissed me off.  I mean, I had already largely suspending my disbelief for this game, but I have liked how the necros are created by feeding off dead persons flesh, or how the huge one is using the hydroponics lab to grow.  But one thing that always bothers me about these types of games is how they throw out the law of conservation of mass…If I blew that creature’s arms and legs off, he cannot regenerate new limbs w/o a significant amount of “new” (well dead) flesh to regenerate new ones.  Now, if he was crawling around reattaching the ones I blew off, that might be ok.  But I don’t think he was.  If he’d done that, it woulda been cool if you had to obliterate him, or separate his limbs into different rooms, or burn him.   Anything but spontaneous regeneration w/o new organic inputs.  That always irked me about Res Evil 4…one of the bad guys (if you played it, you’ll remember), was this Napoleonic little freakshow.  He then grew (like Apache Chief from Superfriends) into a 50 foot monster out of a human body.  Now, if these games were about magic, I’d give it to them, but they try to be science-based.  The necromorphs are an alien race, as far as I can tell, not a magical faerie species.

Now, the cryogenic freezing of his ass was a cool solution, I’ll admit, but I’m pissed I didn’t get to shatter him.  I’m assuming he shows up again later….

The pulse rifle was useful on the boss, that’s about it.  It probably makes sense to power up the plasma cutter, since the ammo’s so readily available, but it just gets boring.

I like the mines on the Line Gun, but it’s too slow for me and the ammo is pretty darn scarce..  I used the saw gun and found it confusing and not to my liking.  I don’t even have the contact beam yet.

I really enjoyed that one of the gas bags was hiding underneath the feeding platform in the hyrdroponics area, and that you had to activate the food-jug lift, stasis, look down and shoot the guy.  I stood there for a minute and kept loading food jugs before I realized there was a dude down there!  I was like, “Pretty sneaky sis!”

Oh, and the shoot the asteroids mini-game….stupid.

Gregor says:

[Eugene said]: But one thing that always bothers me about these types of games is how they throw out the law of conservation of mass.

Thank you! That bugged me about him, too.

[Eugene said]:  I really enjoyed that one of the gas bags was hiding underneath the feeding platform in the hydroponics area

That was cool. Kathy actually spotted him, early on in that level. God knows how long I would been hunting him, otherwise.

[Eugene said]:  Oh, and the shoot the asteroids mini-game….stupid.

Ugh. I hate when games add mini-games that are requirements to go onward. A lot of people have gotten stuck at that part, because the skills you need to get past it have nothing to do with the rest of the game. Okami had some mini-games that actually prompted us to quit it. We just got sick of fishing and other crap

Eugene says:

On Dead Space, I watched Yahtzee’s review last night.  I agreed w/ it to a degree, but I don’t think the game was trying to be all that original, and I clearly enjoyed it more than he.  I do agree w/ him that unsympathetic, robot characters, do not a good game make. By not having Isaac speak, we don’t give that much of a shit about his existence.  He’s just a suited up killing machine.  Upon reflection, how great would it have been to have Isaac be scared shitless (as any normal person would have been), and have him freaking out, hiding in corners during cut scenes.  I mean, the non-reaction when faced w/ bloody people smashing their heads into walls was too little, not too much.  I don’t know why games do things like this–create a cardboard character.  Resistance’s main character is the same, no talking.  Developers must think they are being creative and original by doing this, when it really just makes the game unemotional (a mistake in my view).  It’s a nice conceit for a one hour game, but not for the development of a franchise.  I mean, wasn’t the main character the one of the best parts of Uncharted, Ratchet, MGS, etc? Why make a game w/ a character people don’t care about?  Big mistake.

Eugene says:

Yes, finished Dead Space.  I enjoyed that game for what it was.  Sure, I had my quibbles (how could anyone mistake these necromorphs and their hive-mind for “God”?!?!?! What was the chick I went into the mission with doing stealing the Marker…that made no sense when she saw the clear results of rapid necromorph infestation (imagine if these things spread to more ships). And why did I have to drag that dumb Marker all over in the anti-climactic final stage?).  Then the big, dumb, stupid, monstrous last boss.  But danged if I didn’t love just being creeped out!

Gregor says:

I totally agree with your assessment of Dead Space. The religious aspect was silly, the plot twist of my traitorous crewmate was stupid, and the marker dragging made no sense. But I really liked it for what it was, too. I beat the final boss on my second try, using nothing but the plasma cutter. (I died the first time when he grabbed me and ate me.)

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3 thoughts on “Dead Space: A Conversation

  1. I thought that for all the plot flaws and the slightly annoying things like ammo management and inventory capacity. It was generally quite a fun game, although 3/4 of the time my nerves were killing me because of how fast and annoyingly quickly the necros jump at you.
    Some of the bosses were ridiculously hard, the Hive mind and the leviathan were especially tough.

  2. I agree with your assessment, William. The invincible necro is the guy that killed my nerves, though. The second time he appeared, he wasn’t as tough. But getting through the pitch black med lab in Chapter 5 (where you have to kill several regular necros while fending off the invincible one before the door opens) almost gave me several heart attacks.

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