So. I have two pieces of a triptych hanging in my bedroom. It’s a small piece, something I really enjoy. It’s blue, mainly and it goes well with the wall color. This has something to do with Dead Space.
I’ve finished Dead Space and I’m on my second playthrough, and while I’m doing that, I’m thinking about how it does a lot of things right, how it brings innovation to a stale genre, and how the survival horror experience can be enhanced as a social activity.
First the game is fun. There are a lot of elements to this, but first and foremost, the game is a good time. It grabbed me from the beginning with the cold opener, with Isaac and the crew of the Kellion quickly realizing the straightforward repair mission is turning into something bad. The story, while nothing groundbreaking or thought provoking, is on par with a good science fiction suspense movie.
The UI. I don’t really talk about the user interface in games. Mainly I’m a happy person if the UI is out of the way, or subtle in some fashion so it doesn’t detract from the gameplay or the immersion of the title. I’m going to say this now, when I saw that they were telling the story through the user interface, that was the moment when I decided I was going to purchase Dead Space. It’s a singular moment, early on in the game where one of your fellow crewmembers contacts you over the radio. In typical sci fi fashion, this is a video call. In atypical video game fashion, it’s part of the UI.
Isaac is wearing a RIG, which simply, is a “space suit.” The RIG has a holographic UI, so whenever Isaac needs to access anything in game, it projects a hologram into the world so he can see it. This is hard to explain, but is incredibly awesome once you see it in action. An innovation in storytelling immersion that really only works here in the space horror genre, but very well done and executed in Dead Space.