The One Thing That Dead Space 3 Gets Right

Despite all its flaws, Dead Space 3 has done at least one thing right: it’s managed to implement a pretty damn nifty crafting system. Crafting benches provide a way to combine materials in a variety of ways. Now I can zap, shoot, explode, cut, burn, acidize, and spear my aliens in my own way.

Initially, the game does a terrible job at explaining this system to the player, but it’s really simple once you wrap your head around the overly convoluted tutorials. First, you have your Frame; this determines the size and shape of your monster euthanizing apparatus. Imagine that this frame is a hose. You can load it with whatever liquid you want, and then you attach a nozzle, which will govern how the liquid will spray. Dead Space calls the liquids Tools and the nozzles Tool Tips. For example, In order to create the Isaac’s classic Plasma Cutter, you simply attach the Plasma Tool to one end and the Default Line Tip, and huzzah, the Plasma Cutter.

The game also manages to combine one gun into two. So between the two weapons at your disposal, you actually have four when you count their alternate fire. This alternate fire is determined exactly the same way as the primary fire, with a Lower Tool and a Lower Tool Tip. So while your top could be a standard Plasma Cutter, your lower section could discharge spikes, or unleash a spider web of electricity.

On top of all this, there are attachments that give the gun certain perks. These do a range of things from amplifying your Stasis Module to adding scopes and weapon effects. Then once you’re done with that, you can also add stat modifiers in the form of Upgrade Circuits, increasing damage, clip size, reload time, etc.

And that, my friends, is it. This system provides a means of experimentation and the outcomes are numerous. I never expected Dead Space 3 to inspire any form of creativity in me, but it did. For me, all this tinkering generated a classic boomstick that peppered my enemies with acid, and if things got rough, a rocket that seriously took care of business. Watching this hand tailored weapon shatter and melt waves of weak limbed monsters was more satisfying than the game’s story, setting, characters, and cinematic moments put together.

I’ve completely given up looking for scares in the Dead Space series. Instead, I’ve decided to embrace it for what it is: a shallow action title about eviscerating alien zombies. That’s all Dead Space has been processed into. If you take it as this, it’s a stupid sort of fun, and the crafting system allows the game’s senseless shooting gallery of cheap “boos” to retain a glimmer of amusement.

  • Nuu

    I wouldn’t say it’s shallow at all. And this coming from someone who was INCREDIBLY skeptical of DS3. It’s hard to get scared of something a number times — namely 3. After the 2nd there’s nothing more that can “get” you. Fear comes from vulnerability. Period. In DS3 we’re running around with plasma whatzits & acid snozwangers. Of course you’re not gonna be “scared.” now tension I think is handled quite well, but Dead Space 3 realizes even if they stuck to a similar formula as in DS1 or DS2…it wouldn’t work.

    Why do you think Deadspace 2 did super great but resident evil 5 didn’t? Because of progression and anticipation. Obviously both publishers knew they couldn’t pull off the same trick twice even if we wanted them to, so they had to change. Resident evil 5 scrapped the horror altogether and DS2 segued into a bit of horror, tension, and action. In short they didn’t alienate fans because they knew what was up.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: if you were expecting horror from DS3, then you need to rethink things. There are some issues for sure but not so much to detract from the overall product.

    • http://twitter.com/Notcrucial Jarrett P.

      Well, seeing as I ended with, “I’ve completely given up looking for scares in the Dead Space series,” I’d have to say I agree with you.

      I didn’t go into Dead Space looking for horror, because Dead Space 2 did away with that a long time ago. I’m fine with that, but there’s a difference between changing a game to keep it fresh, and completely remodeling it to cater to a market that already inflated with action-shooters. Now instead of pulling it’s own trick three times, it’s adopted everyone else’s tricks that have been done a million times.

      The lack of horror isn’t what’s wrong with the game. The whole experience felt shallow to me, fun at moments but still shallow. It just didn’t do anything interesting. Shoot aliens. That’s it. It kind of put me in a brain dead trance.

      The story didn’t help either. The last thing I wanted was some schoolyard-level love triangle between characters that weren’t interesting at all. Good thing they tossed in some disposable characters to spice it up… What were there names again?

      Anyways, just a big ol’ meh for me. At least you could shoot acid at aliens.

      Yours truly,

      ~Negative Nancy