We could start this analysis by discussing why Dead Space is one of the best horror games of all time, its importance in the medium, or how it became a successful saga that did not lack sequels. , spin-offs and even animated movies, but if you are reading these lines, we probably wouldn’t tell you anything new you didn’t already know. After all, it is a work on which rivers of ink have been written and remains as fresh and current as the first day later, almost 15 years since its original premiere.
A true cult classic that now returns with what we can consider, from now on, as one of the best remakes we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It is a complete reconstruction of a legendary survival horror that doesn’t stop at just updating its graphics but goes far beyond to expand and improve it in every imaginable way.
The nightmare of the USG Ishimura
We are again facing the game that already terrified us in 2008, maintaining its story, characters, enemies, mechanics, development and level design. However, starting from this base, EA Motive has taken the opportunity to add many of the playable novelties that its sequels brought with it; they have redesigned sections and entire bosses, they have improved the controls, they have included new puzzles and rooms, they have expanded the script to deepen in its background, they have turned the USG Ishimura into a gigantic interconnected map without charges, they have added new systems and redone those that had room for improvement, the backtracking has been strengthened to make it more satisfactory, and recent technological possibilities have been used to create new situations and dynamics. And all this that we have just commented on as a summary does not even represent all of its novelties but let’s go by parts.
As in the original, the script puts us in the shoes of Isaac Clarke, a systems engineer trapped in a gigantic spaceship with monstrous creatures known as necromorphs. The plot develops almost the same as in the 2008 version (there is some minor change in how certain events happen), offering us an exciting story with a lot of background that invites us to move forward to discover more about its characters and about this science fiction universe. Something that has now been enhanced by adding new sequences, documents, audio records and even side missions
Of course, our protagonist is no longer mute and just like in Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, he speaks and actively participates in conversations, significantly impacting the narrative. As you can imagine, this translates into new dialogues and dynamics between the characters that give the story greater credibility and allow us to better empathize with its actors, not to mention what it gains in coherence with the rest of the trilogy. In addition, many key sequences have been completely redone to give them a luxurious cinematic feel with more tension and terror than ever, thanks to superb direction.
Redoing a classic
Focusing now on its gameplay, say it follows the original formula to the letter. Thus, we will have a third-person camera placed on Isaac’s shoulder when we aim, the enemies can be dismembered with our shots, and their development will make us go from one side of the ship to the other to meet the different objectives that we have. gGoordering The level design, the distribution of rooms and corridors and the order in which the various events occur have hardly changed. Hence, the “skeleton” of the 2008 adventure is still very much in force., transmitting to us a nostalgic sensation of familiarity that allows us to recognize the different places through which we move quickly. Now, there are so many changes and novelties that, at the same time, the perception we have had throughout the adventure is that of being in front of something completely new.
We have an excellent example of this in that now the USG Ishimura is a single and gigantic level with different interconnected areas without loading screens of any kind, which has allowed new routes and shortcuts to be created that were not present in the original. We still have a wagon to go from one sector to another quickly, and the route we must take during the main story is still tremendously linear. Still, it is an exciting structural change that reinforces backtracking and brings its map closer to what we expect in a mMetroidvaniaor in a classic survival horror.
Moreover, a new security level system has been added that prevents us from opening many doors and resource containers until we raise our authorization level, which we will do further in the adventure. This gives us the perfect incentive to want to return to those places we have already visited to see what awaits us behind those locks that previously refused to open.
On the other hand, we also want to highlight the redesign that all the sections developed in zero gravity have undergone, which have been adapted to allow us to fly freely through them with our propellers, as happened in the second and third installments of the series. , which is much more spectacular, rewarding and exciting than in the original, thus eliminating one of its few weak points to lead to very tense situations and new puzzles. As a result, some bosses have been completely redone with great success. The sequences in which we rode a turret have been removed to include a new, much more exciting mechanic that makes these moments considerably more dynamic and fun for the players. controls
Nor do we want to forget to comment on how much is at stake now with lighting forcing us to overcome parts in which we will be entirely in the dark and that turn what were previously simple shootings into exhausting fights for our survival in which sound and our flashlight will be our best weapons to find the necromorphs that hide in the shadows.
Speaking about the latter, the title usually forces us to tinker with the ship’s power systems, and there will be many times when we have to decide which systems we want to disconnect to turn on others, something that is used very intelligently to give a new touch to specific situations and create a little additional puzzle.
But, without a doubt, one of the best novelties is including a new mechanic that EA Motive named Director of Intensity. Thanks to it, the title can create hundreds of random events anytime. These range from things as seemingly innocuous as the lights start to blink too much bigger scares that may (or may not) end in encounters with enemies in very diverse situations that we rarely see coming. With this, its developers have managed to make us never feel safe, not even when we return to sites that have already been explored where we have finished off all the necromorphs, which suits a title that was already extremely tense in itself by enhancing the terror that is capable of transmitting.
Isaac Clarke vs. the Necromorphs
Of course, the fights against the monsters have also been greatly improved. Beyond the apparent improvement in controls, aiming and gunplay in general, this remake introduces a necromorph “skinning” system. As always, the key to surviving encounters with these creatures lies in aiming at their limbs and cutting them off, which has been reinforced by modelling each enemy’s different layers of skin, muscles, organs, and bones.
In this way, we will see realistically how the impacts of our weapons are destroying the tissue of the rivals at the exact points at which we hit, how their tendons are broken and how their members are detached, Beyond how spectacular and satisfying it is, this has a significant impact on the development of battles, as it allows us to quickly identify which limbs are about to break, how powerful our attacks are, and which enemies are most damaged.
On the other hand, kinesis has been improved, and, as in the sequels, we can use it not only to move and throw objects but also to throw sharp objects, such as the enemies’ claws, to impale necromorphs and save ammunition, thus increasing our strategic possibilities when it comes to resolving encounters, something to which we must also add the fact that many weapons have new alternative shots.
Since we have mentioned the weapons, it is worth noting that their improvement system has been redesigned. Its operation is very similar since we will have to activate nodes with some nuclei to increase their different attributes; however, this time, those blank spaces that did not benefit us have disappeared, making the progression much more rewarding. Of course, to access many nodes, we will have to find plans usually hidden in specific points of the ship, assuming another incentive for us to explore every last corner well. And believe us, it’s well worth it, as these diagrams give us access to unique effects, such as the plasma cutter can do additional damage over the seconds after an impact.
Continuing with the news, the inclusion of a new secret ending stands out that can only be unlocked by finding 12 unique collectibles that appear in New Game+, another unprecedented mode where, in addition to maintaining our inventory and improvements, we will have to deal with new and dangerous versions of the necromorphs. By the way, the Hardcore difficulty level is unlocked from the start and has been rebalanced to give us a permanent death challenge. Additionally, numerous accessibility options and options have been included to customize the experience to suit the player, including filters and warnings to hide the most violent and graphic content.
Its duration has increased slightly as there are new sections, small side missions and rooms to explore, which places its average between 12 and 13 hours, a figure that can vary depending on your ability and way of playing.
Finally, the most obvious novelty is in its new and spectacular graphic section. Everything has been redone from scratch using the Frostbite graphics engine, and the result is unbeatable, representing a giant leap compared to what was seen in 2008, which makes it clear that there are two generations of difference between the two products. The settings have many details, the lighting is fantastic, the textures are of high quality, the modelling is exceptionally well done, and the effects have often left us speechless. There are noticeable artistic differences with the original, which happened recently with Demon’s Souls Remake. Still, just like in that game, its developers have hit the right button to make the USG Ishimura a much more terrifying place than ever, with an overwhelming atmosphere.
As usual, we have two graphic modes on consoles: Quality and Performance. The first allows us to enjoy the adventure at 4K and with ray tracings in exchange for reducing the frame rate per second to 30 fps. In contrast, in the second, the resolution drops to 2K, raytracing is disabled, and we gain the always desirable 60fps. In our case, we have preferred to play in Performance, but we will not deny that in a game where the setting and immersion are so important, the Quality mode is most attractive.
The sound is not far behind either, thanks to a spooky soundtrack that behaves dynamically and, above all, to some effects that are the main culprits for putting fear into our bodies and raising tension levels to unsuspected heights, whether through noises, the sounds that necromorphs make or even our footsteps echoing throughout the ship.
Dead Space Remake is everything we could ask of a remake of such a beloved masterpiece and much more. A title redid from scratch that, starting from the base of the original, expands and improves it in every imaginable way. It is not just a spectacular graphical update. Still, it dares to deepen its narrative, add new content, recover the innovations introduced by its sequels, redesign entire sections and include new mechanics and systems. It is a familiar and well-known game, but at the same time, it is perceived as something completely new that has amazed us, enamoured and terrified us again like the first time. Whether you played the original or not, you will find an essential adventure that no horror and science fiction lover should miss.
We prepared this review with a digital code for the PS5 version provided by EA.