At the EA3 event last week, we got the honor of playing the alpha version of Dead Space. According to Alex Charlow of EA, the game is still a few months out and all the core parts of the gameplay and design are complete and now it is all tweaks. Good to hear it is ahead of schedule; go team EA!
On the outset, Dead Space looks like any other Doom-esqe third-person shooter. Dead Space is a survival horror shooter and not a first-person shooter. The camera is set behind your character and one of the most important (yet trendy) things is that there is no HUD. The HUD features are instead blended into the back of your character’s armor. We have seen this before (think Dark Sector) where your health, when it declines, blurs your vision and when using your tech powers (like stasis) the energy bar depletes.
A few things about supplies. They are hard to find and you have a finite amount of resources, whether that resource be batteries for powers, or ammo for splitting heads and limbs. Speaking of weapons, you do not get a large assortment of them; you are an engineer in a unforeseen situation, after all. There are four weapons: plasma cutter, pulse rifle, flamethrower, and line cutter. Weapons are selected by the d-pad , targeted with the left trigger, and activated with the right trigger. It should be noted that you can switch to the alternate fire of every weapon with the right bumper, but the thing to really understand about the weapon system in Dead Space is how it will effect your mortality.
Every creature in the game is alive and even dead things can come to life, and they are just so determined to get you. The AI is merciless and, more importantly, smart. One example we were told about was a creature that was shot to pieces and left for dead; that creature dragged itself into the vents and did not pop up until hours later as it had tracked him and waited for the perfect moment to strike. Make sure to curb stomp everything in sight!
The next thing to mention about the mobs is the utter destruction you can reap on them. You are a space engineer by trade and have some heavy duty gear that was meant to blow things apart. Each weapon does a certain thing: a pistol can bust limbs, flamethrowers can fry, and bombs, well, they blow things up. The "way" you kill something can matter and turn the tide toward you or against you.
The big thing to remember here is this is not a run-and-gun shooter; killing enemies is best handled with strategy. Always remember that the creatures are thinking faster than you and stasis is your friend. We are looking forward to the more polished version at E3 for sure. Till then, remember you are never "truly" safe in Dead Space.