Review: ‘Dead Space’ is competent remake with good horror atmosphere

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It is a well-known reality in the entertainment industry that major studios, whether movies or video games, prefer to re-release hits or finance sequels to well-known stories rather than betting on new things. For better or for worse, re-releases like this, when well produced, have been well received by audiences and critics in recent years.

A good example is the remake of “Resident Evil 2”. In 2019, Capcom re-released the 1998 classic, updating the graphics and mechanics, allowing a new generation of players to experience the game and paving the way for the remake of “Resident Evil 4”, which should be released in March of this year. . The original, from 2005, is considered by many to be the best game in the franchise and one of the best horror games ever made.

In 2020, another Japanese developer, Square Enix, went one step further. In remaking “Final Fantasy VII”, the studio radically altered the story of the RPG, with significant changes to the plot that have not yet been fully explained – a second part is expected to be released next year.

The remake of “Dead Space”, which arrived on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series last day 27, finds a middle ground between the two alternatives —an updated version in graphics and mechanics of the 2008 game that became a horror classic with new elements for the story and narrative.

In “Dead Space”, the year is 2508 and you are Isaac Clarke, an engineer on his way to the mining ship USG Ishimura, which has issued a distress call. References to the movie “Alien”, another great science fiction horror classic, are numerous: the ship where the 1979 feature is set is also a mining company, it’s called the USCSS Nostromo, and also responds to an alleged distress call.

Upon arriving at the ship, which is gigantic and has already been manned by hundreds of people, you and your small team of engineers and soldiers quickly realize that something is very wrong on the Ishimura. There is no one to welcome the new arrivals, and alien creatures soon attack you and your companions, starting a complex plot that involves political manipulations, religious fanaticism and many tense moments sneaking through dark corridors with a plasma cutter in your hand. .

In that sense, the “Dead Space” remake uses the updated graphics very cleverly, making the horrors Isaac discovers on the Ishimura that much more real and vivid—guaranteeing a sense of anxiety and fear even for those who played the original and know what wait.

The new processing power of today’s computers and consoles has also completely eliminated the game’s loading screens, making the experience smoother and more tense, since there are no more gaps for you —or Isaac—to catch your breath.

The mechanics have also been updated. The remake remains a survival and inventory management game, being necessary to use resources sparingly and upgrade weapons and armor little by little.

But there have been changes to enhance that dynamic, like the weapon system, which now encourages you to utilize a greater variety—in the original, it was all too easy to just stick with the starter, the plasma cutter, and invest all your upgrades into that.

Regarding the plot, there are no major changes in the main story, with one notorious and controversial exception: Isaac, who was a silent protagonist in 2008, now has a voice and lines. Apart from the graphics, this is the most striking change between the original and the remake, and it significantly alters the player’s relationship with the protagonist, whose long silences previously contributed to the game’s atmosphere of solitude.

On the other hand, getting to know Isaac’s motivations, feelings and reactions better adds depth to the story, and it’s not a completely unprecedented decision: in “Dead Space 2”, Isaac already had a voice and dialogue.

Other changes to the game’s storyline are more subtle. Subaltern characters that already existed in the 2008 game gained more space with new secondary missions, making the narrative more interesting and well developed.

The game was provided by EA for this review.

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