Category: Dead Space

Colorful Hell

I promised I wouldn’t go a week without updating again, and here I am at the last second turning in a paper working on a new post! It’s like college already. Anyways, today we’re going to be looking at a few recent-ish games and take on while they look so good when compared to other, more ‘realistic’ games. Spoilers may follow, so if you, say, don’t want the best part of Dead Space 2 spoiled, you’ve been warned.

Compare for a moment a scene of Dead Space 2 and, say, Gears of War. Let’s see what we get.
Continue reading

Torment Me No More

Well now, looking back it seems like I’ve been too nice to Dead Space 2, so let’s get that caustic hate machine within warmed up and ready to go. And I have just the thing to talk about, event battles! For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Event Battles are fights that take place on highly scripted rails, usually to try to increase the tension by making a fight seem more ‘cinematic’ and forcing the player to react in certain ways. Really bad versions of this are just quick-time events, literally hit ‘X’ or whatever in time or you die, and that’s it. In Dead Space 2, the event fight isn’t that bad, but it’s close… The boss even has a fitting name: The Tormentor.

I'm looking at you, jerk.

Continue reading


Well, in between my intense suffering at my family’s hands and being dragged around everywhere, I have actually gotten to play a little bit of Dead Space 2 from time to time, and have gotten enough of a taste to really talk about one of my favorite parts in gaming: weapon upgrades. The Power Node/Workbench system is the primary focus, but there will be honorable mention to Fallout soon enough. And again, I would like to sincerely apologize, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but once I got dragged out by the family I didn’t make it back until the wee-hours of the morning. I am truly sorry. Hopefully, this article will scratch that mechanical analysis itch some of you have!

Upgrading weapons is a time-honored trope in gaming, and can be viewed basically anywhere, in any game. World of Warcraft and MMO’s like it have enchanting, giving bonus stats or effects to your weapon, Dead Space 2 has Workbenches which can be used to upgrade weapons in a variety of ways, and Fallout: New Vegas has weapon mods which allow for personalized touches to your preferred weapon. Like always, I’ll start with the poorer ways this mechanic is used, and then highlight the good cases.
Continue reading

Startling vs. Unsettling

Ah, time for another delve into the world of madness and terror. You had to know this one was coming after playing any amount of Vampire: The Masquerade again. But, we won’t be talking about that game this time. Oh no, we’re going back into Dead Space and it’s sequel, to see just how horror can be handled and the effects it creates. Needless to say, there will be spoilers in here, so read ahead at your own peril. Of course, there could always be something worse just lurking in the darkness…

Dead Space: This is the most blatant offender of the startle that it serves as the perfect place to start. If you’ve never seen or heard about it before, the basic jist is Necromorphs = Space Zombies x Xenomorphs (of Aliens fame), and like to pop out of vents at you. And play dead occasionally. But that’s basically it. After the first few times, it becomes routine, predictable. See a vent, line up a shot, nail the stupid space zombie for doing the same thing every other space zombie did. The actual fear wears completely out, and is just replaced by a startled sensation. I was startled when the family cat jumped in my lap once, that isn’t the same thing as being terrified and looking over my shoulder at every turn. Likewise, ‘cat-scares’ as their sometimes called have extreme diminishing returns when overused. Emotions quickly swing from being genuinely afraid, to just startled, to neutral, then things start getting bad for you. Even more use swings into annoyance as monsters repeat the same action and the player is forced to keep ‘falling’ for the same trap without being able to attack first or really prepare when they know it’s coming. More and more the emotion pendulum swings into anger and annoyance as the same thing keeps happening. This is why jump out scares should be used rarely to maximize their effectiveness.
Continue reading

It’s not an article by Cracked, I promise. Pity though, it’d probably be funnier than my ham-handed writing. Which is why, today, I have a special treat. A friend of mine wanted to write a colab article about things video game companies really need to stop doing, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do. So you’ll get three things from me, and three from my friend, DDDreamer. So let’s see how this works out! First up, my three that games need to stop having…

Broken Pre-Oder Bonuses:
We all know what a pre-order bonus is. Everyone loves those! Buy the game early, snag some sweet stuff to enjoy in-game. Heck, I do it all the time if I like what comes with it. The last (physical) game I pre-ordered was Halo: Reach, and I got a nice little multiplayer skin out of it. Now, that is fine. Cosmetics and other things that don’t disrupt the balance of the game are the perfect little treat to entice a buyer into reserving a copy early. The problem is when you do stupid things that break the game.

Like unlocking this 1 second into the game

If you’ve ever heard of it, pre-ordering Fallout: New Vegas got you the Caravan Pack. What was in that Pack? Oh, some food, water, and the best leather armor and shotgun you’ll see for a few hours. The pack completely broke the balance of the game and rendered all of the starting armor useless and the guns inferior to the Caravan Shotgun. That’s bad. Care to guess what’s worse? When you do that in a multiplayer game. Battlefield 3 has a pre-order bonus of several weapon modifications that give an edge in a competitive environment. Now, they have said the bonuses will be available to everyone for free later, but come on. You’re selling power-ups to people that shell out money, assuming they even live in a country where the deal is going on. If you don’t, tough luck. There will be better players in multiplayer because they pre-ordered and you didn’t. Fix your pre-order rewards game companies, don’t give stuff that make single player boring and multiplayer broken.

Continue reading