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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wilcox Email mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

DEAD SPACE 3

RRP: $ 99.95 ( re­viewed on PS3)

★★★★★

ALL kinds of things scare us – the un­known, creepy crawlies, things that go bump in the night. And then there’s the ter­ri­fy­ing thought that a video game fran­chise is about to have its finely tuned for­mula tam­pered with. In the months lead­ing up to this re­lease,

Dead Space fans have been fear­ing the ru­moured changes ex­pected in this in­stal­ment, such as co- op­er­a­tive play, a new de­fen­sive cover sys­tem, and en­e­mies that shoot back, which threat­ened to spoil the fright­en­ing edge the se­ries is known for. I can at­test the new el­e­ments are all wel­come ad­di­tions.

In Dead Space 3 you are once again play­ing space en­gi­neer and re­luc­tant pro­tag­o­nist Isaac Clark, dragged un­will­ingly into an­other in­ter­galac­tic mis­sion that sees him face his hideous neme­sis, the Ne­cro­morphs.

The game’s spec­tac­u­lar first half has you float­ing through a space­ship grave­yard, ex­plor­ing rus­tic hulks and mak­ing ner­vous treks through their des­o­late cor­ri­dors. This is fol­lowed by a touch­down on an arc­tic planet to be­gin ex­plor­ing its waste­land.

Vis­ceral, the game’s de­vel­oper, has al­ways had a unique way of craft­ing ter­ror, with a bal­ance of omi­nous si­lence mixed with mo­ments of tense ac­tion that keeps you fully im­mersed. The key this time is the im­proved pac­ing be­tween th­ese dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of game­play.

The game’s most con­tro­ver­sial ad­di­tion is the op­tion to play the main sin­gle player cam­paign with a friend by your side.

The new side­kick char­ac­ter, Ben Carter, is not ex­actly best bud­dies with Isaac, so this, along with their ten­dency to hal­lu­ci­nate about what is real and what isn’t, gives the new co- op mode an­other level of ten­sion.

Never fear, Dead Space 3 marks a ter­ri­fy­ing high point in this se­ries that will drag you on a cin­e­matic thrill ride crammed with heart­pound­ing scares and mem­o­rable sci- fi ac­tion.

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