Dead Space made its inaugural appearance in 2008. It was born of creator Glen Schofield and his team’s endeavors to “create the most terrifying game we could,” (-www.gamespy.com) and carpets stained with terror-piss across the nation will attest to the game’s success here. In its fleeting span, the franchise has emerged as a true bastion of mantastic, ‘adult’ gaming. So much so, indeed, that our facial/scrote hair is meticulously measured when purchasing a title from the series, to ensure we’re enough of a dudely dude to play. It’s all rather reminiscent of a theme park rollercoaster, you must be this much man to enter.
Tangential ramblings aside, each Dead Space installment is a much-vaunted horror/shooter, which we traverse in a third-person perspective a la the latter installments of Resident Evil. We’ve fired a concise series story summary into your faces here, but the saga thus far is set in a dystopian image of the future (circa 2400). Humanity has become an enormous, commercialism-driven bunch of bastards from the Devil’s dick -well shit in my grandmother’s mouth, who saw that coming?- with their formidable fleet of ‘Planetcracker’ starships. Such vessels have the capacity to ‘suck’ all conceivable resources from a planet, in the time it takes to scratch your nuts and think, hold on, this is some pretty dickish stuff we’re doing, right here.
As such, it’s only fair that one such Planetcracker, the USG Ishimura, is encroached upon by Dead Space’s resident bollock-biting zombie-things, the Necromorphs. The outbreak was instigated by the insidious influence of ‘the Marker,’ an artifact uncovered by the Ishimura during a mining expedition. Via what we can only presume is ACTUAL ARCANE WITCHCRAFT OF SOME SORT, this enigmatic relic causes the colonists and the ship’s crew to hallucinate, and evokes paranoia/the desire to murder your neighbors in the face. This thing also possesses the capacity to reanimate said corpses in a myriad of grotesque forms, by means of a genetic virus inherent within it. Without delving into the spoilertastic, we’re sure you’ll all attest that our protagonist Isaac Clarke is striding into quite a shitstorm.
The series is replete with all the gore-dripping, gore-o-combat with gore on and a side salad of gore one could desire. There’s its patented dude, is that, like, my arm down there, on the shit-stained floor? How wasted am I? dismember-centric combat. There’s the hideous menagerie of necro-opponents: acid-vomiters, exploding babies and huge pregnant mofos that unleash an array of malevolent worm-midgets (which could, presumably, do little more than angrily gnaw on your space boots with their tiny-yet-furious fangs) if you rupture their bellies.
In summation, Grandma Egotastic declined our offer to play. Her exact words -and we believe this is verbatim- were, “‘eff that. Where’s Wii Sports? I need three guys to help me get out of an armchair, but I’m the dog’s bollocks at Wii Bowling. Don’t send me back to the home, no one’s payed the heating bill since 2003 and I’m freezing my saggy old tits off over there.”
Which just goes to show... something.
There are several kinds of HOLY SHIT wonderment at work here, but the most pertinent factor is atmosphere. As we’ve learned to our chagrin, Resident Evil has merrily raised a middle finger to any competent notions of horror. It has performed a marvelously-choreographed screw you, ‘horror,’ I want to shoot many, many bad guys in the genitals dance number, aided and abetted by a couple of Justin Timberlake’s old backup dancers. Dead Space, in the midst of all its futuristic, melodramatic theatrics, has not done so. The games’ penchant for psychological horror (again, as the uninitiated will see in the above video) renders them infinitely more creeptacular. This is also true of Asian horror movies, and their oftentimes about as terrifying as scratching your ballsack on the couch in front of Lifetime TV counterparts.
Visceral Games’ foremost franchise, then, has become a phenomenon in its brief existence. An amalgamation of intuitive action and horror that isn’t a barrel of buffalo bollocks (“Hey there, Resident Evils 5 and 6! How you doing? Still shitty? Thought so.”) is a rarity indeed.
As such, the impending Dead Space 3, arriving February 5, is among our most-wanted releases of next year. As it should be yours.