Dead Space 3; Not always scary, but it is the most co-op you’ll probably ever get in one sitting these days.
Dead Space 3 is surprisingly long in my opinion. I am only comparing it to other co-op games I have played, and some of those…well, I was thankful they were short, because they were poorly done. Dead Space 3 does have it’s flaws, but it’s a very good co-op game. But scary? Maybe once or twice.
I will admit here and now that I haven’t played Dead Space 1, or much of DS2 (which was only started after playing some Dead Space 3, truthfully), so in some ways I feel like my views will be less biased with expectations than many others who have played all three. First off – I won’t be covering any plot points, so put that out of your mind right now. Mostly, it will be technical aspects of the game, and things that can get tiresome. Bear in mind during all of this I am still playing, and still having fun with it, so it’s not exactly a ‘rant.’
The co-op I read about made it sound as if there was a “separate co-op” from the single player, and they were both very different. Not so. They are the same, but co-op expands with side quests you can only do during co-op, something that the single player lacks. So, there you go. Co-op is best.
Repeating this area 25 times = frustrating, as either player can screw it up.
There are some frustrating aspects to Dead Space 3 Co-Op, but in all truth, every game has this. The situation of panic where you have no idea what to do, it is an emergency, so figure it out quickly or reload your game (several times). That can be a gaming staple, (if not a lame one) IMO. One other frustrating aspect is the travel back and forth and back and forth through the same map, over and over. It can get tiresome after awhile, and yet – if one was to do that same stuff in real life (assuming such a thing was possible with monsters and all) one would likely need to take the same paths the same way.
So, I don’t criticize too much. But I do criticize the getting killed over and over when it appears to be purposefully made to kill both players just to extend gameplay time. I have seen that in DS3 more than once. In at least three very frustrating sequences. However, the sheer lack of ANY online lag whatsoever makes me forgive that aspect. No booting. No dumping, no crashing, no freezing. What a freaking treat. Just smooth co-op all the way.
Some aspects do seem like an artificial game extender, much like how many of the map areas begin to look almost alike after awhile. And, use some of the same exact (monster related) tricks. The bosses (which I will not discuss) have been handled in what I would call an original way. So, while I might have had some frustration, it was different. The one boss (smaller) was almost terrifying, and fun despite frustration. Odd that. So, quite a bit of repetition implemented in numerous ways, and that can be tedious. Still, not much co-op around this good, with this much team effort required, that lasts this long.
The weapon bench is cool, the best part is if you have a co-op game, when you are not playing co-op, you can go in single player mode, and (at bottom of list) there is a choice just to go to just the weapon bench. Everything is saved to your online game. This is especially great when play time is at a premium, and your partner just wants to go-go-go, and not fuss with the workbench. Also, by clicking “Y” when you first enter the workbench, you can check if your bots have picked up any Ration Seals, which are exchangeable for gun parts, and all sorts of resources. Ration Seals are free – no Microsoft points involved. Add, if you have played DS2 prior, you will have some fee guns waiting in your safe at the first workbench you locate when you first start the game.
Attachments don’t specifically do spec’d damage, but they can add to it, and never display this on the UI specifications. Two attachments “Explosion Amplifier” and “MK-V Acid Bath” do show significant stat increase on clip size though. “Tool” is the weapon engine, i.e. – the type and method of energy or destruction you start with, and it is affected by Frame choice, as some frames do not allow some tool types. Tool tip is the focus method, which determines accuracy, range and projection type (like carbine vs. shotgun). All of these (except for attachments, other than those discussed) affect overall starting gun stats, which can be further improved via Upgrade Circuits.
Upgrade circuits are Damage, Reload Speed, Clip Size and Firing Rate. Initially, they are singles, later they improve to double types, etc. Keep in mind that although the process is creative, and has a lot to do with available parts (found, purchased, created, etc.) there are set limits you cannot go past, preset restrictions built into any design. So, at some point, it becomes a matter of settling for you have, because the stats often just do not improve regardless of what you add or how. That said, I have built some guns far better than what was on offer in some lame blueprint. And yet, ‘maxing out a weapon’ (or close to it) doesn’t mean 300 round clip. The clip might only be 10 rounds, for example.
In creating a gun/’tool’, one must consider what the situation one will be in. Slow reload can get you just as dead as a small clip or low damage, so everything becomes a matter of balance. An inaccurate gun with a high fire rate is ok, but it is wasting precious ammo. Since you can essentially have two guns built into one weapon (top & bottom, which have controller buttons reversed, BTW) it makes sense then to have your weapons set up for every encounter. Close range/tight quarters (like a knife or hammer), shotgun or automatic (mid range) and carbine/projectile type for some more accurate distance. Because, I can tell you now – you are going to get swarmed, and there are a lot of close up scraps. Best to be prepared.
All in all, it’s been good. I have seen far too many elevators, but the puzzles are fun and sometimes nerve-wracking (you will see what I mean if you play). The mountain climbing was different, but at some point the monsters and where you are going to get jumped becomes all too predictable. Still, it’s fun. The best part is the built in “game cheats” that so many games seem to have, feel rare. I suspect this is because you have so many options to control your fate via the workbench, and creating ammo, stasis packs, health, torque bars, (make a few, they open doors filled with all sorts of resources and upgrades,) etc.
With the ability to make and refine your own gun, and take the resources along that you want (whether just picking it up when you find it, or making it) the point is – you control your own fate, and despite it being a pre-programed corridor mouse maze run, that aspect helps to mitigate frustration, because it represents some freedom and control in Dead Space 3.
Co-op is implemented especially well in DS3, as many aspects require a partner just to get through the area, or to do what is necessary. Other than that, the plot is ok I suppose. Some religious crackpot goes off his nut and has a theory about monsters. Good enough. Last I looked, we were probably about 58% finished with the game (more or less). Somehow, after the credits roll, I almost expect there to be a party, with all the actors, crew and monsters getting paychecks, all talking about good scares, drinking beer, and maybe a row of monsters onstage doing a burlesque line dance.
Or, maybe I have just been playing this game too much and seen to many cartoons.