Sunday, November 09, 2008

In space, no one can hear you say, "Hot diggity, this game is awesome!"

I'm positively overwhelmed by great games at the moment, some purchased, some GameFlown. I still need to spend a lot more time with Little Big Planet, and I've barely scratched the surface of Fallout 3. Tonight, I spent some time fending off waves of Locust with friends in Gears of War 2's terrific Horde mode, but the campaign remains mostly untouched.

The game that keeps pulling me away from all the others is Dead Space. I know this is common knowledge, but man, is this game outstanding. It doesn't reinvent the survival horror genre--you can feel the influence of Resident Evil 4 throughout--but it provides an absolutely remarkable setting and tosses in enough pure sci-fi elements to set it squarely apart from RE4 or any other game. Fighting enemies in zero-gravity environments is deliciously disorienting, and the way the sound effects contribute to the experience of running through a vacuum as your oxygen rapidly depletes has to be heard to be appreciated. Putting enemies in stasis and then blasting their appendages off and seeing them slowly twist through the air is strangely beautiful.

In fact, nearly everything about the game is strangely beautiful. The Ishimura actually feels like a once-functional spaceship, and the level of detail makes me feel like I've stepped into a Ridley Scott movie. The sound design equals the visuals in every way, with the ship clanging convincingly and the eerie echo of once-important PA announcements haunting the halls. And although the story seems like pure Event Horizon stuff, it's still told in a way that has me wanting to find out how it's all going to end, with the slick, insane Dr. Mercer giving the gruesome evil a compelling human face, and enough eerie hallucinations to give the game's horror a psychological edge.

Most of all, the game's action is what has me so hooked right now. It's difficult and satisfying, it's constantly introducing new enemies and new elements, and it always has me feeling like I'm fighting for my life.

This is one of my favorite games of the year.

1 comment:

Colby said...

Gahhh, this game looks so awesome. Right up my alley. Unfortunately I won't be able to play games for a while.