The original Dead Space came out back in 2008 and instantly became one of my all-time favourite games. Even today, this science-fiction horror masterpiece still holds up, so when Motive and Electronic Arts announced a “Remake”, I was beyond excited to see what they would do with it.
For those that haven’t played Dead Space before, you play as Isaac Clarke, a spacecraft engineer sent on a routine repair mission to the USG Ishimura to repair a communications malfunction. Before they know it, things quickly take a turn for the worst, with Isaac and his team finding themselves stranded on the Ishimura with a host of murderous mutants.
As for this remake itself, Motive could have easily just remade the game as is with fancy new graphics and called it a day, but they went above and beyond. Not only is this a faithful reimagining of the 2008 original, but they’ve also rebuilt the entire game from the ground up with all-new visual enhancements, gameplay improvements, all-new lighting, and more dynamic encounters – all without a single loading screen in sight.
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice right away is that Isaac is no longer a silent protagonist. Isaac Clarke is now fully voiced by Gunner Wright, the voice of Isasc in the Dead Space sequels, with all his dialogue rewritten alongside some reworking of several other characters so it all fits in perfectly. Isaac himself still plays pretty much as he did in the original game, using his signature weapon, the Plasma Cutter, along with his Pulse Rifle, Contact Beam, The Ripper, and Flame Thrower to fight off the alien threat.
Weapons themselves have also received some love. Not only can you still use nodes to improve the performance of your gear and weapons, but new secondary fire modes have also been added which provide you with additional options during combat. In the original game I found myself using mainly the Plasma Cutter, but this time around with these new changes, I was more inclined to use other weapons rather than Isaac’s trusty old Plasma Cutter. The alternative fire mode for the Contact Beam in particular generates a concentrated laser blast so powerful that it evaporates anything in its path.
As for the new features and gameplay improvements, there are new gated areas that are unlocked by increasing your security as you play, and the addition of optional side quests that you can either explore on your first playthrough or work as a good reason to go back and play through the game again, giving this version of Dead Space some replayability.
New environmental puzzles have been added, such as circuit breakers and corruption tendrils that need to be solved or cleared in order to clear Isaac’s path. The game also has a new dynamic encounter system which is capable of 1200 unique events, allowing enemy spawns and audio/lighting changes to occur.
Other changes made are how the gravity areas work. Now you are able to fly around freely like you could in the sequels. Levels all feel connected now and don’t feel like small standalone areas, seamlessly transitioning from chapter to chapter as you progress the story, without a single loading screen, camera cut, or those pesky trams you needed to catch between chapters like in the original.
It wouldn’t be a Dead Space game without its gore, and it’s plentiful and even more, detailed with the game’s new graphical peeling system. As you damage enemies, their flesh and organs are stripped away from the bone, giving you some pretty gory yet clear visual indication of how much damage you are doing.
Dead Space also now has a lot of accessibility features such as multiple colourblind modes, input options such as sprint and aim toggles, HUD options, and even content warnings before some sections with the added ability to hide disturbing scenes all together for those that have trouble stomaching too much gore.
Those that love a challenge will be happy to hear that a New Game+ mode is included in the game and accessible from the very start. It even lets you carry over any weapons from your previous playthrough to help take down the tougher Necromorph variants that you’ll encounter.
In conclusion, EA Motive has done an amazing job at staying faithful to the 2008 original, all while updating it for the modern age. Whether you’ve played before, or looking to jump in for the first time, Dead Space (2023) is by far the best way to experience this survival horror classic.
- Remade from the ground up
- New dismemberment system
- Additional story
- Dynamic encounter system
- New puzzles
- Improved visuals & audio
- New side quests