GAMEPLAY PT. 2
The HUD is virtually unchanged, and as usual, it is meant to make you feel insecure. Dead Space veterans will remember that all the information you need about Isaac, from health (which isn’t regenerating, a rarity for today) to powers and in game menus and screens, are either visible on Isaac (like the spine mounted health bar) or via Isaac’s holographic display unit. In short, you get to see exactly what Isaac sees, and not a bit more. Apart from the options menu, any break from the gameplay, like inventory management or using a weapons upgrade machine (“bench”), is handled in-game. There is no pause button. This means that you are never safe, and can never relax, no matter how peaceful things may seem.
The inventory screen (360 version)
Occasionally, you do however get a break in gameplay to operate machinery, hack circuitry or use some of Isaac’s other engineering prowess. Many in-game puzzles will also ask of you to slow fast moving objects like fan blades by using your space suit (“RIG”) stasis module, or manipulate heavy objects using the kinesis module. These moments are actually a pleasant diversion and happen at a good pace, so they always seem like a welcome break in the otherwise tense gameplay. They do however, again, highlight the co-op focus in the game, as most of the tasks seem designed for two people.
Building new weapons requires resources like tungsten and scrap metal (also 360 version)
There is only one place where this game truly tries to innovate, and that is in item management. For the first time, you can collect resources, as opposed to money like in previous games. These resources, which come in various types, will help you create ammo and health packs, but will also allow you to make custom weapons, of which there are many, many different combinations. Figuring out what parts go where, and collecting enough resources to make anything useful, takes a lot of learning. I can’t say it’s all that fun, but it adds an aspect of complexity that the previous Dead Space games lacked. Generally I’d say complexity is a good thing, but perhaps not in Dead Space. This game is about surviving murderous mutant zombies, and introducing a new gameplay aspect that has you taking a fifteen minute break to mix and match gun parts takes away the immersion and a lot of the tension that the game has been building up. Another note is that if you’re truly desperate for supplies, and you would have to be, EA is allowing you to buy supply packs in game for real money. Which is crazy.