Isaac Clarke could have the worst luck in space. He is a galactic Job. Fresh off another episode of eluding death at the hands (or mouths, or talons, or whatever else oozed, grasped or swung at him in Dead Space 2) of a legion of Necromorphs, he now finds himself crashed and near death on a planet of ice with his lone friend nowhere to be found. Of course, there are more evolved monsters and even more creative ways for Isaac to meet a foul end. He seems destined to never catch a break.
Dead Space 3, or at least the demo of Dead Space 3 we witnessed, began with Isaac hanging upside down in the wreckage of his escape ship with ice starting to coat his face. Isaac's war with this particular element was reflected in everything he did, from dislodging himself from his odd position to trudging through tried-and-true ice landscape fare, such as swirling winds and near-zero visibility. The series' standard for outstanding visuals remains, it appears, along with its aptitude for bloodcurdling sounds and extreme gore.
However, players won't have to go through all of this wonder alone. Enter John Carver, a soldier devoted to the cause of destroying any Marker (the unholy structure that is the source of all problems in Dead Space) that he encounters. In addition to serving as the hardass foil to Clarke's instances of engineering well-roundedness, Carver is the embodiment of one of the game's shining features, which is drop-in/drop-out co-op gameplay. The single-player campaign won't be hindered, we're told, but the game dynamically switches gears on gameplay and cut scenes when a new player enters the fray. Instead of taking on a horrendous monster on his own, Clarke can banter with Carver and figure out how to take it down together. This sense of verbal chemistry was evident several times during the demo when the pair needed to subdue a giant drill that seemed to have a mind of its own.
Other notable items we saw were a new snowsuit for Isaac, as well as the addition of more human enemies. The Unitologists — the cultish worshippers of the Markers — now have soldiers at their command who throw grenades, take cover and appear to add a sense of traditional shooter familiarity to the series. Thankfully, Isaac can now crouch behind cover and roll to evade trouble.
Of course, when it's not machinery, it's twisted creatures or people seeking to end Isaac. Many have seen the giant drill and the massive monster with vacuum capability that managed to ingest Isaac if they watched EA's press conference, but we also saw corpse-animating, tentacled beasts that can kill Isaac by connecting to his body, eating his head and occupying the spot where the head used to be — with the body now walking around zombie-style. I hated seeing these things, and they will die in flames when the game comes out in February of 2013.
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