A Remake to Make Us Whole Again
by Carson Delarosa
The 2008 survival horror game “Dead Space” is a very important game to me. I was introduced to it when I was younger and fell in love with its eerie and disturbing universe and deep characters. I especially love the protagonist of Isaac Clarke, a seemingly ordinary engineer who is forced to walk through hell in order to reunite with his girlfriend Nicole Brennen.
When a remake for this game was initially announced, I was slightly offput as the original still held up graphically and still played smoothly. I genuinely had no idea how they were going to attempt to make the remake any better, however I was pleasantly surprised.
The remake is, for the most part, an incredibly faithful adaptation of the original with necessary changes to gameplay and story throughout. The story still follows engineer Isaac Clarke, who volunteers to help fix the USG Ishimura, a planet-cracking ship. Isaac and the Kellion crew crash-land aboard the ship to find death and a surging growth in Unitology; a religion that believes being reanimated by an alien artifact called the Marker is the next step in human evolution. They find horror as the crew had dug up a man-made recreation of the Marker, which sends a pulse within its proximity, transforming dead tissue into reanimated material called “necromorphs” and playing into people’s grief and paranoia, essentially making them its puppet. This artifact gives the main Kellion crew several challenges and horrors to face aboard the Ishimura.
Something new about this remake that I absolutely adored was Isaac’s voice. Originally, he was a silent protagonist in the first game, only being given life by the talented Gunner Wright in the sequel. I went into this remake skeptical, knowing that Isaac would have a voice. I knew Gunner Wright would do an excellent job; I was worried just about the story aspect. Part of the scare factor from the original was the fact that Isaac was silent and you had to put yourself in his shoes. It truly felt like you were Isaac. However, with the return of Gunner Wright voicing Isaac, I was pleasantly surprised. Isaac’s newfound voice gives the story that much more depth and makes for an even more engaging experience. You get to hear Isaac’s frustration with Daniel’s and Hammond’s arguments, his despair as members of his crew meet gruesome fates and his own anger as he faces more and more of these “necromorphs.”
Gameplay-wise, it is generally the same. The gameplay is more fluid and smooth compared to the original, just fine-tuned if you will. However, there are new additions, such as the new clearance system, where Isaac’s security clearance is upgraded as you progress, giving him access to more areas on the Ishimura. There are now side missions to complete, which give more context and detail to the downfall of the Ishimura. Another new feature is how zero gravity environments work. Taking gameplay directly from Dead Space 2, Isaac can now hover freely in these designated areas, instead of aiming your tool and jumping to a desired platform like in the original.
I have to say, I absolutely adore this remake. It truly gave me goosebumps and made me borderline emotional. Dead Space is such an important game to me and getting to relive it with today’s techonolgy gets me even more excited for the inevitable remake of Dead Space 2.