A couple of years ago Electronic Arts introduced owners of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to a new level of survival horror gaming with Dead Space, an intense action-slash-shooter dynamic where players had to keep alive in an abandoned space cruiser while battling twisted mutated humans known as Necromorphs. This week, while those system owners get the pleasure of blasting through Dead Space 2, iPad owners are also getting their own dose of creepiness with Dead Space HD.
If you have ten bucks to burn, do it! This game is not to be missed.
Rather than try to cram a previously released game into the iPad , EA opted to go with an original story – smart move EA. You play an agent known only as Vandal, a man suffering from delusions of nightmarish grandeur while working his way through a small space facility, battling a horde of Necromorphs. Fortunately, he has the right tools for the job when it comes to dealing with them, including an effective saw blade for those that get too close and a plasma cutter, a tri-beam laser gun that can cut through flesh like butter. Other weapons and armor types become available during the game’s twelve chapters, and you’ll need all of them. This fight gets tougher as it goes along, with even nastier Necromorphs and other devastating enemies to bring down.
Dead Space has always been known for its tension, and the iPad version doesn’t come up short in this department. There are plenty of “shock moments” throughout the game, such as Necromorphs popping out of nowhere or an unexplained environmental event, whether it is a loose floor panel or steam pipes gone awry. This is the game’s strongest suit, as it’ll test even the strongest of players. It’s best recommended for adult gamers, though – there’s so much carnage and bloodshed in the game, it would make Ridley Scott blush.
The gameplay works very well for a touch-screen based shooter. Vandal’s movements and shooting aim handle accurately enough, so you won’t have to worry about facing the wrong way when a Necromorph’s trying to finish you off. The melee attacks are very instinctive, as you use touch-screen swipes to knock an enemy away. There are occasional puzzles to solve as well, but the heads-up display and hint system lend a hand, even if you’re lost. You can also activate a neon-lit compass at any time to see where your next objective is. And that’s very helpful in the game’s more complexly designed stages.
As for presentation, we seriously haven’t seen an iPad game this good-looking since Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade. The graphics really pack a punch here, whether you’re simply scattering across a hallway or blowing off the heads of a few menacing Necromorphs. The animation effects are also nice, particularly when you’re stomping a corpse to pieces and watch the blood kick up. The settings are also clear when it comes to touch-screen interaction, such as when you need to press a lit panel to open a door or activate a switch. This, along with Infinity, should really define the power that iPad is capable of when it comes to games. We could use more like this.
Dead Space’s sound is very atmospheric, too. Between the spine-tingling background music, above-average voicework (Vandal actually sounds like he’s fearful for his life) and the screeching Necromorphs, your ears will be keeping busy. Get yourself some headphones for this one.
Unless you can’t take intense games or feel a little squeamish over the site of blood (EA’s ad campaign for the game features mothers repulsed by what they see – clever) you can’t afford to miss Dead Space. This is one of the iPad’s best games, between the gorgeous visuals, smooth gameplay and continuous challenge. Just remember, in space, no one can hear you scream.
File Size: 301 MB
Developer: Electronic Arts
iPadNewsDaily Rating (out of 4): ****