Dead Space: an exceptional remake

Note: This article has been translated from Italian by ChatGPT and may contain errors.

It was the summer of 2009, precisely in July, when I decided to purchase a game of a genre that didn’t particularly appeal to me and of which I had very little experience. It was a sci-fi horror, its name was Dead Space. Since then, horror became one of my favorite genres, along with the Dead Space series. Therefore, the closure of Visceral Games and the absence of a fourth installment are still a sore point, but when EA announced the remake, hope rekindled. Now, finally, I’ve managed to get my hands on this reimagining.

Generations Compared

A Remake with a Capital R

Will Dead Space 4 ever be released? Who can say? I want to believe it, I must believe it. And after playing Dead Space Remake, the desire becomes even stronger. Because looking at EA Motive‘s work, envisioning a fourth installment on next-gen consoles is truly mouth-watering. Dead Space Remake is immensely respectful of the original work, updating it for the modern era—exactly what every remake should do. The game is the same, everything appears familiar, yet at the same time, it feels like engaging with a new, different experience.

I had read some critiques regarding the technical aspect. In my opinion, we’re at decidedly high levels (it satisfied me more than Final Fantasy XVI). The atmosphere is exceptional, the lighting sublime, and the sound design incredible. The only criticism concerns some minor visual drops (I’ve encountered glitches with shadows and some hiccups while playing at 60 fps, along with a few bugs/glitches) and certain animations (those of secondary characters aren’t very “next-gen”). In particular, Isaac’s movement occasionally produces an annoying and unnatural hitch that I don’t like at all and that I don’t recall being present in previous games. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the excellent audio-visual quality, which significantly elevates the original work.

Technically, I found it beautiful

A Very Good Appetizer in Hopes of a Dead Space 4

Dead Space Remake is not just an audio/video upgrade. Changes to the storyline (the same events occur, but sometimes in slightly different ways, alongside rewritten dialogues), gameplay, Isaac’s voice acting, entirely revised zero-gravity sections, and other treats make it a new experience even for those who had already thoroughly experienced the 2008 original. It’s not a mere graphical remake; at times, it truly feels like a brand-new chapter. And it is. I have nothing more to add. As a fan of the series, Dead Space Remake completely met my expectations. In my view, the folks at Motive have done an excellent job from every perspective. Dead Space is back in a big way. And playing this remake now highlights even more the misstep of The Callisto Protocol. Although I did appreciate Striking Distance Studios’ work overall, Dead Space Remake is a distinctly superior production in every single aspect. The necromorphs confirm themselves as adversaries of considerable depth, and tearing them apart has never been so satisfying, while the atmosphere is everything one would desire from a sci-fi horror: the USG Ishimura is an incredible setting. One thing that didn’t quite convince me, though, concerns the enemies: it appears they no longer follow you through the vents, but are restricted to specific zones; this seems like a step backward from the past, where it was one of their fundamental characteristics (a shame… or perhaps not?). The map, on the other hand, is more labyrinthine and cohesive: despite its linear design, there’s room for exploration and for some (albeit slightly inconsequential) side missions.

Combat has never been this satisfying

One aspect I appreciated even more in this remake is the combat system. Never before have I relied on a significant portion of the arsenal as much as I have now. The weapons have been made more useful and enjoyable to use. The difficulty level (set to Normal) proved to be quite challenging. It felt tougher than the original installment, and the triggers of the PS5’s DualSense make every heavy shot feel weighty and “exhausting” (at times, it seemed like the trigger didn’t respond perfectly to commands, causing some annoyance—takes a bit of getting used to). That being said, despite a slight difficulty spike around the midway point of the adventure, where I was low on resources, I reached the end with plenty of ammunition and credits. Nonetheless, resources in the title are not abundant, and it’s always necessary to use every resource carefully and attentively.

Dead Space Remake is proof that the current console generation could bring forth a spectacular chapter. This remake is fantastic, truly commendable. It was like playing it for the first time. If this is the quality, I wouldn’t say no even to remakes of subsequent installments. However, as a fan, I primarily want the series to continue or for the story left hanging by the Dead Space 3 DLC to be concluded. Visceral’s demise isn’t the end. It can’t be… Come on, EA, make us whole again.

UPDATE: I also replayed the original Dead Space for a direct comparison. I confirm what I’ve said so far and add that the 2008 Dead Space was significantly easier, even though in the last two chapters, it hurls five thousand necromorphs at you (I still had a surplus of resources; the game bestows them in such abundance that I was never able to carry everything, a truly annoying element they’ve rectified with this reedition). The remake’s leap forward is evident and has made the experience much smoother and modern, whereas the original felt heavier to play. Furthermore, the original is shorter, primarily due to very limited exploration, unlike the new version. The 2008 title is more guided, more linear. Whether due to less realistic graphics, brighter lighting (the remake has a darker, more somber atmosphere), excessive resources, less elaborate audio design, or whatever it may be, I found it also much less anxiety-inducing and frightening. From this standpoint, the remake is capable of generating far greater tension. Very well!


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