Best horror 15 years ago

Excited, I wait for my PlayStation 5 to turn on so I can go somewhere I’ve never seen before, USG Ishimura, splattered with fresh blood by Motive Studio for his dead space remake, released on January 27. The mining ship has always been the gray spinal cord of happy trigger horror dead spaceoriginally released in 2008 and directed by the Visceral Games closed since, and I understood as a beginner (I was 10 years old in 2008) that it is one of the best horror games of all time. But after seeing the ship — and the atrocities that populate it, indicated by graffiti (“Fuck this ship, it’s a shitty capitalist organization,” says a scribble on the nose) and the sticky corridors of organic goo — I wonder if this is still the case.

USG Ishimura itself, at least, lived up to my expectations. As engineer Isaac Clarke, a former non-speaking character now steeped in Dead space 2 and 3 actor Gunner Wright’s cool voice of reason, I crash into it with my bickering teammates, including security chief Hammond and IT geek Kendra Daniels. I am immediately impressed by the engulfing shadows of the ship, the only extra dimension, really, to the lightless spine that I spend about 16 hours running through and around.

It’s stuck by a fast tram system, which was cut by loading screens in the original game, but, in this dead space, moves smoothly without interruption. Although I often press the right stick on my controller for a glowing blue line to guide me to my next location, the tram system makes Ishimura’s smallness obvious and more suffocating. This feeling doubles when I walk into an area I was in recently, not thinking about the bodies I’ve already wasted until I notice they’re therealways crowded.

Isaac Clarke looks at a ripped body in Dead Space.

Fuck this ship, it’s a shitty capitalist organization.
Screenshot: Motive Studio / Kotaku

These bodies, with their taut and twisted skin, their lumpy intestines sticking out – like when you stick your thumb in an orange to open it – belong to Isaac’s main adversary, the necromorphs.

The remake adds rooms that you can access with an additional security clearance system (you naturally get level 1, 2 and 3 clearance as you progress through the game), which supports exploration even after Ishimura’s halls become familiar, and optional side quests for additional context. and background on the characters. But otherwise, dead space 2023 does not rely on dead space The unconvincing 2008 story of crazed Unitologist cult members infecting people with their red marker in their quest for ascension, and so the necromorphs keep meowing, sour victims of the Marker, and you must cut off their limbs.

There are options on how you want to accomplish this. Maybe you prefer the plasma cutter, Pulse Rifle, or the Ripper, which shoots saw blades. I strapped myself to the Force Gun, a Dead space 2 acquisition, which uses the game’s gravity manipulation module, Kinesisto blast necromorphs until they become piles of shaken bones.

I do that a lot. I blast the babies with tendrils that fan out from their backs as they spit green acid at my Isaac, which ejects a low moan or gritty scream in response. I can hear his pulse quicken when he’s quiet.

I blast the necromorphs that look like overgrown bats and the necromorphs that look like praying mantises while a “boss” necromorph walks my way like an intimidating, headless bear. I pause it with stasisanother gravity manipulation you can reload to put enemies in slow motion – he descends with disappointing ease with a few swipes at the yellow pustules around his joints.

I’m starting to associate my disappointment with those fluid-filled blisters. I’m confused by what the dead space remake chooses to keep and what it changes.

Its light and its graphics obtain an objective improvement, of the kind that allows 15 years.

And this is not a change, but it should also be noted that dead spaceThe gameplay on PS5 is clean – apart from a minor irritation where restarting the game after saving at a checkpoint immobilized Issac, so I had to close and restart the game a few times – which makes it feel boring a rarity for novelties.

I am happy that a game is going as it should. But dead spacethe visual improvement of is not as noticeable as Demon’s Souls in 2020, and whether or not you like its tweaks and additions will come down to your preference.

I might have preferred Isaac never to speak. He was, before, an empty bowl for players to place their own fears, anxieties in – mine grew insistently as I spent time hearing muffled moans echoing through all of Ishimura.

In the remake, Isaac talks, but he never gives me anything to identify with or root for. He follows orders and wants to go home. Great, it was the same for almost everyone on Ishimura, and I cut them into pieces without thinking. Why should I care if Isaac, in particular, lives or dies? When he takes off his mask, I don’t even seem to recognize him.

Isaac looks away.

Hi Isaac, who are you?
Screenshot: Motive Studio / Kotaku

The game’s boss battles, as I mentioned, retain the boring, methodical process of the original. Hit the yellow boils until they burst. Move left if a spin is about to hit you. Then right.

When I fight a boss in one of the games “Zero Gravity” environments, I use my jetpack (on loan from Dead space 2), to help me execute a similar strategy, steering away from tendrils and floating versions of these explosive yellow bags while I clumsily try to aim an Asteroid Defense System cannon at a weak spot. I win. Yay. Why am I still fighting?

For love, maybe. Isaac wants to find his girlfriend Nicole, a doctor aboard the Ishimura who barely exists unless you pursue his optional side quest. But no, like in 2008 dead space, the first letters of the game’s chapter titles spell NICOLEISDEAD, and love was never an option. In the game, it’s a token, something the devs put together just to scare you away when you realize there isn’t really one.

It is however effective. I’m scared while playing dead spacethough that feeling alternates with a sinking feeling that I’m missing something, probably the magic of 2008. I’m missing a PC to run those gritty, sooty graphics in someone’s dark dorm room.

15 years later, we have the choice between more compelling protagonists and even more interesting space zombies, like those of dead space designer Glen Schofield The Callisto Protocol, which is also bogged down by repetitive bosses, but at least looks and sounds amazing. The dead space remake accomplishes what it set out to do, it makes an old game compatible with modern consoles. But that’s all he does. The 2008 éclair stays in its bottle.

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