For this category I had the hardest choices and sacrifices to make, but I chose: Spec Ops: The Line, Dead Space, and Gears of War.
Honourable Mention: Mass Effect 2 (An RPG, I know, but I don’t really like RPGs. And the only reason I played this trilogy was because it was a shooter, so deal with it.)
Day 6 – Dead Space
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Dead Space was a real breath of fresh air (HAH. Get it? Cuz we’re in space?) out of a company that, for years, had been regarded as a soulless machine, pumping out only annual titles, not taking any risks. The company I’m referring to is Electronic Arts: king of the sports titles.
Dead Space was a risk, but it was a step in the right direction for EA. For a notable period of time EA was only pumping out Need for Speed titles, The Sims, and annual sports titles, or buying up other studios, and shutting them down and NOT gambling on any new IPs. Year after year they were winning the distinguished “Worst Video Game Company”. Not something to be proud of. But EA claimed that they heard our pleas, and in return, in 2008, published Dead Space, from Visceral Games – originally EA Redwood Studios.
Dead Space is a science fiction survival horror game. We play as Isaac Clark, an engineer, and while responding to a distress call, land on a mining ship looking for our girlfriend, and end up finding only necromorphs – or reanimated human corpses.
The game is slowly paced, with creepy dark corridors, heavy breathing, screeching music, and plenty of jump scares. The two notable parts of the game is its unique HUD design, and tactical shooting mechanic.
HUD first: The game has no HUD. We see Isaac from a 3rd person perspective, and can be either angled over the left or right shoulder. The weapons have their own ammunition read out, and the “HUD” is made up on a projected holographic display. This is broadcasted in front of the player’s suit upon command, and this is how we view the map, inventory, and any video messages.
Second is the shooting mechanic. The game, as mentioned, is slow placed. We’re wearing a heavy mining suit on a space ship with artificial gravity, so it makes sense. But the shooting mechanic is tactical in nature. The game calls it “Strategic Dismemberment”. Body shots, or head shots will not stop an enemy. The goal is to focus on the limbs. The plasma cutter is the primary weapon, and is used to slice off the legs and arms of the approaching enemies to stop them, and then you can stomp them to death when you’re done. The game showcases many enemy types, and many weapon types, inventory management, suit upgrades and crafting.
The game’s last notable mention is the Zero Gravity zones, where we get to float around a large environment, while being propelled around with our space boots. Sometimes even in space! SPAAACE!
Dead Space was a slow, creepy horror game that spawned two sequels. That said, the sequels sadly drifted away from the original creepy horror mechanics that made the game awesome. The third one did offer co-op though, which was an acceptable inclusion.