Dead Space remake review: A perfect homage to Visceral Games

Dead Space remake review: A perfect homage to Visceral Games
Images via Motive Studio

Written by 

Kiera Mills

Published 

26th Jan 2023 11:14

Dead Space is back and gorier than ever with a new remake made from the ground up in the Frostbite engine. The original Dead Space was a beloved success, sparking the development of a full trilogy and cementing Isaac Clarke into gaming history as an iconic but unwilling protagonist. Join us as we delve into our impressions of the Dead Space remake.

GGRecon Verdict

With Dead Space, Motive Studio has done a fantastic job however of implementing new features whilst keeping the integrity of the beloved original intact.

Everything is sleek and polished and the Necromorphs are as terrifying as ever, with an added peeling system that feels responsive like you have an impact on the world and the carnage around you.

The game has been immensely enjoyable and is a must-recommend, providing us with hours of gruesome, deadly fun in the void of space.

USG Ishimura: Back where it all began

Dead Space Remake: Ishimura
Click to enlarge

We're back with the fabled mining rig, the USG Ishimura and it looks as desolate as ever. Isaac is our fearless engineer sent with a team to investigate why the crew of the Ishimura have gone radio silent. Among them is Isaac's girlfriend Nicole, a medical specialist and key player in the initial outbreak aboard the rig.

Much to the relief of many long-term fans, the remake remains faithful to the original story and much of the game remains the same but with beautifully upgraded visuals. It's clear plenty of work has gone into maintaining the same feel of the original whilst adding additional areas to explore.

  • Check out our Dead Space remake or remaster guide to see all the key changes between the original Dead Space and the remake, including new features, story and more.

You'll find that much of the Ishimura has the same aura as the original, but with a 4K resolution that adds a tremendous amount of detail. Gone are the original browns and greys of the original, replaced with deep textures and lighting effects that add a great deal of realism and deep shadows to keep an eye on.

The Dead Space Remake also offers a toggle option for performance or quality mode. Meaning you can trade in your 60fps for 30 and get the game in 4k with ray tracing. As beautiful as this option is, if you're like me and you struggle enough to take down Necromorphs, I recommend the performance setting for smoother aiming and combat.

Rude interruptions

Dead Space Remake: Save Station
Click to enlarge

The original Dead Space followed the groundwork of genre trailblazer Resident Evil and solidified third-person survival horror as an impeccable recipe for success, and much of its core DNA hasn't changed all those years later.

For example, there are no autosave features unless you have performed a major main objective. For the most part, you will have to rely on save stations which are scattered around the rig at intervals. This means you have to be clever about item management and how you approach a situation. The stakes are instantly raised when you encounter a room full of Necromorphs and can't remember where you last saved, and while that may cause frustration for some, I found it to add an increased layer of tension.

The downside to this feature besides the obvious is that if you save before a boss fight there is no skip option to get through cut scenes. So, if you are stuck at a particularly hard area you may end up watching the same cutscene multiple times before you get past it which ultimately becomes tedious. Of course, the way past this is to improve, learn and try different weapons and approaches if you are stuck in the same area for long.

Inventory is limited, and while you can store items at shops, these too are scattered at intervals. Even if you hit a room with a shop and save stations, make no mistake, you are never safe in Dead Space. I've been dragged out of shop menus more than once by an angry Necromorph breathing down my neck. This type of old-school horror system just adds to the overall feeling of tension and dread.

  • If you're planning on playing the Dead Space remake on PC, check out the minimum and optimum system requirements here.

The paranoia is real

Dead Space Remake: Vents
Click to enlarge

Speaking of dread, most of my time in Dead Space has been spent with my laser cutter firmly aimed in the air as I walk around every corner. The game is relentless and there is never a moment where I've felt safe in the opening hours. As a long-time horror fan, this feeling is rare to achieve, as a collective most of us are numb to horror games these days. The more you play the more you feel as though you’ve seen everything, but Dead Space is something special. There's nothing like the feeling of being ambushed by several Necromorphs and the pure panic you feel as you choose where to shoot between the mass of sprawling limbs and wonder how you're going to buy some time for a quick getaway.

The game adds to the paranoia of every area by adding vents to the game design. These vents are in almost every room and 50% of the time a Necromorph will charge through one and set its sights on you. The other half of the time you just wait and watch with the insurmountable feeling of dread when one is placed next to a shop or weapons upgrade bench you need to access.

They're back, baby

Dead Space Remake: Necromorphs
Click to enlarge

Motive Studio had a lot resting on the Necromorphs. They had the job of reanimating them into the next-gen without losing their iconic design. I'm glad to say this was a success. Not only do the Necromorphs look gruesome, but they have been implemented with a new 'Peeling System'.

This peeling system essentially kits the Necromorphs out with layers of flesh which can be peeled back each time they are hit. With this, you can see which parts of the body have been previously hit and can be doubled down on. Stripped back flesh, bone, and sinew are slowly uncovered as you aim to cut off limbs and slow the creatures down. This gruesome attention to detail further makes the game feel real and adds to the horror as you whittle these impressive monstrosities down.

Any jumpscare I received from the Necromorphs felt earned and not cheapened like today's horrors. The build-up of atmospheric tension often made me make myself jump just as much as the set pieces. The audio lends itself well to this, often you'll hear Isaac's heartbeat race as you approach a dangerous area, or you'll hear the ghostly whispers of dead crewmates. As such, headphones are a must when playing Dead Space to increase your immersion as much as possible.

  • If you're planning on playing the Dead Space remake on PS5, check out our guide to the included DualSense features here.

Function vs fear

Dead Space Remake: Zero-G
Click to enlarge

Even features of the game that I didn’t like I could appreciate how they add to the thematic tone. For example, the doors have to be interacted with to open but shut automatically when you stand away from them. This resulted in me opening doors and backing up to only discover a door quickly closing in my face. It felt as though the game was punishing me for being a scaredy cat and was telling me to keep my face pressed up to doors as they slowly opened. This goes against every fibre of my being but gosh darn it, Dead Space demands it.

  • If we've convinced you to play the Dead Space remake for yourself, check out our Dead Space beginners guide here with all the tips you'll need to survive the USG Ishimura.

Isaac barely runs. The run function is so painfully slow that I found myself shouting at him in the most desperate situations. Of course, this only adds to the tension of chase sequences, but I'm going to complain about it nonetheless.

The Zero-G function has been improved to a marvellous effect. In the original Dead Space, you could only propel yourself from walls to platforms in zero gravity. Now, these areas have been completely expanded and you have something akin to a rocket boost on your suit. This means you can fly in zero-g areas of the rig. A traumatising prospect when you have Necrophorphs flinging themselves at you in slow motion whilst you're trying to live your best Iron Man life.

The perfect homage to Visceral Games

Dead Space Remake: Laboratory
Click to enlarge

With Dead Space, Motive Studio has done a fantastic job however of implementing new features whilst keeping the integrity of the beloved original intact.

Everything is sleek and polished and the Necromorphs are as terrifying as ever, with an added peeling system that feels responsive like you have an impact on the world and the carnage around you.

The game has been immensely enjoyable and is a must-recommend, providing us with hours of gruesome, deadly fun in the void of space.

5/5

Reviewed on PS5, code provided by the publisher.

Kiera Mills
About the author
Kiera Mills
Kiera is a former GGRecon Guides Writer.
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