Dead Space: Zombie/App Of The Week

Posted by Grey Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another week brings us yet another Zombie/App Of The Week Hybrid. The third week of January is officially owned by Electronic Arts and Visceral Games's Dead Space franchise with two solid entry hitting out at all fronts. We review Dead Space's first outing into the iPad and iPhone world.

Visceral Games's Dead Space was arguably the surprise runaway hit of 2008. A nail-biting experience driven by a meticulously crafted setting further enhanced by disturbing haunting atmosphere implied in the game title, the game was released to a considerably widespread critical and commercial reception. In the following year, fans of the original were then treated to the Nintendo Wii prequel, Dead Space: Extraction, a markedly different game that is basically a rail shooter. The prequel turned out to be well-received by the critics but failed miserably at reaching consumers, a problem most mature-themed video games encountered in the Wii market.

As the first month of 2011 approaches its end, being big fans of the original Dead Space, we found ourselves having one hell of a kick here with the release of the much anticipated official sequel, Dead Space 2, hitting the stores on the major consoles, and the release of the topic at hand, Dead Space on the iPhone.

Right from the outset, you knew this ain't no some cop-out, shoehorned deviation from the franchise out with the singular intent of ripping off fans of the series. Setting the stage for Dead Space 2, Dead Space on the iPhone, is a sequel to the original Dead Space. Players take on the role of new protagonist, an engineer codenamed Vandal, who is recruited by the Church of Unitology for a nefarious and, of course, highly dangerous secret mission on the mining colony "Sprawl". For those familiar with the plot of the original Dead Space or its Wii prequel, Dead Space: Extraction (incidentally also heading to the PlayStation 3, bundled in the limited edition of Dead Space 2 and available at the PlayStation Network for download purchase), they would know that trouble is indeed not far away. Reanimated bodies reborn in all manner of monstrosities soon overrun the colony, carving a blooding path everywhere they go as Vandal realized that it was his mission objective to unleash the infamous Necromorphs.

Here comes one of the best unique features of the Dead Space series: Bring on the limb-severing hardwares, and the unique gameplay mechanism aptly known as "strategic dismemberment". Regular series favorite like the Saw Gun and the Plasma Cutter returns as players armed themselves to a T to engage themselves in gloriously brutal and visually enticing battle sequence as they severed the Necromorphs literally limb-by-limb through the atmospheric space station in the 12-mission campaign.

Utilizing the same superb minimalist HUD of the original, health bar and ammo count are visually displayed on the character and his respective weapon. That, along with the solitary atmosphere enforced by the game setting, makes for a remarkably immersive gameplay experience as player feels the helplessness and terror in the face of a full-blown Necromorph infection.

For the most part, the action sequence, particularly the dismemberment mechanic, works effectively. However, with a gameplay control element this complex, the ambitious integration of touch screen control and clear, concise execution can lead to certain levels of frustration. For example, while switching between fire modes on a weapon are executed by tilting the device to the side, the precision of the intuitive action is at times clunky enough that you will find yourself inadvertently switching fire modes as you engage in a fire fight due to the shifting. While the problem are likely to occur less often should you be a seasoned player who can shoot with lightning-fast precision or when you are more used to the control scheme, the moment it does happen can very well be your ticket to yet another "Game Over" screen. In conclusion, there are too many gesture-based control that when coordinated in a perfect precision can lead to an all-too perfect action shooter, but in Dead Space, it actually bogged down an otherwise excellent action sequence.

As mentioned earlier, the game succeed in creating the helplessness of Vandal. Ammunition are almost always lacking, thus forcing player, while feeling the dreadful desperation, to always try to come up with a strategy in surviving the encounters with the Necromorphs, or work on the upgrade system for long term stability.

Another issue of the game would be the terribly slow pacing. While we perfectly understand the inevitable necessity of the game stretching out in a rigidly linear sequence, but as a result of the linearity, the gameplay can't help but gradually feels repetitive despite the occasional unscripted instances. Add to the fact that both Vandal and the camera moves inanely slow, the pacing ebbs the flow of the game considerably.

Nevertheless, Dead Space's astounding production values more than make up its slight misgiving at the pacing and control department. Undoubtedly one of the best sound designs in an iPhone game, you can hear the horrendous groans of the creatures in the thick of the action, and the gentle hissing of the aliens in the ventilation system. This is definitely a game where you got to wear your earphones, if not headphones, to play.

Graphic-wise, Dead Space's razor-sharp Retina display is tremendously impressive, and is without a doubt, among some of the very best graphics in all iPhone games. Taking a page from the original, the lighting in the game is sufficiently capable to strike a balance between creepiness and functional. The designs of the Necromorphs remained strong, as are the settings and environment.

In summary, Dead Space on the iPhone is an efficient addition to Visceral Games's critically acclaimed franchise. While the misfiring controls and the eventual slow-pace inevitably ebb the flow of an otherwise excellent games, these misgivings are cancelled out by the phenomenal presentation, engaging action sequences, and the effectively constructed levels.

The official trailer of the game.


And here's a clip displaying the amazing gameplay sequence of the game.


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The Rundown
Undoubtedly a worthy holder of the brand of Dead Space, now a reputed and proud name in modern Survival Horror games, Dead Space for the iPhone is immensely captivating and enjoyably creepy. As a result of the astounding production values, the game strike a nice balance between intense action, in-depth system, and an overall delightful gaming experience, despite the game's relative weakness in the area of control and pacing. A must-have title for iPhone games enthusiast and fans of Survival Horror games.

The Good
- Phenomenal presentation
- Great sound design
- Excellent visuals
- Intense action sequence
- Astounding atmosphere
- The best Survival Horror title on the iPhone platform so far

The Bad
- Slow pacing
- Somewhat repetitive
- Flawed intuition control

And Dead Space 2 on iPhone?
Given the fact that Dead Space on the iPhone is not a direct port of its multi-console original, we are of the opinion that Visceral Games and Electronic Arts will not take the comparably cheap way of making an inferior iteration of an existing and established product.

OutstandingOutstandingOutstandingOutstanding
Outstanding

For a more transparent understanding on the Game Reviews here in The Daily Zombies, please check out "The Daily Zombie Rating System And Review Policy for Gaming".

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Here's the complete application description.

iTunes Download Link: Dead Space

Electronic Arts
Dead Space
Category: Games
Price: $6.99
Updated: Jan 25, 2010
Size: Electronic Arts Inc.
Seller: Electronic Arts Inc.
Current version: 1.0.1




SCREENSHOTS








APPLICATION DESCRIPTION


AN ALL-NEW DEAD SPACE STORY – AVAILABLE ONLY ON THE APP STORE. Immerse yourself in events that set the stage for the action-horror storyline of Dead Space 2. Featuring a hardcore game experience and a rich audio environment specifically designed for your iPhone & iPod touch, this is an original vision of the acclaimed franchise and a true landmark game on the App Store.

THE FIRST DEAD SPACE STORYLINE EVER DEVISED FOR iOS
Three years have passed since the destruction of the Marker in the first Dead Space story. Now, experience first-hand the events that unleash the Necromorph hordes once again. You’ll find yourself on a mission of uncertain purpose in the Mines of Titan. Soon, however, the truth of your situation will become grotesquely clear…

A CHARGED SENSORY EXPERIENCE WITH VIVID SOUND AND VISCERAL GRAPHICS
Featuring a fully voice-acted stereo soundtrack, plus a movie-quality score and sound effects, we recommend experiencing the game with headphones for full immersion. Hear every footstep in the empty passages and feel the tension build as you are pulled deeper into danger. With cutting-edge visuals, rich in effects and atmospheric lighting, Dead Space reproduces the cinematic horror of the console experience and sets a new benchmark for graphical fidelity on the iOS platform.

SPECIALLY DESIGNED CONTROLS KEEP YOU FOCUSED ON THE ACTION
Intuitive controls have been conceived to maximize the immersive experience of the game on iPhone & iPod touch. The on-screen HUD is seamlessly integrated into the game environment. Navigate 6 varied environments and battle Necromorphs with simple swipe and tap controls that offer accessibility without sacrificing depth. Nothing will break the spell of the story’s adrenaline-driven suspense.

INTRODUCING 2 EXCLUSIVE WEAPONS & FEATURING CLASSIC MODULES
Access the ALL-NEW Plasma Saw and Core Extractor, plus 3 more weapons from the Dead Space universe – and get on with the business of strategic dismemberment. In addition, utilize true physics-based Kinesis and Stasis Modules well-known to players of the original Dead Space console game.

BUY AND DOWNLOAD UPGRADES IN THE IN-GAME STORE
Built into the context of the Dead Space environment, the in-game Store enables you to instantly purchase and download upgrades to help you survive the Necromorph onslaught. Get additional Power Nodes to enhance weapons at the Bench or to unlock sealed doors. Increase your offensive and defensive capabilities with Weapon Output and Armor Integrity Modules. Or get the Credit Booster to scavenge more credits from dismembered Necromorphs.

ALSO LOOK FOR A SPECIAL UNLOCK IN DEAD SPACE 2 FOR CONSOLE
Don’t forget to register your Dead Space game for iPhone & iPod touch. A special unlock awaits you in Dead Space 2 for Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, or PC!
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GIFT THIS APP: Click the “Buy App” arrow on the iTunes® App Store

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LANGUAGES
English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish

REQUIREMENTS
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later


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App Of The Week, the tag formerly known as App Attack, is our ongoing weekly feature chronicling the news, previews, and reviews of the App world of the new media.
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While The Daily Zombies obviously chronicles all the ups-and-downs of the Living Undeads, we do put an additional close eye on them every week, celebrating zombie kind by featuring the particular Zombie, or Zombies Of The Week.

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