Combat against the human zealots never feels as enjoyable or satisfying as the alien-like Necromorphs.

Combat against the human zealots never feels as enjoyable or satisfying as the alien-like Necromorphs.

The fear of the unknown is horror's greatest weapon, so Dead Space 3 was always going to have a tough time scaring us as much as its predecessors.

It is understandable then that developer Visceral Games chose to create a more action-orientated experience for Isaac Clarke's latest adventure, moving away from its survival horror roots.

You'll blast foes from the top of a speeding train, rappel down mountains, try to steer a wayward ship through debris and even venture out into space using jet boots. There is also the option to team-up with a friend to tackle missions co-operatively, a well-implemented addition.

The opportunity to build weapons out of scavenged parts is one of the most significant changes. Resources are no longer scarce as long as you take the time to search and plunder, giving you terrific flexibility in crafting your lethal weapons. You can create customised devices that hurl spinning blades, lob acid-filled grenades, or incinerate foes with flamethrowers.   

It's an ambitious and generous game that offers plenty of entertainment and a rollicking pace, and it's not until the closing chapters that it can start to feel unnecessarily padded.

After a brief prologue, the rollercoaster ride begins with Isaac living in a Blade Runner-inspired lunar colony. His peace is soon interrupted and he is (crudely) ducking for cover while battling armed terrorists.

The next act set on an abandoned ship covers more familiar territory before another significant departure on an ice planet.

Puzzles and optional side missions add depth, and there are also boss battles to contend with.

Unfortunately, combat against the human zealots never feels as enjoyable or satisfying as the alien-like Necromorphs, whose various forms require distinct tactics to exploit their vulnerabilities. The game is far better suited to battling at close quarters rather than sniping from behind cover. 

It's a quality game that newcomers to Dead Space 3 will particularly enjoy, but series veterans might not appreciate the focus on action over horror.

What have you been playing lately?

- Jason Hill

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