Dead Space Isn’t Scaring Me

Maybe I’m missing out on something special by lazily galavanting through Dead Space on easy difficulty. But should difficulty really affect the atmospheric creation of fear that fundamentally?

I don’t think so. And as every surprise thus far has already been revealed to me on easy difficulty, switching it up to medium or hard is pretty much out of the question. This means I can’t really confirm my suspicion that Dead Space is just, well, not that scary.

I know, at least, that the higher difficulty levels will surely leave you in some hairy moments where you don’t quite have enough ammo or health, and have to run for your life or simply die. I’m not sure this really creates fear. Frustration, perhaps?

There are plenty of atmospheric, unexpected and marginally disturbing moments in Dead Space, don’t for a minute think that they’re not at least making a cursory attempt at amping up the fear. But I’m not getting the pulse racing, shuddering, raw and genuine fear that coursed through me throughout games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Alas, it seems to me that Dead Space has catered for the modern market and become too much of an action game than a horror.

But on the other hand I’ve heard that it IS scary from several independent sources who joked against playing alone with the lights off. Well, I assume they joked, because that’s what I’ve been doing when playing it.

Ben Croshaw of Zero Punctuation puts it best, your character is no ordinary man with whom you can empathize, but an ad-hoc soldier adorned by a suit of armor which can be upgraded throughout the game making you nigh on invulnerable. If that wasn’t enough you have an arsenal of improvised but extremely deadly weaponry to boot.

Suffice to say, on easy difficulty the story of Dead Space can be coasted through and enjoyed, and enemies are nothing but a minor inconvenience.

I decided to play Dead Space on my return to normality because I wanted a game to scare the pants off me. All I got was a sci-fi shooter with elements of horror. A damned fine game, but definitely not what I wanted.

We’ll see how it fares in the full review. Watch this space… or at least the one on the front page.

Update

Okay. Maybe it’s scaring me a little bit now, but the game feels like it’s drawing to a close so it might be a bit late. Oh wait… it has 12 chapters! So I’m barely half way through. Okay, now I’m scared.

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