Dead Space review

Extraterrestrial body-part party

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Varied alien types

  • +

    Creepy atmosphere

  • +

    Unique interface


  • -

    Sluggish mouse control

  • -

    Too many Mr. Fixit missions

  • -

    Bland story

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Dead Space is the first game that can truly be called post-BioShock. You’re an inexplicably mute character on a dark, claustrophobic spaceship dripping with spooky atmosphere, taking instructions from people who may or may not be playing you. But where BioShock was a psychological thriller, Dead Space is an action-horror game that prioritizes blood over brains.

The ship you’re investigating is infested by an alien life-form that reanimates dead people and uses them to make more dead people to reanimate. Check your headshot skills at the airlock, because zapping these things in the head doesn’t even slow them down. Distinguishing itself from the standard alien-infestation shooter, Dead Space’s aliens have torsos that absorb ammo like a sponge, but dismembering their arms and legs brings them down with maximum efficiency. It doesn’t revolutionize the shooter, but it’s a novelty that won’t wear off before the game ends.

Dead Space earns immersion points with a unique HUD-less system in which all information - ammo count, inventory screen, communications, etc. - appears in-game as holograms projected by your suit. It’s a very clever idea that sacrifices no usability - only the safety you usually have when bringing up a menu.

While the environments are largely standard-issue dark spaceship corridors, parts of the ship are exposed to a vacuum or have gravity disabled, breaking the monotony of regular hallways and cargo bays.You’ll also solve plenty of puzzles with the gravity telekinesis gun and time-slowing stasis tool. I do wish there were more creative mission objectives, as running around the ship to fix one malfunctioning doodad after another makes you feel more like a space handyman than an action hero. There’s real variety in the selection of aliens trying to eat you, however - I counted more than a dozen unique types with their own behaviors.

This would have been a much more compelling horror game if not for the bizarrely sluggish mouse movement, which feels strangely slow and floaty. This is not a sensitivity issue, and occurs even in the main menu. You get used to it eventually, but it makes pinpoint-accuracy abnormally and unnecessarily difficult in a game that demands it more than the average shooter.

DRM Alert!
Online activation; can be activated on five PCs; non-revocable.

PC Gamer scores games on a percentage scale, which is rounded to the closest whole number to determine the GamesRadar score.

PCG Final Verdict: 81% (excellent)

Oct 20, 2008

More info

DescriptionThe original and terrifying new IP from EA cribs tricks from all the greats of survival horror's past, but manages to do it so well that it doesn't really matter. The action and controls are fantastic, and the atmosphere and monsters will get under your skin. We wish there was more of the original stuff, like the inventive Zero G sections, but we can live with this, since it might be the best game of this type since Resident Evil 4.
Franchise nameDead Space
UK franchise nameDead Space
Platform"PS3","PC","iPad","iPhone","Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"18+","18+","18+","18+","18+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)