Dead Space: The King Is Dead, Long Live The King | Review

This new version of Dead Space is the perfect remake and a deserved upgrade for an all-time classic. Read in our review why we love the Dead Space Remake.

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Dead Space Remake Review: Here's why the new version exceeds the quality of the legendary original. | © EA Motive

You go into a small, well-lit room. The door slowly closes behind you. You take a few heavy steps before a loud thump makes you jump. Suddenly, it's dark. Red lights start flashing around you and a loud shriek makes you turn. One necromorph slowly walks towards you. You freeze it in place and shoot its arms off, hurriedly backing off into one corner of the room while it slowly lumps towards the floor.

Before you have a second to think, something comes and grabs you from behind. You panic. You see nothing. You mash to get out of its grip. You turn around and desperately empty the last clip from your Plasma Cutter, only blood and flailed skin painting in the tiny circle of your flashlight. You wait for one long second. The lights turn back on. You can breathe again, you're save... for now.

The Dead Space remake is every cardiologist's nightmare. Rarely has a game got my blood pumping quite like this one. Well, there is the original Dead Space from 2008 of course; an all-time classic and one of the best action-horror games ever made. But maybe, just maybe, the remake manages to be even more exhilarating and entertaining and an overall stronger game than it's role model.

Dead Space Review: The Glow-Up Of The Century

EA Motive had a difficult task at their hands and they mastered it near-perfectly, creating the best kind of remake: one, which feels how you remember the original feeling, while smartly expanding the game and elevating it to a new level.

For those who played the original, most parts of the remake will feel very familiar. The game is a very faithful recreation of the original. However, the devil is in the details here. Tons of smaller changes to level and character design, game feel and pace make this an entirely different beast from Dead Space in 2008.

The glow-up is crazy and most evident in the graphical quality. While the OG game's aesthetics and vibes still hold up wonderfully, video game technology has obviously come a long way in the last 15 years. And my God, is the remake a gorgeous game. Sharp cuts of dynamic lighting slicing through the overbearing and omnipresent darkness, thick fog and steam cloaking the dark corridors. It's delicious.

The Ishimura is more beautiful and horrifying than ever before. | © EA

Oh, and when I say darkness, I mean darkness. This game is dark dark. You won't see shit for most of the time, except for the tiny circle of light shining your way when aiming a weapon. It's so terrifying and intense, significantly more so than even the original. The atmosphere in this game is second to none. I would want to live in it, were it not so spooky.

Dead Space Review: Heavy Metal Design

What shines in especially brighter lights now is the USG Ishimura, the haunted ship Dead Space is set on. Always iconic and the actual star of the game, now this "planet cracker" feels more fully realized than ever. Thanks to the big budget presentation, exploring the insides of this unfathomably ginormous Leviathan of a ship is as disorienting and oppressing as ever. It's heavy metal design, literally and figuratively.

One long corridor leading to another, giant engine rooms and cluttered quarters are not just shining in evocative lighting, but sing in sounds as impressive as they are frightening. The Sci-Fi horror of Dead Space's cursed ship is one coated in metal clanks, loud engine droning and the echoing of Isaac Clarke's heavy boots.

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You're just a tiny ant in the bowls of a giant Leviathan. Enjoy! | © EA

Everyone's favorite space engineer is hurled and rushed through the tunnel-like corridors of the Ishimura like a cannonball. The remake keeps the near-perfect pace of the OG, while offering an even more fluid experience thanks to the redesign of the Ishimura, the gameplay and the story.

The ship is now fully explorable and offers new routes and rooms all over the shop. The third-person gameplay has been refined to feel more fluid, especially by leaning more into what Dead Space 2 added to the franchise. Isaac is a heavy dude but never feels cumbersome to control. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

The weapons feel amazing again, and the new peeling system makes the gore fest even juicier and more disgusting than ever. Slicing through necromorphs has never felt better and the exhilarating gameplay, combined with the excellent pace, made every minute of this game gripping and highly enjoyable. I immediately wanted to play through New Game+, also to see the secret ending that the developers added for completing this mode.

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Slicing and dicing necromorphs is incredibly disgusting and extremely fun. | © EA

Dead Space Review: It's (Almost) Perfect

If there's one thing that maybe isn't necessarily improved with the remake, it's the story. Isaac speaks now, and while the silent protagonist stuff is really outdated, it kinda worked for him. Thankfully, the writers struck a decent balance between retaining Isaac's engineer-like, problem-solving character and having him actually react to some of the crazy shit that's happening around him.

But it doesn't fully hit the spot. The story and writing is not bad by any means, and the stronger focus on Isaac's partner Nicole makes that part of the story shine more than in the original (even though the inclusion of new side quests is somewhat clumsy). But the pretty stiff writing and predictable story aren't quite as pretty upon resurrection as the rest of the game.

And while we're picking nits: yes, this game is amazing and I love it. And it has some great new ideas, especially under the hood and with things like the new Circuit Breakers adding choice and variety to some scenarios. But at the end of the day, I kinda wanted one or two more fully original ideas, that expand upon the skeleton of the first Dead Space. Prices in originality probably won't be handed out here any time soon.

Dead Space Review: Verdict

But this does in no way impede upon the magic of this game. The Dead Space remake is the perfect reimagining and a brilliant game on its own. You have to play this. This is better than the original: it's prettier, scarier, more engaging and more fun. And the OG is a classic masterpiece. But this right here? We might be looking at the new king of survival horror action games.

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: January 27, 2023
  • Developer: EA Motive
  • Publisher: EA Games
  • Genre: Survival Horror Action
  • Playtime: ca. 12 hours
  • Players: Single Player
  • Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S

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