Hey! I ended up buying Dead Space 3 (for £30 with shopto credit) because I'm a weak-willed putz! And after playing like, I dunno, about 8 or so hours yesterday nonstop in cooperative play with, it got me to thinking how strangely out-of-place the coop actually feels.
I went in this with coop in mind, since after all of the reception and trailers, I think it's safe to say that Dead Space 3 isn't even really trying to be a horror game anymore. And while I was playing in coop anyway, it still shows. It basically recycles an awful lot of the 'scares' from the prior games to an alarming degree, and the only aspects of DS3 that are new are of course all of the actioned-up additions, such as the coop, the crafting, human enemies, and the increase in large-scale set-pieces.
I figured that this is a game that would be best approached from a cooperative perspective in any case. Especially after hearing how blatant it is about how ''There's totally supposed to be another guy here'' in some situations. But that's what makes this all the more weird, because Carver barely has much of a presence across like 90% of the game thus far. It's ironic how Brad thought that Carver just showing up in single-player was peculiar, because having him with you is just as weird, including such situations like when he'll sometimes quite literally just walk out of frame for Isaac to then lead the show in the cutscenes!
Seriously, it's kinda funny how Carver comes across as the ''other guy'' in this story. There's times where, despite being there with Isaac (which is never even really explained as to why he is there tagging along for the long haul) pretty much at all times, Isaac is nearly always the one who gets all of the credit when the supporting cast of nobodies thanks you for saving their lives over and over. The only time Carver ever really speaks it seems it just to occasionally reinforce his single characteristic of being ''angry soldier guy who doesn't give a shit about Isaac'', even after all of the chaos the two routinely go through. There's a lot of set-pieces moments in particular where the focus is pretty much purely on Isaac, and once he picks himself up after the scuffle, the camera will then pan out to let you know that ''Oh, right, there's totally another guy here with me!''
That's not to say I'm disliking the game or anything, but after the reception of Carver from a single-player point of view, I had expected that that was purely because he had a much larger focus in coop. Turns out, besides some of the side-stuff, that's not really the case. Also, remember that garbage compacter puzzle in the quick-look? You totally still do that with one player. There are puzzles that require you both, but I just thought it was funny after reaching that part only to do it all myself like Brad. The other player has to defend you while you do it, though.
We're up to around chapter 10 now, and... it's fine. There's been no scenarios thus far were we hafta to split-up and then one player has to safe-guard the other player and so forth, though. The coop is primarily built as the single-player game just with another gun at your side basically.
The game itself is certainly lacking in the variety of the previous games, too. I freakin' loved the Blade Runner-esque neo-noir city streets during the beginning, and it was kinda disappointing to spend so far the rest of the game in dank, drab corridors and now a buncha snowy corridors. The combat against the human enemies is just as awkward as it was in the demo, too. Fortunately those occurrences have been rather rare thus far and don't pose too much of a headache. Oh, also, we jumped in straight from Hard mode and it's all been really rather easy thus far. There was the odd moment where we got stuck--primarily the set-piece moments like running through the hallways while everything is blowing up--but we're constantly swamped in ammo and healing items. There's been a lot of moments were I'd have to decide on dropping some stuff just so I can carry this other stuff. It hasn't been a complete cakewalk, but I'm glad we went with Hard mode because Normal would have no doubt been far too easy to have been much fun.
The story and the 'drama' is just as bad as Brad described, too. The completely pointless love-triangle, the absolute lack of character or personality from just about all of the cast--especially the occasional ''buddy cop'' heated-exchanges between Clarke and Carver--and we're at the point now were we're basically just constantly running errands for these forgettable cast-members over and over. Most disappointingly of all, though, is Ellie. Not only does she clearly have a different voice actress (that, or she decided to drop her Australian accent), but she's a complete blank. In no due part thanks to that love-triangle bullshit (which reinforced my labelling of this game as Dead Space: Uncharted 2 Edition), but also because of the generally poor writing across the board and a lack of effort in establishing some--any--sort of connection for the players with the characters. The only character in the game that I came close to caring about was the unlucky soldier you play in the prologue funnily enough.
As it is, though, it's not bad or anything. The weapon crafting system and the gameplay itself is still pretty good, even if the enemy variety is terribly watered-down and there's been very little in the way of any actual new necromorph types. I'm enjoying myself, that much I can say. But I'm still admittedly so completely perplexed as to how little effort there was to creating a wholly unique side of the campaign from the cooperative side. It's more akin to, say, dropping in another Master Chief like in the Halo games or John (coincidence?!.. yeah, most likely) in Resistance 3 more than anything. Ironically enough after all of the marketing, it's the single-player that was so very clearly given priority and the coop feels like it's been haphazardly shoehorned in.