So, the coop.

#1 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

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.

#2 Posted by Ekpyroticuniverse (143 posts) -

@Yummylee: how does Carvers vision play in? do they add anything or is as you said the coop basically a pointless inclusion, that to me appears to have been included to make people buy the game new or get an online pass.

#3 Posted by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@Ekpyroticuniverse said:

@Yummylee: how does Carvers vision play in? do they add anything or is as you said the coop basically a pointless inclusion, that to me appears to have been included to make people buy the game new or get an online pass.

I haven't completed it yet, but it hasn't factored in all that much from what I've played. There's been one side-mission that I found where Carver began to hear voices, but that's it. For all I know it'll probably reveal that Carver Was Dead The Whole Time (!!!) or some lame shit. Which would perhaps explain a few things, but man... please don't let that be the case. It would fit in with the rest of the story at least, concerning how utterly forgettable and cliché it all is.

#4 Posted by Ekpyroticuniverse (143 posts) -

@Yummylee: thats very disappointing then

#5 Posted by Humanity (8848 posts) -

I actually had the exact opposite reaction you did regarding the intro of the game. I thought the city intro was bland and horribly out of place. I think it's the first time in a video game I felt really awkward about having to shoot at human enemies - it's not that they are badly implemented or anything, in fact they are quite easy since they just sit back and you pick them off. It's the idea that you're shooting other humans that feels so weird in this series. I was really happy when we arrived at the fleet and the game actually did try to be a horror title again. Walking through dark corridors with flickering lights and eerie wails here and there. The big problem is as you mentioned, the game isn't very difficult anymore. Seems like every enemy you kill drops loads of double medkits and ammo constantly. I remember in DS1 and DS2 having to actually scrounge for medkits and make tough calls on what to carry - ammo for this gun or a double medkit? Now I literally sell off excess ammo or drop it on a regular basis because of the "loot crates" you pick up at times that they up valuable inventory space. I find myself casually popping off medkits whenever my health is low with the B button and whenever I check inventory theres always at least one entire row full of the large variety remaining.

I just got to the ice planet and don't think the story is as bad - or it hasn't gotten quite so terrible yet. Feels just like classic Dead Space - Isaac fixing a ton of shit so that the story can move forward. When fixing the shuttle that whole section with the engines and flames everywhere did seem terribly excessive. Like I get that you have to get out of the room where the engine is about to fire up but whats up with all those jets of flame everywhere else? Where are those even coming from? Also the fact that I wasn't even at the midpoint of the game and they've already introduced re-animators, my personal bane of the series is also terrible. I realize you think those sort of baddies you can't fight back against add tension, and they do, but I personally despise them.

Done two optional missions thus far but I might abandon doing those all together. THOSE really feel cheap and tacked on and completely not in the spirit of the series - they're just these rooms full of monsters that you need to clear before you arrive at an honest to God loot crate full of goodies. It almost feels like Borderlands, and these two games should never share any parallels in my opinion. There is a bit of neat backstory detailing what lead to the situation you arrived at but I'm thinking it's just not enough to keep me going through endless gauntlets of necros, especially as you have pointed out the enemy variety is quite slim in this one.

I also had issues with Ellie but on a different level. I don't know if it's just the articles featured on the site recently getting to me or all the threads devoted to them afterwards but it wasn't her voice, which does sound really different, but rather how for no apparent reason they pumped up her breasts about two sizes and gave her a nice big low cut shirt. I wouldn't go as far as to say I was grossed out or offended but it was kind of an eye roll moment of "cmon guys really?" like what was wrong with the previous model? Does it really make sense for her to be wearing that outfit when doing all this shit out in space? How come no one else wears spacesuits?

Overall so far it's been a decent game but it definitely has this Assassins Creed: Revelations feel to it. The game simply lacks the creativity and polish of the previous titles. The sprawl had a lot of interesting, varied environments that transitioned in really cool ways. On top of that you were picking up new weapons and suits along the way which kept adding to the fun. Dead Space 3 just feels like they put a lot of effort into the wrong place, and started to commit the heinous crime of re-using assets for the single player campaign. While the fleet was a nice nod back to how the game played, it also felt really drab. Nothing that was in the scope of Dead Space 2. Even the few puzzles that have you repairing large pieces of machinery which was always cool in the previous games, now feels scaled back and less interesting. The entire fleet felt like just one long level of brown bulkheads. Thats a real shame as something that I loved about the series was how it always kept things fresh, moving you from one location to the next and changing up the scenery. I'd hate to say it but I think if they didn't put all this effort into co-op we could have gotten a much more varied looking game.

#6 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@Ekpyroticuniverse: Yeah, I specifically went in as 2-player because I was excited to play as Carver and see his side of things. It was the one aspect of the game that I was genuinely looking forward to, so it's been pretty disappointing thus far I have to agree. His default suit still looks pretty awesome, though, and the fact that it has a gash over one of its eyes just to prove to you how badass he is is pretty goofy :P

#7 Posted by Humanity (8848 posts) -

@Yummylee: The gash is there because of that explosion that burned off half his face in the beginning of the game and Carver is too much of a badass to get a new suit.

#8 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@Humanity said:

@Yummylee: The gash is there because of that explosion that burned off half his face in the beginning of the game and Carver is too much of a badass to get a new suit.

Opening explosion? Man, I can't even remember... but hey, Carver may totally get himself a new suit if I make him x) But of course besides the one occasion where I had to change suits--meaning the arctic suit for exploring the snowy outdoors--I've stuck with his default because it really is pretty damn awesome.

I agree with you about Ellie's increased assets, too. It's so terribly pandering, but even still it's her voice that always managed to truly stick out to me.

edit: Also, as you may expect from me, running away from those regenerating necromorphs was fucking intense. It was some of the most fun we had across the game.

#9 Posted by Humanity (8848 posts) -

@Yummylee: Beginning of the game when they tell you to get in the car and theres an explosion and Isaac tumbles down that embankment like a pinball ball. You notice Carvers face is fine when they meet up with you in your apartment but later on he's all mangled on one side.

#10 Posted by GunstarRed (5043 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

For all I know it'll probably reveal that Carver Was Dead The Whole Time (!!!) or some lame shit. Which would perhaps explain a few things, but man... please don't let that be the case. It would fit in with the rest of the story at least, concerning how utterly forgettable and cliché it all is.

Don't you remember that one time Ellie acknowledged your existence in the lift?

Eight hours with that @GunstarRed sounds like a nightmare.

#11 Posted by stryker1121 (1352 posts) -

@Yummylee: Have you tried the single player at all? I've read some good things from regular gamers on the SP being fun and intense if not exactly dripping w/ terror.

#12 Posted by Brodehouse (9624 posts) -

They totally dropped the ball with Carver's characterization. As much as I like soldier characters WHO ACTUALLY ACT LIKE SOLDIERS, and not Jacob Taylor, I feel like they could've done more moment to moment conversation with Isaac and Carver.

Did you ever play Hunted the Demon's Forge? For all the problems that game had, they really nailed the two protagonists and their relationship. They banter extremely well, they give an actual sense of familiarity, they felt lived in. I began to enjoy the game not as a self-contained story but as merely 'an adventure of E'lara and Caddoc'. They could've looked to that game to build a real relationship with Carver and Isaac.

Or just... have the second player play as Ellie. I don't know what happens later, she probably dies or something, but people already liked her.

#13 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@GunstarRed said:

@Yummylee said:

For all I know it'll probably reveal that Carver Was Dead The Whole Time (!!!) or some lame shit. Which would perhaps explain a few things, but man... please don't let that be the case. It would fit in with the rest of the story at least, concerning how utterly forgettable and cliché it all is.

Don't you remember that one time Ellie acknowledged your existence in the lift?

Eight hours with that @GunstarRed sounds like a nightmare.

As it turns out, it was actually ten hours according to what it says on save file. Ten hours... We basically spent nearing half a day sitting on our asses blasting aliens in the face. Been a while since I've felt so... teenage. All I needed was my old KoRn playlists :P I'm up for another estimated ten or so hours today too if ya like.

@stryker1121 said:

@Yummylee: Have you tried the single player at all? I've read some good things from regular gamers on the SP being fun and intense if not exactly dripping w/ terror.

Nope, I figured what I would do is play through it on coop first, then play Classic/Pure Survival/Hardcore, which are all single-player only (well, I know Classic mode is at least) and use those modes for my fill of soloing Dead Space 3.

#14 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4330 posts) -

I haven't played much but the characters in this game kinda suck ass.

#15 Posted by Wampa1 (627 posts) -

@Yummylee: What get's me about the love triangle stuff is that they made the new guy such an obvious dick. I mean if you're going to do that (and they really shouldn't have, I preferred Issac as a broken shell.) At least make the characters complex enough that I care.

#16 Edited by seannao (224 posts) -

Carver's motivation is all over the map.

The cutscenes all totally reek of "Oh yeah, Carver's here, too." or Carver awkwardly ambling onto the scene, or having scenes where Carver might possibly be wanting to protest a dramatic turn of events because a twist happens, but only Isaac speaks out.

The game was fun though, had a few technical problems on my friend's end (he was using some joypad program to make a PS3 controller work on the PC, but the hard-crashing rarely occurred until toward the end of the game, even crashed in the credits).

#17 Posted by Tennmuerti (8012 posts) -

I'm just kinda bummed you are required to play co-op if you want to get the items that are in those missions, and they are needed to 100% certain chapters, as well as the collectibles to get the unlocks.

#18 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4580 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

@Ekpyroticuniverse said:

@Yummylee: how does Carvers vision play in? do they add anything or is as you said the coop basically a pointless inclusion, that to me appears to have been included to make people buy the game new or get an online pass.

I haven't completed it yet, but it hasn't factored in all that much from what I've played. There's been one side-mission that I found where Carver began to hear voices, but that's it. For all I know it'll probably reveal that Carver Was Dead The Whole Time (!!!) or some lame shit. Which would perhaps explain a few things, but man... please don't let that be the case. It would fit in with the rest of the story at least, concerning how utterly forgettable and cliché it all is.

Carver is Indoctrinated, Dead Space actually takes place in the Mass Effect Universe.

#19 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

Carver is Indoctrinated, Dead Space actually takes place in the Mass Effect Universe.

You just totally saved the story.

#20 Posted by Video_Game_King (36071 posts) -

So you're saying that Dead Space 3 has...flown the coop?

#21 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

Playing it solo has actually been really boring for me. I do agree that Carver adds little to the situation other than saying "I fucking don't like you" to Issac. But the reason I don't like playing it solo is the lack of isolation and tension that the first two games had. It's just kinda boring because playing it solo has no benefit because the atmosphere isn't there.

At least playing it with a friend has been pretty fun. Again, that can be due to the fact that I'm actually with a friend.

The game is pretty much just a poorly written mess. The scenarios are also pretty hit or miss (that one when you're dodging debris in space was pretty awful, IMO). I can't say it's bad though because I am having enjoyment with it to some extent.

#22 Posted by Quarters (1633 posts) -

I thought that the game felt surprisingly natural in single player. It felt like playing one of the other games. Isaac always ends up getting separated from teammates in the other games in ridiculous ways, so Carver just became another NPC, like everyone else. Plus, it meant he was guarding the scientists and stuff while Isaac was out doing his superhero business. It felt good.

#23 Posted by kerse (2102 posts) -

Does anyone actually like love triangles? I personally think they are always really dumb.

#24 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -

@Ekpyroticuniverse said:

@Yummylee: how does Carvers vision play in? do they add anything or is as you said the coop basically a pointless inclusion, that to me appears to have been included to make people buy the game new or get an online pass.

Carver's vision is mainly a factor in the specific co-op missions. I think those are among the best parts of the game though the person I was playing with had no idea what I was seeing haha. She was stuck fighting off a horde of enemies while I was acid tripping in evil candyland so on my screen all kinds of crazy stuff was happening but on her screen Carver was just sitting there holding his head apparently dealing with a migraine.

Co-op is definitely not pointless though. It's not as well implemented as it could have been, but it makes the game a LOT more fun... hell midway through I stopped thinking of it as a Dead Space game and started thinking of it as a Space Hulk (ancient Warhammer 40K franchise) game.

#25 Posted by handlas (2661 posts) -

So it's basically the same game you just have a dood with you?

I'd give them credit for doing it better than Capcom then with Resident Evil 5 and 6. I wanted to play those games alone but nope... you have to have a dumb AI with you at all times.

#26 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

They totally dropped the ball with Carver's characterization. As much as I like soldier characters WHO ACTUALLY ACT LIKE SOLDIERS, and not Jacob Taylor, I feel like they could've done more moment to moment conversation with Isaac and Carver. Did you ever play Hunted the Demon's Forge? For all the problems that game had, they really nailed the two protagonists and their relationship. They banter extremely well, they give an actual sense of familiarity, they felt lived in. I began to enjoy the game not as a self-contained story but as merely 'an adventure of E'lara and Caddoc'. They could've looked to that game to build a real relationship with Carver and Isaac. Or just... have the second player play as Ellie. I don't know what happens later, she probably dies or something, but people already liked her.

Pretty much. For as quick as Brad was to shut down Carver for being very militaristic, I was looking forward to learning more about him because they at least hinted at some growth from his regular gun-ho soldier beginnings. The psychological elements, at least from what I've played of course, are kinda so-so. Though I actually just recently came back from playing a mission where, well, you may have already played this mission, but the ''birthday'' mission was genuinely impressive and the best part was my partner didn't see or hear any of it. Bloody genius and it's such a shame why that stuff has to be delegated to freakin' side missions when it's so far just about the most interesting aspect of the game

I can't imagine that Ellie would have worked too much better, either. Because the problem isn't necessarily the character, it's because of how little he gets to do across the game. For the most part it's like he's just following Isaac around as his shadow, for no discernible reason at that. Besides the opening, he hasn't once interacted with another character from my recollection, which again serves that ''Carver's apart of Isaac's imagination/was dead the whole time'' sort of deal. It's either that or they really have just done a piss poor job in implementing Carver into the proceedings -- both of which aren't exactly ideal at that. I tend to like soldier types too anywhoo, especially because I'm always fascinated with the potential psychological element of it all.

I haven't player Hunter Demon's Forge, but when it comes to great cooperative experiences--from both a gameplay and a narrative sense--the Gears games are the standard by which I hold all others to. For as OTT as the characters are, they're constantly interacting with one another throughout the game and the cutscenes. Marcus and Dom are of course the trademark bro-op of gaming, and Baird and Cole are even better I'd say. I wasn't heading in with the intention to get another buncha Gears banter, though, just a similar level of frequency. That's why I was sort of caught off guard by the part where you face the drill in DS3 , because all of a sudden Carver's actually talking?! Just, outta nowhere he's all like ''Fuck this planet (lol)'' and then he goes back to being a semi-mute as Isaac takes the reigns again. If anything it could have been an interesting arc if Carver would routinely get more psychotic as the game went on when it came killing necromorphs, cripping off of Spec Ops: The Line, resulting in Isaac getting progressively freaked out by his behaviour -- cue conflict of interests, Carver's mental degeneration due to the marker, turn into Necromorph, 1v1 fight to the death between Isaac Clarke and NecroCarver and basically have it play out like a Dead Space 2 deathmatch.

@Colourful_Hippie said:

I haven't played much but the characters in this game kinda suck ass.

They're all so generic and one-dimensional. Basically they're given a single trait and they're to then stick to that till the end. It's weird, though, because the characters in both of the original games I enjoyed. Particularly Hamilton in Dead Space, and Strauss and Ellie in Dead Space 2. It's just the way it's all so blatantly acted and written much like an action movie -- the sci-fi original kind. It carries on that Alien series analogy, where Dead Space is Alien and Dead Space 2 is Aliens, which would then have Dead Space 3 fit in pretty nicely as the Alien: Resurrection of the three.

@Wampa1 said:

@Yummylee: What get's me about the love triangle stuff is that they made the new guy such an obvious dick. I mean if you're going to do that (and they really shouldn't have, I preferred Issac as a broken shell.) At least make the characters complex enough that I care.

He's pretty much the ''douchebag boyfriend'' trope to a T, with practically no other sense of personality or characterisation from what I've seen.

#27 Edited by Yummylee (21293 posts) -

@shivermetimbers said:

Playing it solo has actually been really boring for me. I do agree that Carver adds little to the situation other than saying "I fucking don't like you" to Issac. But the reason I don't like playing it solo is the lack of isolation and tension that the first two games had. It's just kinda boring because playing it solo has no benefit because the atmosphere isn't there.

At least playing it with a friend has been pretty fun. Again, that can be due to the fact that I'm actually with a friend.

The game is pretty much just a poorly written mess. The scenarios are also pretty hit or miss (that one when you're dodging debris in space was pretty awful, IMO). I can't say it's bad though because I am having enjoyment with it to some extent.

You're right, after putting in another 6 or so hours into it, even in coop it can begin to feel really monotonous. However that's in due part to all of the side-missions we played, which feature a very DA2-level of environment repeating. The same enemies jumping out of the same vents while we keep having to use these same fucking elevators -- the side missions are definitely worth a miss, besides for the trophies, or at least shouldn't all be tackled in one sitting as you'll literally just be going through what are basically the same couple of 'dungeons'. There's barely ever anything worthwhile at the end of it besides yet more repetitive wave combat and, whoopee, a box of stuff that I can't even carry because I've got like 5000 bullets in my inventory next to 12 medium-sized med-packs.

Dead Space 3 really is kinda all over the place.

@Teran said:

@Ekpyroticuniverse said:

@Yummylee: how does Carvers vision play in? do they add anything or is as you said the coop basically a pointless inclusion, that to me appears to have been included to make people buy the game new or get an online pass.

Carver's vision is mainly a factor in the specific co-op missions. I think those are among the best parts of the game though the person I was playing with had no idea what I was seeing haha. She was stuck fighting off a horde of enemies while I was acid tripping in evil candyland so on my screen all kinds of crazy stuff was happening but on her screen Carver was just sitting there holding his head apparently dealing with a migraine.

Co-op is definitely not pointless though. It's not as well implemented as it could have been, but it makes the game a LOT more fun... hell midway through I stopped thinking of it as a Dead Space game and started thinking of it as a Space Hulk (ancient Warhammer 40K franchise) game.

Yep, I just came from that mission and it was superb. Just hope there'll be more of that because, for as much as he feels removed from the main story, Carver and his trippy hallucinations (so many damned nutcrackers!) are without a doubt the highlight of the game thus far. It's a shame that such content can only be accessed in coop, and only if you're player 2. Both Isaac and Carver are so interchangeable at this point that you could very easily just switch the roles around and have Carver trotting on his own whereas Isaac just hangs with the rest of the group instead.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.