By MEATBALL 39 Comments
Reading the internet, I generally just come away feeling like every game I enjoy is the worst thing ever made. It honestly really annoys and depresses me to constantly see games I love shat on by seemingly everyone. Obviously that's pretty stupid of me, but it is what it is. Everything I Love is Terrible. To blow off some steam I thought I'd write (probably poorly, I don't do a lot of this) about those games that I enjoy that either everyone else seems to hate, or get a significant amount of hate from certain groups.
Starting with a game someone just dared to post something positive about on another, larger forum that you might be familiar with. That game is...
DEAD SPACE 3
I really enjoyed Dead Space 3. Yup. That's your signal to stop reading. I am a crazy person. Because, objectively, Visceral Games would have been better off chiseling a drawing of poop into the back of a disc. People probably would have enjoyed that well rendered drawing of poop a lot more.
Look, okay. I know. Dead Space 3 has some problems. It has a weapon building/upgrade system built specifically for microtransactions. Thanks EA. On the bright side you can build excellent weapons without needing to drop a dime, but it's still a system that is so obviously designed around microtransactions that it's pretty gross. It has human encounters that just don't jive with the series and what we all love about it. I never found the encounters out and out bad, they're not offensive or anything. However, said encounters are there and they're not something you really want to engage in but you have to anyway. It's a bummer. Carver is fucking lame. Ellie has prominent cleavage for whatever reason (it doesn't bother me, but I totally understand people calling it out as gross).
But I still loved it. It is my second favourite game in the series after the original.
Blasphemy, right? Liking Dead Space 3 more than Dead Space 2, which depending on who you ask is either at least a serviceable sequel or miles ahead of its predecessor? Truly, my taste is awful.
The big thing, where Dead Space 3 clicks for me, is its environments/world. You see, I liked Dead Space 2, but after Dead Space 1 and the Ishimura to me the Sprawl really just felt like a series of videogame environments, it just never felt like a place. If you ask me, one of the most special things about the original Dead Space is the Ishimura, the feeling that you are on this massive Planet Cracker. That everything on this ship became a nightmare, and now you have to make your way through this nightmare and find some way out. The Ishimura was almost like a character itself, and that feeling that it existed I think really helped enhance what little creep/scare factor was there.
Dead Space 2 tried show us this nightmare as it happened, and I do think it opens quite strong in that regard (it certainly has one of the most memorable openings to any game I've played). But somewhere along the way I stopped feeling like I was on a space station and more like I was making my way through a series of videogame environments that were designed in an attempt at addressing a criticism of the first game's lack of variety. It just never felt consistent. I just had trouble buying that these places really existed within the Sprawl.
Don't get me wrong, making my way through these environments was fun, but I just really missed the sense of place that I got from the original Dead Space. (on the bright side, returning to the Ishimura in 2 was a fantastic, dreadful moment)
Dead Space 3 did a much better job getting back to this element that I loved about the original game. I once again really felt like I was exploring a real place when I was making my way through the decrepit old fleet of ships, and I much preferred this atmosphere. Once down on the planet, I again felt like I was making my way through a facility that existed. As far as I'm concerned Dead Space 3 really nails it on the atmosphere and sense of place, which for me is something I love about the series and its potential. There's a consistency to the environments that I really appreciate and Visceral did a great job really making you feel like this place had this very strong history. I think in part because of this sense of place and history I actually found Dead Space 3 creepier than Dead Space 2.
I know I'm criticising Dead Space 2 a lot in my explanation of why I enjoyed Dead Space 3 so much, but it's the things in Dead Space 2 that let me down that I felt Dead Space 3 managed to improve upon that are a big part of why I like the game. This isn't meant to be a "Dead Space 2 sucks, Dead Space 3 is better" post, I like Dead Space 2, I just don't like it as much as the other two main entries into the series.
I love Dead Space 3's bosses. Especially the final boss. Yup, that boss that Brad and Patrick crapped on on numerous bombcasts. I loved the way Dead Space 3 ended. It was fun. It was ridiculous, but it was fun. It was just so crazy, and I really enjoyed it. I can't help it, I like videogamey boss fights. I like video games, and I don't care when video games dare to just be video games. I also think Visceral, with Dead Space, make pretty damn good video games. I liked Dead Space 1's final boss fight/cliche giant worm because it was videogamey, too. I didn't enjoy the way Dead Space 2 ended. I didn't particularly enjoy being chased by the ubermorph whilst being pelted by projectiles and such from random lurkers. But what I really didn't enjoy was Dead Space 2's final boss. It just wasn't fun, and in Visceral's efforts to avoid being "videogamey" with its final boss they also avoided designing an enjoyable boss battle.
Another thing about Dead Space 3 I really enjoyed? Its weapon system. In spite of the gross implementation of microtransactions (even if there's absolutely no need to resort to them). I know people want survival horror from Dead Space, and that as the series has gone on Isaac has become more and more overpowered. I can understand if that kills any kind of horror factor for people, but personally I can still find things creepy and threatening even while feeling powerful.
I really enjoyed building my weapons in Dead Space 3, modifying and upgrading them. Experimenting with different combinations and gradually building a pair of devastating weapons. And as the game went on, I kind of appreciated feeling reassured that in spite of fearing what lurked around the next corner, or being overwhelmed that I had the firepower to in most cases come out the victor. For me, personally, Dead Space 3 does a great job striking a balance between being a fun action game to play while also being a scary and creepy horror experience. This is something I enjoyed in Dead Space 2 as well (though I found it less scary because of my problems with the game's setting and atmosphere). And even in the original Dead Space to an extent (you're certainly powerful in Dead Space, but not to the extent of Dead Space 2 or 3), though Dead Space is much better at being less an action game and more a scary game (obviously your mileage may vary).
So, that about wraps it up, I guess? My reasoning for enjoying Dead Space 3. You probably don't agree with anything I've written, but hey, at least you now understand just why it is I like this game in spite of it having been decided that it is terrible. My taste is pretty awful. If you managed to wade through that poorly structured and worded jumble, kudos.
Everything I Love is Terrible.
Next up? I'm not sure, currently I'm playing through Skyward Sword again because I loved the game and was feeling frustrated by hate for it being drummed up again. (Though in Skyward Sword's case I'm not really willing to accept that it's just my taste being awful, Skyward Sword is a legimately fantastic goddamn video game goddamnit. :P)
I'm thinking if I write another of these it'll be about the much maligned Dragon Age 2, a game that is indeed very flawed that I managed to thoroughly enjoy anyway (it will also be a fine example of my taste being terrible, since I don't particularly like Dragon Age Origins. I know, I'm a terrible person). I'll probably be revisiting it with Dragon Age Inquisition on the way in October.