For a series that’s heading towards the release of its third installment, Dead Space 3 has not been short on surprises. First there’s the new drop-in/out co-op multiplayer mode they’ve been touting, then there’s the chilly terrain of the ice planet Tau Volantis that takes a dramatic step away from the outer space setting we’re used to, and you can’t forget about the inclusion of human opponents. It’s a lot of change for one game, especially in an industry where all too often we see the same game released year after year. And while some fans are still trying to soak it all in, Visceral games has been hard at work adding even more new features to their upcoming sequel to shock and amaze.
Anyone who’s played the first two Dead Space games knows that combat can be sudden and intense and that accessing menus, healing, or switching weapons is not always that easy in the heat of the moment, especially when monsters made out of reanimated necrotic flesh are trying to disembowel you. So to help make things a little easier on you the devs have added some kinect voice command compatibility.
I mean, you were probably going to be screaming while playing this game anyway, you might as well get some use out of losing your voice. Players will now be able to do things like select weapons, refill stasis and health packs, lift and throw objects with their telekinetic abilities, use fast travel, and have the path to their objective highlighted on screen all by using simple voice commands via the Kinect.
There will be additional commands for co-op mode that will allow you to share supplies and ammo with your multiplayer buddy as well. Just don’t try to use it to give your partner a hug or a fistbump, I already tried it and the command doesn’t work. As you may recall EA had a similar feature in Mass Effect 3 that worked rather well, and it is optional, so no one is going to be forced to yell at their Xbox to get to their inventory or anything like that.
Aside from the new kinect features, Visceral was also showing of a few new gameplay mechanics such as the Torque ability that allows you use your mental powers to turn objects, such as safety valves and other such circular objects to unlock pathways and solve puzzles. But probably the most interesting new addition from an action standpoint would have to be the vertical based combat.
Players will now have to traverse certain areas of icy tundra using rappel lines Batman style. While making your ascent you can expect to take on enemies with all sorts of grotesqueappendages squirming about and you may even find yourself in a shootout or two along the way. Getting to the top will involve some horizontal maneuvers too if you’re going to get around physical obstacles and avoid thing like falling debris and corpses.
While my time behind closed doors with these new Dead Space 3 features was brief it’s not hard to see that there was a lot to take in. It’s hard not to be intrigued by a game that has so much of a legacy behind it taking such bold moves and cramming so much new content into a sequel. Especially when it’s so different from anything the series has seen before. Will their gambit pay off? We’ll find out February 2013 when DS3 launches for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.