In the 15 years since Dead Space was released, it has cemented in my brain as a masterpiece of science-fiction horror. Its unmatched atmosphere, its visceral, lead-footed combat, and its cosmic terrors still hold up, through rose-tinted memories.
The new Dead Space is faithful to those memories. Its world, the space-zombie-infested, planet-harvesting vessel named the USG Ishimura, is a cold, industrial maze lit by flickering halogen lamps, where every machine is broken down or on the verge of flying apart. Metal clangs, steam hisses, and morbid screams bounce through its hallways. The Ishimura is a terrifying, immersive graveyard of a ship.
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This remake brings the Ishimura back to life in visually stunning ways. Its decks, quarters, and airlocks have been rebuilt in painstaking detail. It is undoubtedly the star of developer Motive Studio’s remake, a more believable and varied ship than the one seen in the original game. But it is just a part of Motive’s re-engineering: Weapons, characters, and progression have all been rethought, resulting in the best possible version of Isaac Clarke’s trek through a veritable hell — and hopefully the revival of a horror game franchise that flamed out too soon.
The story of Dead Space, heavily inspired by sci-fi horror films Alien, Event Horizon, and Sunshine, is mostly unchanged. A small crew employed by the Concordance Extraction Corporation is sent to investigate why the Ishimura has gone dark, only to find it in great distress. The ship has been overtaken by terrifying creatures called Necromorphs, and the rescue team is promptly separated from one another. As engineer Isaac Clarke, you fight to survive the Necromorph infestation as you search for an escape — and for Dr. Nicole Brennan, Isaac’s estranged romantic interest and the real reason he signed on for the Ishimura mission.
Despite its general adherence to the original plot, Motive has updated major aspects of Dead Space’s structure. For one, Isaac speaks. A silent protagonist in the original game, he now converses with his shipmates and the few survivors aboard the Ishimura. His more prominent role in dialogue, combined with updated text logs and audio recordings, makes for a more elegant story overall; it introduces the trilogy’s theme of religious fanaticism, and the role of alien artifacts, much earlier, and in a less jarring fashion. The impact of that alien technology on Isaac and his allies’ psyche plays out in refreshing new ways, lending new weight to the characters’ relationships and their inevitable deaths.
Gunnar Wright, the voice of Isaac Clarke in the Dead Space sequels, returns to voice him here. His brand-new voiceover makes Isaac sound not like a put-upon errand boy, but a capable engineer unperturbed by shit going sideways every 15 minutes. The rest of the cast comprises new actors who bring solid performances: Brigitte Kali Canales in particular brings more nuance to computer specialist (and frequent task-giver) Kendra Daniels, and Faran Tahir (Iron Man, Star Trek) drips pure evil as Dr. Challus Mercer.
Isaac plays much like he did in the original game: He’s a systems engineer, not a hardened soldier, and he relies on what are ostensibly construction tools — laser cutters, sawblades, torches, and force fields designed for work in zero-gravity environments — to fight the Necromorphs. Dead Space’s combat garnered acclaim for flipping video game conceits by prioritizing limb removal, not headshots or body shots, as the best way to fight enemies. Chop off an enemy’s legs, and you’ll slow it down. Amputate its arms and it has no way to fight. Slice off its head? That will only make it angrier.
Far from feeling like a dated gimmick, limb removal is still grisly, satisfying, and tactical. If two or more Necromorphs are bearing down on you, what’s your plan? Hit one with a movement-slowing stasis field, cripple the other so it has to crawl its way toward you, then shoot out a saw blade to slice ’em both up? That’ll work. Or should you lay down a proximity mine and just lead them into a death trap? Like the original game, the remake demands constant reconsideration of your approach, with continual shifts in the Ishimura’s environment and variations in Necromorph mobs.
Isaac’s everyman arsenal provides plenty of options, especially with new features that make each tool more useful. For example, the flamethrower, which serves Isaac well in more panicked moments, originally had an alternative-fire mode that launched an explosive fireball. In the remake, it instead builds a two-meter-wide wall of fire — anything that walks through it is burned to a crisp. The reliable rapid-fire pulse rifle also has a new alt-fire mode: a proximity mine that’s instrumental when Necromorphs surround Isaac.
Weapon upgrades like these are scattered throughout the game, both as collectible items and purchases from shop stations. Some are tucked away behind locked doors, and a new tiered security clearance system gives the Dead Space remake a more Metroid-like feel; there’s some backtracking to be done through the Ishimura, and a sense of risk versus reward for doing so. Is it worthwhile to double back to a previously inaccessible area, when Necromorphs have a habit of bursting forth from hatches? Maybe!
Motive has also retrofitted Dead Space with quality-of-life changes its sequels introduced. In the 2008 game, Isaac hopped from point to magnetized point in zero-gravity environments. However, he can now float and fly freely. Zero-G encounters have been summarily reworked, turning boss battles and minigame-like puzzles into tense, topsy-turvy situations. Appropriately, these spectacle-filled moments can be quite disorienting, even confusing, in keeping with the survival-horror uneasiness elsewhere.
Motive’s Dead Space remake also lives up to the impressive audio work of its source material. The sounds of the Ishimura are richly layered — the din of machinery and otherworldly screams are a constant amplifier of fear. There are also frequent audio feints and genuine shocks; I’m not afraid to admit I was jump-scared a handful of times by the developer’s tricks, despite being vigilant throughout.
Beyond the audiovisual upgrades, Dead Space shows that its developer is acutely aware of its impact on modern games, particularly in the horror genre. The remake captures the soul of its subject in the vein of Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes, delivering a meaty, memorable single-player horror game unmarred by tacked-on multiplayer or microtransactions.
Dead Space is also replete with accessibility features, including multiple colorblind modes, input options, and even content warnings and an option to hide disturbing scenes. Yes, this is a game slathered in gore and visceral body horror, but moments of self-harm and extreme violence can be bypassed, if that is your preference. The work that Motive has done in bringing Dead Space back to life is exciting not just for the ability to play an idealized version of a classic game on new platforms, but also in the promising groundwork it lays for the franchise’s potential future.
Dead Space will be released on Jan. 27 on PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed using a pre-release download code provided by Electronic Arts. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.
Will Dead Space remake have DLC? ›
The developer of the upcoming Dead Space remake, Motive Studios, has announced that the game will not include any microtransactions. This is a departure from the original game, which had DLC that enhanced the player's abilities through weapons and suits.Will they remake Dead Space 2? ›
As of writing, EA has not announced a Dead Space 2 remake.What do you get for completing Dead Space 1? ›
You are given 10 power nodes, 50,000 credits and Military Suit blueprint. You keep your weapons and inventory, too. Once you reach the first shop at the end of chapter 1 you can buy the suit (it costs 99,000 credits). So to get a cleared game save you only need to finish the game.Will Dead Space remake be on PS4? ›
Can You Play Dead Space Remake on PS4 or Xbox One? Unfortunately, it seems that answer is no and it's staying that way. There are several reasons why this is the case. Firstly, we're at that point in the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S' lifecycle where games are released exclusively for those platforms.Does Dead Space have alternate endings? ›
Earlier this week, I reported on the possibility of this new take on Dead Space getting an alternate ending. The Reunion ending was leaked by an achievements list for the remake, but now the Dead Space Twitter account has confirmed that the game does indeed feature a secret ending.Why did they stop making Dead Space games? ›
From a commercial perspective, EA considered the video game series as a whole to have underperformed. After the financial disappointment of 2013's Dead Space 3, no further media for the franchise was made for the remainder of the 2010s.Did Dead Space 2 sell well? ›
The game sold two million copies during its opening week, but according to later developer interviews Electronic Arts was disappointed in its commercial performance.Did Dead Space end? ›
The ending to Dead Space happens after Isaac defeats the Hive Mind. He then boards the ship used to transport the marker, and quickly takes off from the planet, so as not to be killed by the falling rock.Is Isaac in Dead Space 2? ›
Isaac Clarke is voiced and modeled after Gunner Wright in Dead Space 2, Dead Space 3 and Dead Space (2023). Prior to this in Dead Space, Isaac's face was modeled after actor Max Shippee.Is there a Level 5 suit in Dead Space? ›
The schematic for the level 5 suit (the last normal suit in a first round play) is in the zero G basketball locker room.
What is the best suit in Dead Space? ›
The Advanced Suit has a special feature that halves Stasis recharge time, further enhancing the lethality of the Advanced Suit. It is the best suit available in the first playthrough of Dead Space 2.What is the best weapon in Dead Space? ›
- 1 Pulse Rifle. The pulse rifle can be considered a regular assault rifle.
- 2 Detonator. The Detonator is a gun that fires laser-trip mines. ...
- 3 Javelin Gun. ...
- 4 Force Gun. ...
- 5 Slam Chop. ...
- 6 Flamethrower. ...
- 7 Ripper. ...
- 8 Contact Beam. ...
But with the Dead Space remake essentially kicking off a new trilogy, it's possible that, after potentially remaking Dead Space 3, EA will continue on to make Dead Space 4.Will Dead Space 3 be remade? ›
Dead Space remake will release on January 27, 2023 for PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC. The release date was confirmed during a May 2022 developer livestream (opens in new tab), with developer EA Motive stating that development was "progressing very well".Will Dead Space trilogy get remastered? ›
The Dead Space remake will be released on Friday, January 27, 2023. This comes a full 14 years after the original launched. Those who pre-order the remake on Steam will also receive a free digital copy of Dead Space 2.What happens to your wife in Dead Space? ›
Coming to terms with what would be her final hours, she sent a message to Isaac via a video log. She committed suicide by inducing an air embolism with an empty syringe to avoid being slaughtered and transformed by the Necromorphs.Is Isaac mute in Dead Space? ›
Finding a new voice
2008's Isaac Clarke was as mute as he was fearless as he battled monsters and maniacs alike, his face always obscured by his helmet. Sure, he opened up in Dead Space 2 and 3, but Clarke's initial silence contributed to the first game's sense of mystery and isolation.
The Dead Space Remake will have a series of secret achievements. One of these is called “Reunion”, and tasks you to “see the alternative ending on any difficulty mode,” according to True Achievements. So at the very least, this means the Dead Space Remake will have two endings, which the 2008 original did not.What caused the Necromorphs? ›
Necromorphs are created by an alien infection that reanimates dead tissue and brings the deceased being back to life. The sole purpose of these lifeforms is to continue spreading the infection, creating as many Necromorphs as possible.What Dead Space 4 would have been? ›
Dead Space 4 would have been a final confrontation at Earth, with Isaac "facing his destiny" and fighting against the Moons. According to Beaver, many of the elements from this original story were repurposed for the Awakened DLC.
Why did Germany Ban Dead Space? ›
Survival horror Dead Space has been banned in Germany, Japan and China, according to comments attributed to Electronic Arts community manager Andrew Green. Consumer website Destructoid says that according to Green, the game is banned in all three countries, presumably over concerns over the high levels of violence.Will the Dead Space remake be different? ›
The new Dead Space is a remake, but it's rebuilt from the ground up. If you're a returning veteran of the Dead Space franchise, you're going to notice a lot of minor changes and a couple substantial ones. Our guide to the biggest changes in Dead Space will prepare you to return to the USG Ishimura.Will they ever make a Dead Space 4? ›
The original Dead Space trilogy ended on something of a cliffhanger, but Dead Space 3 failed to meet sales expectations. It's never been absolutely confirmed by EA, but it's generally accepted that Dead Space 4 did not happen at the time for that reason.Does Dead Space 2 come with DLC? ›
Downloadable content for Dead Space 2 included new RIGs, weapons and two extra chapters continuing the story of the characters from Dead Space: Extraction.