There’s a reason I waited so long to play Dead Space

I simply don’t have the nerve left. You’d think that after playing the Resident Evil and the Silent Hill franchises (and attempting the Alone In the Dark series, but that was crap. You can quote me.) I’d be a vet when it comes to horror strategy, but the truth is that after beating Silent HIll 2 when it came out I’ve been on a hiatus from the genre. And probably for good reason.

I started playing Dead Space after I got it used for $10 at Bandit Video Games, and decided it would be a good idea to play it from 12a to 3a and really “test my mettle” so-to-speak. After all it had been at least six years since I’d played a seriously terrifying game, and I’d been through some tough real life shit since then, so what could this game possibly do to my psyche that ex-girlfriends hadn’t? After about thirty minutes of running around in the dark, and allowing the eerie ambience to settle over me I quickly realized that this was going to take some stamina.

For starters, the game is unrelenting in its surprises and pop out scares. Then, when it’s not scaring you with in-your-face action, the ambience slows down and you can hear the subtle moans of the dying, or crashing of distance objects that suggest things are moving around you. In a way it gets predictable, but at the same time that doesn’t make it any less adrenaline pumping.

I’ve always been a gamer who enjoys putting myself in the shoes of the character(s) I’m portraying. I think a lot of us do that because we want to believe we’re being transported and taken on a ride to experience something we may not be able to in the real world.

THANK CHRIST that’s the case in this game, because I’m pretty sure if this happened in real life we’d throw the basic constructs of a company’s hierarchy out the window and the real-life Isaac Clarke would have told his boss to not-so-respectively “Shove it” while he waited on board the ship and they searched around the war torn planet cracker for signs of life. Yeah, real life this ain’t.

If you don’t wish you could be Leon S Kennedy… you’re a damn liar.

As I’ve progressed into the game (I’m now about half-way through Chapter 5, I think, I’m basing that on the length of previous chapters) I’m beginning to notice an escalation in enemy strength, numbers, and diversity as well as a disproportionate increase in med packs. Basically, this is getting hard, and it’s kind of nerve racking. I’m at the part where I’ve met the crazy lone scientist who believes that “Mankind’s time is up” and now he’s released an unstoppable regenerating bio-alien on me and I’m running through the dark with half-life like some sort of crazy person trying to figure out where I’m supposed to go and too afraid to check my map for fear the creature hunting me will pop out behind me and stick two spikes right in my back.

Maybe I should turn up the contrast on my screen so I can see what I’m doing. Is that cheating? It feels like cheating. I guess I’ll just have to keep dying until I memorize the layout and escape route. I hate doing things like that, it feels like cheating. It took me 20 tries to defeat the asteroid objective, and that felt like cheating cause I basically had infinite chances. Still damn hard.

So where am I going with this? Well no where I guess, but I wanted to write about how I haven’t felt this way about a game since Resident Evil 2, and I played through that game probably 20+ times just trying to get an A rating (it never happened). I found myself making a lot of direct comparisons to RE2, especially at times when things would break out of the heating ducts and smash around me. Lickers in RE were so annoying.

Now that I’m being hunted in Dead Space I feel like I’m racing against the clock, and I hate that. My nerves just can’t take it. It’s terrifying and intense. It’s still not this scary though:Image

Nothing is.