Isaac Clarke stands proud in the belly of a city torn from the pages of Science Fiction For Beginners, a gun nestled tightly in his rough-hewn man-hands. The gun is a shotgun. The gun has an attachment. The attachment is a rocket launcher. The rocket launcher has an attachment. The attachment is a shield. The shield allows Isaac Clarke to shoot rockets at the floor without losing up to four limbs. Isaac forward rolls through the gap left by two encroaching aliens like he is auditioning to play popular action hero James Bond. The aliens turn toward each other.
“He couldn’t do this last time,” says Alien 1.
“I hate my life,” says Alien 2.
“Shut up and die already!” growls Isaac Clarke. Isaac Clarke has watched some popular action films including probably Die Hard and Mission Impossible 2.
Isaac Clarke aims his shotgun with its rocket launcher attachment at the holy bullseye situated precisely in the centre of the triangle created by himself and the two aliens and releases a rocket-propelled canister of summer-blockbuster endorsed kaboom. The aliens are dead. Rummaging through the offal, Isaac finds ammunition for his shotgun rocket launcher but cannot pick it up. His pockets are loaded with ammunition and also chocolate bars for infinite health, so Isaac Clarke uses his telekinesis powers to throw the ammo at the next enemy.
Later on in Dead Space 3, a character will shout: “The yellow spots are its weak point! Are you shooting the yellow spots!?” and nobody will laugh except you.
Dead Space 3 is a game with an unfortunate and entirely inexplicable disregard for its own lineage. It is nineteen hours of shooting assault rifles and shotguns and rocket launchers at aliens in square rooms waiting for the doors to unlock. It is grenade indicators and penis-high cover. It is rolling with the grace and poise of an Olympic gold-medalist. It is micro-transactions and incessant noise. It is women who cannot use guns even to save their own lives. It is waypoints, elevators and derring-do. It is fetch quests and time-wasting. It is boss battles against giant spiders with glowing weak spots and pacing as envisioned by an eight-year-old after eating eight Curly Wurlys and a Chomp for breakfast.
As a third-person shooter, Dead Space 3 is as competent and numbing and forgettable as any.
As a Dead Space game, it’s a failure in every sense of the word.