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A couple of days ago, I wrote a quasi-review for Dead Space 3. This was written around the time I was just getting started with New Game+, just after beating it, and just before getting to experience co-op. So, as a follow-up to my last blog, I decided to talk about what I did and didn't like about co-op in this game.
The Simple Joy of Dismemberment
Despite it's somewhat sloppy and derivative writing, Dead Space 3's gameplay is enough to make it an addicting and immersive experience. It's pretty much devoid of anything close to even resembling horror, but it's simply a joy to dismember limbs (I probably shouldn't have admitted that). I'm a little disappointed that Dead Space 3 can't scare me sure, but so long as I'm having a blast blasting Necromorphs, I'm happy. Whilst it's clunky storytelling and script falter, its core gameplay mechanics remain refined and as fun as ever despite some annoying setbacks. Naturally, this extends to the online cooperative campaign as well as the single player.
As a disclaimer of sorts, I should probably mention that my entire experience with co-op so far has been as Isaac; I've only hosted thus far, and haven't really got a chance to play as Carver. Playing through with my friend, each of us on New Game Plus, provided frantic fun that kept me awake until four in the morning. In lieu of a grisly and terrifying sci-fi atmosphere, I was treated to a night of slaughtering the undead horde as my friend and I got into and out of unwinnable situations, mashed our way through set-pieces, and traded blueprints for bigger and better killing machines. The real fun however, occurred when we reached the co-op side missions.
Take a Trip
The co-op missions in Dead Space 3 are quite the trip. These delve into Carver's back story, and help flesh out his character beyond the angry soldier archetype. Even if you intend to play solo, I still recommend grabbing a friend and quickly carving your way trough these missions, just so you can get the whole story. Without these missions, it feels like pieces are missing when you get towards the end of the game as Isaac and Carver have more dialogue. This is especially jarring when they reference things that never happened, because you didn't play that way.
What really made these missions unique however, was Carver's hallucinations. Isaac (the host) doesn't experience these, which is what makes them so cool. Neither I nor my friend got to experience co-op before, so it was certainly an entertaining and interesting experience. As we walked through the dark, icy halls of Tau Volantis's facilities, my friend described to me haunting visions and horrible hallucinations. Just like Carver, he saw those things, and I didn't. The entire time, he was asking me "are you seeing this?", to which I consistently replied "no, because I'm not fucking crazy." It was like being completely sober and listening to a friend who just dropped acid or ate mushrooms. We were both having completely different experiences, and that's what made it so compelling.
It was a unique co-op experience, because each of us were playing different roles. Another example outside of Carver's co-op missions is when the player must pilot the USM Crozier down to the planet's surface. During this time, Isaac pilots, and Carver shoots, whereas the player would normally do both. This gives players equal responibilies. When Isaac has to repair the ship, Carver takes over and does both. It's not quite as interesting as his hallucinations, but it's still pretty engaging. These moments elevate it above simply the single player campaign times two. It's enough to save it from being another tacked-on afterthought. Really, my only complaint (and this is one I have with many, many game) is that you can't do split-screen co-op.
And let's face it. It's still a lot better than the multiplayer in Dead Space 2.
Take Down the Terror Together
Have a PS3? Want to play with me? Just need some help slaughtering Necromorphs? Add MacabreMilkman. I've been hoping to play with some more co-op, but not a whole lot of my friends have Dead Space 3. If you need someone to play with, I'll try to find some time. After all, this game is more fun with a friend.