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Dead Space: Electronic Arts makes a strong showing in its first jump 

click to enlarge Like you never fantasized about eye-lasering an alien.
  • Like you never fantasized about eye-lasering an alien.
Like you never fantasized about eye-lasering an alien. As a kid, the movie Alien gave me the creeps, the slowly building tension and tight scenes made the sci-fi/horror movie a classic. Game developer Electronic Arts has been able to recapture that sick death at every corner feeling with Dead Space. This action horror game has much in common with the way that the Resident Evil games play. With a third person or over-the-shoulder perspective, this game is a nice change of pace from the million-plus first-person shooters. With this being EA's first foray into the survivor/horror genre, it doesn't repeat what Capcom has done with recent Resident Evil games wherein the lead character is a badass. Instead, this game takes a normal person and puts them in a really bad situation.


This game does an incredible job of instilling paranoia, a sense that you could be killed at any moment. That feeling of vulnerability translates effectively into both fear and tension. The game starts off in the future with a space engineer named Isaac Clarke, named after famous science fiction writers Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, who works for a mining company that has ships throughout the galaxy. The company receives a distress call from a ship whose purpose is to destroy planets to mine their valuable ore. A team of five employees, including Isaac, is sent out to find out what happened to the crew of the other ship in orbit around the planet Aegis 7. When they crash land on the orbiting ship's landing bay, the team runs into aliens called Necromorphs. These aliens are able to reproduce by reanimating dead bodies. From this point, the story is about survival and the horror of death in deep space. As I said before, this game has a lot in common with the movie Alien and features incredible depth and action.

With a fear that the combat in the game itself might become repetitive, it's the other activities that become quite tiring. Isaac has to make repairs throughout the ship and as an engineer this makes sense, but at points in the game you feel like you're doing more chores than taking out aliens. The chores start to get boring after about the twentieth time you've cleared debris, or plugged in batteries or maneuvered your way through hazardous zero-G environments. As a player, I wanted to fight more in the zero-G and spend less time housekeeping.

The look of the game is what you might expect from a title on current generation systems. EA used its own proprietary game engine-and it looks fantastic. This game has great art direction that creates a creepy, dark forbidding atmosphere. The sound is also used to great effect in making the game-play immersive and horrifying. The controls are a bit sluggish, but easy to master after a bit of gaming. With this being EA's first survival horror title, it makes for a fine example of what can happen when you let a team of great game designers work on a game that they have a lot of passion for. As much fun as the Resident Evil games are, Dead Space takes the horror survival to the next level.

Dead Space ★★★★✩

Rated: M for Mature, Platform: Ps3,360,PC. Retail: $49-59.99


BETA

Nintendo Dsi

It seems that Nintendo is doing what it always does: making yet another version of its current Game Boy system. The Nintendo Dsi was released in Japan on November 1 with a spring 2009 release date slated for the U.S. The system is 12 percent thinner than the Ds Lite and has a 0.3 megapixel camera built in the system. Also, the screen size is just a bit larger with improved speakers and sound with the power switch being changed and moved as well. The Game Boy advanced slot on the DS has been removed and replaced with a SD card slot. The system will also have 256 mb of flash memory. The Nintendo Dsi will have its own download store similar to the Wii Shop Channel. The Dsi will go for about $190 U.S.

Video game console sales worldwide (in millions) vgchartz.com

Nintendo Wi: 35.46

Xbox 360: 22.30

PS3: 16.50

Nintendo DS: 84.66

Sony PSP: 39.57

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