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Before Dead Space came out, I loved watching the developer diaries because they showed just how much thought and care was being put into the game. They’d talk about how the designs for the Necromorphs told a grotesque story of pain: bodies twisting, bones breaking, and skin tearing. And that story was what made them so terrifying. You could see how the transformation happened just by looking, and that was my favorite part.
Now watch the new trailer for Dead Space 3.
Let’s just ignore how tonally different it feels from Dead Space for a minute. Let’s ignore how it feels claustrophobic not from tight, dangerous corridors where you’re never more than a few feet from a monster viciously stalking you but from too many people, too much dialogue, and too much story. Let’s even ignore how the power dynamic has shifted from the first game’s trailers, which simply showed all the gruesome ways Isaac can die to all the empowering ways he (and Carver) can kill.
Let’s instead focus on what the hell was that?
Seriously, just look at this thing:
What is that? I mean, I guess it used to be a baby judging by the size, but what was the transformation process? Did it just get overtaken by black goo like in Spider-Man 3 and have an allergic reaction on its back? Does it feed through the top of the baby’s skull now? What?
I don’t even know what I’m looking at anymore. I don’t know which direction this thing is pointing. How can I possibly be scared or grossed out by it if I can’t even tell what it is? It’s just some dumb mass of flesh.
And check this guy out:
OK, this is just getting embarrassing. The guy looks like he fell out of a PlayStation-era Resident Evil. Is he seriously holding a pickaxe? They don’t even use pickaxes anymore in Dead Space — that’s what plasma cutters are for. And why are his eyes glowing? Ooooooh, scary. I’m shaking in my zero-gravity boots.
Remember in the first game, when you watch the body of the Ishimura’s captain get turned and you witness firsthand exactly how the Necromorphs are made? Remember all the care that was put into the opening scene of the second game, where a guy gets transformed just inches from your face?
Those were stellar scenes that legitimized the Necromorph presence in that world, forgoing the typical notions of “nothing is scarier than the unknown” for a detailed look into the game’s monster closet. I loved it. The way Dead Space 3 seems to be tossing all that believability out the window in favor of visually incomprehensible beasts, crusty zombies with glowing eyes, and “human enemies [with] guns” is really disappointing to see.
I want to be excited for Dead Space 3, but everything the developers have shown off has inspired zero confidence in me. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t turn out as bad as that trailer makes it look.