The events of the video game Dead Space 1 take place in the year 2508 AD. You play a man named Isaac Clarke who was born in the year 2465 AD. A couple decades later Isaac Clarke would decide to major in engineering, one of the lucrative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields during his time because humanity was on the verge of extinction and needed a new way to gain resources. If you thought fracking was bad, Isaac Clarke and his engineering buddies took it to a whole new level with planet cracking.
Humanity created a space ship called the USG Ishimura and this ship would go on planet cracking missions. The USG Ishimura would shoot powerful lasers to cut planets in half so the resources could be gathered on the ship and eventually brought back to Earth.
This ship was successful in completing dozens of planet cracking missions and the engineers profited over the gathering of resources. One day the Earth would lose communications with the USG Ishimura and they would send Isaac Clarke and a security team to investigate the ship. This is the beginning of the third-person shooter Dead Space 1. I won’t spoil anything related to the story or significant parts of the game so read on.
Isaac Clarke believes he is going on a standard engineering mission where he can get in to repair whatever he needs to repair and then leave at the end of the day to drink a beer with his friends. Soon you find out that your engineering mission is not going to be so easy. It turns out that no one on your team knows whats going on in the blacked-out ship and you cannot get in contact with communications personal on the ship. For all you know this could be one massive surprise birthday party for Isaac Clarke with human blood splattered all over the walls as birthday decorations.
Soon enough you are greeted by these undead human creatures called necromorphs who just want to rip your limbs off so they can eat you. In the process they want to welcome you into the undead club by infecting you and turning you into one of them in the process. Your job as Isaac Clarke is to fix sections of the ship while trying to prevent these undead creatures from ripping you apart. It sounds like something an engineer would be prepared to do.
A person may think the combat in this game will be similar to a zombie game like Resident Evil. However, that notion will be mistaken. Shooting the head off a zombie may work in Resident Evil, but it will not work against a necromorph. If you shoot at the head of a necromorph it might fall off but removing the head will not kill it. That is because necromorphs can only be killed by bodily dismemberment. Your goal is to shoot off the head, arms, and legs of a necromorph in order to kill it in full.
Isaac Clarke is not a professional soldier by any stretch of the imagination. So he needs to use his engineering tools as weapons in order to dismember necromorphs. Later on in the game you are able to find more powerful tools to serve as weapons and also find military grade weapons to fight off necromorphs. You even have the option to upgrade your armor by finding hidden items throughout the game. The armor suit that Isaac Clarke wears is useful because you can upgrade your health, air, and armor for damage reduction.
It might sound easy at first to fight off necromorphs with the dismemberment strategy. However, it is a nightmare task when you factor in dark lighting, tight corners, low health, and hordes of necromorphs coming at you from all directions. Later on in the game you will fight new classes of necromorphs who will be much harder to kill than the standard necromorphs you fight early on in the game.
Simply put, the combat in this game is not easy and there will be parts in Dead Space 1 that will frustrate you. It may frustrate you to the point of wanting to throw a controller at your computer screen or TV. There are many parts in this game that frustrated me because it was so difficult. I would talk about them but I don’t want to spoil anything and you will know the sections that I refer to when you play the game.
When I first played Dead Space 1, I was not expecting to get immersed in the world of the game as much as I did. When I played through the story I honestly felt like I was Isaac Clarke having to fight through hordes of necromorphs while dealing with politically corrupt human organizations. I felt alone and afraid when I battled through large sections of the ship just by myself. During the game I pondered existentialist questions about the Dead Space universe and whether life had any meaning at all. I felt the utterly hopeless at times during the difficult parts of the game.
This type of immersion is rare and unfortunately I have not gotten it in other games. I was hooked into the game so much that I played several hours straight. When I finished Dead Space 1, I felt sad having to wait so long for the sequel. I was glad when Dead Space 2 came out because that game blew me away and so did Dead Space 3. The immersion in these games are unreal because the story constantly surprises you and so does the scenery.
Another aspect of the game that helped with immersion was the cultural references from the real world that made you think about the Dead Space universe, while offering a critique of present day culture. For instance, in the game you will have to deal with people from the new religion Unitology. A person can argue that Unitology is a parody of Scientology because it shows the sometime extreme nature of the religion along with the financial demands. Unfortunately, Unitology does not have members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. At the end of the day the cultural references help fuse our world with the world of Dead Space to add to the immersion of the game.
In conclusion, I think the world of Dead Space is too much for a single engineer to handle. The horror, combat, and the world can drive anyone insane. Good thing Isaac Clarke can fight through all the horror to fix things with his engineering knowledge while kicking some necromorph ass. If you have not played Dead Space 1, I recommend that you do so immediately. It is worth every penny and the sequels are all amazing as well. This is a thing that you will hear me say for the first time, but the Dead Space video games series is better than the Resident Evil series. Isaac Clarke is the man.