By William Lee
Tribune Game Editor
6:59 PM EST, February 7, 2013
What lurks around every handsomely-constructed hallway in Electronic Arts' "Dead Space 3" is, by far, the biggest driving force that will keep newcomers and die hard fans coming back to this latest chapter in the survival horror series.
This gory, beautifully-detailed sequel, out this week for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC, completely sucks you back into a world of ghastly undead creatures like debris hurtling in the vacuum of space.
But the game’s raucous, gooey action luckily makes up for the weak storyline that will have gamers struggling to care about the characters they've followed since the game's first installment four years ago. The gamer's goal here clearly is to kill monsters, not solve the mystery of why they exist.
But that’s OK. storyline gladly takes a back seat to bloodletting and carnage.
You climb back into the space suit of surly engineer Isaac Clarke hoping to contain the “Necromorph” menace – dead bodies reanimated to kill by a mysterious alien edifice known as the Marker.
Armed with advanced technology, abilities such as telekinesis and upgradable firearms, Clarke, or EarthGov Sgt. John Carver in cooperative play, cut through wave after wave of Necromorphs, who seek to impale, tear, or even vomit acid on you. Yum.
Gamers familiar with the series will instantly feel at home with the controls, which hasn’t changed from earlier games.
The game's pacing is clearly aimed at those easy, cinematic scares, such as monsters dropping from the ceiling behind you, or walking into a room full of dead bodies, unaware whether any of them are Necromorphs playing possum (Shoot every dead body you find, duh).
This time around, gamers get a break from solely searching darkened starship corridors and are allowed to fly amongst orbiting wreckage just above the mysterious planet Tau Volantis. A hellish crash landing then has our heroes on the planet’s freezing surface battling differing variations of killers.
The game may be an overgrown scavenger hunt, full of MacGuffins designed to get the character searching for tools and items here and there, or scrounging for spare parts, but it is so gorgeously detailed and it'll make you grateful for the advances in high-definition television.
The game is a crimson bloodbath of humanoid carnage that won't fail to satisfy after a hard day at work.
The possible combination of zombie-killing weapons at your disposal via the Bench modding station sprinkled all over the game is staggering. You'll waste hours of alien-killing time modding your go-to weapons.
The game creators deserve kudos for creating a shooter that is both derivative and original. Searching those dark hallways and corridors has the definitely feel of that most original of survival horror classics, "Resident Evil," with a healthy slice of “Aliens” tossed in.
Luckily for Dead Space 3, Necromorphs, those fanged, multi-limbed monsters that spring from the dead bodies of fallen comrades, are far more frightening and varied than the acid-blooded creatures in Ridley Scott’s films.
Gamers can only hope that the downloadable storylines (So far just one scheduled for this year: Dead Space 3 Awakened) can keep the game and the franchise vibrant when so many others, like "Resident Evil" and "Gear of War," are criticized for being stagnant and not taking chances.
Copyright © 2015 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC