Dead Space in the test: the remake of the horror hit is so good!

Dead Space in the test: the remake of the horror hit is so good!

During the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era, survival horror fans couldn’t get past Electronic Arts’ Dead Space series. Now, more than 14 years later, the cult title returns as a remake for current consoles and has lost none of its eerily beautiful horror. In our test, we’ll tell you whether the remake is a must-visit for horror fans.

Test: In space nobody can hear you scream

Actually had engineer Isaac Clarke and his colleagues only hoped for another routine assignment. Contact with the spaceship USG Ishimura was demolished some time ago and a small team is supposed to get to the bottom of the cause. Nobody knew that hell would await them.

Dangerous monsters have overrun the ship, slaughtering the crew and drenching the Ishimura’s corridors with blood. Before they know it, Isaac & company must find a way to escape unscathed, but it turns out to be far more difficult than they had hoped.

The story, which is partly very obviously based on sci-fi classics like alien or event horizon operated, developer studio Motive has not changed anything. It still serves its purpose, with Isaac now commenting on the horror on the ship and even a secret (new) ending may experience.

In general, those responsible followed the template very closely. That’s not to say there aren’t any innovations, but these have been carefully integrated into the new edition.

make us whole again

One adjustment is that, thanks to the significantly more powerful hardware, there are no longer any loading times. You can now fully explore the Ishimura from start to finish without ever seeing a cut or loading screen – game over excepted.

Optional missions await in some areas of the Ishimura © EA/Motive Studios

And yes, you read that right: The spaceship can now be explored freely and has even more to offer than in the original. For example, the development team added optional side missions. These lure with additional background knowledge about what is happening on the ship and all kinds of loot.

In addition, Isaac can now do some in 2008’s “Dead Space” explore areas that are still closed. Some doors come with a safety lock sealed, for which you first need a certain clearance. Now that you can return to old areas with the monorail, there’s a nice touch of Metroidvania wafting through the remake. In addition, these areas also lure with useful rewards.

These are small changes that make sense for Ishimura exploration.

Isaac also has to overcome areas in zero gravity © EA/Motive Studios

There are also other small adjustments made by the Studio Motive team. This includes, for example, that you now have full control over Isaac in the sections in zero gravity, or that he now seems to move a tad faster and more agile than before.

Cut off their limbs!

The atmosphere of “Dead Space”, which was dense enough to cut, remained untouched, which certainly must have caused many a sleepless night not only for us at the time. The original was a prime example of how a horror game creates an enthralling atmosphere, and the remake takes it even further.

The reason for this is, among other things, a revised AI that secretly analyzes your gaming behavior. Depending on your approach, the necromorphs will appear in different places, Isaac will be plagued by hallucinations or hear noises with no clear origin.

In short, the horror atmosphere is absolutely perfect and just as eerily beautiful as it was back then!

Of course, you can’t stop the monsters from ripping Isaac apart with kind words, so fortunately all sorts of tools and weapons can be used. Unlike the original, you will find the various utensils in the “Dead Space” remake distributed in the areas.

During the fights, every shot has to hit the mark, especially on the higher levels of difficulty. With the Strategic dismemberment feature expertly dissect the Necromorphs into their individual parts or use environmental objects to finish them off, which is still great fun.

Graphically at current-gen level?

But how well did the graphic revision of the blood-smeared corridors of the Ishimura succeed? Really good! The environments and characters, Isaac and the aggressive Necromorphs, shine with many small details, such as scratches and blood.

The atmosphere on the USG Ishimura is superb in Dead Space remake © EA/Motive Studios

Furthermore, the lighting is once again 1A or, due to the stronger hardware, a bit finer than in the original. Dark areas are really dark now, and thanks to some really awesome sound design, it sent chills down our spines more than once during our trip.

The play with light and shadow and the sound are simply great!

However, if we compare the game graphically with other remakes, such as “Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade” or “The Last of Us Part I” published last year, the new edition of the sci-fi horror doesn’t look as opulent, but more like a very chic PS4/Xbox One title.

Unfortunately, like a last-gen title that doesn’t always run perfectly. The frame rate is not constant on the PS5 in either quality or performance mode, which is a shame given the “only” good graphics.

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In addition, the DualSense support is rather moderate, because the controller’s options are hardly used, apart from the adaptive triggers. There could have been a lot more here to make the horror, in the truest sense of the word, even more tangible and therefore more immersive.

But don’t be put off by small weaknesses like these, because overall we can expect a simply excellent remake of a modern video game classic with “Dead Space (2023)”. This is the best way to experience sci-fi horror and an experience you can’t miss!

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