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Dead Space Review: A Horrifying Remake Done Right

Should you return to the Ishimura for another horrifying adventure? Find out in our Dead Space remake review.

Jeremy Proome

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In the age of remakes and re-dos that the gaming industry is going through, there’s no doubt that the idea of re-developing an existing game can seem like somewhat of a cash-grab for companies. Furthermore, some recent ‘rebuilds’ have felt somewhat superfluous, given that the original games are not even that old. Dead Space, on the other hand, is the perfect example of a remake done right; one that reinvents the 2008 experience in such a way that it feels like a totally new game, and finds the perfect balance between nostalgic remembrance and delivering something that can’t help but feel like a resurrection for the franchise.

The thing with the Dead Space remake is that it focuses on what made the first game great, and enhances it. Rather than purely superficial things, such as higher-fidelity facial animations and slicker animations (which are great, and the remake does include all of those shiny bells and whistles), it reinvents the game’s atmosphere, and specifically, the key location of the game, the Ishimura spaceship, which, is (and always has been) the main character of the game.

For those who missed the original, there’s a captivating 80s-inspired sci-fi horror adventure to experience here. After receiving a distress signal from a derelict spaceship, a crew including engineer Isaac Clarke are dispatched to investigate. Of course, what they find is anything but a mechanical breakdown, and Clarke has to wield an array of outrageously dangerous mining tools to help him fight his way off the ship.

Dead Space became a beloved favourite for its innovative use of its dynamic environment, as the iconic (yet nightmarish) Necropmorphs used vents, dark nooks and crannies, and scripted set-pieces to terrify you when you least expected it. However, replaying some of the older Dead Space entries, it becomes quite clear where the enemies are going to come from. The current-gen technology has allowed Dead Space to have another ace up its sleeve, so to speak, giving the developers a ton of new tools and power to give those scares new life, and a whole lot more.

Thanks to vastly evolved dynamic lighting, smoke, fog, and other environmental elements, every corner and corridor you creep down feels like its own meticulously-details thrill-ride, with every hissing pipe and buzzing bulb feeling like it’s the precursor to something a lot more terrifying.

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And often, it is. The higher fidelity of the gore, grotesquely mangled appearance, and organic animations of the Necromorphs (when they do emerge) give them a whole new life, making one of gaming’s more horrifying enemy designs even scarier. The improved audio and sharper visuals result in every encounter feeling a lot more personalised and visceral, especially when they get up-close and personal against your wishes.

Everything that made the original Dead Space isn’t lost with the game’s rebuild. The atmosphere, tension, and relentlessly enjoyable limb-chopping combat are all turned up to 11 thanks to the new visuals, improved controls, and modern enhancements. This is a remake done right, perching Dead Space right next to that of the Resident Evil 2 remake as a nostalgic homecoming worthy of your attention.

Dead Space (2023) is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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