What a ride! That
was the first thing that came into my head once I completed Dead
Space on the iPad. It was also the game (for me anyway) that
proved this portable platform could do more than just casual games
for not only was it eye candy but it played amazingly. Dare I say
it, I was in heaven and with gaming mechanics that matched the
console world, it was a really good time for being an iPad owner and
Dead Space more than delivered what my gaming expectations were.
Just like the
console games before it (PlayStation and XBox 360), all the major
elements of Dead Space were faithfully recreated on the iPad,
especially in terms of its creepy atmosphere. It was almost like
walking through an abattoir but with a serial killer on the loose
from all the gore, blood and disembodied limbs.
In the game, players
control Isaac Clarke, an engineer with a codename of Vandal who is
aboard the space mining ship Ishimura. Unfortunately as he follows
the "orders" of those in power, he will experience an alien world
where the Necromorphs have been unleashed as you navigate this
character through this space survival horror game that is a
combination of Half Life meets John Carpenter's The Thing. The story
even leads up to the recently released game on the PlayStation and
XBox 360, Dead Space 2 which nicely fills the gaps in this series.
realism play a key part to this game. Firstly, Vandal is plagued by
almost demonic visions that more often than not serve as a precursor
to what is about to come. These comings generally involved twisted
Necromorphs that would not look out of place in a H.R. Giger drawing
as demonic childlike creatures run around or large alien like
monsters with tentacles and vicious bites attempt to destroy you.
It's quite a claustrophobic experience, especially when your health
is down and your weapons are running on fumes. But this is how you
play the majority of the game, right on the edge of your seat.
The game contains a
set number of levels, 12 to be precise with combat the main crux of
the game plus a few puzzles thrown into the mix. As you start the
game, you only begin with a handful of items and as you progress,
you find new items and weapons to help you in your cause. Tilting
your iPad does allow you to switch between secondary fire modes on
your weapons which is a little fiddle some due to the nature of the
game and weight of the iPad.
It is possible to
upgrade your weapons and armour as you move on but generally you
will rely on your favourite weapon such as the saw blade that allows
you to cut your foes repeatedly. Unfortunately with just a handful
of ammunition on your character, strategy and guile will be your
best friend. Nothing is more fun than running out of ammunition and
then valiantly attempting to use your stasis field on an enemy in
order to "freeze" them. Weapons although limited can be quite
diverse and makes it a treat or reward when you get something new as
you take it for a test drive... or kill.
However in order for
a game like this to work on the iPad, controls would have to be
perfect. It does take a little time getting use to the controls but
after a short amount of time, it feels like second nature as you run
through the corridors, interact with panels, fight Necromorphs and
use telekinesis like powers to move boxes and the like. The virtual
controls of Dead Space work well with the left side of the screen
used for movement, there are no virtual thumb sticks here and the
right hand side for aiming and shooting your weapons. There is a
small HUD system that allows you swap between weapons and set
waypoints from A to B which is great if you become lost or stuck.
Another nifty feature is the ability to tap on your character in
order for him to quickly turn 180 degrees. A much needed feature if
you're being attacked from behind.
Graphically, this is the best looking
game on the iPad at the moment. The attention to detail is
unparalleled from the interactive background environments to the
well animated and designed creatures that you fight. It's definitely
a sensory overload to the player. However the best way to play Dead
Space is through your headphones because it adds a whole new
dimension to the experience, making it even creepier. Then ambient
sound effects are perfect and only enhance the scary atmosphere with
some professional voice acting to boot. And if you do become
frustrated, you can always stomp on your enemies while they are
With 12 missions
available in Dead Space, this iTunes purchase is a must have for all
gamers. Whether your hardcore or a casual game, the developers of
Dead Space, EA prove that the iPad is no slouch for gaming. Just be
warned that this game is full of unexpected nail biting moments as
you attempt to complete your mission before the Necromorphs complete
you. With amazing graphics, a sturdy control system and a story to
die for, Dead Space is definitely a candidate for game of the year
on the Apple iPad! Highly Recommended!