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Dead Space iPad Review - -

Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 9.5
Sounds 9.5
Value 9.5
Developer: EA
Review Date:
Feb 2011
Andrew Bistak


Dead Space

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.

Environment and 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 down.

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!



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