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Dead Space Review | Retro spirit in a new body



The remake of dead space concocted by the Montreal studio Motive benefits from the technical improvements available in 2023, but does not forget its origins in 2008. On the menu: remorseless pleasure in shredding its enemies, anxiety, puzzles and a scenario that goes straight to the point. As in time.

It is striking, after a dozen hours in this game, to realize that in 2023 we hardly make any more games like dead space. From the delirious weapons with which the hero is equipped, to the 100% science-fiction decorations, through the improbable monsters and the twisted challenges, we understand that the primary goal here is the pleasure of the player. No unnecessary sophistication, no overly complex story or open world, we have missions that follow one another and good regular scares.


Between Boba Fett and Dredd

The adventure begins with the boarding by a rescue crew of a gigantic mining vessel, the USG Ishimura, which no longer gives any sign of life.

The main character is Isaac Clarke who, as soon as he leaves the ship, wears this strange combination, a mixture of Boba Fett and Judge Dredd. He starts out unarmed, a situation that will obviously change when the first members of the rescue crew are attacked by horrible monsters. The story is divided into 12 chapters, each with very specific missions such as restarting the engines, finding Isaac’s wife, Nicole, mastering new skills such as kinesis or stasis, all while discovering little by little the nature of the drama that struck the Ishimura.

We won’t throw a big spoiler by revealing here that the main monsters, called Necromorphs, in the forms of praying mantis with a human head, are humans who have transformed.

To the main weapon, the mythical Cutter Plasma which sends pulsations quickly adds a slew of gadgets such as a flamethrower, a devastating round saw, a machine gun or a continuous laser. Isaac gradually acquires special powers that allow him to slow down enemies and doors (the “stasis”), to transport objects at a distance like a Jedi with “kinesis” or to fly with his boots equipped in the zones of zero gravity.

thank you blue line

It should be noted right away that it is not, despite appearances, a classic third-person shooter. We can spend long minutes without any fight. It is more often here to solve puzzles, for example to connect a centrifuge or restore the electric current, to explore the recesses of the ship in search of clues and rewards and to trace the history of the decimated crew .


A view of the hangar in the 2008 version and, below, the same scene retaken in 2023.

And we are entitled to an invaluable guide, for which we have internally thanked the developers dozens of times: the path to accomplish the current mission is clearly marked on the ground, a blue line which ensures the player never to get lost. It is of course advisable to sometimes let go of the line to find hidden treasures, but it is easy to find your way back afterwards.

As for the fights, we are initially irritated by the slowness of our Isaac, who takes a long time to reload his weapons, who is always low on ammunition and health and only runs with great difficulty. We can hate, but these difficulties are part of the spirit of dead spacewe are confirmed at Motive.

Time-consuming game

In the same vein, forget about enemies falling after a simple headshot or a burst from an ultra-powerful weapon. These filthy beasts are tenacious, often invisible before attacking, and they even have a mania for continuing when all of their limbs have been torn to pieces.

The result is a timeless game where you frantically wait for the next mission and the next attack. The story, without being transcendent, is well put together and keeps us in suspense. The graphics are sumptuous, disturbing and full of gadgets that will please science fiction fans. On the other hand, we are far here from the very varied sets of the usual AAA: everything happens in the ship, with its corridors, its closed rooms and sometimes large open rooms. The repetition of missions-attacks-puzzles is sometimes boring. To be consumed in moderation, therefore, like any pleasure. And dead space is undeniably one.

dead space

  • Developer: Motive Studios
  • Publisher: EA
  • Released: January 27, 2023
  • Price: $89.99

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Tried on a PS5 with a copy provided by EA.

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