×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dead Space Highlights Disparity Between Plot and Gameplay

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-is-bob-see-bob-kill-aliens dept.

Games 87

Gamasutra is running an opinion piece praising recent horror-action game Dead Space for its pacing and gameplay while simultaneously criticizing the plot and the attempts to scare the player. Quoting: "What Dead Space is, is carefully and stylishly unoriginal. You'll love playing it, but when you aren't playing it, it's hard to say what's so great about it. It has some really great set pieces, some sweet effects, solid gameplay, an amazing interface and that's all. Anything and everything having to do with dialogue and story comes off as rote. ... You get the feeling the developer are trying very hard, though. When I see a dark shape in the distance, which turns and disappears, I don't get scared. I know he'll pop out of a vent later! Likewise, when I find a scientist who promptly slits her throat because of the horror, I just check for an item drop. None of the survivors ever surprise you and go hostile (which I think would have been a brilliant scare), so you never have to worry."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

87 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25935641)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936675)

A modern twist on an old classic.

Bravo, sir!

Porn movie (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25935675)

The plot is not that important. That's the answer Dead Space demonstrates.

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25935771)

Video games have a limited budget and demand is such that it is usually the plot that gets the shaft. Whodathunkit.

Video games are like porn. The plot only serves as an excuse to play. It's going to be that way until consumers demand better writing. Don't hold your breath for that day.

Re:Wow. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25940299)

Video games are like porn. The plot only serves as an excuse to play. It's going to be that way until consumers demand better writing. Don't hold your breath for that day.

We love better writing. But not in our fucking action games.

ACTION games are like porn. For plot, we'll play a cRPG.

Rare to have both... (0)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25935781)

At least it's a change from the usual, which is either a great plot with little gameplay (Final Fantasy), or the same old FPS action with no plot.

Re:Rare to have both... (4, Informative)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936025)

Don't know what FPS games you've been playing, but there have been some great ones or at least well fleshed out ones. Halo has a strong plot that I found interesting. The half life games as well. I'll give you that most FPSes have little plot, but most games of all genres are crap that should not be purchased or played.

Also, I have issues with saying final fantasy games have great plots. They seem to be nonsensical japanese poetry about an apocalypse revolving around androgenous bad guys with liberal translation errors and vagueness giving the impression there's more going on than there actually is.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937275)

Japanese games, written primarily for the Japanese culture.
If you don't dive into the culture, you'll miss a lot of the relevance of the games (though they're still great entertainment, as a personal opinion).

Re:Rare to have both... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25938655)

are we talking about the same halo? a strong plot? what the fuck did you smoke before you played it?

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25940425)

Apparently millions of teen and preteen zombies swearing at each other and tea bagging the dead in multiplayer is what passes for a strong plot in an Xbox game these days.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941195)

Well, that would be the multiplayer plot I guess, I was talking about the single player "story" mode.

What you said was like saying "I just watched the 'citizen kane' dvd. What a terrible movie! It was just text saying 'DVD menu: Play, Options, and Directors commentary!'"

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941303)

are we talking about the same halo? a strong plot? what the fuck did you smoke before you played it?

Look, of course not everyone is going to like any given plot. I'm assuming you didn't. You have to admit though that Halo had more plot than say, Doom, Super mario bros, or metroid. There was an actual story. Characters. Stuff happened. Literary devices even. That's not the case for many games, current games included. Even the newest Mario and Metroid games had almost zero plot.

If Halo had little plot, then theres really no way for an FPS to have much of a plot and still be a game.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25944251)

Yes, Halo. Yes, a strong plot. Just because a game is on a console doesn't mean that it lacks depth. Remember that this game is coming from the developers of Marathon, one of the richest FPS universes ever created.

The Halo games provide a fantastic lens for focusing on one aspect of the plot. The books provide another. The audio drama provides yet another. Honestly, there is actually quite a bit there. Moving, inspiring, and with tremendous gravitas; Halo presents the story of the supreme soldier and his transformation from that defining occupation to thoughtful hero.

Not to mention the completely fantastic music.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939713)

I'm not saying all FPSes are bad. I love Halo, and I love Half-Life.

Nor would I suggest all JRPGs have good plots.

But your examples prove my point -- how many games are there like Halo?

90% of everything is crap...

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

ChrmnMa0 (951030) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939975)

Don't know what FPS games you've been playing, but there have been some great ones or at least well fleshed out ones. Halo has a strong plot that I found interesting. The half life games as well. I'll give you that most FPSes have little plot, but most games of all genres are crap that should not be purchased or played.

Also, I have issues with saying final fantasy games have great plots. They seem to be nonsensical japanese poetry about an apocalypse revolving around androgenous bad guys with liberal translation errors and vagueness giving the impression there's more going on than there actually is.

score!!!!

Re:Rare to have both... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25940763)

Oh please. The Half Life plot feels just as contrived as the Dead Space plot.

The FF plots are all similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25947355)

> Also, I have issues with saying final fantasy games have great plots. They seem to be nonsensical japanese poetry about an apocalypse revolving around androgenous bad guys with liberal translation errors and vagueness giving the impression there's more going on than there actually is.

Actually, they're thinly veiled environmentalist morals. You constantly have the forces of nature (elemental orbs/crystals, source of magic, mana tree, mako energy or whatever) going out of whack and causing or nearly causing an apocalypse.

But you're right, there's not a whole lot there, especially since there's precious little continuity (yeah, I know there are alleged timelines, but most of that isn't from in-game).

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

knails (915340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25948371)

Not all Final Fantasy games are about androgynous bad guys and an apocalypse. In fact, that's pretty much just FF7. Sure, the crystal series, games 1-5, which you've probably never played, are about the destruction of the world due to the corruption of man abusing the power of the elemental crystals. However, 6, and 8-12, are more about political action and the consequences of war. Final Fantasy will always be about saving the world, hence 'Final', but they don't necessarily have to be about an apocalypse.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

Dark_Lord_Prime (899914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25973457)

If Halo had a plot, I completely missed it. Half-Life has an great plot; if only they'd give it a friggin' ending.

Re:Rare to have both... (2, Interesting)

Zekasu (1059298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936315)

You're right.. Just like I've never seen a FPS in the last year and a half with no plot whatsoever, and a JRPG with no gameplay.

Seriously, just because ice cream's banned, the only person with ice cream is some guy whose offering you free ice cream with his shit on it, doesn't mean you have to enjoy it or eat it.

The problem I see with most FPS is the fact that you'll end up shooting the same thing over and over, with little surprise because, dun-dun-dun, after you pull that lever, a monster pops out. I mean, whatever happened to the gold old days of Nemesis, the guy you couldn't kill in Resident Evil? You'd run like hell if he was chasing you, because you couldn't beat him (until the very end, that is).

That being said, the gameplay of Dead Space is, at the very least, above average. I mean, it's got real-time puzzles that you have to solve (puzzles being how to splatter another enemy) with all kinds of stuff coming at you. That's probably why it's more fun to play than it is to watch. I mean, is it more fun to act in a movie or watch it being acted out?

Re:Rare to have both... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25938495)

Having made a few films myself, it seems fairly obvious that its more fun to watch a movie than act in it.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938931)

the guy you couldn't kill in Resident Evil? You'd run like hell if he was chasing you, because you couldn't beat him (until the very end, that is).

Dead Space had a boss you couldn't kill until (his) very end who chased you around for awhile.

Re:Rare to have both... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25939861)

Lies. You kill him twice, once with the cryo chamber and once with the shuttle engine. The second one is an 'improved' version that looks and fights exactly the same.

Ergo, completely different game.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25941495)

I mean, is it more fun to act in a movie or watch it being acted out?

Few places are more mind numbingly dull than a set (except for the few minutes every hour when something actually happens). So that's a no brainer.

If watching films was as exciting as making them the whole movie industry would have died out in the 1910s...

Re:Rare to have both... (3, Informative)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937941)

Try the Deus Ex or System Shock series. Good plot, good atmosphere, good action.

For something more recent (and with better graphics) Bioshock.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25943389)

stalker: shadow of chernobyl

excellent shooter, good graphics, coherent plot, and a sandbox environment. they created an interesting world, and you get to deal with it however you want to, for the most part. i haven't played the new one yet, so i can't vouch for it.

Re:Rare to have both... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25944339)

I second Deus Ex, excellent story, quite engrossing although I'd argue it wasn't an FPS but a 3D adventure game with shooting (just because you don't spend _most_ of your time aiming at things to shoot).

Bioshock tried too (I know, I know, some people loved it), and Half Life does fairly well too.

Personally, I liked the minimalistic story telling in the Resident Evil series as a perfect balance of "why you're doing this" and the shooter/horror mechanic.

That said, Dead Space has an excellent lead-up story (the comic series) and back-story written for the game which helps a lot for understanding what's going on.

Ah....sweet System Shock flashbacks (1)

BoXman3D (1423091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25977431)

Kudos on the System Shock reference. I have only played the second one, but to this day I still fear the sounds of lil primates yelling at me, fearful that they may try to telekinitically throw "things" at me.

Don't bother with the movie either (1)

HatofPig (904660) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939169)

Well the movie, Dead Space: Downfall [imdb.com] doesn't even have the enjoyment of any gameplay. The animation is interesting (1990's hand drawn cartoon style, sort of like Aeon Flux, with some CG sets and ships), but the plot is predictable, since it's a prequal, and you already know that everyone on the ship dies because that's how the game starts.

It does have Bruce Boxleitner, which is why we watched it in the first place, but should have turned it off after he died 20 minutes in.

Lots of blood, guts, and gore, and some weird religion element that they don't bother explaining. Maybe if I made it through the game I'd learn what that was all about.

But you'll be praying the main character dies the whole time, because she's annoying as hell. Yeah, it's one of those movies.

Re:Don't bother with the movie either (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 5 years ago | (#25945049)

It does have Bruce Boxleitner, which is why we watched it in the first place, but should have turned it off after he died 20 minutes in.

I HAVEN'T SEEN IT, YOU INSENSITIVE oh who am I kidding. I wasn't going to watch it anyway.

The game should be called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25935789)

NOW! That's What I Call Survival Horror!

SNL Skit: It's just a game! (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25935801)

"Likewise, when I find a scientist who promptly slits her throat because of the horror, I just check for an item drop. None of the survivors ever surprise you and go hostile (which I think would have been a brilliant scare), so you never have to worry."

Worry is when the characters break the fourth wall and come after you.

Re:SNL Skit: It's just a game! (4, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936037)

As a scientist, I have to say I'm already poised with a knife to my throat in the event that that happens.

Re:SNL Skit: It's just a game! (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25944263)

You must be one of those scientists at Black Mesa, always running around shitting your pants complaining about how I was supposed to be in the test chamber half an hour ago, and when the horror finally comes, you expect me to save you?! Well, not so much [gamespy.com] .

Well, good. (1)

Antlerbot (1419715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25935877)

Saves me $60.

Re:Well, good. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936067)

I'm not sure the game is worth $60, but it definitely worth picking up. It is a blast to play. Honestly, this isn't a game played just for the plot.

Re:Well, good. (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 5 years ago | (#25944673)

Picked it up this weekend for $30 at Target's Black Friday sale. Saturday night the stores still have tons of Dead Space in stock. I would never pay $60 for any new game (well, maybe Fallout 3), but it was definitely worth the $30. Especially when you can beat it and sell it used for $45 :)

A dark shape... (3, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936119)

From the article:

> "You get the feeling the developer are trying very hard, though. When I see a
> dark shape in the distance, which turns and disappears, I don't get scared."

I thought the F.E.A.R. developers did this very well... when Alma would scuttle by in my peripheral vision it was almost always good for a start of surprise. Now if only my laptop had been able to play it with all the dials turned up...

Re:A dark shape... (1)

XMode (252740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25940271)

I have to say, out of all the games I have played F.E.A.R. was by far the scariest. There was a part where you are going down a ladder. As you step on the ladder your view swings around so you are facing the right direction, and Alma is standing where you were seconds ago. I physically jumped back in my chair (and let go of the keyboard and mouse). I loved it.

Re:A dark shape... (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951049)

Second this. I've played that game at least 4 times, and every time I not only jump out of my chair, but I hit some key on the keyboard that makes my guy fall down off the ladder.

If you've played the expansion the scene with the weird alien things killing your partner really freaked me out too.

Re:A dark shape... (0)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951601)

Personally I could do without the "horror" game genre.

When effective, it creates an atmosphere in which I'd rather just turn off the game than endure an hours-long exercise in maintaining stress levels.

When ineffective, it creates an atmosphere in which I'd rather just turn off the game than endure an hours-long exercise in maintaining wakefulness.

In other words, I already have a job.

Mythos + Gameplay makes up for the bad story. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936231)

While I felt the story was not very interesting I felt the mythos of the story was. How the unitologists came to be, and their beliefs and the mausoleum ships. How the marker came to be on the colony, and how it seemingly aids the original science station into preventing the spread of the necromorhps and others to stop the spread. I like the semi dystopian future earth has, it has the height of technology but many live on dreary space ships like the ishimura just to get enough resources. All the log drops from the other engineer on the ishimura is the story the game should be, the story would be better if you were that other engineer and had audio log drops of the woman you are trying to save.

Sure a lot of this is just basic sci-fi or veiled criticism of scientology but combined with the entertaining gameplay and pretty and dreary scenery of the planetcracker and aegis 7 I feel like it is a great universe to play games in.

You get out what you put in (4, Insightful)

rubber side down (1304501) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936471)

While I understand the points made in the article, I have to disagree with their conclusions about the "horror" elements, as well as their assertion that it is unoriginal.
I found the 3rd person aspect framing very unique, having your character near to the left. I also enjoyed the lack of a HUD, and found their solution of displaying the health of the character along his spine very creative. This technique created a far more immersive experience as you are always looking at your environment and not a radar screen or ammo count. Also, typical menu items like maps and inventory are displayed in front of your character in a holographic display. While this is a nice stylistic choice, it also changes the gameplay, as you are still in the game environment and thus not safe while using them (see: things can still kill you while you browse your inventory).
As for the horror, you will get as much out of this game as you can to put into it. Play it on a 32" tv with the lights on in stereo sound, and it's not so scary. Play with the lights off on a big display with 5.1 surround turned up, and it does a great job with ambient sounds to keep you on edge. Yes, you get used to things jumping out of vents, and thus you tend to be less surprised when something bursts out of one. But the level design, inventive game elements (zero gravity is good stuff), and amazing audio production make this a great title for fans of the genre. For me personally, this is the best survival horror title I have played since Resident Evil 4 (and that includes F.E.A.R).

Re:You get out what you put in (1)

triathlon4life (1052424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937971)

I agree completely. I have a 50" plasma with 5.1 surround in the basement and it has a nice jump factor. I didn't know quite what to expect when I bought it, but I have to say I am glad I did.

Re:You get out what you put in (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25940263)

I gotta tell you, the game doesn't have many good selling points...

First, the Interface: I know there are some who feel its special that the developers are trying to immerse you by not having a hud...but a Glowing Bar on your back and a gauge for the Gimick gun is just as bad, if not worse, for doing so. Keep it to the tab or inventory button, or don't put it in there at all.

Secondly, Did I mention the Gimick Gun? Not only do you have to use a gun that slows down objects for 90 percent of the puzzles, but also a gravity gun!

Third: Character Development! I can't go much into detail do to spoilers, but I Gotta say they try to make something relevent to you which isn't, because there hasn't been any character empathy developed!

Fourth: Its a huge ship. Why do we have to revisit 4 areas 20 times?

Fifth: CONTROLS AND MOVEMENT. I played the PC version, and the control scheme enforced by Dead Space's xbox upbringing left for a clunky, ackward experience. Even the cheatcodes for the PC version required an Xbox control :p

Finally, Monster traps were heavily influenced by ID's Doom 3. At somepoint monster B replaces monster A for random popping out. Yay.
===========

That being said, the visuals are nice, the combat is interesting - The best fight saved for last. Theres a lot of good background that is poorly used throughout the rest of the game

Problem with gaming (1)

DoktorSeven (628331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936487)

Too much work is done creating some story that surrounds the game and not enough on the game itself. I thought we learned our lesson in the 90s with FMV games putting more importance on that, but these days we just call the FMV "non-interactive cutscenes" and do pretty much the same crap as before.

I miss the days where you hit start and BAM, you're playing the game. Maybe a small story gets told at the beginning (preferably skippable without losing anything, just some framing story that says why you're there or something) but in general you play the goddamn game and not have to worry about the designer's delusion of grandeur that he's making some awesome interactive movie (Metal Gear Solid, I'm looking DIRECTLY AT YOU, though thank goodness the scenes are skippable!).

I seriously believe that gaming has reached a terrible low point in the last five years and that it will take a crash like the one that happened in the early 80s to make it all right again. Sadly it won't happen, because today's "gamers" have been fooled into believing that this is how gaming should be.

Elitism shows up in a game review (1, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936735)

Games don't tend to be genuinely scary. It's because there's no genuine danger.

Dead Space is an example of a game that completely succeeded in everything it was trying to do. The game mechanics were fun. Even in a year full of games with superb graphics and sound, those elements in Dead Space stood out. The story tied it all together well.

No one complains about what Dead Space was. You'll read complaints about what it wasn't. And sometimes you'll hear that someone just couldn't get into it.

Games are something you play for fun. If you're playing them to write self-aggrandizing articles about how you're above it all and ahead of all the rest of us, then Dead Space is a good choice because it's a great game. But it's not the best game at everything every game does well. And you can pat yourself on the back noticing that.

Personally, I might have enjoyed it more if it were a rescue story instead of an escape. But the story belongs to the authors, not to me.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937093)

So perhaps maybe you would like to implement a feedback device that administers a jolt of electricity based upon the amount of damage received by the player?
If it's for Xbox Live or PC gaming the game can keep track of damage/jolts then automatically contact 911 when a limit has been exceeded or if the player is no longer responsive at the controls.
If the player quits they're asked "Are you feeling alright?" and then prompts with "Quit? [y/n]" to prevent contacting 911.
Heck, implement another failsafe that if the player is below the threshold but close enough they're dissuaded from playing the game fro X number of days.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25963617)

thats funny. i remember some doom or quake-like game from the mid 90s that asked you why you were quitting. too intense? the options it gave you would were something along the lines of "it got too intense" or "let me frag one more [enemy name]".

ive played too many games over the years, i should remember that one... =\

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937221)

Agreed.

Gamasutra and other reviewers have been telling us for years that fun gameplay is the most important part of a game. Deadspace brings the fun and has a decent story.

So what are they bitching about?
It isn't the greatest game ever made? Is that the only criticism they have? Really?

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937369)

No danger to the player's life maybe but some games definitely manage to make you feel scared by putting your character into serious danger that you need to pay attention to avoid (or mess up and suffer some serious damage or even die instantly). I don't count games like FEAR or Doom 3 among them though, a gun is a pretty powerful way of eliminating dangers and their threats weren't that dangerous (at least not because you might not pay enough attention, I got annoyed in FEAR by enemies that go melee and have so many hitpoints it's near impossible to kill them before they reach you even if you spot them instantly and keep firing the whole time).

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (3, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938307)

My teenage son (17 years old at the time) was playing Call of Cthulhu on the XBox. His younger brother (13) and about a half dozen friends (aged 10-13) were in the room watching him.

If you're not familiar with the game, it's a first person game, but you pretty much go the first half of the game with no weapon. There's a sequence where your character is in a hotel room, and the whole inbred town decides to kill you.

You're defenseless. You run into rooms, open doors that lead to more villagers that you run away from. You lock doors behind you, they splinter after moments. You're helpless, you're just trying to escape, and it's not working

The screams from the children were delicious. They were in no more danger than from any scary movie; but scary movies can be scary indeed.

Re:Elitism shows up in a slashdot comment (2, Insightful)

davlastor (1420139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937807)

Games don't tend to be genuinely scary. It's because there's no genuine danger.

Dead Space is an example of a game that completely succeeded in everything it was trying to do. The game mechanics were fun. Even in a year full of games with superb graphics and sound, those elements in Dead Space stood out. The story tied it all together well.

No one complains about what Dead Space was. You'll read complaints about what it wasn't. And sometimes you'll hear that someone just couldn't get into it.

Games are something you play for fun. If you're playing them to write self-aggrandizing articles about how you're above it all and ahead of all the rest of us, then Dead Space is a good choice because it's a great game. But it's not the best game at everything every game does well. And you can pat yourself on the back noticing that.

Personally, I might have enjoyed it more if it were a rescue story instead of an escape. But the story belongs to the authors, not to me.

"Disparity between Plot and Gameplay" is an example of an article that completely succeeded in everything it was trying to do. The literary style was outstanding. Even in a year full of articles with superb wording and syntax, those elements in Disparity stood out. The statements of each paragraph tied it all together well.

No one complains about what the article was. You'll read complaints about what it wasn't. And sometimes you'll hear that someone just couldn't get into it.

Reviews are something you read for fresh insights and general reading pleasure. If you're reading it to write self-aggrandizing slashdot comments about how you're above it all and ahead of all the rest of us, then Gamasutra is a good choice because it's a great game review site. But it's not the best review site at everything every review site does well. And you can pat yourself on the back noticing that.

Personally, I might have enjoyed it more if it was in 13375P34k instead of English. But the story belongs to the author, not to me.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937923)

(*side note* I don't see anything trollish about parent's post.)

While the control setup in RE4 fixed a major issue in the franchise, it enabled the player to trivialize the threat he/she faced and the same thing happened in Dead Space, which used similar controls. I'm not saying that bad controls are the good thing, I'm saying that the fixed controls exposed a new problem. Good controls allow skilled players to leverage their inventory to the point that there's not enough challenge left.

In these games, someone with good aim and calm reactions can tear the enemies to shreds at a moment's notice without taking any damage and using a minimum of ammo. There's nothing to fear when you know that you can beat any enemy you face. They can slink around as much as they want, but it doesn't matter since in the end you're really just waiting for them to give you a chance to shoot them.

I don't remember a survival horror game with good controls that actually scared me. It's a new challenge for design in this genre, how do you keep the player relatively weak but allowing them to stay in control?

Left 4 Dead, which has a very different atmosphere, handled the problem in an innovative way. Hand off difficulty control to the game rather than hand-placing everything. They track how the player is doing and scale the encounters accordingly, so the challenge is custom-fit to the player skill levels. Though Left 4 Dead is an action game, I think this technique would work well in the survival horror genre.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

krenshala (178676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939643)

After having played a couple hours of L4D (i only got it two days ago) I'd have to class it as a survival-horror game that happens to be a first-person shooter. I agree with you that having the game decide what is a challenge based on the players progress so far definitely makes things challenging (when the zombies rush, OMG a LOT of zombies rush!).

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25943057)

I don't know about you but when I lose at a game because the controls suck I get angry, not scared. Bad controls are a design failure. Tension comes from the feeling that you have no margin for errors and must play with all your ability, not the feeling that you have to fight inadequate controls just to do something that seems like it should be a lot easier than it is. Knowing there is an enemy around and knowing that when he pops up and you don't spot him fast enough you lose creates a lot of tension and fear (little is scarier than the unknown, especially in a videogame). What games like RE4 tend to do wrong is make enemies more visible, give the player a lot of firepower and generally widen the margin for errors to the point where you can afford messing up and not noticing an enemy quickly because you can shrug a few hits off anyway rather than losing near instantly when you mess up. They turn you into the hunter instead of the hunted.

Hell, if the enemies are dangerous enough when you don't react fast enough they can just as well go down with one shot and still be damn scary. Having enemies that are hard to spot early and possibly even scattering some "noise" that looks like the early warning for an enemy creates a lot more tension than a huge walking pile of corpses that won't go down before you unload all your ammo into it. Long fights need larger error margins because noone can keep perfect play up for that long and long fights tend to turn into pattern memorization and application so you're fighting a predictable enemy. Predictable isn't scary though it can still be damn hard.

Dynamic difficulty levels aren't really something I like, high difficulties are meant to take lots of tries until the player has improved his play to the level where he can deal with the difficulty, dynamic difficulty would mean instead of requiring the player to get better you just scale the game up or down to the point where the player can just steadily progress without extra work.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (2, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25950295)

I agree that bad controls are nothing to be missed. I'm just saying that it's exposed a new problem to face.

As for dynamic difficulty, L4D scales encounters, but also has different difficulty scales for the game to apply. The game "director" will still merrily murder you if you're not up to snuff. Expert is still for experts, only 2% of the player population has completed one of the campaigns on expert.

One of the problems with static difficulty and static obstacles is that players tend to memorize what's ahead instead, so they win through memorization rather than being better at the game (this was noted in Valve's developer commentary mode, and part of the reason for the procedural enemy placement). For example, players preparing to shoot at a particular window because they know a monster will jump out from it.

I definitely agree that these newer survival horror games need more tension. The Silent Hill series did a great job of teasing you with with unknown danger using fog, darkness, and sound. I also note that the player in Silent hill was also relatively underpowered, usually just swinging a pipe against 1-3 enemies at a time. I don't know about the new one with improved combat controls, but I'm going to guess it suffers the same problem that RE4 and Deadspace has.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951837)

Dynamic difficulty and dynamic level layouts are different things to me, obviously any PvE multiplayer game will need dynamic level layouts (how much the level geometry gets randomized and how much it's just placing enemies and spawners differently depends on the game design and how much the developer will/can do).

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25938897)

Are you saying movies are not scary because there's no genuine danger?

Anyway, I certainly feel fear of dying with a lot of games, even when nothing happens (for example, Thief 3 and The Cradle). Of course, I'm an old school gamer and I never save, or only at the beginning of a level. Knowing that I will have to redo 2 or 3 hours of gaming if I die is punishment enough to feel fear.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

knails (915340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25949821)

Are you saying movies are not scary because there's no genuine danger?

I've never seen a scary movie which actually scared me, except for The Exorcist, and that was because I was like 8 or 10 or something.

Re:Elitism shows up in a game review (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951497)

Well, I'm not sure I would call this "elitism" any more than I would levy that charge against, say, a film critic. It's their job to analyze what's going on here--if you don't want them trying to tear it apart, don't read it.

As for me, I found the game entertaining, but have to agree that it felt like it was written by committee. It was like they got a few writers in a room and then just told them, "Write us a sci-fi horror story in a big ship."

DEAD SPACE SUCKED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936807)

The control system was a horrible joke. It's like they never played a pc game before and had no idea what people would want.

The gameplay was totally average.

The graphics looked pretty good.

Worth 'stealing'. But not worth saving to a disc.

Re:DEAD SPACE SUCKED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25940893)

Troll? Someone hit a nerve.

It's an fps designed for a console... a bit like a ferrari designed to be driven at 20 mph.

Even the fucking menu was unbelievably sluggish, and anyone with a joystick connected had to unplug it to get the game to work properly.

A bit of QA wouldn't have hurt.

It was a pretty good game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937283)

And of course the damn scientist didn't drop anything. Stupid NPC's.

Hmm... not so special? (1)

MrMage (1240674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937307)

"It has some really great set pieces, some sweet effects, solid gameplay, an amazing interface and that's all."

Oh really, that's all!? Well damn, I much rather play and talk about something with dull sets, cheap effects, cruddy gameplay, and a confusing interface. What do you consider a good game if you seem to think that these don't bundle into a decent play?

I know the article praises the game as well, but really, that quote is the epitome of someone wanting to criticize something just for the sake of criticizing something!

This heavily borrows from Event Horizon. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937527)

At last I know I'm not the only person to realise what a mediocre game Dead Space is. It really is survival horror by the numbers. In fact, it heavily rips off Event Horizon. I remember wandering back to the ship at the beginning of the game just knowing it was going to blow up. And it did. And then there was the stupid way you were conveniently separated from your fellow crewmen again and again.

Re:This heavily borrows from Event Horizon. (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937989)

In fact, it heavily rips off Event Horizon.

So what?

(I swear people just say stuff like this because they've impressed themselves that they noticed two similar things.)

And then there was the stupid way you were conveniently separated from your fellow crewmen again and again.

Again, so what? What's your point? You should never be separated from the others in the crew? All stories are bad unless everyone stays together?

What should they have done instead? Who did a better job of a similar thing? What did they do?

Re:This heavily borrows from Event Horizon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25938601)

Pretty much any narretive in this day and age has allready been done, so yeah, there are going to be similarities with other storys, fair point.

But i think what Channard is getting at is the fact that dead space doesn't so much borrow from event horizon, as blatantly steal. They could've called it the event horizon game and most wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

Meh (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938053)

I got quite a few new games when I built my new gaming rig. Dead Space, Fallout 3, Red Alert 3, Bioshock, C&C Kane's Wrath. A few of the games that just reached the limits of my old system look and play quite a bit better, Doom 3, Quake 4, Half-Life 2, C&C 3.

So when I got stuck early on in Dead Space and the little puzzle was too much for my FPS brain to handle (especially with all the new stuff), I just moved on to Fallout 3.

I've been getting Starcraft back up again and touching on Fallout and Quake in between. I'll probably get back to Dead Space and continue on. We'll see :)

[John]

I think TFA sort of misses the point (4, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938117)

My take on Dead Space is that it was made to be the most awesome homage-in-game-form to sci-fi horror ever. The two most obvious influences are the Alien series and Event Horizon, but it's also got a lot of Solaris (the original and remake), Sunshine, and virtually every other film in the genre.
The author of TFA basically admits up front that it succeeds at this. Is it possible that it could be even more awesome if it had a more original story? I guess, but then it wouldn't be the same kind of game.
It seems to me as if someone went to see Michael Bay's Transformers or Armageddon, and then complained that the giant robots should have had deeper and more believable motivation or that they saw Bruce Willis' tearful goodbye a mile away.
I like originality and interesting stories as much as (nearly) anyone, but I also think that it's OK for a game or movie to be fun without a lot of either of those things, as long as the execution is top-notch. It's one of the reasons I love The Criterion Collection - the same company releases films as disparate as Solaris (the original) and Armageddon, and they treat both equally in terms of additional content.

Re:I think TFA sort of misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25946667)

I played "Dead Space", I thought it was a good game but nothing spectacular. After you Finish the levels, you play it again with the upgraded equipment. But the same levels.
I found this game no different than "Halo"
Sorry to disappoint but I think this was the same as Halo.
Just shooting Zombies and creepy crawlies.

Thanks
Lon

Re:I think TFA sort of misses the point (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25951643)

I'm not sure I buy that as an excuse. The way you're using "homage" sounds a lot like "knockoff" in my vocabulary. For me, when it comes to entertainment media, a decent "homage" is going to present the familiar to you in a way you haven't experienced yet. Like, you might describe many Akira Kurosawa's movies as being "homages" to Shakespeare and American westerns. And I think the whole point of the article is that, by that standard, this game doesn't quite make the cut, and ends up feeling more like by-the-numbers mimicry than a creative homage.

This kind of reminds me of something (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938413)

It has some really great set pieces, some sweet effects, solid gameplay, an amazing interface and that's all ...and my lamp.. just my lamp.

Are you kidding me? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25938869)

I had to take breaks from the game, often at fifteen minute intervals, because I was just less comfortable than I wanted to be for a game.

Next time, try HARD level.

Decent, but some letdown (1)

aidian (15489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939487)

I did enjoy Dead Space a fair amount. I felt like they actually pulled off the camera perspective better than just about any other game that's tried it, the combat was pretty fun and the weapons were fairly unique and handled in interesting ways. The basic plasma cutter's vertical/horizontal switch was really neat.

It was also really quite a gorgeous environment, and came with an interesting backstory - that unfortunately really had no bearing on the actual fetch-and-shoot gameplay. The interface was also genius, and lots of interesting things to look at and listen to. The suit "powers" were fairly neat, though could've used maybe a little more "explaining", because some folks didn't seem to understand that the industrial suits were equippable with these as a matter of course, turning every worker into a sort of walking forklift with the levitator and able to do maintenance on fast-moving equipment without a total shutdown with the slow-beam. A little unusual, but plausible enough for me to think about as an interesting technological side-path.

What got me, though, was the extreme bowing to horror convention - after about 20 minutes of playing I could point to every single place a "scare" was going to happen. "Gee, I wonder if I turn around right here, if something's going to jump out at *BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMSPLAT* me. Oh, would you look at that." It got old real quick if you've ever seen a horror movie in your life. Like clockwork, every vent that would "feel right" for a trap? Bad guy pops out. Every enclosed space? Gee, "alien life form warning lockdown" coming. Repetitive, predictable, over and over. The alien variety wasn't bad, but I'd also expected even more than I did. It only came down to a few types most of the time. Though admittedly gruesome and pretty well-designed types. But for a game that touted aliens are being sort of random mutations of dead flesh, they were less random than I would've hoped.

And while there were new and pretty environments to go to, the rest of the gameplay pretty much just consisted of "Oh my god we're all going to die if you don't go find the thing and bring it here! OH NO! NOW THE OTHER THING IS MISSING! Oh my god we're all going to die if you don't go find the thing and bring it here! OH NO! NOW THE OTHER OTHER THING IS MISSING!" ... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

*****Spoiler alert for the coming paragraph*****
And the bit with the "oh sigh everything's ok now, time to let the guard down OH MY GOD MONSTER CHICK IN THE COCKPIT LURCHING AT THE SCREEN CUT TO BLACK" - how generic can we get? I mean, seriously. Try a *little* harder for us, OK? We've only seen this style of ending in about every other horror flick or game ever made since the beginning of horror flicks. The plot as a whole, in fact, is so weak that it can be summed up extremely briefly: Stop the stupid space religion turned death cult that wants to impose its vision of rapture on everyone. It feels like they took a half-hour concept and stretched it out to about 8 hours, which is about 4 hours after I started getting the feeling of "been there, done that". Don't even get me started on the upgrade item collection and money system, generic spawn of a thousand survival horror titles. I did like the node system, though, in that it reminded me of the final fantasy X sphere grid system dumbed down. I may have been one of about 8 people who enjoyed the sphere grid, though.
*****End spoiler*****

In all, it was a decent title but afterwards I left it with a bit of a dusty feeling in my mouth, like it was a great concept but.. unfinished. And with the ending above I mentioned, I'm still unsure if I'm looking forward to a sequel, unless they use it as a springboard into something really more innovative story-wise. It kind of made me mad that they thought they could even get away with that.

...now the comic rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25939617)

Am I the only one who thinks the comic is MUCH cooler than the actual game. I could watch the comics all day, could care less about the game.

i felt the same (1)

Skatox (1109939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25939771)

i felt the same as this article, the game is great but no too great even if you see that developers tried to do its best.

Re:Rare to have both... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25939829)

Interestingly enough the lead developer behind System Shock went on to make the Thief and Deus Ex series. They all used a similar approach to interface and had open-ended levels and enemies that reacted to you and the environment so that the player could complete the puzzles in any number of ways.

Each one is a bang-up job.

Gamastuptra... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25940031)

The game might have a boring main character, the completely silent and faceless protagonist Issac, but they is no reason to pigeonhole the entire game's storyline as boring.

The history of Unitology within the game is truly fascinating, a worthy back-story for any science-fiction universe. Combine that with the unique interstellar industry of 'planet cracking' where entire planets are explosively separated into giant floating rocks and you have an exciting premise for a futuristic dystopia.

I've recently been thinking that too many games operate in the shadow of Aliens, especially in the atmosphere created by that movie's characters.

The author doesn't offer one other title and fails to offer any specifics. What games is he talking about that borrow from the Aliens franchise? Super Mario Galaxy? Metal Gear Solid 4? Virtua Fighter 5? Madden 09?

I know Starcraft and Brood War had immeasurable references to Alien and Aliens but those games came out in like 1768...

Perhaps I'm not as perceptive as the author in spotting Alien ripoffs, or perhaps he's full of himself and offers no proof like a professional caliber columnist for a legitimate news source would.

Let's take our hero and avatar, Isaac Clark. Mr. Clark (whose face you can only glimpse for a moment or two from start to finish) is a voiceless middle-aged white man it would appear, who specializes in heavy breathing and killing things. You are ostensibly interested in the plight of the Ishimura because your ex is on it, but we never really care about this "relationship."

Well the author fails to miss a major component of the plot and game. That during the last sequences of the game, your ex, Nicole, gives you advice and contacts you, aiding you in returning the marker, aiding you in escaping the Ishimura and getting the hell out of there.

And *SPOILERS AHEAD* the first letters of each mission of the game are an acronym spelling out Nicole is Dead.

Meaning the marker was slowly driving you insane the entire game.

The problem is that Isaac has been saddled with modern video games' most ludicrous trope: the "everyman" silent protagonist.

I guess the author forgot to play Grand Theft Auto III, Half Life, or Fallout 3, or Oblivion, or ....etc.

There are many games where the protagonist is silent, faceless, and has little to no insight in the protagonist's personal window.

Not every game needs to have 300 million cut scenes of back story like the Metal Gear Solid series or insane amounts of back-story and narration to introduce the player to the newest massive Final Fantasy world that they'll be plunging into for the next 70 hours.

When are people going to stop beating this dead horse? It wasn't a good idea in the first place, and it has become less of a good idea as games have evolved. I don't see how you can relate to a character that does not exist. I guess it lets you make stuff up about him or her; it lets us call him a "blank slate" or some other foolishness.

This is so ridiculous. So because I know that Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid) is a chain smoking Japanese/American spy modeled off of Snake Pliskin and created in a lab who has a mysterious nanotechnology aging disease I'm supposed to be able to easily identify with him?

I related to my Fallout 3 character far more than I did with Old Snake as the Fallout 3 character I get to name, design, and choose his actions across most of the course of the game. Solid Snake has only one single way to play through the game......beat the bad guy, save the world, get the girl. Oh no that's not cliche, that's not beating a dead horse........

It's consistently entertaining, something I can't say for some survival horror and action horror games that outstay their welcome (see BioShock and RE4). I'm sure I can forgive it its faults for another run through its scary spaceship.

Is he saying that Dead Space is a better game than Resident Evil 4? Does he know that Dead Space is basically a Resident Evil 4 rip off? In fact, Dead Space borrows just as much from RE4 as it does from Aliens, Event Horizon, and The Thing.

Here's an article where IGN 'reviews' (translation: promotes) EA's down-loadable content for Dead Space....content that includes new skins for the suits and guns that cost the users anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00......for skins....?

Where is the author from Gamasutra to hammer and criticize EA for ripping off the fans? Where is the gaming industry to destroy and tear apart EA for ripping off consumers?

How is it that the Epic for Unreal Tournament releases free expansions and bonus packs and those go without praise often but EA charges users for the most minimal of DLC and the industry practically flies to EA's headquarters and blows the developers.

F*** Gamasutra, F*** EA, and especially F*** IGN.

You will never see vents the same way now ! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25941519)

True been told the story isnt there but am i the only one who die on purpose 2 or 3 time for each kind of monster to see every different way of being slaughtered ? the funnyest imo is the monster that grab your legs and slowly pull you toward a hole... well i kinda liked getting shred apart member by member by the freaking regenerating freak. Well the game is more gore than frightening thats true, i pissed my gf because she saw me slaming the ground with my feet to dismember every cadaver i was finding "just in case" some mosquitoes come and transform it into a huge shitbag ... spent like 45minutes in the whole game doing that ... maybe im just necrophiliac eh ? Anyway the end was just a merge of halo and first horror movie on the shelf :x

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...