Games: Dead Space remaster a note-perfect 4K remake of classic sci-fi horror favourite

Neil McGreevy

Neil McGreevy

Neil, a contributor to The Irish News, is a gaming guru.

Dead Space
Dead Space

Dead Space (Multi)

By: EA

WHEN EA's code-jugglers tinkered with their turn-of-the-century Tiger Woods games, they realised the same engine that let players whack dimpled balls down St Andrew's could be used to carve up alien mutants on a spaceship.

15 years on – and powered by the eye-popping Frostbite engine – Dead Space returns players to the good ship Ishimura in a glitzy remake of the deep space frightener. Time to suit up once more and take the Necromorphs down, limb by limb.

Cobbled together from a patchwork of sci-fi rip-offs, engineer Isaac Clarke battles his mind and an alien infestation onboard a stricken mining craft in a gory outer-space yarn. No tooled-up super solider, Clarke is a grease monkey armed with various industrial tools and tasked with fixing the ship in order to escape, all the while unravelling a power struggle between governments, corporations and Scientology-esque cults.

Barring the polish, this is the Dead Space fans remember – a note-perfect remake that retains the schlocky body horror's atmosphere, now rendered in flawless 4K and lavished with buttery frame rates.

With nary an ounce of fat on its bones, each of Dead Space's 12 chapters offers up a tight hour of Alien-inspired horror hokum – all 'monster closets' and pant-soiling set-pieces.

Stuffed to the bulkheads with gibbering adversaries, its gonzo butchery is peppered with puzzle-solving thanks to sci-fi powers which enable Clarke to shift huge objects and slow time. Seasoning the original with added gameplay sauce, the Ishimura is now dotted with new rooms and side missions which deepen the fate of minor characters.

Often, such areas will require specific security access, meaning much to-ing and fro-ing using the Ishimura's tram system, which pootles along its tracks from one horrific location to the next like the Portadown to Belfast line.

While 2008 original is no visual slouch, EA's Frostbite engine ensures their remake is on another level. Buffed to a high shine, never has dimly-lit dank looked so good. Jason Graves' score is as nerve-shredding as ever, though the game's most controversial change sees Clarke finding his voice with a full performance from Gunner Wright – a modern requirement, perhaps, even if it dilutes the allure of the original's mute hero.

With a remake of Dead Space's inspiration – the iconic Resident Evil 4 – around the corner, it's hard to imagine how even Capcom's iconic zombie-buster can trump this well-oiled scare machine. In space no one can hear you scream: playing this, however, the neighbours probably will.

Dead Space
Dead Space