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Dead Space: Dead In the Water?

Welder, Welder, in your hat. Welder, Welder, filling a picture caption. Picture Caption! Picture Capture! I'm having a nervous breakdown.

Okay, that’s just going for the fancy pun-based headline as is RPS’ wont – it’s not dead, dead. But I’ve been thinking about EA’s recently released Dead Space’s chances, and this post was prompted by Yahtzee’s Zero Punctuation annihilation of it – which I’ll embed beneath the cut. He takes it apart – which is his wont, obviously – but it’s a game that seems to be slipping past everyone’s attention. Which seems somewhat odd. I mean, big-budget, hyper-slick action/horror game. It’s not exactly Dwarf Fortress.

I’m saying “wont” a lot in this post.

Anyway, here’s Yahtzee having a little ramble.

In passing, there’s a name for people who move from England to Australia: Criminals. We’ve got our eyes on you, Croshaw.

Where was I? Dead Space. Well, it’s too early to really talk about sales, but looking at the English weekly charts doesn’t show a game that’s dominating in the way which you expect a EA-backed game to do. It’s managed to hit Top 10 in all single formats, but now by its second week is already out of the all-format charts. Reviews have been favourable across all formats – currently 86% on the PC over at Metacritics – and that’s very close to its user-ratings. In other words, it’s out, people like it and… well, is that enough?

I admit, I haven’t played it yet. Jim has, and dug it. Why haven’t I played it? Well, it’s the reason why I suspect that it hasn’t done the business you presume EA thought it would do. It’s a ludicrously busy time of year. When I’m struggling to fit in Far Cry 2, Fall Out 3 and Left 4 Dead, do I really have time for a space-horror game that’s getting really good but not great reviews? Well, I wish I did, but I don’t.

And I think that’s what’s the problem – Dead Space seems to be hypercompetent and slick. But what it doesn’t seem to be is innovative. And at this time of year, selling a new creation without some obvious big hook to attract people’s attention… well, that’s hard. You suspect it may have done better in February, which is a traditional time to debut new IPs you don’t want lost in the Christmas melee.

Which leads me to the real point of the post. I’d had a few people mail us and ask us if we could do something about Dead Space, because they really liked it and thought it worth hyping up. I wanted to provide a place both for people who’ve played the game to have a little chat and for those who didn’t take the dive to say why.

I mean, is it the fact it uses the EA standard DRM? The lack of a PC Demo? Or just too busy?

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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