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With reports emerging that Dead Space 4 is on the way, it’s only natural to start wondering what a potential Dead Space 4 could look like.
While it seems likely that EA will reveal a new Dead Space title at its EA Play Live digital event on July 22, what’s less certain is whether we’ll be getting a completely new adventure or a remake of the first game (or maybe even both).
With that in mind we’ve put together this list of things we’d like to see – and, just as importantly, what we wouldn’t like to see – in the next Dead Space game.
Dead Space 4 needs to be single-player
The third and (at the time of writing) final main game in the series, Dead Space 3, introduced optional drop-in, drop-out co-op, with protagonist Isaac Clarke joined by a military sergeant called John Carver.
While many co-op players reported enjoying playing the game like this, we couldn’t help feeling that solo players were missing out as a result.
The game included a few co-op only missions that only triggered when Carver was around, meaning those who played in single-player weren’t getting the full experience.
Apologies to co-op fans but we hope the next Dead Space is built with single-player in mind, rather than seemingly built primarily around co-op with solo play moulded around it.
Dead Space is best when the player feels completely isolated, so having someone along for the ride ruins the mood a bit.
Dead Space 4 needs to return to horror
Speaking of isolation, the third game was also met with criticism for its focus on action rather than horror.
This was in stark contrast to the first Dead Space and its sequel, which were masterclasses in building tension by leaving Isaac alone, stranded in environments swarming with necromorphs.
Although Isaac was armed with his fair share of weaponry (including the plasma cutter, one of the most satisfying weapons in gaming history), you never felt truly safe in the first two Dead Space games because there was always the fear of danger around every corner.
Compare that to Dead Space 3, where Issac and Carver were up to their nuts in necromorph guts, and it was clear that the tone had shifted significantly.
If Dead Space 1 and 2 could be compared to Resident Evil 4 in space, Dead Space 3 was more like Gears of War. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s just not what made the series so popular in the first place.
Dead Space 4 needs to mess with its story
The first two Dead Space games had brilliant plots that kept players curious as they tried to figure out what exactly was going on.
It stands to reason, then, that if there’s a Dead Space remake on the way, most players would hope that it doesn’t mess around too much with the story.
However, we’re actually keen to see the canon being tampered with a bit. By all means keep the general story beats if need be, but we’d like to see a few surprises in there.
It would be a great way to keep even Dead Space veterans on their toes if they don’t know what’s coming next, and it’s not like the remake would suddenly mean the originals no longer existed.
Dead Space 4 needs to keep the hand cannon
Dead Space is clearly an extremely serious, moody game, which is why the rare moments when it decides to get a bit silly are even more special.
Beat Dead Space 2 and you’ll be able to play a New Game+ mode where all your weapons, upgrades and ammo remain from your previous adventure. But of course, plenty of games do that.
What plenty of games don’t offer, though, is the Hand Cannon. Beat the game on Hardcore difficulty and when you start a New Game+ you’ll have access to this unique weapon.
It’s basically a big foam hand pointing its finger in a gun shape, and has two firing styles: “bang bang” and “pew pew pew”.
That’s not a joke, either: fire the gun and Isaac will make those actual noises as his enemies take huge damage from its invisible bullets.
Dead Space 4 needs to ditch the human enemies
We promise this is the last time we’ll paint a target on Dead Space 3, but its use of human enemies was a large contributing factor to the game’s lack of atmosphere.
Throughout the game, Isaac and Carver find themselves up against a bunch of Unitologist footsoldiers working for the extremist group The Circle.
Players spend chunks of the game gunning down men with rifles, men with grenades, men with shotguns, men with bazookas and more men with grenades who run directly at you this time, suicide bomber style.
Given that we’ve already touched on our view that Dead Space’s atmosphere revolved around the fact that Isaac was isolated on a ship almost entirely inhabited by necromorphs, putting him up against a load of humans instead was disappointing.
We urge the team responsible for the next game to make sure its enemy types stay strictly to the mutated and reanimated variety.
Dead Space 4 needs ray tracing
We’d imagine this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but it does depend on the formats the game is planned for.
Since the series is obviously known for its extremely atmospheric environments, we’d love to see how accurate lighting, shadows and reflections could affect the way certain rooms look, especially ones with minimal lighting.
We’d also love to see how it affects the game’s UI. Dead Space still has one of the cleverest user interfaces to date, with his energy indicated by a glowing light on his backpack and things like ammo, menus and the map projected directly in front of him.
Already we’re picturing a possible scenario where players are in a corridor that’s so dark they need to keep bringing up their map just so its glow will provide a dim light.
A Dead Space: Extraction port
We thought we’d finish with one that’s a bit left field and almost definitely not going to happen, but it’s worth a shot anyway.
As great as the main Dead Space trilogy is (well, the first two), there’s not enough love in the world for its on-rails shooter spin-off, Dead Space: Extraction.
Originally released on the Wii then given the HD treatment on PS3, Extraction is a brilliant lightgun shooter and one that received critical acclaim among the few publications that covered it.
We’d love to see it getting a proper upscale and being released either as a separate $20 digital-only title or even a bonus accompanying the next proper Dead Space game.
While it played best with motion controls (i.e. Wii Remotes and PlayStation Move), the PS3 version did also allow standard controller support so it could be done. No, it SHOULD be done.