Review

Dead Space 3

Love And Rockets

Dead Space 3 celebrates humanity’s indomitable pettiness.

By Drew Toal • February 11, 2013

Being the new boyfriend is tough. No matter how badly things ended with the current flame’s ex, there’s always an unspoken comparison. Maybe he’s a heroic fireman, or a talented, haunted musician, or even just a really good cook. As time goes on and nostalgia blots out much of the bad, you’re left with a ghost of the good, and that can be difficult to compete against.

People are competitive, especially when it comes to love. And even if the world is ending, as it quite literally is in the outer-space survival horror game Dead Space 3, you can depend on two otherwise sane dudes who are after the same girl to drop everything to beat the piss out of each other to prove their affection. It reminds me, in a way, of Titanic, where (if I’m remembering it correctly) Billy Zane was running around, wildly firing his gentleman’s pistol at guttersnipe Leonardo DiCaprio in a fit of jealous pique, even as they were plunging to icy doom while being attacked by space zombies.

Dead Space 3

Or did I dream that last part? In Dead Space 3, your character Isaac Clarke—apparently lying low after the traumatic events of the first two Dead Spaces—is pulled back into the fire when a couple of no-nonsense military bros show up and drop the name of his ex-lady friend. She’s an improbably attractive scientist trying to stop an intergalactic plague that turns inert, harmless cadavers into mobile, extremely hostile alien cadavers. Clarke isn’t really interested in helping out—he’s skittish and might as well be wearing a tinfoil hat and penning an incoherent conspiracy blog—but he finds motivation in the thought of rescuing his old girlfriend.

His plan hits a snag when he learns that Improbably Attractive Scientist is spoken for, and this rival—one of the soldiers who grabbed Clarke from his one-man Illuminut hut—isn’t one of those cool, secure new boyfriends who understands that acting threatened is a huge turnoff. Instead, this clingy, petulant redhead is eager to send Clarke on dangerous missions to clean out zombie-infested ships and underground warrens. It’s a dick move, and the resulting action sequences will disappoint anyone who was hoping that Dead Space 3 would be an angsty, intergalactic dating simulator.

Dead Space 3

You can go it alone or play in cooperative mode, during which the other person plays as a forgotten fourth vertex of this love triangle. (I picture this guy staring wistfully at Jealous Soldier and silently pulling for Isaac.) Doubling up, while it makes sense as a practical matter, eliminates some of the tension that comes with exploring dark crypts by your lonesome, which is at its core what a true survival-horror experience requires. The game is at its best when Clarke, flying solo, uses his gun-mounted flashlight to peer into unlit corners, uncovering cryptic messages and ghosts from the past. The flesh-eating monsters ultimately have a limited capacity for terror. Some of the most disconcerting moments happen not in battle but when you play recordings of those who, like Clarke, tried (and failed) to stop the plague.

The only thing you can really depend on in Dead Space 3 is a scavenger bot acquired early in the game. You send this little Roomba clone off in any direction, and it’ll return with raw materials for artisanal gun-making, which turns out to be the game’s main avenue of violent self-expression. (There are apparently downloadable add-ons that give these robots a voice and personality. While I think the idea is hilarious, I’m hesitant to pay five bucks for the pleasure. I’ll just continue to imagine it sounding like Dr. Nick Riviera.)

Dead Space 3

The possible combinations are extensive—upper weapons, lower weapons, energy weapons, melee weapons, weapon upgrades, and plain old bullet weapons. I’d be lost without the provided blueprints, which suggest helpful combinations, provided you’ve acquired the necessary parts. Still, despite all the options, I mostly stuck with the assault rifle/shotgun combo. I found it both reassuringly pedestrian and unpretentiously effective in its capacity for dismembering space zombies. That’s dismembering, not decapitating—the main difference between earth zombies and space zombies, it turns out, is that where earth zombies are generally put down by inflicting catastrophic brain damage, space zombies only stop coming after shooting off their legs, arms, and tentacles. (The original Dead Space became known for suggesting, every 15 seconds or so, that you “CUT OFF THEIR LIMBS.”)

As enemies got stronger, though, I eventually waded into the blueprints and found my spirit weapon; I upgraded to “Mjolnir,” a fearsome energy cannon and “hydraulic hammer” combo, named after the legendary hammer of Thor. As I used it to great effect and the bodies piled up, I could feel Jealous Boyfriend shrinking into a ball of impotent rage as Clarke wielded the killing power of the gods.

Dead Space 3

But there is no sexy respite for Clarke and Co. Every direction they turn—they’re investigating a failed expedition 200 years prior to stop this galactic virus or indigestion or whatever it is—ends up putting them in the most inhospitable environment imaginable. These forgotten spacecraft and ice-planet hidey holes are places that humans should never go, at least if they value not being dead. As you retrace the steps of two centuries previous—a military operation gone tragically awry—and slowly uncover the horrifying details, the mystery plays out like if Agatha Christie had written Event Horizon.

Dead Space 3 does have quite of bit of dead space. Some of the spacewalking missions are downright tedious, and constantly stomping on crates and corpses for gun ingredients quickly loses its squishy charm. That being said, start to finish the game looks incredible—the austere environments in orbit, in the ships, and on the planet’s surface reinforce the vulnerability of being hopelessly stranded—and it doesn’t suffer from the same self-seriousness that makes, say, Call Of Duty or Halo campaigns such a chore. The power of a petty love triangle in the face of species-wide extinction is indeed a love story for our time.

Dead Space 3
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Price: $60
Rating: M

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  • Effigy_Power

    And yet another year goes by without a game that turns the table on the love-triangle. Unless I don’t know the game that has two female action badasses stomping xenomorphs (we all know that’s what these are) for male or female attention.
    -checks screenshots-
    Right, dudes get armor, lady get’s incredulously deep space cleavage.
    Fuck you, Visceral. So tired. So lame. So old.
    If you need to know how to make a female character sexy without whoring her up, check in your own EA-owned backyard and take a lesson from FemShep and FemHawke. Then try again.

    PS: I realize that my posts have become increasingly bitter about this. I apologize for that, I certainly don’t want to be that person. But when a game doesn’t think that intellect and determination are good enough without big tits, it just get’s so old.

    • Kilzor

      I’m pretty sure that’s where these studios must think female intellect and determination are stored.  

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Just imagine an autumn squirrel, cheeks stuffed with food for the impending cold, but with nipples!

      • Effigy_Power

        I sure hope mine are filled with the determination to remain perky. Boobs don’t need intellect. They are quite literally boobs.

    • HobbesMkii

       mmmm…space cleavage…so much better than regular ol’ terrestrial cleavage.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        This is true. In microgravity, boobs float!

        • HobbesMkii

           Not according to the screenshots. They must have created an artificial 1G environment (and stolen her bras).

        • Effigy_Power

          @HobbesMkii:disqus: Btw, for all the graphical candy this game apparently has, the characters looks like they are perpetually trying to hold in a shart.

        • HobbesMkii

          @Effigy_Power:disqus That’s just how space marines express joy. They’re all like Bill Belichick in terms of expressive emotional range.

        • Cornell_University

          Though unlike Bill, hopefully they’re not all intent on trying to bang your grandma.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          ::Is suddenly thankful Team Ninja’s treatment of Samus wasn’t as completely horrific as it easily could have been::

        • PaganPoet

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus I think they attempted to humanize Samus and show her as vulnerable, which isn’t so bad in and of itself. But they completely misunderstood the character and what made her so appealing. The scene where Samus freezes in fear when she sees Ridley for the first time was inexcusable.

        • ComradePig

           @HobbesMkii:disqus

          I sincerely laughed aloud upon opening that screenshot, that boob situation is downright comical.

      • His_Space_Holiness

        I can attest to this.

        • Effigy_Power

          Pics or it didn’t happen.

    • Citric

      I’ve got this theory, let’s call it Citric’s Cleavage Confidence Conundrum: When a developer is confident that a game is good, the central ladies tend to wear appropriate clothing for what they’re doing: Portal, Mass Effect, Persona 4 for three examples. The less confident a developer is, the less work appropriate the garment gets, like how for some reason female warriors will be running around like they’re J-Lo at the Oscars. To me, it seems that as soon as a developer starts thinking they might have sales problems, or they start worrying about the product quality, the neckline gets progressively more plunging, the pants get shorter and tighter, and the outfits stop making sense for their particular job in-game. It feels like an attempt to salvage a product through the judicious application of cleavage, in other words. As a side note, I’ve generally found that games where the female characters have appropriate attire tend to be better overall.
      This theory inspired by Two Worlds II.

      • Jackbert322

        Counterpoint. Battle panties in Persona 3. Not exactly proper demon battling attire.

        And lest it be classified as only a Japanese trend, what about the Asari such as Benezia, Samara, etc?

        Sorry to be contrary, but it is sobering to think of how easily examples such as these can be found in games we like to think of as empowering.

        • Citric

          True, but I used the word confidence instead of quality for a pretty specific reason. You’ll sometimes also see it when a developer takes risks as well – like how FFXII had a new direction, many internal struggles and a village of bunny-girl strippers. In general though, there’s a tinge of desperation or crisis to just shoving boobs in your face for no reason.

          Also, Benezia’s bizarre and unflattering boob window seemed to be more an indication of her fractured mind rather than a deliberate attempt to draw horny eyes. (And I can’t speak to later Mass Effects)

        • Jackbert322

          That’s fair. I was meaning to give an account on this part: “When a developer is confident a game is good, the central ladies tend to wear appropriate clothing for what they’re doing: Portal, Mass Effect, Persona 4.” I can’t say that I agree that these games – at least the latter two – are exactly beacons of appropriateness.

          Yeah, the Asari are pretty strange. They always come off to me as straddling the line between a developed and interesting culture and fan service. So I don’t know about Benezia; maybe Bioware was hedging its bets between those two areas. Psychological for some, sexy for others. As for later Mass Effects, there are a couple female humans who aren’t exactly dressed well for the task.

        • PaganPoet

          Miranda’s ass is a little out of control in ME2. Then again, I can’t really complain about it, because so is Jacob’s.

        • valondar

           @Jackbert322:disqus  And how about that Portal 2?

          I mean did Gordon Freeman ever strip down to his vest?

        • Citric

          @Jackbert322:disqus  I think that sometimes you’ll see things in a series that you might not see in one entry of it. I mostly went with Persona 4 just because it’s a game where sexuality is a big part of the narrative but it doesn’t ho-up its characters unnecessarily – it’s mostly thematically appropriate when characters get sexy, and otherwise they dress as normal high school students (also, the whole steam room segment showed them to be at least a bit equal opportunity). I wanted to throw something in that showed I wasn’t saying sexy was always a sign of a lack of confidence.

          As for Mass Effect, from what I understand clothing gets more scarce in later entries, but I kept it to the first because it’s the only one I played. In the first game the Ansari are generally not that bad outside of Benezia, who is also made to be older and not that sexy (in spite of the revealing dress).

          It also doesn’t really matter for the theory, that T&A is inversely proportional to the amount of confidence a developer has in their sales potential.

        • PaganPoet

          @Critic:disqus Have you played Persona 4 Golden? I absolutely adore the game, but sadly there’s a new, completely gratuitous hot springs animated scene. I mean, I love the animated segments, so I won’t complain too much about it, but I did roll my eyes at how obvious it was that it was intended to show as much skin as possible with a T rating.

        • Citric

          @PaganPoet:disqus  Nope, but I can totally fit that in with my theory! It is an ‘enhanced port’ of a game a lot of people already own on a console a lot of people don’t own. Someone probably thought “why are people going to buy this game again?” Someone else answered “we could do something sexy!” and there you go.

        • Jackbert322

          Valondar, I can’t criticize Valve at all for how they characterize, well, characters. They’ve got an unseen female protagonist (think of how many unseen female protagonists there are), awesome gun-toting scientists, and even women of color, who are so terribly underrepresented.

          Citric, I haven’t played Persona 4. I’m sure it handles its themes well; but like I said, I was thinking of the battle panties and maid outfits from Persona 3 in terms of functionality.

          Here’s what I don’t understand about your theory. You say that “T&A is inversely proportional to the amount of confidence a developer has in their sales potential.” But isn’t T&A often a component of sales potential? Going back to Mass Effect, yes, clothing definitely does get more sparse in later entries. Of course, it’s a critically-acclaimed series, so we’d assume that the amount of confidence Bioware had in its sale potential grew throughout. So why does it get more T&A as the series goes on? Pardon if I’m being too fixated on your examples. It is probably because I’ve actually played your examples; typically a rare occurance, therefore barring me from participations in discussions like this.

          I definitely agree with your side note though. games like Portal and Persona are exponentially better than any game featuring women with cleavage deep enough to get fired at any office.

        • Citric

          I can’t quite speak to the mindset of ME’s developers (I admit to being handicapped by only playing the first one), but in that case I’m going to guess that they’re mostly worried about improving sales over each installment. The first game did well, but how do you increase sales in each installment? Going by complaints about the series, the gameplay itself got streamlined as well to appeal to a wider demographic.

          I also haven’t played P3, but it was a pretty big departure from P2 – which also had a pretty sensible wardrobe, actually – so they might have been feeling uncomfortable there.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          I remember way back when I first saw the art from FFXII, which just showed the character design of the protagonist, and I thought they were going for some equal-opportunity exploitation (especially considering the its ties to Vagrant Story, a game where everyone wore weird bondage gear and your male protagonist ran around with his butt-cheeks hangin’ out).

          Then I saw the bunnygirls. And the princess in the pink vinyl mini-skirt. And Penelo’s weird hotpants/chaps peekaboo-inner-thighs getup.

        • Effigy_Power

          To quote Arrested Development:

          Maeby: “Why are we even going after this idiot demographic?”

        • valondar

           @Jackbert322:disqus Well I know people have also gone after Half-Life for the character of Alyx, but having never played Half-Life 2 I really have no opinion there one way or the other.

          Valve is clearly not as bad as a lot of the competition, but that’s one hell of a low standard to judge anyone against.

        • Effigy_Power

          @google-ad11b5fc6e812fcfddafc59b953591fe:disqus: I think that’s a very good point actually. We are so bombarded with gratuitous and pointless hyper-sexuality that when we come across a case that isn’t terribly flawed, we almost can’t help but extoll its virtues.
          I certainly have fallen prey to that.

        • Halloween_Jack

          At least with Mass Effect, Miranda’s pulchritude is handwaved away as being pretty deliberate, in that her sex appeal is part of her genetic engineering. (That her dad is responsible for that fits in pretty well with what we know about him, and his obsession with his daughters.) Samara’s battle cleavage is less explicable, as is EDI’s, uh, chassis, but there’s at least a stab at sexy equity with Jacob and James Vega (if you go for the whole human krogan look). 

      • valondar

        This theory makes me think of Mount and Blade. Sure it was a low budget game from an independent Turkish company so it didn’t exactly have the high profile of the first three games you mentioned… although for my money it’s one of the most addictive and generally awesome game franchises around and with an incredible modding community. Anyway point is given the game’s quasi-RPG structure you can play as a woman and if so they’ll usually look like this:
        http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/3971/loosesh0gh3.jpg

      • Fluka

        Have I mentioned that I’m fucking worried about BioShock Infinite?  Cuz I’m fucking worried about BioShock Infinite.  For the same exact reasons that you and Eff mention above.  Sure sure, you want to make a thoughtful shooter which looks at American exceptionalism – that sounds really cool!  What are you main characters?  Wait, why is there a massively bosomed underwear-clad teenage anime character in this video?  Uh, am I playing her, at least?  No, I’m playing this stubbly-chinned serious brown haired man?  ಠ_ಠ

        Who knows, maybe they’re doing something really interesting with this really fucking played out character design.  Subverting the paradigm somehow (it being BioShock and all).  But for now?  Really fucking tired of this shit.  And makes me a looot less interested in the game.

        • PaganPoet

          But…steampunk!

          Seriously, though, for now I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since it’s BioShock, but…(in an Alan Rickman voice) do NOT disappoint me!

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          I haven’t seen the video you mention.  Is the woman Elizabeth, the main female protagonist always shown?
             I still have hope that Levine will pull it all together.  Irrational makes too many thoughtful and interesting design choices just to utterly drop the ball on this one thing.  I hope.  Oh, man do I hope.
             But that said, when the cover for Infinite was revealed with the shotgun-toting Booker DeWitt in three-quarters profile on the cover, Ken Levine’s defense for the generic presentation was “It’s for frat guys.  People who aren’t informed.”
             Now I’m not saying that’s an indefensible statement, but being so skittish in my want for this game to be good, it’s enough to plant a seed of worry.

        • Fluka

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus Oh, I’m not talking about any video in particular, just the game’s trailers and gameplay videos in general.  Maybe the first trailer they released, where you’re falling through the city and she reaches out to help you and the camera is looking directly down her cleavage.  That, plus the uber-generic cover you mention, equal tons of skepticism on my part.

        • OldeFortran77

          The original images of Elizabeth were pretty ridiculous, but the more recent images look like they’ve extensively re-worked her model.

        • Fluka

          @OldeFortran77:disqus That’s good to hear, at least.  Like I say, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of twist regarding the characters and their design.  (These days I’m frankly just grumpy whenever a new game goes straight to the brown-haired-white-dude well, regardless of quality.)

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          Considering Bioshock, as a series, seems mainly interested in preserving the status quo while superficially suggesting it’s breaking all the rules, I don’t really hold out high hopes for it…

        • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

          I felt the same way about the Bioshock Infinite character design. Her cleavage is downright distracting. It was a moment of “et tu brute?” I thought for sure Bioshock wouldn’t sink to that level.

          Oh, but then I heard Ken Levine’s defense of their shitty box art, and I kind of lost all respect for his intelligence.

          In case you aren’t familiar with it, Bioshock Infinite’s cover features a grizzled man holding a gun, walking away from something burning. You know, the same box art that is on every modern shooter for the past 4 years.

          When people rose a stink about its lack of creativity, Ken Levine defended it (paraphrasing):
          Not everyone knows about Bioshock so we wanted it to stand out on store shelves and catch people’s eyes who might otherwise go for Halo or Call of Duty.

          Well, that makes sense, except…. HOW DO YOU STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION BY LOOKING EXACTLY THE SAME AS THEM?

          THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF MAKING SENSE.

          edit: I see spacemonkey already mentioned this….

        • George_Liquor

          I think cooler heads have prevailed over at 2k Games. According to the latest screenshots, Elizabeth now looks much less like a porn star with a comically large boob job. She doesn’t appear on the game’s cover art either, so maybe they’re confident enough in the game’s quality not to rely on cheap sex appeal.

        • ComradePig

          @twitter-259492037:disqus I only scanned Levine’s response quickly, but I remember interpreting it a little differently. Per my recollection he wasn’t saying that said box art was made to stand out from the CoD norm, but rather was a conscious sacrifice to appeal to that crowd on the marketing level to try and ensure sales.

          I believe he said that between the choice of altering gameplay to attract that audience or by doing so through generic box art, that he’d choose the box art every time. Whether you buy that explanation or not and whether one thinks that’s the right course of action is a different story, but that seemed to me to be a pretty honest concession given the environment in which AAA games are developed and judged now.

          I wouldn’t worry too much about the leering aspect of Elizabeth either. Levine has pretty consistently stated his interest is in developing her as a character and is sensitive to the state complaints her, various changes in her design have reflected that.

          As gaming characters go I never really found her design to be egregious anyway, but I can see where people are coming from.

      • http://www.facebook.com/elijahfly Elijah Fly

        Yeah, I don’t remember that Lady’s breasts being that large in the last game either. 

      • exant

        I’d like to present evidence for this theory from League of Legends.

        The character design for females in LoL started out the usual busty wasp-waist boy bait, but has evolved into the outright absurd as the game gets older. old LoL character, new LoL character. Another: old LoL character, new character.

        Possibly this is a reaction to competition from DOTA2, a nearly identical game? The female character design in DOTA2 isn’t  quite as outrageous as that of LoL, but at least they wear -some- armor.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Fuck it. It’s fucking time people start getting absolutely pissed about this sort of bullshit. it’s goddamn 2013 and we still have this shit in games. I feel like half my comments on here anymore are me bitching about how shitty the games industry is/how shitty gamers are. Ugh.

      • Jackbert322

        Ahem.

        *cricks neck*

        woah there Hitler

      • ItsTheShadsy

        Amen. I purposely retreated from the “gamer” community because I was so upset with how people turned a blind eye to (or even celebrated) these things, but it’s annoyed me past the point where simply fuming isn’t enough. I’m tired of having to excuse an entire medium because its big works are sexist and dumb.

        johnny boy

        • IntotheNightSky

          I tend to refer to myself as a “patron of the interactive arts”.  Not only do I avoid having to defend the AAA scene, but it also makes me seem infinitely more cultured.  Or pretentious.  One of the two.

        • valondar

           I really don’t identify with the community much. This is pretty much the only gaming website I currently post on for basically that reason. Triple AAA titles in particular frequently look insanely alienating. Far Cry 3′s mixture of apparent juvenile stupidity and critical praise (I’m not naming names, but there was one website that simultaneously eviscerated the game’s story and yet still felt obliged to give the damn thing a 9/10).

        • Fluka

          I’ve never patronized an industry which seems so intent on not taking advantage of my buying power.  Sometimes it makes me just want to just turn my PC off forever and go read some books instead.

          The older I get, the more I begin to realize that “nerd culture” in general is, well, rather toxic.

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          @Fluka:disqus What’s really weird to me is how little change we see in that regard. We had a legitimate genre-defining system seller helmed by a woman and starring a female lead back in 1988 (Phantasy Star). We had a retail game that was developed entirely by women in 2000 (Napple Tale). The milestones are there, but the road doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. Even Nintendo seems surprised by the demographic breakdown of Animal Crossing New Leaf players, despite being pretty much the only company that really makes an effort to market to women.

        • Citric

          @DestroyHimMyRobots:disqus Napple Tale had a fantastic soundtrack. I’m just throwing that out there, it’s a tangent really.

      • Effigy_Power

        It is 2013. I really hope we can resolve this before we get Jetpacks, because I am not picking dead insects from between my boobs.

        • HobbesMkii

          Jetpack pilots will have to fly completely in the nude (the inventor of jetpacks will be a pervert).

        • Fluka

          @HobbesMkii:disqus Only if they have boobs, though!  Because of Lore Reasons.

        • duwease

          @Fluka The first time you look up directly into the undercarriage of an overweight, middle-aged man, you will suddenly realize what the shopkeeper meant about the monkey paw..

        • Halloween_Jack

          @duwease:disqus : Are you implying that it would look like an actual monkey’s paw? Because, even on a really cold day, that would be some serious shrinkage.

      • PaganPoet

        @DestroyHimMyRobots:disqus How true. It’s like six inches forward and five inches back (…….I got an angry inch!)

        It makes me wonder, what is the opinion of the GS community of Lara Croft? It seems that a lot of these problems stem from Tomb Raider, at least in my opinion, as that was the first time technology was advanced enough to make a character who was “sexy” (I mean, for having pyramid boobs and all).

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          She also came about in the generation when gaming (in the West) was – apparently if not actually – entering its adolescence. The huge number of kids who had been playing NES and SNES through the 80s and 90s were going into middle and high school, and there was more of a desire to cater to that population (also, Sony may have been making a conscious effort to distance itself for Nintendo’s primary-colored properties, even then). At least, that seems to be the case, to me.

          I mean, it may just be because I was an adolescent boy at the time and noticed that stuff more, but it feels like that’s the generation that gave us Lara, Tifa, Dead or Alive, Morrigan and Felicia from Darkstalkers (the series with arguably the most ridiculous costume designs in Capcom’s fighting game stable) and so on.

        • PaganPoet

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Yeah, earlier generations had “sexy” characters for sure, but just how sexy can you make a sprite after all? I think Cammy and Kitana were about as far as you could go back then.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Goddamn, I love you for that Hedwig reference. 

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

         The games industry is piss poor at addressing the marginalization of race, sex and gender.  But to add insult to injury is how the problem of minority representation is countered by the games industry’s majority representation.
           I’m a straight, white male between the ages of 24-35 and I’m always a little insulted that apparently this is what games companies think I want.
           Direct-to-DVD grade story scripting plastered over with the greatest available means to eviscerate foes and gravity-defying globular bosoms.
           I mean, breasts are great.  Pretty much everybody loves breasts.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be the worst about it.    

        • Effigy_Power

          See, you are voicing exactly my internal conflict.
          I love boobs. Boobs are great and made of magic. I don’t want to appear as though I am leading some sort of proto-feminist crusade against boobs.
          But there’s a time and place.
          When a game like Leisure Suit Larry features a ton of bimbos in skimpy attire (who usually end up being a good bit more clever than the hapless protagonist), that’s fine. That’s what the game calls for. It’s bawdy sexploitation and just fine that way.
          But when a self-proclaimed serious horror game throws out cleavage in metric tons, then it just seems out of place. Add to that the countless examples of deeply cut body-armor, belly-free flak-vests and mithril bikinis and we get a complete detachment not just from common sense, but the last shred of believability.
          Masturbation is great too, but going 65mph on the highway might just not be the right time for it.

          And in addition to that, this isn’t just demeaning for the women who feel repeatedly treated like fleshy, jiggly fanservice, but as you said, also the target audience.
          I can’t imagine that every man in the 18-49 demographic buys a game like this solely for boobs. There is porn on the internet. Lots of it. Tits aplenty to look at and print out and whatnot. Why do developers think that gaming and sex are inexorably linked?

    • PaganPoet

      I’m okay with semi-opaque codpieces, actually.

      Nah, but in all seriousness, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s getting tired, and you would think that as this medium is starting to grow older that it would mature as well. This may be true some of the time, but the sad truth is most of the time it is not. We’ll continue to see male space marines and male medieval knights properly armored and attired while the females wear tit-straps and stiletto boots for years to come.

      Funnily enough, I’m actually all for sexual exploitation of video games characters as long as the game is honest about it (and as long as they throw a male character or two in the mix).

      • Persia

        And I think it’s part of how the game is constructed and what it’s there for. Persona 4 is, as I understand it, also about the character’s own psyches, so why not a boob window? Dead Space is about fighting zombies in zero gravity, so why would there be a boob window? If you’re creating a game you should also be creating a world. If you’re creating a world where women and only women are prizes and eye candy…that’s a big problem.

        • PaganPoet

          You’re absolutely right. Persona 4 is about the characters facing the darkest sides of their personality, their deepest shames and secrets. So when one of the dungeons is a strip club, with the enemy threatening to take it all off and reveal everything, it doesn’t feel gratuitous or out of place in the world that’s been established.

          That’s not to mention that the dungeon immediately before that one is a gay bathhouse since one of the characters is unsure of his sexuality and insecure about his “feminine” hobbies.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          I run hot and cold on Yahtzee, but you remind me of a great point of his when criticizing one of the later-period Silent Hill games. Silent Hill 2 had monstrous, faceless, sexy nurses because the protagonist was wrestling with his issues about his wife and women in general.

          All the Silent Hills since 4 had them because of either: a.) laziness, b.) somebody on the dev team gets off on faceless, cleavage-bearing woman, c.) somebody on the dev team gets off on killing faceless, cleavage-bearing woman, d.) all of the above.

    • The Guilty Party

      Honestly, this kind of thing (absurd boobs) is just getting embarrassing. When the sole female character wanders onto screen and looks like a porn star, it’s just like … I don’t want to be seen playing it. I have to make vague excuses when my girlfriend sees it.

      It’s easier in games where there’s other characters that aren’t a sex joke. Then I can say ‘oh, that’s just sexylady, there’s other ladies too. Sometimes ladies are sexy, sometimes they’re not’. I am comfortable with that. I’m not so proud of playing Guns ‘n’ Hookers.

      While we’re getting indignant, can I mention Tera? Holy tits of jesus, it’s Dungeons & DDs. Also the boringest mmo ever, but aside from that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an over-the-top sexualized game. I suppose in its defense, the men are pretty hyper-sexual too (and not just in Big Burly way; there are also svelte, slim, metrosexy elves.) But man. If I wanted porn, I would get porn. I am old. I have credit cards. I can do it. I don’t want it spewed all over my games.

      • Cornell_University

        I bought a used copy of Soul Caliber 2 for my Gamecube because it’s one of my favorite games ever and I missed playing it.  My favorite character is and has always been Taki, and it took SOOOOOOOO long to convince my then-gf it had nothing to do with the boob jiggle physics.

        seriously, the jiggle physics were just LABORED OVER.

        • Cornell_University

          “no, honey, see the video game industry assumes their customers are all leering perverts, so they bury excellent fighting mechanics under buxom braless catsuits”

          “can’t we just play Mario Party?”

        • Effigy_Power

          Though… that’s sort of where the problem starts, isn’t it? Well, not Mario Party, but Mario-esque versions of damsels in distress.
          We can thank the Renaissance for that shit. The whole idea of ladies being basically loot for rescue and therefore plot-hooks is a great first impression on young, budding gamers that eventually leads to boob marines.

          Ech, now I am just ranting.

      • George_Liquor

        Aida in Unreal II: The Awakening. She’s the most egregious case of jiggly sex-sells adolescent wish-fulfillment I can think of.

      • valondar

         You know, I’d like to be able to agree with you that I’ve never seen a game as hypersexualized as Tera Online.

        But then I’d have to claim I’m not as familiar with MMORPGs as I am (and boy do I love my MMORPGs). Tera’s spectacularly skimpy clothing is pretty much the same as I found in Aion, because this is the point where I admit I played Aion.

        Now I don’t want to generalize about Korean MMOs (for one thing the upcoming Black Desert looks like it might use reasonable armour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNtB5DoJ6OI) but … yeah.

        • The Guilty Party

          Aion is pretty sexytimes too, but for the most part the armor there at least covers you. I levelled a warrior-type and I was almost always pretty heavily covered. Plus, no absurd boob jiggle.

    • valondar

      Nah you have every right to be bitter about this.

      What surprises me is that judging from the review the game makes no real effort to include the other coop player in the story. I thought the biggest problem of Dead Space 3′s coop would be one player will get to be the protagonist of the last two games, and someone else is… the New Guy, so you’d think whoever was a writer on the game would find a way to make the New Guy integral to the narrative somehow.

      Granted say making New Guy either Isaac Clarke’s lover or romantic rival would have odd complications for players, but it’s better than nothing.

      Not sure why I particularly care as I didn’t play either game and I think I’ll give this one a pass too. As much as I love the Alien series, I don’t greatly care for this Sigourney Weaver lacking knockoff.

      • JohnnyLongtorso

        From what I’ve heard, the game is meant to be played co-op, it’s the single-player that feels tacked on. In single player, Carver magically pops up in cutscenes, then disappears until the next cutscene. In some of the co-op side missions, he has hallucinations or something, so the second player gets some unique stuff.

        • valondar

          You see now that I like. I like the idea of a multiplayer coop experience where players have differing subjective impressions of what’s going on, that’s an interesting way to fuck with a player’s head.

        • djsubversive

          @google-ad11b5fc6e812fcfddafc59b953591fe:disqus Kane & Lynch did that. At least in the first game, they did. The second player in co-op is Lynch, who is psychotic and has hallucinations where he sees regular people as cops and people with animal-heads. 
          It comes up a couple of times in the single-player game, usually when they separate Kane and Lynch for some reason. Kane is trying to stay cool, then Lynch fucks things up by shooting somebody.

        • Vervack

           Sounds like what FEAR 3 did, though that game did have a mechanic for the two players to compete against one another to get improved abilities faster, affect the ending, etc. They still gave both players the same cinematics, though.

          By the way, this post should not be taken as an endorsement of FEAR 3. It’s competently made, but the story makes no sense, and it feels completely different from the first two games. Just play the first one again; you’ll be glad you did!

      • Vervack

         Come to think of it, making Ellie the co-op partner would have made a little more sense, if you wanted someone that could have some sort of relationship with Isaac beyond “complete stranger”.

        Failing that, they could have at least got creative with the new character beyond “dat spess mahreen”. I, personally, would have liked to see a game where Isaac pals around with his old frat brother, the hard-living, hard-loving, man’s man Jim Tiptree Jr. (or “Al” to his friends), built like a steam locomotive with a beard as glorious as that of Jonathan Frakes.

        • valondar

          Perhaps Tiptree could partner with his bro-in-arms, the cigar-chompin’ football lovin’ Andre Norton?

    • doyourealize

      I wonder what the social implications on this kind of thing are. While I don’t like to harp on video games’ effects on real world violence, it has been shown that playing violent games might make children more aggressive (though not turn them into mass-murderers). So I wonder if playing video games also has some kind of psychological effect that encourages children who play them to have impossible expectations for future girlfriends/wives. Worse, makes them see women as objects. Not to say that this a new problem (I mean, women are objectified, and worse, in the Bible), but video games, with an ability to completely fabricate body shapes from thin air, might be adding fuel to that fire…hell, throwing some gasoline on it.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Media representation of women definitely has a huge impact on how boys and men see women and how girls and women see themselves. These images are so pervasive and insinuate themselves so matter-of-factly that it’s kind of terrifying. This is a problem across all media, and is still pretty egregious in lowest-common-denominator pop-culture across all media… but it feels like a much larger proportion of games than, say, films, is content to be lowest-common-denominator.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I’d love to see something like Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly applied to games. I think that’s what that tropes vs. women kickstarter thing was going to be? But yeah, this shit definitely has a tangible effect on people.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          Tropes vs. Women in Videogames is essentially a more polished version of Sarkeesian’s earlier work, (specifically “Tropes vs. Women,” naturally), but focusing on video games (again, naturally).

          Not having seen Killing Us Softly (though it looks like it’s free online, so I should rectify that), I don’t know if the two project are comparable. But I think what Sarkeesian is doing (albeit in a bite-sized, YouTube generation way) is definitely sorely needed in the universe of cultural criticism of video games.

        • valondar

           I think an important distinction between films and TV on the one hand and gaming on the other is the lack of counterbalance.

          While both have products that indulge in the same kind of male fantasy one sees in Triple AAA titles, it’s relatively easy to point to many high profile films and TV series that have featured non-horrible portrayal of women.

          I’m just off watching another episode of Forbrydelsen, the acclaimed Danish series that did really well in the ratings as an import series and is honestly a lot of fun. Where’s the Sarah Lund of videogaming? Or to keep on my Danish TV kick, where’s the Brigitte Nyborg?

          One of the few positive senses I can invoke ‘mature’ gaming at this stage is grand strategy games or other simulators that take themselves really seriously (say flight sims, or the surprisingly popular European truck sims) but these are games defined by having little to no characterization at all.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZA2TEOS6WNCQDPCMOCWYUR64I Nick

        I’d say this is sadly true for most games, but this game would be a horrible example for it. Ellie, for the most part, is a great female character. She treads the line well between being strong without compromising herself as a cliche.
        She good in this game, but I found her character even better in Dead Space 2. The first time you meet her she just cursing out all the world while shooting an endless mob of necromorphs after her entire squad had been killed, reanimated and then chasing after her.
        Hell, she takes a screwdriver to the eye and basically shrugs it off
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=ONUOOcYbQA0&feature=fvwp

        and theres this just before 3 minutes in:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUElc4p6J9E

        Shes not anymore cliche in Dead Space 3. Even though the love triangle part is kinda dumb due to Norton, her voice actor and lines keeps the character strong.She’s saved Isaac’s life just as many times as he’s saved hers.

    • Fluka

      Damn, I didn’t wander into these Dead Space 3 comments expecting a well-written distillation of my recent frustrations with the games industry, but that’s what I get in the first comment.  Thanks as always, Eff, for the fully justified rant.

      Also, if Space Lab is anything like Real Lab, Science Lady really does need a sweater.  She’ll be shivering so much she won’t get any work done.  Dudes keep those places way over air conditioned.

      • Effigy_Power

        Well written?
        Fuck, it was supposed to be the angry rant of a semi-drunk gamer-gir… ech, I hate that term now… female gamer late at night with nothing else to do but complain yet again.
        And you’re welcome.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

      Nothing to really complain about – you’re right on the money. When people claim there’s no misogyny in video games, ask them to discuss any practicality with the armor that females in 90% of games wear.

      Imagine if American female troops wore that kind of armor during deployment.

      • Effigy_Power

        Might actually be an improvement to actual US Army body armor.

    • Pgoodso

      You know what’s terrifying? Out of all the A-List games in the last 5 years or so, it’s the Gears of War series that probably has the most appropriately dressed women in video games: plain administrative wear for administrators, same beefed up battle armor as the dudes when shit goes down. You didn’t even see any skin until 3. No cleavage to be found. And though saving a character’s wife was a minor plotpoint in 2, for the most part, the women could take care of themselves and saved the men just as much as the opposite.

      For such an appalling (if enjoyable) gruntfest, I think it’s strange that it’s these games out of all of them that treated women as equals, at least comparatively.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

         It’s because Cliffy B is the most progressive man alive!

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        Gears of War 3 was actually written by a woman, Karen Traviss.

    • http://kotaku.com/ Reposted_Kotaku_Comments

      albino_bob
      Urgh.. This equality crap again. Man and woman are different physically, mentally, and feminist somehow cannot accept it.

      If the feminist really strive for a real equality, how about mandatory military for all gender, male or female. No compromised.

      The
      ratio of male:female in all sector must be 50:50, including career in
      sewage worker, septic tank repair, sanitation worker, barnyard
      masturbator, carpenter, labor. Yes, recruit more female for that sector
      until the ratio is balanced.

      Jobs like replacing the flat tire
      during a journey should be done by taking turn. This also apply in
      changing broken lamp, service the car, cleaning the windows, putting the
      bins, mowing the lawn,and fixing clogged toilet.

      The term
      househusband should be introduced. Woman do the work, while man taking
      care the kid. The ratio househusband and housewife must be 50:50 as
      well, and any mocking of househusband profession must be punishable by
      law. No complain from woman if she is back home tiredly and she saw her
      husband relaxing while watching the TV, and done doing the house related
      job.

      The character in soap opera also must be altered, rather
      than the heroine get cool guy in the end, change it into big hairy front
      tooth missing ugly guy. This is equality to ugly guys, they need love
      too. Say no to discrimination in soap opera, right?

      http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/fat-hairy-man-in-a-speedo-with-guns-and-guitar-hero-controllers
      He should be the in Young and the Restless or General Hospital instead of Robert Adamson and Jimmy Deshler …

      Equality
      is not an equal if woman only aiming for presidency and hot stuff job
      and ditch the unsavory of becoming a male in career or duty.

      • PaganPoet

        Brought to you by Google Translate®

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          THOSE BITCHES CAN PRY MY CUSHY BARNYARD MASTURBATOR JOB OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD, STICKY HANDS.

        • Effigy_Power

          Brought to you by the new grammar-free Gogoel Trnsalaet.

      • Fluka

        Much like Fat Ugly or Slutty, am not sure whether to laugh or cry. 

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          I’m torn between whether or not to “like” the general concept of the poster despite my emphatically NOT “like”-ing the post itself.

        • Fluka

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Ayuuuuuup.

          But seriously, Kotaku comments.  What the fuck?  I think I remember you used to post there to try to counteract the toxicity – do you still do that?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Concerning any attempts to stem the flow of reactionary self-pity in those comments, the term “Sisyphean” comes to mind.
             It’s a damn shame too, because I think to a one all the writers for Kotaku are fairly good.  But maybe that’s just a curse of being a game journalist.  That, arguably even more than critics of other mediums of expression, that you’ll frequently be approaching your subject from a direction that most of your vocal audience will find either unsympathetic or easily dismissed.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          I used to hash it out in the comments there, yeah (at the time I didn’t know anywhere better to read about/discuss games). At one point I “realized” I was wasting my time arguing with what had to be 11-year-old boys, and figured I should just cut it out. Then I learned that the person I was currently conversing with, who completely unironically would say things like “I hate feminism” because he apparently had never learned what feminism means, was, like, 28. Which almost sucked me back in, but also broke my spirit. And then the Gameological Society came along.

          Occasionally, I’ll get sucked back in, usually via a crosspost from io9 or Gamasutra or something…then I’ll come to 5 hours later, the tips of my fingers raw and bloodied from impotent virtual shouting. They really need to cut the comment sections off of that site and let it float out to sea.

        • Fluka

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Yeah…it’s always a dueling impulse between “These people are idiots!  I must stand up against wrongheadedness!” and “These people are idiots!  Jesus fuck why am I wasting my time.”  Thanks for fighting the good fight anyway!

      • Effigy_Power

        And people wonder why I comment on GS and GS only.

      • ComradePig

        Going on to Kotaku is to see a sad distillation of just about everything wrong with the gaming industry. There’s actually a handful of talented writers on there but they’re drowned out by the general atmosphere of idiocy that pervades the remainder of the writing staff and most particularly, the commentariat.

        The worst part is that I feel as though generally speaking they’re actually a disservice to the gaming industry’s (feeble) effort to perhaps make itself less transparently sexist by posting low quality and frequently inflammatory articles that do nothing but stir up their moronic commenters, of whom 90% seem to be the variety who think evil feminism is coming to ruin the special treehouse of gaming. Let’s not even begin on the “death in Diablo 3 caused my divorce” article.

        There’s been a handful of measured, well written works on there about feminism and gaming but they’ve been few and far between.

        Worse yet the website has no sense of consistency and they feed the very same impulses they claim to abhor. An article about sexism may very well be posted in between juvenile sexy cosplay/anime photo blogs or god forbid, articles bragging about having sex on Sonic the Hedgehog bed covers (I am not making this shit up).

        Plus, the website’s focus on Japan frequently crosses the border into the most stereotypically embarrassing variety in relation to people interested in said country.

        And on a gaming journalism scale things aren’t much better. I mean, I enjoyed CoD Black Ops but I would never an article claiming it’s thriller-plot campaign defined it as “the most mature game of all time”, or defending DLC and disastrous games like Bioware’s Old Republic. I seem to remember it once being better but maybe I’m just imagining things, because these days it is absolutely dire.

        • Citric

          Gawker media in general is kind of a disaster that used to be a bit better – I still talk to some Jalopnik refugees, in fact, who would never dare return to that site.

        • conditionals

          I started reading Kotaku through RSS only, because the toxic comment community started to make me want to changing broken lamp. 

          Honestly, the Kotaku articles themselves tend to be pretty progressive and fair. Why is it that the community is full of fuckwhistles?

        • valondar

           Aw, I’d defend BioWare’s Old Republic.

          At the very least it didn’t deserve the creepily misogynistic targeting that writer Jennifer Hepler endured.

        • Halloween_Jack

          Let’s not even begin on the “death in Diablo 3 caused my divorce” article.

          Just skimmed over that and… wow. I… wow. As Aethyta said in the bar on Illium, no one came out of that looking good.

      • caspiancomic

         I can’t believe this is about to be the only thing I say on this topic, but I wish I was a barnyard masturbator.

        • Effigy_Power

          You do know that doesn’t mean getting paid masturbating yourself in a barn, right?

      • conditionals

        I started reading Kotaku through RSS only, because the toxic comment community started to make me want to changing broken lamp. 

        Honestly, the Kotaku articles themselves tend to be pretty progressive and fair. Why is it that the community is full of fuckwhistles?

    • http://halfafilmstudent.blogspot.com/ ThisIsNotAnInternetMeme

      No, you’re perfectly right to be upset about this. I personally am very fond of breasts, and I don’t have them, myself; that said, I don’t want to see them all the time, and I don’t want females – in fiction or in real life – to be defined by the them, or to have to accentuate them.

      One thing I appreciate about the British is that their films tend to find an actual balance between beefcake and cheesecake. At least if both sides are being shown this way, there’s some argument for parity; I don’t want to see nude men, but at least it’s fair. As it is, though, all of the entertainment that have traditionally pandered to men (sports, games, tv, film) really give a raw deal to women in general, and the women they feature, specifically.

    • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

      Ha! I had the same reaction when I saw the promo pics for this game.  “Oh gee, a woman with gigantic exposed cleavage that is completely impractical for her environement! Are they trying to cram EVERY bad game trope in to this game?”

    • conditionals

      Would just like to add that I consider myself a pretty progressive, well-informed person, and yet I simply cannot muster the strength to hold the showing of boobs in contempt. Gratuitous, impractical, misogynistic… whatever method has been used to deliver these boobs to me, I simply will not complain. Indeed, I may subconsciously ask for more.

      There must be something from my childhood that has turned me into this monster (why did my parents let me play Dead or Alive at 12?!). Or maybe I’m just an asshole. I can’t help it. I’m helping to fuel this misogynist discourse that is rampant in the gaming (and broader) world, and yet there’s absolutely no active resistance on my part. I’m like an anti-smoking lobbyist who shamefully keeps a pack of cigarettes hidden under their mattress. :(

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZA2TEOS6WNCQDPCMOCWYUR64I Nick

      Have you played the Dead Space franchise? Because this is the Ellie Langford, the girl you’re talking about:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umuBNKtwQc0

      When they land on the planet everyone gets suits, (except Buckell who dies) but before that only Isaac has one because (its an engineer suit and he needs it for venturing in space) and Carver and Norton who have EarthGov Battle armor because they’re soldiers.

      Also, she’s a fighter pilot. In case you didn’t watch the youtube clip, the first time you meet her in the second game she’s killing an endless hoard of necromorphs while cursing everything after being the last survivor of her group. She’s not some cliche sex object. She’s a very well rounded character. Better in the 2nd game than the 3rd, but still a strong female character in both her appearances.

      • Staggering Stew Bum

        This, exactly this.

        They’re a good lot here, but they tend to get carried away when their sexist-senses start tingling. I doubt anyone getting worked up in this thread have played the game and are mostly upset regarding that one screenshot posted above which is from early in the story, and you have explained it in your post. I actually typed out a big reply this morning to Effigy but decided not to post it (because what’s the point, really), and it turns out that you have said what I wanted to say much better than I could have. Nice work.

        By the way, we try not to use the ‘f’ word here (franchise).

        • Effigy_Power

          “because what’s the point, really”

          I think that’s a bad attitude. It sort of sounds (and I am just assuming) as though you think your point wouldn’t matter because opinions are super-Glen-Beck-glued in place.
          I am always ready to admit that I am wrong, and I am sometimes glad to. But I find that if the gratuity of this shit is a short occurrence in a game, the fact that 3 out of 15 initial screenshots feature it betrays its use as sales-driving fan-service even more.

          “but they tend to get carried away when their sexist-senses start tingling”

          Trust me, I wish they didn’t tingle at all. I have no joy in criticizing what I consider one of my favorite hobbies on a constant basis. And I used to be able to overlook this shit. But when you’re faced with discrimination of this sort for close to 20 years, and I am not quite sure you can empathize with that from experience, every little new one pisses you off more and more.
          Does that sometimes mean that emotions rise higher than appropriate or aim at targets less deserving than others? Almost absolutely. But as a part of the bigger problem, DS3 can’t just be ignored.

          I am sad that I may have given you the idea that I may be doing this to get a rise out of people or because I love a good bit of outrage, but that really isn’t the fact. Maybe I could have phrased it better, but as I wrote above, I was semi-pissed when I wrote it.
          When your favorite hobby constantly makes your brain feel as though its of secondary sales-value than your tits, every little example is further infuriating and clouds your senses and I fully accept that I am slapping for small cases.

          That’s why I am not really happy about this either. I wish I could just enjoy stupid space shooters with necro-aliens, but gaming and its developers have pushed the issue into my face over and over and now that’s all I can focus on.
          It sucks, I assure you.
          To be perfectly honest, it’s that negative association I now have on a constant basis that really bugs me, because it prevents me from enjoying stuff sometimes. I can’t turn it off, because that’s how I feel, so that blows.

      • Effigy_Power

        I am fully aware that I might be targeting one game unfairly about a larger problem, but when games are sold on screenshots and trailers, it really doesn’t quite matter how long this trope is featured.
        The people who buy the game based on this haven’t played the game either yet, but to the developers, who release screenshots that never fail to focus on every shower and bend-over scene, it has to appear as though THAT was what sold part of the game.
        But yeah, I totally accept that in a frustrated round-house kick, sometimes a target gets hit that deserves it less than other, much more prevalent examples. That’s just a sad fact that I am not proud of.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZA2TEOS6WNCQDPCMOCWYUR64I Nick

          I understand. Don’t get me wrong, you’re point is completely valid on a lot of games. I’m just a Dead Space fan and Ellie’s probably one of the strongest female characters that i’ve seen in recent gaming history.

          But yeah, most games need to get over themselves and start writing female characters as human beings with reason and objectives.

        • Effigy_Power

          Fair enough, @yahoo-5ZA2TEOS6WNCQDPCMOCWYUR64I:disqus. As I said, the greater my frustration has grown, the less accurate it has become.

  • HobbesMkii

    I oddly now pine for an FPS dating simulator, wherein each level functions as an extremely over-the-top demonstration of your manliness to one-up your rival while competing for the object of your affection’s attention. Maybe you could bring her trophies: “Hey girl, I found this fragment of skull that looks a little like a heart. I thought maybe you’d like it.”

    • Effigy_Power

      “Yeah, well… I found this grenade-shredded femur that looks like a bouquet of roses. Look at me! Hey! I am the man!”

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Just know that she’ll leave you the moment a man comes along with a luscious mane of realistically-rendered hair with full Directx11 bounce and movement.
         You and your primary rival will each be sitting on your accumulated mounds of bloody trifles and geegaws, running your hands over your stiff, molded Ken hair or high n’ tight buzz cut thinking, “Shit.  There’s no way I can compete with that.”   

    • valondar

      God this reminds me of a Quake II machinima I once watched where the male marine and the female marine found love in the middle of a deathmatch game, or something. I can’t find it but I’m pretty sure it’s a real thing.

  • PaganPoet

    The scene in Dead Space 2 where Isaac is having something (I forget what) drilled into his eyeball…I couldn’t. I mean, I could, and I did, but damn, I put in extra eye drops and cleaned my contacts extra well that night.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      “I couldn’t” either, but for me it was my incompetence. I failed again and again and in the end must have spend about 15 minutes of my life trying to drill into my own eyeballs. Video games!

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

         I kept fucking it up too and I wasn’t sure if the design was just obtuse or I kept messing up because I didn’t want to watch it closely.

  • EmperorNortonI

    Games like this make me wonder . . . why the heck is an advanced space-faring civilization doing with a bunch of dead bodies just sitting around, waiting to be resurrected?  I mean, if this is even remotely a possibility, it seems pretty easy to pre-empt.  Burn all existing cadavers, and dispose of all new ones carefully and quickly.

    Furthermore, does atomic fire not work against this particular strand of space-zombie?  I mean, why the heck would you need to rely on small arms when the 20th century gifted you with the finest in mass destruction?  Is 50 kilotons enough?  10 megatons?  Surely a 50 megaton bomb must be able to dismember a bunch of goddamn space zombies, and disinfect the region at the same time.  You’re already in space, bathed constantly with killing radiation unleashed by the atomic fury of the stars, so there isn’t an environmental issue.  Nuke the fuckers from space, man.  Game over.  

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      Well obviously Obama ordered global nuclear disarmament during his 4th term, leaving mankind defenceless against the necromorph menace.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        Thanks a lot, Obama!

        • Effigy_Power

          I can’t believe you beat me to it.

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    I’m probably about halfway through Dead Space 3. It’s okay, weakest of the series but still enjoyable fluff. I always liked the premise of the series, an engineer fixes things in space. That’s pretty much my dream occupation right there, minus the mental instability, dead girlfriend and armies of undead trying to disembowel you.

    The necromorphs were always cheap. This time around, they’ve spent their 200 years in a frozen state developing the cheapest tactics imaginable. For instance, at least some of them used to lumber slowly towards you, now every single one of the fuckers charge at you faster than the vultures at my office when someone brings in cake for morning tea.

    I liked the chapters in orbit of the planet, mostly because it all looked so pretty. I am not enjoying being on the planet that much, which may have something to do with the setting contradicting the title of the game. I can’t be bothered with the weapon crafting. My prediction is that our hero Isaac will either die or not die at the end. 

    Overall, I agree with Drew’s score of      .

    (As I play, I have tried to offset my boredom by continuing with my Isaac Clarke parody twitter account, which I will self promote now and I don’t know why.)

    • valondar

      I’ll admit I love the idea of being a space engineer too (my Shepard was an engineer for all three games and I don’t regret it for a second), but isn’t Isaac Clarke’s job description just an excuse to get him into trouble with monsters? I can’t imagine the game series placing any emphasis on repairing starships.

      • Staggering Stew Bum

        In Dead Space 1 & 2 a lot of what is driving the story is Isaac using his engineering expertise for fixing stuff – getting power back on, mending oxygen systems, realigning solar arrays, repairing communications, fixing spacecraft etc. A lot of Dead Space 3 so far has Isaac doing the same kind of stuff.

        As I constantly remind everyone, I am an engineer in real life, but I sit in a chair all day in an office shuffling paper and answering emails, so playing as an engineer who is actually carrying out practical tasks is pretty cool. (Similarly, I too used the Engineer class in every Mass Effect game.)  

        • Sandwichands

          Isaac doesn’t have to worry if his projects have enough float or if he has billed too many hours to general administration codes.

        • Electric Dragon

          @Sandwichands:disqus we don’t see those bits. Maybe between Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2 he gets an almighty chewing out for his failure to complete an adequate Health and Safety Assessment of the effects of putting barely tested chemicals into the hydroponics or for using the cryogenics pods without proper training.

        • OldeFortran77

          “After checking through your workbench records, it’s pretty obvious you need your annual Workplace Safety re-certification, Mr. Clarke!”

        • Effigy_Power

          Considering his treatment of labeled containers, he really has to redo his Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System certificate.

        • Sandwichands

          …..”Mr Clarke, for the tenth time we cant find MSDS for that product.”……”Yes we are aware of our legal obligation”……”well you will just have to be patient and wait for our suppliers overseas”….

    • dreadguacamole

        The necromorph in the top picture is an accurate depiction of what happens when ravers eat their glowsticks.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I think it would be awesome if EA releases DLC for Dead Space 3 consisting of individual stand-alone chapters of all the previous failed instances of skilled laborers utilizing their trade tools for unexpected space-zombie menace.
         The ship’s vintner could make wine Molotov cocktails to incinerate the enemy.  The cabinet maker could power-saw off limbs, then reconstruct the fallen necromorphs into inventory-expanding supply containers.  The ship’s cook could just destroy ‘em with his beef hash, ain’t that right, Cooky?!
         Also, cake for morning tea?  Someone should make a sci-fi game about whatever crazy space-planet you live on.

      • Fluka

        I’ve visited the cake for morning tea planet, or at least one of its sister planets, and I gotta tell you that place is amazing.  You get cake!  In the morning!  With tea!

      • Effigy_Power

        I don’t know. I had an eclair this morning and I think I now know where seismic activity stems from.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

         We don’t have cake with morning tea (because this is America, damn it!) but I know what he’s talking about with the vultures. Free food turns reasonable human beings in to livestock.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      EA is sitting on a goldmine of engineering themed prequel potential.  ”Totally Alive Space”, you follow Isaac Clarke as he travels across the galaxy fixing various technical problems on large A-class starships.  Find creative solutions to problems such as ‘Router Type-4 Malfunctions, Hydraulic Drop-cages, Cold Fusion engines’ and more!

      I’d play it.

      • Halloween_Jack

        It’s the kind of holodeck program that Miles O’Brien was limited to for a while after Keiko found out that the point of Vulcan Love Slaves wasn’t to free them.

  • Destroy Him My Robots

    Oh, Drew. You deliberately chose to write “cook” in the first paragraph, knowing full well I would misread it at first, didn’t you?

    • HobbesMkii

      Whoa there, Freud.

    • OldeFortran77

      Is this a review

      of cook?

    • Effigy_Power

      He probably wanted to celebrate the achievements of the famed explorer Captain James Cock.

      I MEAN COOK.

  • JohnnyLongtorso

    This is one of the most disappointing sequels I’ve ever played. The sped-up necromorphs and squishy controls have made the hallmark of the series, cut off the limbs to kill stuff, almost impossible to do with any consistency. I ended up making a grenade launcher and spamming it as my primary weapon rather than trying to aim and shoot.

    The story is also terrible; I know, I know, video game writing is never great, but it’s a dumb, nonsensical action movie plot full of one-dimensional stock Hollywood characters.

    And then there are little annoyances like the “auto”-save system that only saves progress at seemingly random periods, so if you quit out and reload, you can get set back to a previous part of the game. At one point I got put back into the previous chapter. Also, there’s a boss creature you have to fight a few times which is incredibly annoying (you have to shoot off its fast-moving tentacles in order to even begin to damage it, and if I didn’t have the aforementioned grenade launcher, I have no idea how I would have done that), and there are long climbing/rappelling sections that are just obnoxious.

    The game is just a big disappointment, and if I didn’t know otherwise, I would have thought it got pushed onto a new developer that was halfway through a different game and told to turn it into a Dead Space game. It all stinks of publisher interference dumbing down the game to push more units (it’s a retail game with microtransactions). Supposedly co-op is more fun, but since I got it from Gamefly, I’m not about to pay $10 for the privilege.

    • Drew Toal

      I don’t have a big connection to the previous games, so I didn’t really have the emotional letdown that I think a lot of people had with how things went for Isaac and Co.  

      I agree the save point thing is heinous. As is the mutant Alaskan spider crab.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZA2TEOS6WNCQDPCMOCWYUR64I Nick

      It’s the weakest of the series no doubt, but its not terrible by any means. A few misteps doesn’t make it an F. I’d grade it as perfectly decent but it could’ve been so much better because its executes some really good new ideas to the series only fairly.

      Also, I enjoyed the story very much except Norton, he can go fuck off as the dumb cliche he is. But the mythology of the markers, the soverign colonies background and the reveals throughout the logs and environments I thought were very well done.

  • doyourealize

    I haven’t done the research, but I’m willing to bet this review is the only one that compares Dead Space 3 to Titanic. Speaking of which, you did not imagine that scene.

    • Effigy_Power

      Both have ships. It’s so obvious.

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

    I can’t be the only one that didn’t remember Issac even having a girlfriend in Dead Space 2, right?
    He was still dealing with the ghost of his old girlfriend, who (spoiler) is the end boss. Who the hell is this other chick? Where did she come from?

    • JohnnyLongtorso

      Ellie was a character in DS2 who assisted you (mostly off-screen) for about two-thirds of the game. I’m not sure how much time is supposed to have passed between DS2 and 3, but it was apparently enough for Isaac and Ellie to hook up and then drift apart. And she got a boob job, apparently, because the developers upped her cup size a few times for DS3.

      • Vervack

         Yeah, I don’t exactly understand why Isaac and Ellie hooked up after DS2. If memory serves, there was a fairly significant plot point during the second game where Issac convinced Ellie to babysit a crazy man against her better judgement. In the course of events, said crazy man eventually went crazy and gouged out one of Ellie’s eyes with a screwdriver.

        Now, I haven’t been in many relationships, but I was under the impression that was the sort of event that most women do not look favorably upon when assessing potential boyfriends.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

        Oh, that explains why I don’t remember her. She was the omni-present-in-every-video-game-since-2006-voice over-a-comm-link-that-tells-you-what-to-do-character. 

        Jesus fuck, can we not have that in games anymore?

        Also, what kind of shit writing does this game have where the character Issac is supposed to be emotionally pulled back in to conflict by, only had a romance with him off-screen? How is anyone supposed to give a shit about that?

        You know, I really liked DS 1 and 2, but right now I think I would be most happy if this franchise burned to the ground and its ashes were vaporized with a neutron bomb. And with EA’s input, it just might!

        • Vervack

          Yeah, even though the first game was intended to be the start of a franchise, they’ve generally done a pretty shoddy job on the worldbuilding front. When I went from the first game to the second, I was really thrown because it seemed like half of the background material was rewritten between games. The Markers themselves seem to be particular victims of this, apparently randomly changing in size and function every time they’re seen. I didn’t go into these games expecting “tactical realism”, but changing around the basic functions of one of the key elements of your setting just for plot convenience is just shoddy. It’s like the writers of Star Trek randomly changing how warp drive and transporters work every episode (in other words, Voyager). I was honestly irritated enough by the way stuff was messed around with that by the end of the second game I decided I was done with the franchise.

          Mind you, I also had some idiosyncratic problems with the second game. I was quite displeased with the fact that it was set in a universe where humanity blew up Titan, Saturn’s awesome moon, for no good reason. There was also the fact that the idea that there will still be shopping malls in the 25th century just makes me incredibly depressed. ‘Course, it wasn’t all bad; when I was walking around in the bulky vintage EVA suit, I felt like I was Yuri Gargarin, Comrade Cosmonaut Asskicker Extraordinaire, which is just wonderful.

          Finally, a bit of gossip I heard through the grapevine: the original plan for DS2′s ending was for Isaac to fight a giant necromorph monster as the final boss. Unfortunately, near the end of the development process, almost half of the staff at Visceral took a job offer from Blizzard, which meant they had to completely rework the end of the game since there was literally no one left to build the final boss fight.

        • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

          @Vervack:disqus Well, whatever happened, it worked, because I liked the ending of DS2 much more than DS1. The final-final bosses of both were incredibly stupid in their own ways, but at least in DS2 it wasn’t just “Shoot the glowy spots on the giant blob.” Plus DS2 had that insanely harrowing gauntlet leading up to the final boss. Holy shit that was tense.

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

    Wait, there’s no more save points? Wow, fuck this game with a capital F.
    I’ve grown increasingly intolerant of games without manual saving over the years. Perhaps because I’m now an adult with responsibilities that prevent me from playing games for multiple hours straight. Hey, game developers, sometimes I need to interrupt my gameplay to get up and do something. Make it so I can do that without having to replay huge swaths of content. It’s not hard.

    • Effigy_Power

      If you put your relationships, children, career or increasingly alarming oil-fire in the kitchen above gaming, then maybe you don’t deserve this game!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        “If you can’t handle an enemy corridor while simultaneously pouring baking soda over a grease-fire, maybe you’re just not good enough at the game.”

    • George_Liquor

      The inability to save whenever I want in a modern game infuriates me to no end. Once upon a time, when consoles had no mass storage, limiting the size and quantity of save games made sense. These days, it’s an obsolete holdover and a cheap way to artificially pump up the game’s difficulty.

      • Fluka

        I recently had to walk away from Mirror’s Edge, a game I was otherwise enjoying, partly because of the save system.  If there’s a difficult bit, I don’t want to have to replay the last five minutes ten times in a row just so I can die for the 30th time.  Quitting and restarting the game often took me back to an even earlier checkpoint, too.  Life is too short.

        • George_Liquor

          One of many perfectly valid reasons to walk away from that game.

      • DrunkPhilatelist

        Do you remember the original Resident Evil save mechanic? Not only did you have to find a typewriter, but you had to have a single-use ink ribbon to save your game. It also took up inventory space! Jesus, that damn game.

        • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

          Yeah but at least you could save on one whenever you wanted, provided you had the ink. And that was 2 console generations ago. The way they did it added challenge and tension, but they didn’t just say “Hey, here’s a checkpoint ever half hour! fuck off!”

      • valondar

        I absolutely despise it in PC gaming. PC games have NEVER needed to limit a player’s saves, and any PC game worth a damn has no limitations. Saving at fixed save points is an unnecessary consolization of gaming.

        • ItsTheShadsy

          Erm, huh? I think it depends game-to-game. I generally agree that being able to save at any point and restart is a good thing, but many games (particularly ones with interesting strategic setpieces that you have to clear all in one go) benefit from limited save points.

        • valondar

           @ItsTheShadsy:disqus  It’s an acceptable limitation on saves is games preventing you saving during combat.

          But any game which limits your saves to fixed save points is an unacceptable on the PC.

        • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

          @ItsTheShadsy:disqus I disagree. Games with complex set pieces are the worst when they don’t allow saving. Playing the same linear setpiece over and over and over again if you die completely takes me out of the experience and ruins the entire thing.

        • George_Liquor

          @google-ad11b5fc6e812fcfddafc59b953591fe:disqus : I completely agree. It’s another unfortunate result of the PC gaming industry’s shift to half-assed ports of console games.

  • Caleb Nova

    Seems like a lot of people commented who haven’t actually played it. This review is decent but maybe a bit misleading as to the focus. Dead Space 3 is, like the first two games, 95% turning Necromorphs into mulch and 5% interpersonal drama.

    The love triangle thing is, like, a sum total fifteen minutes of a twenty hour game, maybe. And Ellie’s boobs disappear as quickly as they show up – then she spends the rest of the game in armor designed for subzero temperatures, just like you. I guess both of those things are worthy of comment, though the game certainly doesn’t dwell on them. Like the first two games, most of the interesting story elements are in the subtext. The history of the Markers and Isaac’s character progression must be gleaned through a combination of logs and inference.

    Also, Ellie isn’t a scientist. She’s a CEC pilot.

    • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

      Yeah, I haven’t played the game and even I know that. I don’t know why this review decided to focus so much on one minor part of the story. Oh right, because it’s Gameological and they have to be ubercoolische.