Dead Space 3's co-op draws a frosty reception

EA's drop-in, drop out co-op sequel is horrifying - but maybe for the wrong reasons

This article originally appeared in Xbox World magazine.

Dead Space 3 will contain a greater variety of locations than any game in the series - including traditional, corridor-style, tension - but the 20 min E3 demo's relentless action makes EA's cherished sci-fi horror look worryingly generic.

Our demo starts with Isaac frozen, hanging from a wrecked spacecraft, before cutting himself loose and exploring the frozen wastes of Tau Volantis. In no time, he's jumped by hordes of necromorph hybrids, quickly dispatched by your line gun. Isaac hooks up with Sgt John Carver, and they fight a series of human foes while shuffling around cover.


It looks a lot like Gears of War, though EA insist the cover system is more instinctive. You don't 'lock' to cover, but shuffle, allowing more dynamic gun fights. The smartest bit is how drop-in co-op works, changing the nature of (largely stasis-led) puzzles and altering key cut scenes.

The demo ends with a scrap against a screen-size insectoid, who sucks you into its guts. Oddly, it's not that scary - just loud - and there's a feeling that EA are losing a grip on their own universe; spawning new enemies on-the-fly, purely for the spectacle, not tied to lore. Technically, it's superb, but chasing the Call of Duty audience jars with the series' roots.