Dead Space Remake Proves Even a Masterpiece Is Never Finished
So, when’s the Dead Space 2 remake coming, EA?
In the context of such a young medium, 2008’s Dead Space feels like another lifetime ago. Times were much simpler: the more linear approach to game design was very much the du jour, there was no pressure to shoehorn in an online mode to satiate the masses, and games-as-a-service titles were still very much a twinkle in EA’s eye.
Fast forward to today, and EA and Motive Studio’s latest Dead Space remake is a timely and much-needed reminder of how great game design can not only endure and survive in this modern day and age but actively flourish.
You see, the 2023 sci-fi horror remake could’ve easily been bungled if it was treated with clumsy fingers, and frankly, the writing was on the wall for just that. Yes, when it was announced that the silent protagonist from the original, Isaac Clarke, was going to make the switch to a more voiced role, you could hear the collective sigh emanate from deep within the Dead Space community. But alas, now that the remake is finally here, we can all rest assured that the change was a good one. Heck, I’d go as far to say that it was an important one.
Of course, one of the key ingredients that helped everyone buy into 2023’s more chatty Isaac Clarke was the reprisal of Dead Space 2 and 3’s Gunner Wright, who voiced the character in those aforementioned sequels. Gunner Wright does a terrific job of bringing back an iconic character from gaming’s history, but it’s also largely thanks to how subtly and seamlessly the extra dialogue fits into the overarching narrative.
Certainly, while the jury was still out over the quality of the Dead Space remake before its release, we can now thankfully confirm that the Dead Space remake has been handled with the utmost reverence and respect for its source material. Indeed, the adoration for the franchise really shines through in a blend of from-the-ground-up retooling and a one-for-one remake that pays homage to the past, while building a striking modernized recreation of the USG Ishimura and its ongoing plight with today’s hardware.
With its new moody lighting breathing life into the claustrophobic hallways of the Ishimura and its additional story context that centers on religious fanaticism and science-gone-awry, there’s a real sense of place that feels fresh and hits differently in 2023.
Furthermore, quality-of-life improvements are slight yet meaningful: Some of the more run-of-the-mill puzzles have been overhauled and improved, the Metroidvania-esque exploration from the original game has been amplified, and the connective tissue between set pieces has been slightly developed to help the plot flow a wee bit better.
Sure, from a structural perspective, the core narrative of Dead Space may remain the same, with the additional dialogue and story context grafted onto its predecessor in smooth and seamless ways. This of course begs the question: Could Motive Studio have added more story and changed the Dead Space mythos even more? I guess, but I think it’s fair to say that going too far with the changes could’ve run the risk of botching the remake of a game that many hold near and dear to their hearts.
As is, the Dead Space remake is a remake done right. It honors the past, while seamlessly adding narrative details and much-needed quality-of-life improvements across the board. The only question now is this: When is the Dead Space 2 remake coming, Motive Studio? Because you’re onto a good thing here, and it’d be a mighty shame if we didn’t see another adventure from everybody’s favorite space mechanic. Make it happen!
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