The most frustrating threat in the original Dead Space isn’t hell beasts set on tearing you limb from limb, it’s something positively humdrum in comparison: asteroids. In one particular segment of the sci-fi horror, you have to blast hunks of space rock out of the sky before they smear you across the deck of the USG Ishimura.
Sat in an inaccurate turret welded to the side of the spaceship’s hull, trying to shoot space rocks that raced toward me at Mach speed, had me questioning why I was even replaying Dead Space in the first place.
I hated that turret section in the original Dead Space, and I was prepared to hate it again in the newly released remake. But when I reached it, I found developer EA Motive had completely fixed it.
This is where the Dead Space remake truly excels, not in its overhauled graphics and updated control scheme but in jettisoning sections of the game that haven’t stood the test of time.
The new section is similar to the old – a hail of asteroids threatens the USG Ishimura and you need to use turrets to stop them–, but instead of sitting in the gunner’s seat, you approach the problem like the engineer you are.
While the original Dead Space featured zero gravity segments, you had to leap off and land at pre-determined spots. In the later games, that was expanded to let you turn off your magnetic boots and float free and land where you wished. EA Motive has brought that functionality into the Dead Space remake and used it to retool the asteroid segment.
Firing out of the Ishimura’s airlock, you float around the ship, using your Statis tool to move the turrets, so they have a clear shot on the incoming asteroids. Instead of being a test of your aim, it’s a challenge of managing your oxygen supply and Statis reserves. Now, that’s easier said than done. You also have to contend with various Necromorph nasties floating in and disrupting your progress and ensuring Isaac’s got enough O2 to survive the trip.
This new version leans into Clarke’s expertise as an engineer.
Another significantly improved encounter in the Dead Space remake is the bout with the Leviathan. The gigantic monster resides inside Food Storage, actively poisoning the area.
In the original Dead Space, you take the monster on in limited zero-g, floating about and shooting at its tentacles before it opens its mouth, giving you a more vulnerable target to shoot. The steps in the remake are the same, except in the new version you’re able to fly around freely, making dodging tentacles and acid sacks a much fairer task. There’s also a better array of health and ammunition to stock up on before those doors reveal the horrors inside.
The Leviathan is far more imposing in the remake. It not only looks physically better, thanks to ray tracing in Dead Space, but it has a better sense of presence, engorging the entire hull deck rather than appearing to simply be stuck to a wall. You also don’t need to get quite as close to deal damage, meaning there’s a further range of view, so battling the big bad is far more thrilling than frustrating.
This is the real strength of a remake over a remaster: it’s an opportunity to do better. The original Dead Space wasn’t perfect, and it’s okay to acknowledge and address that with design changes. Every change EA Motive has made to Dead Space makes it a more fitting start to the games that followed, making the leap between the first and second game more of an easy step. If you were ever put off from finishing the first game in the series due to these moments, the reimagining may win you back to see it through to the bitter, bloody end.
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Aleksha McLoughlin is the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming and oversees all hardware coverage for the site. She looks after buying guides, writes hardware reviews, news, and features as well as manages the hardware team. Before joining TRG she was the Hardware Editor for sister publication GamesRadar+ and she has also been PC Guide's Hardware Specialist. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of Trusted Reviews, The Metro, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.