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Feb 01, 2023

Dead Space (2023) Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $59.99
  • Developer: Motive
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Released: Jan 27, 2023
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5
  • Reviewed: Windows

EA once told IGN in an interview from 2015 that they “don’t know where we find the time to do remakes”. Well a lot has happened since then, and it’s good that the leadership at Electronic Arts has changed their mind on this. The remake of Dead Space from Motive is a familiar yet surprisingly foreign trek through the acclaimed survival horror game set in space. Everything you remember about the 2008 original has been completely remade, expanded, or even rearranged. It transforms the places you explored into more believable atmospheric environments that are unsettling. Dead Space remains my favorite survival horror game, and is the definitive way to play it.


Dead Space begins with a shuttle approaching the planet cracker known as the USG Ishimura, which has sent out a distress call. You play as Isaac Clarke, a once voiceless protagonist is now fully voiced in this remake like he was in Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3. After a not-so-smooth landing, the crew set out to fix what’s wrong with the ship and get everyone home, though Isaac is here for personal reasons, as his girlfriend is aboard. Isaac works for the Concordance Extraction Corporation (or CEC), and this engineer turned warrior and savior of the Ishimura goes on a tense and unforgettable journey.

There’s many additions and quality of life improvements that come in this remake of Dead Space. While using the design and skeleton of the original game, this is a remake in every sense of the word. A pain point in the original game was a turret sequence that wasn’t fun to take part in. That’s been completely taken out and replaced with something way more engaging and exciting, that’s fitting for a game in 2023. My favorite thing, is how the game will load your most recent save so that you pick up right where you left off in no time at all. Rooms have either been added or now have security clearances on them, which you get as you progress through the game, which unlock unique items or essential health and ammo pickups. Motive didn’t have to go so hard, but there are now side quests to take on that have a seamless integration into the game, and help flesh out the lore. Lastly, in New Game+ there’s a final suit upgrade that’s only available there, and an Impossible Mode for those who are looking for the most challenging way to play the game.

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Since Isaac is an engineer, he doesn’t have traditional weapons, but rather tools that are re-purposed to be used as weapons in order to survive the ship of horrors. The plasma cutter is the first thing you find, and is something you can take all the way to the end of the game with (there’s even an achievement for only using the plasma cutter). The next couple of weapons you find, the pulse rifle and ripper kinda suck, and aren’t super effective. But then you get things like the flamethrower and line gun, and they make you forget all about them. There are four weapons you can have equipped at any time, which allows you to swap between them at ease. This is a survival horror game after all, so you will have to manage an inventory. If your inventory gets full, at store stations you can move them into storage for later. Ammo and items are scarce, but you’ll be thankful to find them. Dead Space has a director that determines what you need based on the weapon you’re using and the ammo you’re expending, determining

The defining element about Dead Space is dismemberment. You have to shoot the limbs off this space monsters in order to kill them, because it’s not about getting head shots. Over time this becomes very mechanical compared to the first couple of hours where you’re panicking at every encounter. For good measure, Isaac has a terrific stomp as a last ditch melee attack, but also gives you extra loot to spill out from their corpses. The game is all about slowing down your enemies and maintaining a distance. This is helped when you’re given the stasis ability early on, it lets you target a specific thing that will make it move through time slower. With enemies, you can slow down a few, and target their limbs while they can’t attack in real-time. This can also be used for puzzle-solving, as using it on a door that is violently opening and closing, now allows you to pass by unscathed. Kinesis is an invaluable and infinite ability that lets you pull items towards you or carry objects around in order to solve a puzzle. All of these elements give Isaac the edge in combat, and it’s left to you to use them to the fullest.


Isaac wears a RIG, and it displays the health along the spine for easy readability, something that in The Callisto Protocol moved to just the neck, but was too hard to see depending if the character turned their head or not. In Dead Space, it’s positioned perfectly and gives you the necessary information at all times. Isaac’s journey can be observed many ways, but seeing him go from his basic engineering suit to a fully armored combat suit is the most telling aspect. It really impresses onto the player that they are in fact getting stronger. Purchasing new suits for Isaac are not the only form of progress, you can acquire blueprints to unlock more options and nodes to invest into making Isaac stronger or weapons more powerful.

Save stations are the only way to save your game manually, and these are sprinkled evenly and fairly throughout the game. These are part of the game, and I made use of them liberally. There’s no limit to how often you can save, so I tend to save whenever possible. Near save stations are store stations, which can be used to buy med packs, ammo, upgrades, and conversely allow you to sell items you no longer want in order to get that sought after item. If you explore every area thoroughly, you’ll often come out with many trinkets that can be sold, or outright more money than you walked into the room with. The economy is very balanced, and getting the things you want is very attainable.

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The game is very good about clearly defining your objectives, and an easy-to-read map helps point you in the right direction. Additionally, you can use the RIG’s locator to display a glowing line towards your next objective. It’s unobtrusive, and feels like an in-universe way of navigating these ships. There’s lots of audio and text logs to find, these are a form of collectible and offer really great insight to the goings on in and around the Ishimura. Not only these are they interesting, but they also help to enhance the atmosphere as you make your way to your next destination.

There are often moments you’ll have to make decisions about circuit breakers. They’re limited in that there’s not enough power for all systems. So you’ll have to decide to turn off the lights, not see monsters and only hear them or turn off life support and slowly run out of air but be able to see and not hear. Every tool and weapon Isaac holds thankfully has a flashlight, so the compromise of no lights can be somewhat combated by using them instead. These don’t happen a lot, but it’s a real effective tool in keeping you on the edge of your seat at all times.


Every character has not only received a major face lift, but there’s more voice acting too. Isaac is now voiced like he ended up being in the sequels, and also has the likeness of the voice actor portraying him. Weirdly Isaac doesn’t always emote with his body, despite now his voice expressing emotion. An early example is in the first chapter where a character he arrived with gets attacked, his voice is panicked and helpless, but his character is just in an idle animation. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, you notice. The story of Dead Space isn’t it’s greatest strength, but it manages to hold surprises for new and returning players, especially for a key reveal at the end – it still got me.

Another major change from the original release of Dead Space, is that you’re free to explore the Ishimura due to no loading screens separating the levels. The in-game tram now resembles open-world games, loading areas faster, and allowing things to be interconnected if you’re willing to walk them. Things are a bit more locked down at the start, but by the end you’re able to access all areas of the ship, as you ensure you’ve found everything there is to find. As a result of this freedom, the USG Ishimura becomes more of a place this time around, a character unto itself. There are times you’ll backtrack to areas you’ve been before, but it becomes transformed due to certain events, and it just has this consistent unsettling sense of foreboding.

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Dead Space is full of so many graphic details, big and small. When Isaac has to venture out into space, or an area compromised of oxygen, his suit will slowly ice up due to exposure. Then once he’s inside, that suit will now melt the ice and become shiny in appearance until it dries. It’s such a small detail that’s so effective. The entire time you’re aboard the Ishimura, you’re hear clanging, banging, screaming, and other ambient noises of things happening elsewhere on the ship that lets you know you’re not alone, but that it’s not happening to you. Sound is further used to great effect for Isaac in the heartbeat, which is used when intense moments occur on screen or after he’s been sprinting for a while.

The game looks absolutely amazing. I had every setting maxed in 1440p, to include the Ray Tracing Ambient Occlusion option. I was then able to achieve framerates over 60fps with no problem, thanks to DLSS in Quality mode. I never noticed any artifacting or loss of detail while using it, and it was just what I needed to keep smooth framerates. I think it’s worth calling out in over the dozen hours I played the game, I experienced zero performance issues and not a single crash. The game has been perfectly smooth since day one, a rarity these days.

My PC Specs:

– Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
– Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5Ghz (Turbo)
– Corsair H115i RGB PLATINUM 97 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
– Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
– Seagate FireCuda SSD (500GB)
– Seagate BarraCuda SSD (1TB + 2TB)
– OWC Aura P12 NVMe SSD (2TB)

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This version and reworking of Dead Space fixes all issues with the original, adds new content of substance, and quality of life improvements all-around. I don’t often replay games, but I’m eager to start my run in New Game+ on a harder difficulty already. Knowing that this was remade from the ground-up still manages to trick the brain into thinking this is how it used to look back in 2008, but couldn’t be more wrong. This is one of the best survival horror games ever, and sits in the pantheon of great remakes like Resident Evil 2. I hope Motive continue to be the caretakers of the Dead Space estate, as they possess the blueprint for what a remake should be. Dead Space is a horror classic for a new generation, and it’s better than ever.

Steam code was provided by the publisher for review purposes