previews\ Dec 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Dead Space (iPhone)


One of the primary complaints against iPhone gaming is the lack of hardcore, involved titles that dare to replicate console offerings. Even the PlayStation Portable, itself criticized for poorly replicating console games, has had some bright and shining games in its lineup. For the iPhone to step up as a primary portable gaming system, someone would have to release a game that really knocks it out of the park.

To an extent, iPhone has that game with the visually outstanding Infinity Blade. Sure, if it were released on the 360 or PS3, people wouldn't bat an eye. But on the iPhone, it's a stunner, and a game others should step up to. It might very well be EA. Not only are they releasing a title that looks almost as good as Epic Games' RPG, there's a very established franchise backing it up: Dead Space. Releasing next month, Dead Space for the iPhone is one of the most visually stunning games coming to the device, as well as a promising expansion to the franchise.

Dead Space, from what I played, follows the pattern of its console brethren. Issac will wander through the halls of a derelict ship as necromorphs jump out and flail away at him. Character control, truthfully, runs a bit slower in this version of Dead Space, and the nature of the iPhone means shootouts are generally in small areas where players don't have to run around as much. For example, the first area in the game takes place atop a transport platform moving through a tunnel. Issac can stay back, as wave after wave of necromorphs lurch toward him. Shooting their limbs and taking them apart is a tactic remains the same, and the weapons are instantly recognizable. However, the controls are certainly different.

Dead Space takes the “invisible twin stick" approach to the game, with two points on the screen controlling movement and direction. Shooting is as simple as a tap, switching weapons include tapping on hot keys, and melee attacks are simple swipes up and down on the screen. Picking up items is as easy as tapping on them, and while Issac doesn't control particularly fast, he is easy to move around.

All in all, it feels just like Dead Space. Major thanks can be given to the graphics of this game. Many times, there is very little difference between this and the console version, and in motion, it's dark and moody. Hopefully with a decent pair of headphones, players will be able to experience a scary and impressive game on the go. Hopefully this can be the next great iPhone game for sci-fi horror buffs.

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