Review: Dead Space 3: Awakened DLC functions like a disturbed nap
If you haven’t played Dead Space 3 yet, there will be SPOILERS here since Awakened takes place directly after the end of the standard game. So if you’re someone who hates SPOILERS, you should probably stop reading here and go finish Dead Space 3 already.
Much like trying to get Mega Man off the moon, Dead Space 3: Awakened gets Isaac and Carver down from floating to their deaths in space. I honestly thought we’d have to wait until the next Dead Space title to find out how our heroes survive. The tragic ending of Dead Space 3 left us wondering if Isaac’s story would just end anticlimactically with him being left by Ellie.
Isaac and Carver awaken back on the surface of Tau Volantis with a bunch of unanswered questions: How did they get there? Are they even alive? Seriously, Isaac starts to question if he is dead, alive, or even a Necromorph. After the two heroes destroyed the evil moon, it would only make sense that the Necromorph threat would be over -- right? RIGHT? Of course not.
After all, “Brother moons are awake” is what the chapters of Dead Space 3 spell out. These brother moons want to feed and make more Necromorphs. Where is there a better place to feed than on Earth? The goal of the moons in Awakened is to have Isaac and Carver lead them to Earth to assimilate it and feed upon it. “We are coming, we are hungry.”
My favorite parts of Dead Space 3 were those Carver-specific optional missions. There was nothing better than watching Carver just standing there while my friend playing as him is telling me about all the crazy toy soldiers he’s seeing. Awakened is full of this sort of dementia. As a player, you even start questioning what’s happening, if anything is real, or if Isaac has finally lost it.
Here’s the thing, while I love the dementia sequences, they are quite abundant. For how short Awakened is, the sequences are a bit overdone. This leads me to a whole new question: why were there so few dementia sequences in Dead Space 3? This DLC and the Carver missions proved that the series had not forgotten about Isaac’s madness; instead, the game focused on action and a love story. The more crazy Isaac is, the better.
While playing through Awakened, I actually felt like I was in the original Dead Space -- trapped on a ship, losing trust of those I know, seeing things that aren’t there and cutting through Necromorphs. This is the strength of the Awakened. There were horror elements lost in Dead Space 3 which felt familiar and welcoming. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole cult psychosis and the unkillable “prophet” lurking around certain corners.
Awakened isn't without flaws, though. The DLC is extremely short, and the environment is just a retread of Dead Space 3. I ran through Awakened on normal in 90 minutes. For $10 (800 Microsoft Points), that’s just not enough content. Sure, that turns into three hours if you play single-player and co-op, but I wanted more. Early in DS3, you travel to the Terra Nova -- you do that again in the DLC. It has a lot more blood, candles and Unitologists, but it’s still the same place. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED when you return to the Ishimura in Dead Space 2, but this isn't nearly the same.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Awakened. I like the concept; I like that it continued the story. I like the questioned existence; and I like the dementia. I didn’t like the length or repetition. I won’t spoil the ending, but it definitely sets up future story DLC or even a fourth Dead Space -- funding pending. If you’re like me and you need to know what happens next in the story, I say get it but do not set an evening aside for it. For everyone else, I say wait for a sale.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]