Posted by Roger Ma on Feb 1, 2013

Dead Space 3’s Co-Op, What Resident Evil 5 should have done

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Back at E3 2012 when Dead Space 3 was first officially announced, there were looks of horror on people’s faces and it wasn’t because of the Necromorphs. But rather at the game’s “sudden” change of direction from a straight out survival horror game to what looked like ‘Gears of War mixed with Lost Planet’.

But one feature that we never expected to be in a Dead Space game was that of co-op, perhaps one of the most controversial addition to the latest game in the highly successful and critically acclaimed series.

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But wait a minute; haven’t we all seen this before: A successful survival horror series introducing a new setting, features, and gameplay in order to make the game more popular with wider audiences? Oh yes that’s right Resident Evil 5 back in 2009.

Ticking all the boxes of the path that Resident Evil 5 took, Dead Space 3 has introduced co-op gameplay whether you like it or not – but unlike Resident Evil 5, Dead Space 3’s co-op experience differs greatly, and thankfully so. Built from the ground up, Dead Space 3’s co-op mode cherry picks the best parts from other games that offers a co-op mode such as Resident Evil 5, Halo, Gears of War, Fable 2 & 3, and leaves out the bits that made them suck.

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Learn from the mistakes of other co-op games, Dead Space 3’s co-op mode isn’t forced upon players with a AI companion following you around when you’re playing by yourself – but rather it’s fully drop in drop out meaning a friend can join your game wherever you are, not matter each other’s individual progress.

Speaking with Dead Space 3 Producer John Calhoun at a recent hand-on preview with a near finished build of the game, he explained that Dead Space 3’s co-op mode is the most challenging thing the development team has undertook from both a technique and gameplay stand point.

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As the co-op is drop in drop out, co-op needs to be valuable to both players, and to achieve this all progress and actions carried out in a friend’s game such as items found, weapons crafted or chapters completed will be remembered and saved to the second player’s profile – meaning that the time spent won’t be wasted.

There are no limitations with drop in drop out co-op, as Calhoun explained “If you played Dead Space 3 all the way to the very end, and your friend picks up a copy he can join you at the very end even though he’s never played it before.” It’s all about player choice in Dead Space 3.

And with that said, you don’t have to play co-op if you don’t want to. There is no significant difference in terms of story playing through the game single player or co-op. The goals and objectives are still the same; players won’t be missing out on important story facts if they stick with single player or visa versa with co-op.

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What changes between the two modes is tone of the game. As Calhoun explained, “[The game] changes its tone from one of isolation and individual survival. When you’re playing co-op it’s about two people who come from very different backgrounds – engineer and a solider who have to rely on each other to survive. They talk to each other, they disagree, they yell, but they also share in their triumphs and successes so that’s very different tone and changes the way the game feels. While it’s not true to say the game’s story is completely different, it’s true to say that the game feels different and players will experience it differently.”

Again it’s entirely up to players if they choice to play Dead Space 3 in co-op or single player. It’s an option for those that want it, and those that don’t want it don’t have to play it. John Carver the game’s second protagonist fits in perfectly no mater what mode you choice, and his story is told regardless of the mode you choice to play. Players aren’t going to miss out on a major plot point because of their choice of mode, the game has been built around both modes and accommodates for the addition of a secondary player at any given time.

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If you’re still sceptical on whether or not Dead Space 3 is a survival horror game or an action game any more go on a read the full interview with Dead Space 3 producer John Calhoun “It’s not a action game”. And while you’re at it check out our hands-on impression of the first three hours of Dead Space 3.

Dead Space 3 is set to be released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC on February 5 in North American and February 7 in Australia.

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