Isaac Clarke: The World’s Unluckiest/Luckiest Man

18 Feb

You know, video game companies, you can only include random tragedies to stretch out the story so many times before we get suspicious. I mean, it was surprising the first time Isaac Clarke fell off the mountain, but after it starts happening every five seconds, it’s pretty clear that Isaac just wants to go sledding.

“Fuck space zombies, I wanna go again! Weeeeee!”

Anyway, other than emasculating science fiction’s saddest man, today we’ll be looking at Dead Space 3! You know, that game whose demo I played? The one about the world’s worst religion who wants to make everybody a space zombie because of… reasons?

You know. That one.

Dead Space 3 decides to start off with a plot recap, which explains what’s going on for the newcomers. Basically, Markers are alien religious symbols which turn people in to space zombies. There’s a religion called Unitology which worship them for… some idiotic reason. (Seriously, that’s like if crosses summoned Satan. Or if Buddha statues spread syphilis.)

Don't answer that.

Wait, how do we know they DON’T?!

So, in the future, a mining ship ends up finding a Marker and space zombies abound. Isaac Clarke, engineer and action star, manages to nuke the fucker and escape. He escapes… directly to a space station where the military makes another Marker. Rinse and repeat.

(And, in Dead Space 2, he comes across a pilot named Ellie. They make a great team, she’s just as capable as he is, she dresses in standard combat armour, she gets her eye gouged out, and nothing romantic happens between the two of them. Remember that, it’ll hurt later.)

Skip to this game… which decides to skip 200 years to the past. LETS DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN!

Anyway, the prologue features a new character who we’ve never seen before and we’ll never see again. He searches for a magical plot device on a snowy planet, shoots some space zombies, and falls off a mountain. (This’ll be a recurring theme.)

Mister “Will-Never-Be-Seen-Again-So-Don’t-Bother-Remembering-Him” survives, some gruff military stereotype decides to award him with the first prize: bullet in the head (available for a limited time)! But he was apparently a cheater, because after breaking the plot device, he awards himself!

Selfish jerk.

Finally, we jump back to the future (Insert Christopher Lloyd quote here) where Isaac Clarke has gone all emo since the last game. In between games, he and Ellie decided to start dating, but she dumped him almost immediately. Now, you might be saying, “what does this have to do with space zombies?”

That’s an excellent question.

Suddenly, military shmucks from Earthgov jump in! Turns out that Ellie wanted to get away from Isaac so much, she volunteered to go on a suicide mission to Tau Volantis, that snowy planet from the beginning which just happens to be full of Markers.

YES LETS SEND THE WOMAN WITH ONE EYE AND NO MILITARY TRAINING TO AN ICE PLANET FULL OF ZOMBIES THAT IS OUR BEST IDEA EVER.

A better future for zombies!

Earthgov is kind of a moron.

Isaac naturally agrees to tag along, because nobody can do anything in this series without him, but not before the Space Pope pops in and says “by the way I’ve built Markers in every single city in the galaxy” just to make things seem more exciting later on. This raises the plot hole of why Earthgov decided to let the evil, murderous Unitologists build conspicuous zombie factories everywhere, but you’re not supposed to notice that. SHUSH!

Now we enter the game in actual! I want to get my final opinion out of the way now so I can gripe later; pretty good game, not as good as Dead Space 2, has several head scratching moments, story goes all over the place, but shooting things is really fun, give it a try before you buy it.

And now that that’s over with, I present to you: my top 5 favourite and my top 5 least favourite things about Dead Space 3! 

Top 5: As The World Falls Down

Occasionally the game gets bored throwing normal zombies at you, so it drops you off a cliff and makes you shoot them well you fall. It’s well made, looks cool and goddammit that David Bowie song is stuck in my head.

Bottom 5: EVERYTHING Falls Down

Apparently Isaac Clarke is really, really fat.

(Apparently.)

Look at that tub.

At least that’s the impression I get! Every thing Isaac touches, he destroys. He stands on a ladder, the ladder breaks. He stands on a spaceship, the spaceship breaks. He stands on a fucking mountain, and the mountain breaks. At this point, Isaac could just save the day by jumping on all the zombies. Hey, it worked for everything else!

It’s a classic tactic for making the game longer. If it would only take ten seconds to go to where you want- whoops! You fell off a mountain! Now it’ll take 2 hours.

Either the writers are lazy or Isaac Clarke is simultaneously the world’s luckiest/unluckiest. Always gets in horrible accidents and always comes out on top. He could try to fuck a supernova and I’m guessing he’d walk away fine.

Top 4: The Designs

Hey, who likes mutilated corpses? Put up your hands!

Thank you for your honesty. The authorities have been notified.

The way the Markers work is that they twist a body in to grotesque forms to make the space zombies. So swords are made out of bones, normal acid is made out of stomach acid, etcetera, etcetera.

Fun Fact: the programmers apparently went to see mutilated corpses so they’d get inspiration for the zombie designs. I’m sure that must have been a fun conversation.

“Hey, can you let us in to the morgue? We want to see corpses! Not for anything creepy, though. We just want to make space zombies!”

pointypointypointy

You really have to be careful when you try to high five these guys.

Bottom 4: The Story

Now, I’m not saying that the story itself is bad. It’s a decent adventure, the stakes are nice and high, all is good. But the details are where this thing falls apart like a skyscraper  made out of handkerchiefs.

Exposition comes and goes, characters change their motivations scene to scene, whole scenes are spent making no sense only for somebody to explain it, it’s a mess. Just like everything Isaac touches.

There were two moments of sheer, what-the-fuckery. First, after building up the conflict with Space Pope the entire game, Isaac finally manages to corner him… and then some random rocks fall. And he dies.

Eat my ass, Dead Space 3. 

And the other is the fact that after Isaac teams up with Earthgov to go on the mission, they go to the planet… and then immediately steer directly in to a mine field.

Worst. Military. Ever. No wonder this is a suicide mission, just being near these idiots qualifies as suicide! Or hey, maybe it’s that classic Isaac anti-luck.

Top 3: Bench

You know, for an engineer, Isaac really doesn’t engineer a lot. All he does is put pieces in to a machine, press a button, and suddenly plot device!

So when this game comes around and gives us the option to make guns from scratch, it’s pretty fucking awesome. You collect pieces as the game goes on, so you can swap pieces in and out. It’s like the world’s deadliest Lego set.

DUN DUN DUN!

I mean, deadlier than they normally are.

Have a shotgun? Switch a piece, now you have a lightning gun. Switch a piece, now you have a javelin. Switch a piece, now you have milkshake. Switch a piece, now you have a hot pink vibrator. Switch a piece, now you have a nubile slave girl.

Bottom 3: Ellie 

Good god, Ellie.

So, after you reunite with Ellie, what happens? She A), is wearing a low cut top for no reason, B), has two eyes again for no reason and C), starts making out with her current boyfriend right in front of Isaac. 

Listen, bitch, I have killed so many space zombies and I have risked my life seventy billion times in the last five minutes. Ten seconds ago, me and the moron brigade just piloted directly in to a mine field so the least you could do is say hello.

“Oh hi, Isaac! Thanks for saving us forever again. One second, I need to tongue this guy.”

She spends the entire game apologizing for her boyfriend being a dick until you kill him (spoilers, by the way), and then she starts being all bitchy. She tries to give you the silent treatment over the radio while you’re trying to give mission critical information.

Hey, Ellie, the elevator’s over by the- oh, what’s that? You don’t want to talk? Okay, I’ll let you get skull fucked by nightmare monsters.

Until finally, her character arc is completed: she starts tonguing Isaac before her last boyfriend’s corpse is ever cold. Classy, Ellie.

Classy.

Stop masturbating. It's a drawing.

Stop masturbating. It’s just a drawing. Of a bitch.

Top 2: Combat

In a universe where every single intellectual property has to have zombies, Dead Space 3 distinguishes itself in one way: dismemberment. See, to kill all the space zombies, you have to tear them apart limb from limb. This is a pretty awesome way to kill things, you’ve got to hand it to them!

I’ll go sit in the corner.

Bottom 2: Greedy Online

THIS PISSES ME OFF.

The game features suits, and upgrades, and weapons and other downloadable goodies to make the game easier… but only if you pay them. And by “make the game easier”, I mean it completely breaks it. I got a free download code, so I bought a gun that RUINED the game. It took the difficulty curve and snapped it over it’s knee like a wet space zombie.

Lemme repeat that: you have to pay EXTRA… just so you don’t have to try as hard. Or, in other words, you pay not to play the game that you paid for.

But wait! It gets better!

See, everything costs materials to build, so if you’re low on a certain material, you can’t built things. But you have scavenge bots do collect materials after time, so its fine! Unless, of course you’re a greedy fuckwad who can’t wait the time and wants to spend ACTUAL money for something the game does anyway. You hear that? IT DOES IT ANYWAY.

Fuck you, EA.

I think I just answered my own question.

This has nothing to do with the fucking of EA but why is there fan art of Ellie? She doesn’t do anything! Is it just because she has boobs?

Top 1: Jokes

There aren’t many jokes in this game. Which is obvious, because it’s not trying to be a funny game. But… I’m not sure if you noticed… but I like jokes!

The only time I find the characters truly engaging is when they’re telling jokes. They can soliloquy till the cows come home, but a single dick joke makes me like these characters a thousand times more.

For example, at one point, Ellie sends you off for some technobabble and tells you to be careful.

“Oh, what?” Isaac answers. “Is something going to try to eat me? I hadn’t noticed.”

I burst out laughing at that point. Ellie, of course, tells him off. And if I had control, I’m pretty sure Isaac’s response would be “Oh, shut up, or I’ll throw your boyfriend’s desecrated corpse at your head again”.

(Yes, I did that. I… I have issues.)

Bottom 1: Co-op

Okay, this is the real sticking point.

Dead Space 3 built it’s entire marketing campaign around one fact: it has two player! Said two player plays as Carver, a rough and tumble space marine who has a penchant for shouting the obvious and hitting things with axes.

I like him!

After finishing the single player, I was excited to play two player. Because Carver has a pretty significant part in the story, and it’s always so surreal that the game has to pretend like he’s there even when he’s not. He’ll pop up in a cinematic, then disappear once the actual game starts.

“So, there’s the alien fortress!”

“That’s right, Carver. We have to go and stop the Space Pope from going Majora’s Mask on our asses!”

“Alright, Isaac. As long as we’re together, we can anything!”

“Lets rock, Carver! Where will we go first?”

“…”

“Carver? Where are you?”

“…”

“Oh, fuck this.”

But it’s a lie. It’s all a fucking lie. The co-op is only allowed if you’re online! Because, apparently, having two players play in the same room would “spoil the mood”.

What is this, some kind of romantic candle lit dinner? And having somebody else here would put you off your risotto? You’re one picky son of a bitch, Dead Space 3!

But that’s not the real reason, is it? No, it’s because they want you to have to buy two X-Boxes, two copies of Dead Space 3, two controllers, and two online passes. Or, you know, I could just play another fucking game.

Dead Space 3, you are going to the special level of hell, just for that dickery. Or maybe you already LIVE on the special level of hell, that wouldn’t surprise me.

Just to think, all the time I spent finding and upkeeping friends, all for nothing!

That's actually better than what she wears in the game.

Here, have some more cheesecake. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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One Response to “Isaac Clarke: The World’s Unluckiest/Luckiest Man”

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  1. Lara Croft, The Human Chew Toy | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - March 26, 2013

    […] she crashes directly in to an island. Apparently she’s been getting piloting lessons from Isaac Clarke. Said island happens to be the home of about a million cultists who want nothing more than to shove […]

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