In the 26th century, Earth has ran out of resources, fortunately mankind had already perfect space traveling and came up with a "solution", mining other planets for resources using powerful spaceships and bringing those resources to Earth, a practice known as "Planet Cracking". While highly successful, Planet Cracking is very controversial because it involves literally cracking open other planets and destroying them.
At the same time, a new religion called "Unitology" has grown in popularity. This religion believes in a powerful alien artifact called "The marker" which will allegedly save mankind by reviving the dead and turning them into perfect immortal beings. Unitology and Earthgov, the governing force over Earth and many space colonies, have a long lasting feud.
The USG Ishimura, the first and most powerful Planet-Cracker ship, was on a routine mining operation on a remote planet called Aegis VII, when suddenly a distress call was received just before communications were completely cut with Earth. To investigate the situation, Earth sent the USG Kellion maintenance ship to the Ishimura. Among the crew is Isaac Clarke, a Spaceships engineer whose girlfriend Nicole Brennan is aboard of the ship. Upon arrival the Kellion malfunctions and crash lands into the Ishimura docks. The Kellion team leave to find the docks crew for assistance, only to find that the ship is seemingly abandoned and in serious need of repairs. A large chunk on the planet is being held by the Ishimura's gravity tethers, but due to the malfunctioning systems the chunk is slowly descending until the planet's gravity causes it to crash into the planet sooner or later, dragging the Ishimura along with it.
Soon enough, they are attacked by strange invincible aliens. Isaac is separated from the gang during the attack, leaving him to defend against the monsters with no weapons whatsoever. Luckily Isaac finds a Plasma Cutter, a tool commonly used in mining, but being an engineer Isaac modifies it into an impromptu gun. Isaac figures out that the only effective means of defeating the monsters is to cuf off their limbs, shooting their head or trunk does little to them. Isaac manages to find the two Kellion crew members who survived the initial attack, Kendra Daniels and Zach Hammond.
The gang realize that the crew must've been attacked and slaughtered by those aliens, which were named "Necromorphs" during the attack because they reproduce by killing humans and turning corpses into more Necromorphs in a similar fashion a zombie would. With the Kellion destroyed and the Ishimura malfunctioning, the gang must find a way to escape the Necromorph infested ship, while also trying to repair as much of the Ishimura as possible before the planet chunk crashes into the planet. Isaac is also on the look for Nicole hoping she wasn't killed by the Necromorphs.
During his quest Isaac finds recorded messages and text logs about a conspirancy regarding the Unitology religion and the Necromorph invasion, specifically about the Marker. Isaac has always been a big Unitology hater because his mother used to spend his college funds on Unitology stuff. Isaac also gets occasional messages form Nicole asking him to "Make us Whole". Eventually Isaac runs into Dr. Terrence Kyne, another survivor who explains that The Marker does in fact exist, and it's the cause of the invasion. The Necromophs are the alleged perfect beings Unitology talk so much about and the Marker was holding them at bay in Aegis VII but when the Ishimura found it they brought it to the ship, and the Necromorphs awakened. To stop the invasion the Marker must be returned to it's resting place.
Eventually Hammond dies but Isaac finds and repairs a shuttle big enough to carry the Marker and take it to the planet. Kendra betrays Issac, kills Kyne, and feels with The Marker. She calls Isaac to tell him the truh about The Marker; it is actually an artificial, man-made replica that was reverse-engineered from the real Marker long ago. 300 years ago the original Marker was found on Earth, before it's discovery was made public they experimented on it and were able to create the replica Kendra is actually a double-agent sent to recover the Marker replica before the Unitologists could get their hands on it.
Necromorphs were formed by the original Marker and attacked just like in the present. The outbreak was promptly stopped and the original Marker was destroyed but not before word of mouth about it and it's ability to revive the dead lead to the foundation of Unitology, the replica however wasn't destroyed. Still wanting to experiment on it, they secretly took it to Aegis VII. After another Necromorph incident happened the replica was left to rot in the planet until the Ishimura came and rediscovered it, causing the Necromorph invasion to resume.
Kendra takes the shuttle and escapes with the Marker. Luckily Nicole suddenly appears and helps Isaac recover the shuttle, which they take to the planet but Kendra escapes. Upon returning the Marker to it's rightful place the Necromorphs all seemingly die, but the gravity tethers finally break and the planet chunk starts descending. Kendra returns and traps Isaac in a decontamination chamber.
Kendra takes the Marker back and shows Isaac proof that Nicole's been dead the whole time, The Marker was using a Nicole hallucination to manipulate Isaac into bringing it to the planet. Just before Kendra can escape, the Hive Mind, the king of the Necromorphs, appears and kills Kendra. Isaac is forced to kill the Hive Mind and leave the Marker behind to reach the shuttle and escape just before the planet chunk crashes, destroying the colony and the Marker.
In the epilogue Isaac is attacked by the Nicole hallucination causing him to fall into a coma for three years.
Why It Rocks
- Great story which is mainly told via numerous audio, text, and video logs that help uncover what happened to the Ishimura.
- Fitting music.
- The game doesn't rely on jump scare or gross visuals to be scary, instead it relies on the feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia to scare the player by making them feel insecure at all times and does so very well. Small cramped corridors and background noises assist to keep the player tense and fearing a surprise enemy attack at all times. You can even be attacked while using stores or riding an elevator meaning you're never truly safe.
- Dark areas, cramped corridors, and lots of blood stains on the walls that add to the level of claustrophobic fear presented and reinforce that the entire ship's crew was murdered prior to your arrival.
- Early in the game you find a message written in blood that says "CUT OFF THEIR LIMBS" right next to your first weapon. Choose to ignore that and simply go for head shots, and you will have a very, VERY hard time.
- Isaac can use telekinesis (just called kinesis) to solve puzzles and pick up objects in the environment.
- Since Isaac is a Spaceships engineer, most of the puzzles in the game involve repairing the Ishimura.
- Isaac can also use the Stasis ability to slow down certain objects and enemies.
- With the sole exception of the Pulse Rifle, all the weapons in the game are actually mining tools that Isaac finds and uses as impromptu weapons by modyfing them, further emphasizing the fact that Isaac is not a solider but an ordinary engineer trying to survive.
- You can use Kinesis to throw objects at enemies to knock them back,and even use severed enemy limbs as projectiles.
- Loading Screens are camouflaged by having doors be "standby" before opening or a ride on an elevator.
- Rather than sticking to the "aim for the head" gameplay style typical to shooter games, the main gameplay focus is severing the limbs of Necromorphs to defeat them, making combat more strategic with each enemy having different weak points and some enemies become bigger threats if shot in the wrong spot. In fact, headshots barely does any damage to them, though it does disorient some of them. The developers of the game call this, "strategic dismemberment."
- Weapons and abilities can be upgraded using Power Nodes. Power Nodes can also open supply rooms containing ammo, health kits and items to rejuvenate Stasis.
- The game's developers studied real life autopsies to make the Necromorphs look gruesome and disturbing, yet somewhat anatomically realistic over how they are created from mutated human corpses. Some of the more extreme looking Necromorphs are made out of multiple corpses.
- Necromorphs can use the air ducts to travel and can appear at anytime, frequently play dead, they like ambushing and catching you off.guard, and corpses on the floor can become Necromorphs if the player is not careful. This adds to another level of fear because you may never know when they're going to attack.
- The first letter of each chapters' name spells a secret message: N.I.C.O.L.E. I.S. D.E.A.D.
- The sense of fear the game creates relies on not knowing what's going to happen so it becomes less scary after repeated playthroughs because you already know when enemies will appear.
- The "Impossible" difficulty option disappears if you don't pick it immediately.
Dead Space is considered one of the scariest games ever made and each port holds an average over a 4 out of five on GameFAQs.
- Conserving up Ammo should be top priority. If you're spending too much ammo in one enemy encounter, it'd be better to let yourself die and try again. The game has frequent checkpoints and there's no punishment for dying. Also try whenever possible use alternatives to save ammo like throwing severed enemy limbs and sharpened objects with kinesis.
- On average, try to keep only 2 Inventory spaces for each weapon's ammo and sell the rest to buy Power Nods. Power Nods will make you and your weapons stronger so in the long term the investment will begin to pay off. If you know how to efficiently use and conserve ammo, 2 spaces for each weapon should be enough.
- There's an Achievement/Trophy that requires you to beat the game with nothing but the Plasma Cutter. It's best to do this in a New Game Plus, as even though you'll start with other weapons you won't lose the trophy/achievement unless you fire them, and you can use the Power Nods you get for beating the game to improve Isaac's stats faster.
- Do note that you must have the Plasma Gun from the start to be able to do this.