Warning: Here comes an uninformed opinion about Dead Space 3 based on some reading and Giant Bomb’s Quick Look. I have not played the game. Not even the demo (is there a demo?) Those uninterested feel free to skip this entry. My not-very-unique and unresearched opinion is coming at you!
I don’t like it. I don’t like a number of things about it. Admittedly, I never even finished Dead Space 2 so maybe I am not the target audience. Still, I think it’s a bad precedent to set for full-price, sixty dollar pieces of video game entertainment software. Firstly, I find the DLC prompts scattered throughout the “crafting” interface completely disgusting. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately since it seems to be the direction that the whole industry is listing toward. For those unfamiliar, you can now “craft” weapons in DS3 by collecting materials and gun pieces from the environment and taking them back to a work bench to assemble them. But what happens if you don’t have enough of a certain resource? Why, you can just hit the helpful DLC button and buy materials and parts with real dollar bills. It’s really unsettling when you have a supposedly well-paced gameplay arc in a full-priced product but then put “Give us money to bypass this mechanic!” signs posted at profit-optimal locations. That’s a really effective way to seem scummy.
It’s even worse with the scavenger bots. There are points in the levels where the player can use a hot/cold mechanic to locate places to deploy little scavenger bots who go off and harvest more materials and return them to you after a set amount of time. That’s cool. I like little minions doing labor for me. Unfortunately, that same deployment screen has a helpful little message at the bottom: “Scavenger bot upgrades are available on the marketplace.” Not some in-game marketplace. The Xbox Marketplace. According to my complete lack of research, you can’t even get these upgrades through normally playing the game. They are something you have to specifically pay real dollars for.
Finally, on a petty note, I hate the word “crafting” and the fact that it has become the accepted video game word for collecting arbitrary bits and combining them into useful items. It’s especially irritating to me in DS3 because the word itself completely clashes with the aesthetic of the game. Pick any other word that does not also describe goods on sale at an annual local farmer’s market festival. That isn’t the second half of the phrase “arts and crafts.” That doesn’t conjure to mind the image of artisanal rocking chair-shaped candles. Please, call it “assembly” or “manufacturing” or “gunsmithing” or anything else. But that’s a personal irritation and I don’t know how many feel the same.
Doublefinally, I really don’t like co-op in horror games. It was a surprisingly effective way of removing all tension in Resident Evil 5 and System Shock 2. But maybe DS3 has it all figured out and I’ll never know because I’m not buying it.
That’s a lot of words to say I’m disappointed. In short, I am disappointed. Then there’s that Visceral producer who made some crazy argument that Kids These Days have grown up with microtransactions and require them. That is crazy talk to me. Like Tycho from Penny Arcade said, I don’t think anyone has ever been pissed they can ONLY spend sixty dollars on a video game.
Post Script: I am actually playing DmC and that game is fun! Also there is even additional costume content available to buy on Steam! The crucial difference being it is actual new assets and not a scummy coin doubler or mechanic shortcut.