Dead Space Remake Shows 8 Minutes of Gameplay, “Intensity Director” AI Will Keep Game Scary

Nathan Birch
Dead Space Remake

The Dead Space remake launches in just a few months, and today, EA and Montreal-based developer Motive gave fans their first significant chunk of polished gameplay. Obviously, the game is impressively updated in terms of visuals, but Motive have are making a number of other technical and artistic changes that should make the game feel like an all-new experience when it launches in 2023.

The big one, is that the Ishimura is now completely seamless, with no load screens, which means you can now travel wherever you want without using the tram. With more backtracking possible, Motive has introduced the “Intensity Director,” new AI that will introduce enemies, jump scares, and other things to keep your journey through the Ishimura unpredictable. There will also be new collectibles and side areas to explore, new encounters you could only watch in the original game, and more. You can check out the new extended Dead Space gameplay walkthrough, below.

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Looking intense! Need to know more? Here’s an extensive rundown of some of the new features coming to the Dead Space remake

  • Isaac is fully voiced: Isaac speaks up this time around, like yelling his teammates’ names when they’re in trouble or explaining his plans to fix the Ishimura’s Centrifuge and fuel lines. Hearing him take an active role in the team’s mission makes the entire experience feel more filmlike and authentic. 
  • Interconnected immersion: There are no loading sequences when Isaac hops aboard the Ishimura’s tram to quickly travel between destinations like Cargo and the Medical areas. This is all part of Motive’s goal for an immersive, connected setting.
  • Zero G freedom: In the original Dead Space, zero-gravity sections let Isaac leap across platforms using special boots. You now have the freedom to float in 360 degrees, lending to the spacewalk fantasy. Isaac also now has a propulsion boost, which is handy for dodging necromorphs lunging through space.
  • Intense new moments: During chapter 2 Isaac must obtain higher security clearance off the dead Captain’s Rig. The Captain’s corpse is attacked by an Infector, causing him to turn into a necromorph. In the 2008 sequence, players watch the change safely behind glass. In the remake, Isaac experiences this horrifying transformation up close and personal, harkening back to the dramatic real-time necromorph transformation at the beginning of Dead Space 2.
  • Circuit breakers: New junction boxes require Isaac to reroute power between different Ishimura functions. In one scenario, I needed to reroute power to a refueling station, and I could choose between cutting the lights or oxygen supply to make this happen. Situations like this allow players to pick their poison when need be – I chose to play in the dark rather than risk suffocation.
  • Big moments feel bigger: The vivid lighting and visual effects make dramatic moments feel even more impressive. Later in chapter 3 Isaac restarts the Ishimura’s centrifuge. A combination of effects explode into action as the giant machinery kicks online – giant pieces of the machine rumble violently, sparks fly as metal grinds, the huge swinging arm casts large shadows against the orange auxiliary power lights. It’s a feast for the senses and draws you in deeper to the experience.
  • Incentivized exploration: Locked doors and loot containers have been added to the Ishimura, which Isaac can access after acquiring upgraded security clearance. This incentivizes players to return to previously cleared areas to uncover resources and upgrade materials. One locked door even involves a new side quest revealing a bit more about Isaac’s missing partner, Nicole.
  • Intensity director: But don’t let your guard down just because you’re returning to known territory. Motive keeps players on their toes with the Intensity Director, which will ratchet up suspense with creepy noises like creaking vents, surprised like bursting pipes, and unexpected necromorph attacks.
  • Expanded weapon upgrade paths: What good is hunting for bonus resources without a place to invest them? New weapon upgrade items can be attached to the Plasma Cutter, Pulse Rifle, and more to add extra upgrade paths to spend nodes. It’s to be determined if this incorporates new weapon mechanics, or simply additional enhancements to damage, reload speed, ammo capacity, etc.
  • Enhanced visuals: A rich layer of visual polish has been applied to the entire experience. Small details set the mood, including floating dust particles, ominous fog hanging above the floor, dripping blood stains, and dingy lighting.
  • Small details enhance narrative: Isaac builds his Plasma Cutter out of composite parts at a workbench instead of simply picking it up, signaling his engineering background. Similarly, when Isaac collects his Statis Module, he first picks up the severed limb it’s attached to, its previous owner likely having been dismembered by a nearby malfunctioning door. These micro storytelling moments drew me in.
  • Tested gameplay: Combat packs the same satisfying familiarity, but with added smoothness. Flicking the Plasma Cutter to vertical and horizontal aim modes while blasting off necromorph limbs is fluid and fast.
  • Stasis strategy: Isaac’s handy slo-mo field is still a charm with crowd control. In one encounter, I used stasis to freeze an enemy near an explosive cannister, then waited until another enemy approached before shooting it and blowing both monsters to bits.
  • Upgrade your way: The Bench remains a fun way to customize Isaac to fit your playstyle using precious nodes hidden around the Ishimura. This time, I invested in suit upgrades that boosted my Statis Module’s area of effect to help coral more enemies at once. You can also upgrade your weapon’s damage, ammo capacity, and reload speed.
  • In-universe UI: Back in 2008 Dead Space’s projected user interface was ahead of its time, and today it still feels futuristic. Bringing up Isaac’s projected menu in real-time preserves the immersion and immediacy. Plus, the menu text and icons look even more crisp and clean in 4K.
  • Gory details: Every blast of Isaac’s weapons tears away flesh, muscle, and eventually shatters bone. More than a gnarly visual effect, the detailed damage offers feedback about how close players are to snapping off a limb and downing a necro.

Dead Space creeps onto PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5 on January 27, 2023.

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