Titan Station, known as the Sprawl, hangs in orbit around one of Saturn’s moons, sparkling gray in the cold and unforgiving black of the vacuum between stars. Within the space station, a Church of Unitology convert, code-named Vandal begins to carry out the sabotage orders passed down by the head of the Church. This is the setting for the new Dead Space for Android and all those other mobile devices. When said sabotage ends up releasing a horde of necromorphs, the fun really begins.
The new Dead Space has all the pomp and circumstance of the console and PC titles; it’s still a third person survival horror game with a lot of suspense and gore along with a great spin on zombies. Players are tasked with helping Vandal put to rights the disaster set in motion at the beginning of the game. The HUD is still shown clearly via the Resource Integration Gear — the RIG spacesuit with its distinctive glowing spine — and ammo cues, leaving the screen clear for all the 1080p HD glory available on Android devices.
On both visual and auditory fronts it’s just as gorgeous as expected for a triple-A title. Small screens offer crisp, near-console quality graphics,with a full voice cast. The game suggests using headphones for a fully immersive experience, though it’s worth pointing out for the average player this is never going to have the same depth of immersion as the console or PC versions. Dead Space mobile does an excellent job of making you jump out of your skin, but the qualifier “for a mobile game” is there, lurking; you’ll need Android accessories — like the suggested headphones — to feel surrounded by the Sprawl the way a console player does automatically with a TV and a darkened room. This game is worthy of an Android projector and surround sound. Don’t try to play this one on a crowded train. Give it the respect due if you want to get the most for your money – at $7 you’ll want to pay attention.
In terms of plot this is a must-have for fans of the Dead Space series. Set three years after the events on the USG Ishimura in the original game for consoles and PC, it takes place in close proximity to the locales of DS2; those who played DS2 may remember Vandal, if only as an audio log. Ultimately though, don’t look for a lot in terms of difference between Vandal and Isaac Clarke. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, just make it play smoothly without the benefit of a controller.
Speaking of the controls, like many mobile action titles Dead Space could do with some minor tweaks to its control scheme. Removing the actual image of virtual joysticks was clever; simply moving your thumb on the screen as though there’s a joystick is enough to control Vandal, but the ques for environment interaction, shooting and switching weapons can be a mite finicky. An ill-timed tap will make you switch your firing orientation when you just meant to fire and suddenly Vandal is overwhelmed by necromorphs. If you have an external Android controller, now is the time to bust it out.
I remember the original Dead Space as the first game to make me jumpy since Resident Evil 2. The new iteration does not disappoint in that arena. Any fans of the previous titles should definitely check this game out. Further, this is a must have Android game for players of survival horror with visceral active controls. They may take some getting used to, and even after that they could be tighter, but that isn’t enough of a detraction to outweigh all that is good in this incredibly well-developed package. Someone spent a lot of money and time on this game, and players willing to cough up the $7 to play Dead Space on their HD Android should find their money well spent.
Is it Hardcore?
A terrifying yes.
The cold suspense of Dead Space translated with care to smaller Android devices, with all the benefits of HD and a full voice cast.