E3 2008: <i>Dead Space </i>

In space, no one can hear you frag

In space, no one can hear you frag -- or at least that's what we imagine EA is saying about its new sci-fi horror game, Dead Space. Mixing bits of Doom and Resident Evil, we've been eager to get our hands on this genre-bending action title, if only because the "survival horror" genre (essentially creepy haunted house games named after an awkward Japanese translation) has been pretty quiet lately.

The plot is fairly standard scary sci-fi fare -- an unlucky guy arrives on a space station to find it deserted (well, except for the monsters, naturally). Even though EA says the game is heavy on creepy psychological terror, every trailer or game footage video we've seen up to now has been heavy on the combat, with our hapless protagonist shooting various big ugly space monsters in generic-looking sci-fi environments.

Fortunately, after getting a more extensive hands-on session with the game, we're now much more on board with the fright-flick-in-space vibe. The claustrophobic feel comes through, and the controls feel especially natural and easy to get used to. While our demo was still heavy on the man-on-monster combat, the developers assure us the emphasis is largely in exploring the derelict space station and its creepy corridors, but that kind of low-key gameplay doesn't make for an eye-catching trade show display.

Look for Dead Space on the Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.


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