The first verdict for EA's impressive survival horror game is in - and the score should keep fans excited.
The latest Xbox World 360 mag, on shelves today, awards the survival horror game 91%, claiming that Resident Evil developer Capcom should take note, "Because EA can teach them a thing or three about survival horror."
Exploring the decks of the Ishimura is a "nail-biting experience," says the mag, driven forward by the "film-worthy" script and "inspired" setting. "It's Rapture in space: every bit as disturbing, just as meticulously designed and easily as believable.
The strategic dismemberment system, it says, enforces a much more tactical approach and makes other horror game foes look "decidedly average".
"Keeping a clear head sits just below keeping a head at all in the importance stakes," it says. "Because unless you carefully pick the limbs off the approaching enemies you'll find yourself surrounded with an empty cartridge in your weapon.
"The Ishimura has a fully designed vent system which allows monsters to make their own way through the ship. Fail to stop them before they jump into an air duct and they'll pop out behind you minutes later and take two bites out of your arse."
But Dead Space's real showpiece, continues the review, is its Zero G environments. "When the gravity is removed the fun really starts," it says. "Usually the space hopping is combined with a lack of oxygen. If you've not been bolstering your O2 supplied via the BENCH upgrade system, the time limit can make for a tense scramble for the next airlock."
According to the mag the Zero G environments, which it calls Dead Space's "party piece", make up less than the 33% promised by the game's exec producer. It also complains that one boss encounter, described as "scariest beast we've ever faced" could've last longer.
"Dead Space doesn't quite give its strengths as much screen time as they fully deserved," it says, "and often falls back onto the standard staple action of Resident Evil 4.
"But what action to fall back on. The very fact that we wish Dead Space included more of its original features and less content pulled from the last generation's greatest game speaks volumes for the quality on show."
We can't wait. Read the full review in Xbox World 360 number 71, out now.