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Dead Space remake review roundup

Reviews for the remake of Dead Space, the classic sci-fi horror game, are very positive. But was it all necessary? The jury's still out.
Dead Space 2023 remake key art

The reviews for the remake of Dead Space, EA’s acclaimed sci-fi horror action game from 2008, have finally been let loose, and the sentiment seems to be overwhelmingly positive. Developed by Motive Studios (Star Wars Squadrons, Star Wars Battlefront II), the game reimagines the original from Visceral Games in very faithful form, much to the delight of critics.

This positive sentiment follows mixed reviews for The Callisto Protocol, a game from Striking Distance Studios that aimed to revitalise the Dead Space style of game. The studio was notably founded by Glen Schofield, who played a significant role in the original Dead Space at Visceral.

While the reception of The Callisto Protocol created an impression that gaming audiences weren’t keen on returning to this decade-old style of game, the Dead Space remake seems to have corrected this course. That said, many critics wrestled with their feelings on some of the changes to the game, and whether the game needed to exist at all.

Here’s a small selection of what critics have been saying about the Dead Space remake.

GamesHub – 4 Stars (out of 5)

In GamesHub’s review of Dead Space, Nicholas Kennedy wrote: ‘It can’t be overstated just how much a Dead Space remake always seemed like a sure thing, and after my time with it, that perspective hasn’t changed. It’s easily one of the best modern horror games, and the fresh lick of paint to really bring its grimy, snarling interpretation of sci-fi horror into sharp new relief is very welcome, especially when it maintains such faith in the source material.’

GameSpot – 9 out of 10

Richard Wakeling pondered whether the remake was actually necessary while writing for GameSpot, but found the end result excellent, regardless.

‘The remake’s leap in graphical fidelity breathes new life into its stifling horror, but public discourse has centred on whether it really needs to exist in the first place. That might be a cynical viewpoint, but it’s no less valid. And after reaching the end credits myself, I’m still not entirely convinced it needs to either, yet I’m extremely happy it does. Remaking Dead Space in 2023 may not feel especially necessary, but EA Motive has crafted a game that manages to improve upon its excellent progenitor in a variety of ways – even if only marginally so.’

PC Gamer – 84 out of 100

Sean Martin lamented that the quality of Dead Space only made him think of what more could have been achieved if the team behind it was developing a sequel, instead of a remake. Regardless, they came away with an overall positive take for PC Gamer.

‘On one level it’s amazing that so much effort has gone into re-developing the original game’s plotline: But at the same time, this effort could’ve been equally well applied to a new Dead Space. It’s hard not to feel the same way about the improved sound design and visuals. The remake was built from the ground-up using the Frostbite engine, and looks and sounds incredible. All of which mainly makes me want to play a new non-remade Dead Space game in 2023 with this production quality. Another aspect of the frustration is that another game might’ve had space to push some of the remake’s new ideas and mechanics further.’

Eurogamer – Unscored

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell at Eurogamer had a more restrained take on the game, drawing a closer examination of the remake’s changes to the original – like giving protagonist Issac Clarke a speaking role where he was previously mute – and questioning what it does to reframe and rewrite the history of a game so many call a classic.

‘While this is a meticulous and appreciative reworking, a little too much of it seems designed to get in the original’s way, to blur its focus and mutate it into an appendage of the omnivorous franchise operation it would become, where everything needs to be written into an on-going narrative backdrop, and genuine ambiguity is minimised. Rather than rescuing the past, it represents a franchise reaching its tendrils backward through time to become its own progenitor. The results can be compelling, but make sure you play the 2008 game first.’

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Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran