Skip to main content

Watch ‘over 15 minutes’ of singleplayer gameplay from Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3 co-op
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When Dead Space 3 hits the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC platforms on February 5 of next year, fans of the space horror series will once again enter the shoes of protagonist Isaac Clarke (or Sergeant John Carver in the game’s co-operative multiplayer mode) to brave the vast universe of terrifying abominations unto nature. Though we’ve seen quite a bit from the upcoming survival-horror title (E3 revealed that co-op feature we mentioned, while Gamescom brought a new trailer), today publisher EA and developer Visceral Games have decided to generously bless fans with a surprisingly long, guided video walkthrough of one section of the game’s single-player experience. 

Described as an internal singleplayer demo for the game, the walkthrough (which you can find embedded below) drops players onto a spaceship known as “Eudora.” As one would come to expect from the Dead Space series, Eudora is a poorly-lit wreck, with fires burning out of control in places and ominous cascades of electrical sparks pouring from likely necessary electronics. As Clarke you’re immediately tasked with escaping this flying coffin, but of course it couldn’t be as simple as just finding the exit. Thus, Clarke undertakes a number of minor quests to find his way off of the ship that just happens to serve as a nice segue for new players into the mechanics and quirks of the Dead Space franchise.

Though the clip is often interrupted by the game’s creative director and senior audio artist who serve as hybrid hosts/narrators for the walkthrough, this is undoubtedly the most concrete look at the game we’ve seen to date. Obviously the title has yet to be completed, but the opening segment’s tonal and aesthetic similarities to the thrilling zero-gravity opening sequence from Mass Effect 2 proves that making players weightless is always an exciting concept. Surrounding that weightless player with explosions and ominous noises that may or may yes be unspeakably horrific space monsters is simply a solid extension of the brand’s key attributes, and offers a good reason to follow the in-game instructions demanding that you exit the rapidly deteriorating Eudora.

Following that initial burst of excitement though, things return to “normal” for the franchise. The latter half of the walkthrough is full of pitch-black corridors, jump-scares and tense audio cues. Though we initially didn’t understand why Visceral would tap its senior audio artist to narrate the walkthrough, it all makes perfect sense when you listen to him point out the game’s various aural tricks and attempts to one-up the typical Hollywood horror movie audio routine. If nothing else, we’re impressed by how each character maintains an individual, instantly-recognizable tone while speaking to one another through their standard-issue space explorer headsets. The amount of static during conversations is just right, but more importantly, Visceral doesn’t seem to rely on these communication devices to mysteriously cut out immediately prior to the appearance of big, scary monsters. 

In sum, the clip offers either ample reason to be excited for the game’s imminent release, or abundant evidence that you can continue to ignore EA’s premier horror series. Whichever way your opinion shifts, it’s nice to have something like this months before the game hits store shelves.

Editors' Recommendations

Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
The voice of Dead Space’s Isaac Clarke explains the remake’s character changes
dead space interview gunner wright issac clarke aiming at a monster in remake

When the original Dead Space launched in 2008, it ushered in a new age of video game horror. Gamers were introduced to the now iconic and initially silent protagonist, Isaac Clarke, a space engineer stuck in a nightmare that makes The Thing look like a preschool date. This installment was followed by two sequels that ratcheted up the horror and gore, as well as gave Clarke a full voice.

Dead Space Official Launch Trailer | Humanity Ends Here

Read more
The Callisto Protocol is a confidently disgusting Dead Space spiritual successor
Jacob Lee aims a gun at an enemy in The Callisto Protocol

The Callisto Protocol is a spiritual successor to Dead Space, and it's not hiding that fact. From the unsettling aesthetics to the limb-slicing combat to the player’s HP being displayed on the main character’s body, it’s clear that Dead Space creator Glen Schofield is trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice with Striking Distance Studios' debut game.
The most surprising part? The team might have actually pulled it off.
Digital Trends played about an hour and a half of The Callisto Protocol on PS5, all of which took place within the game’s third chapter: Habitat. My adventure through a ruined water purification facility highlighted the strengths of the game’s visuals, sound design, and difficulty that make me fear for the protagonist's life in the same way I did for Isaac Clarke in the original Dead Space.
The Callisto Protocol - The Truth of Black Iron Trailer
Gross protocol 
In The Callisto Protocol, players try to escape the Black Iron Prison on Jupiter's Callisto moon after a mysterious alien force attacks, killing and destroying anything in its way. In the game’s third chapter, I was tasked with making my way through a water purification facility as I tried to get on a train to take me to another part of this doomed detention center. The narrative was light during this demo, mainly involving environmental storytelling and the occasional transmission from when the Black Iron Prison fell into chaos.
The main character of The Callisto Protocol, Jacob Lee, is portrayed by Josh Duhamel. The protagonist being a Hollywood star didn’t make too much of a difference during my demo, as the dialogue was minimal (he mostly just grunted or screamed). It’s hard to tell if Jacob will become as memorable or iconic as Isaac Clarke based on the time I've spent with him so far.
Even with some light narrative hooks, I felt motivated to complete my objectives and get off this moon because of how disgusting Black Iron Prison is. Really, it's downright gross. From visuals to sound design, everything in The Callisto Protocol is purposefully off-putting and icky. Dead Space’s influence in the creation of its world is evident, as I trekked through a primarily brown and dirty sci-fi facility with grotesque aliens that wanted nothing else but to slaughter me. Though I wouldn't use the word "pretty" to describe Black Iron Prison, I don't need that as a knock on its visual quality. On the contrary, it looks fantastic.

As I completed the objective, I had to trudge through lots of dirty and slimy water, blood and guts, and alien goo. The sound design is equally pulpy and visceral, as every squishy noise added to the unsettling ambiance. Even the PS5’s DualSense helps pump that up with detailed haptic feedback reflecting whatever my character was doing. While this isn’t a new concept by any means, this team executed it with the same confidence that helped spawn Dead Space, which is getting a remake soon.
Uncomfortably good 
The Callisto Protocol stresses you out through gameplay, as combat encounters can be quite challenging. Like in Dead Space, any aliens the player comes across are significantly stronger than Jacob Lee and can kill him quickly if you aren’t careful. Disabling enemies by shooting their limbs is just as important as landing the killing blow. If you run out of your limited ammo or the enemy gets too close, you’ll have to resort to melee combat.
Players can dodge and block attacks by pointing the control stick in the right direction during melee combat. I didn’t get the hang of this during my demo, but there’s clearly some unexplored depth there. Alternatively, players can use the GRP to pick up objects (or enemies) and throw them. Occasionally, you’ll encounter deadly machines you can throw enemies into, and these are some of the most satisfying power trip moments.
It’s just as easy for Jacob Lee to die. Ammo is scarce, melee combat requires precision, and the camera is so close to Jacob Lee’s back that it’s hard to deal with enemies that pop up behind you. The best encounters in the Dead Space series were about spacing and targeting the right limbs, and every The Callisto Protocol battle I fought was crafted with that same mentality. And if you do fail and die, you’re greeted with a hyper-visceral death scene, like Jacob Lee’s face getting torn off.

Read more
Dead Space remake is bloodier and more unpredictable than the original
Isaac Clarke aims at a necromorph in Dead Space.

Whether it's by coincidence or some kind of telepathic developer wavelength, the Dead Space renaissance is here. Several sci-fi horror games are in development, some of which are directly inspired by EA’s 2008 classic. Leading that charge is … well, Dead Space itself.

Developer EA Motive is rebooting the series with a ground-up remake of its first installment set to launch in January. While the studio has been transparent about the development process, we had yet to get a significant look at the project. EA finally lifted that lid in September with a press event that allowed journalists to play through the first three chapters of the game (spanning roughly four hours).

Read more