Dead Space 3: Awakened DLC Review (PS3)
*Spoiler Warning: If you have not finished Dead Space 3 and plan on completing the game, you may want to avoid reading our review on the DLC, as the story immediately follows the events of Dead Space 3. While we try to avoid direct spoilers, this review does contain allusions to the events of the main game.
In our original review of Dead Space 3, we gave it a 9 out of 10 as the game was a lot of fun, especially in co-op; however we cited the issues with the game lacking the tense, psychological horror based moments and dementia that the series was most known for. In Awakened, Visceral promised to deliver some of the scariest, most intense, and darkest content that we have seen in a Dead Space game. Did the DLC live up to the promises and deliver what Dead Space 3 was lacking?
In short, yes, although short can be used to describe other aspects of the DLC as well. Awakened begins immediately where the events of the main campaign left off. Isaac and Carver wake up questioning what is real and even if they are alive anymore. The events that follow are punctuated by a series of dementia based psychological and mental breakdowns that occur so often, it really feels like Visceral was simply trying to make up for the lack of these moments in the main campaign. While it does effectively make you question what is real and what isn’t, the DLC is over-saturated with these moments.
Awakened adds three additional chapters that felt much too short and left me wanting more. Basically Awakened is three chapters of constant ‘hallucination-or not?’ that would have felt better placed sporadically throughout the story than given to you in one lump sum at the end. The story being told does very little to add anything significant and I almost felt more satisfied with the original ending of the game. It all feels too forced and while the set up was there for some fun reveals, there were some threads in Awakened that frayed out and never got clear answers. Maybe it’s Visceral’s way of setting up for a Dead Space 4.
Story aside, the gameplay is still a lot of fun. If you enjoyed Dead Space 3, then you will enjoy what Awakened has to offer overall. You start with all of the same weaponry that you had at the end of the game, which means players will be able to breeze through this with the Devil Horns if they have unlocked them. The visions and hallucinations make their way into fights with enemies, adding some variance to the combat scenarios that will keep you on your toes and have you rapidly spinning the camera around at all times.
Awakened adds a very frightening, looming presence that follows you through most of the second chapter and reminded me somewhat of the presence of Pyramid Head in Silent Hill. It also plays host to a very interesting ‘boss’ fight that I did not expect to happen and was a pleasant change of pace to what I was used to Dead Space giving me. All said and done, the additional chapters will likely take you between two and four hours to complete, though all of Dead Space 3‘s replayability modes and options apply to the DLC as well, including co-op.
Awakened is a good, dementia filled experience for anyone who liked Dead Space 3 and was left wanting more, but will do little to sway new owners into picking up the game just for the downloadable content. The only thing that I can compare my experience with Awakened to, is getting to the bottom of a cup of cocoa and finding a massive clump of chocolate. The cocoa was good, but would have been so much better if the extra chocolate would have been mixed into the experience in the first place, rather than given to me in an over-chocolaty clump whose saturated flavor barely lasts long enough to feel satisfied. If there is a Dead Space 4, let’s hope that someone learns how to stir.