The mind games have returned. As a Dead Space fan, that’s possibly the best news you’ve heard all day. For myself, the first two installments in the franchise simply wowed me with the amount of content that you experienced which actually only happened in your head. It was the staple of the franchise, or so I thought, until the release of Dead Space 3 which was largely lacking in that area. Luckily for us hardcore Dead Space fans, Awakened is a succulent treat. If you haven’t finished the game yet, this content takes place after the game ends. From here on out, we’re venturing into spoilers territory.
If you’ve already experienced the ending of the game, you’re probably aware of the amount of pure and utter bullshit that’s occurring when we find out that Isaac and Carver somehow survived crash landing to the planet from outer space. But for the sake of the game, due to this content, I’m willing to overlook that. After regaining their footing, the duo attempt to find their way off the planet. However, that’s easier said than done when they realize that the mission was a failure; the moons have awoken. They are hungry, they are coming.
Along the way you’ll encounter both new and old enemies alike, some of which we haven’t seen since Dead Space 2, including The Pack. Yes, those screaming, howling, and overwhelming adolescent children are back and want to tear you apart yet again. While this addition is certainly welcome, it’s balanced out by the fact that you play the majority of the content in reskinned, reused environments. Gone are the Unitologists you know. They’ve instead changed as the moons have spoken to them, causing the crazed fanatics to praise the Necromorphs themselves. Rather than believing the human body was meant for rebirth and transformation, these fanatics seem to believe that the body is somehow unholy or dirty. Because of this, members cut off their own hands, tongues, or gouge out their eyes and offer them up as an offering so they may be transformed into the Necromorphs that they try to resemble. It’s surprisingly creepy, unlike the Unitologists that we’ve grown used to. Buckets upon buckets of hands are scattered around as you traverse the various environments.
The story isn’t exactly stellar; it’s not riddled with excitement at every corner, but it has enough reveals to keep you playing. Getting off of Tau Volantis is surely a struggle, one that leads to some of my favorite moments in the game, (the overhauled decks of the Terra Nova). As I mentioned before, there are certainly plot holes here and there, such as how an entire religion was founded literally overnight. But that’s relatively easy to ignore, as Isaac truly struggles with his sanity throughout the add-on. You do too, not knowing who to believe, and trying to determine what is actually happening.
All of this is capped off by the return of an iconic enemy. Remember back in the beginning when the regenerating Necromorphs only appeared once or twice and were equivalent to the impending doom that you were running from? If you enjoyed that feeling, you should probably pick up this content if only to meet the Prophet, the leader of the new Unitologist Cult. There’s no delaying this brooding beast as your bullets simply bounce off. The only choice you have is to try and maintain your distance as he speaks, menacingly walks towards you, and attempts to cut you to pieces. Oh, and he can teleport short distances. This guy does not screw around.
This is what Dead Space 3 should have been to begin with. There are moments in Awakened that I haven’t experienced since I first discovered the franchise. It’s been a long time since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every single second of content, dreading whatever lies beyond the next corner. Awakened might only be two and half hours at the longest, which is it’s weak point, but as a hardcore Dead Space fan, I just wouldn’t say no. It is after all the only downloadable content releasing for the game, if you want more content, this is going to have to be it.
Awakened is available on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 for $10.00 or 800 Microsoft Points.
Dead Space 3: Awakened was reviewed on the Xbox 360. A code was provided by the publisher for review purposes.