Dead Space 3 is not the clucking fuster its preamble suggested it might be. A lot of its more contentious ideas work on a few levels. The Bench is cool. A lot of the creations that come out of it are redundant, but you can have fun with it and fun is good. Shooting at other guys with guns isn’t that bad, either. They don’t take up much… spaaace and for the most part, it’s pretty close to the Marker the whole way through (which is saying something. This game is impressively long).
Co-op was the big one, though. Having another gun at your back just doesn’t seem very conducive to crapping your space suit. And, you know, it’s not.
With Carver all jacked up and good to go Dead Space 3 becomes very shooty. There are a zillion more enemies. You get less health. Those annoying mini-games become an edgy ballet of we-are-prolly-gonna-fail as one of you wrestles with the Tetris of things while the other runs out of ammo trying to keep whoever draws the Tetris straw alive. For a good, hearty experience, you need to find someone who isn’t stupid to play with. Easy enough if you have friends. I don’t. I sit on the bathroom floor all day typing and occasionally vomiting. I disgust myself that much.
So when I do the co-op thing it’s with some random.
The first time I jump in, I’m Carver, and it’s that bit early on where you have to telekinese some fuzzing pylons into place. The other guy does not even telekinese, bro. I watch him try to make the pylon go down into the pylon hole for a good ten minutes. I get the feeling he’s been here for half an hour. Occasionally he stops trying and shoots at me. I go for a stroll and do a barrel roll and come back. He’s still trying. I can only assume he became mortally embarrassed because then he kicked me out of his game. So far so not that good.
But I’m undeterred and I try again. This time I’m Isaac and the other guy is Carver. I think he’s Mexican. His name is something like “el_facko.” I laugh heartily and we set off into the cold walls of the CMS Roanoke. This guy el_facko, he’s what you want out of a Dead Space 3 co-op buddy: he watches my back, doesn’t dawdle at the bench (ten minutes max is the unspoken gentlemen’s rule), shares his swag, and thank ass, he knows how to telekinese. His telekinese is actually badass.
He’s better than me at the Tetris, but he doesn’t hold that against me. I think I love el_facko, and I follow him everywhere until, cruelly, we must part. I’m having pie for dins.
It’s a weird thing, going out there in a hallucinating bro-ship of custom mining death tools. You could say Dead Space 3 is even at its best in co-op, but it’s a co-op game not built for itself. There are so many conventions that jump in the way of the expedience required by its newest one. So this threequel of inhuman nightmares becomes an entirely human one of pot luck and unlikely camaraderie amidst grim fields of “ur ghey.”
When you find your el_facko, you hold onto him. You hold on tight.