DDW takes a look at the recent remake of Dead Space and asks: does it deserve to be called a true classic?
Gamers, it’s time to suit up once again and face the horrifying unknown of Dead Space. Electronic Arts recently released a remake of this classic science fiction/horror game, but not everyone is convinced that it’s worthy of its title. So, what makes a game a classic, and does Dead Space deserve to be called one?
A Look at the History of Dead Space
This is a series of science fiction/horror games that began in 2008, with the launch of the original title. Created by Visceral Games, it produced several follow-ups that carried on with the general theme while introducing new characters and situations. The first game is extremely well-regarded by critics but the publisher had been left disappointed by the sales figures throughout the series.
In fact, after Dead Space 3 flopped in 2012, they put the franchise on hold until this year. 2023‘s remake, by Motive Studio, of the original game is an attempt to kickstart the series. It’s been warmly received by reviewers, who note that the intensity of the original remains but improvements to the gameplay and graphics help to bring the game up to date and perhaps banish the memories of the earlier, slightly disappointing titles.
What Makes a Classic?
Since it seems that the new version of Dead Space may help to cement its reputation as a classic game, this is a good point at which to consider what a game needs to achieve to earn this title. Clearly, it needs to have a high-quality presentation that brings the theme to life and helps players to feel immersed in the on-screen world.
In addition, the gameplay needs to keep players coming back for more. If we look at some of the games that are widely regarded as classics, we can see titles from franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, and The Witcher. As well as their excellent presentation, these games all offer exciting gameplay and rich stories that keep players coming back for more.
The same applies when we look at other game genres, such as board games. The likes of Catan, Monopoly, and Dungeons & Dragons look fairly simple when compared to the latest video games, but they’ve remained hugely popular over decades because of the way that players get caught up in the gameplay and enjoy the complexities they offer. Turning to casino games, this list of the best casinos for UK players has names like Party Casino, HeySpin, and LeoVegas. While their presentations are different and they all offer differing promotions for new players, what they have in common is that they all include the classic games that have stood the test of time, like roulette and baccarat, as well as a big selection of slots.
Does It Have to Be Timeless?
The word timeless is often associated with classic games, but what does this really mean? Dead Space is set in space in the year 2508, so it’s easy to see why it could be described as timeless, as it’s a setting that’s going to look exotic and unusual for players long into the future.
Many classic games have this kind of out-of-the-ordinary setting, as the inclusion of mundane aspects or recognizable parts of modern life can date a game eventually. It’s the same sort of effect we see in a TV series like Game of Thrones, where we’re transported to a unique world that bears no resemblance to our everyday lives. On the other hand, if we look at a list of some massive games that aged poorly, we can see that poor graphics, clunky controls, and gimmicky features make them feel very old-fashioned now.
This means that designers have to strike a balance. They need to create something fresh and original that uses the latest technology to good effect, but at the same time work out whether their game will stand the test of time and changing fashions. What looks fantastic today might quickly pale if they get it wrong, while others are slow-burners that are appreciated by more people over time than at the beginning.
While Will the Next Classic Game Be?
Trying to spot the next classic game to be released is a tough task, as we’ve seen that there are many factors to take into account. In recent years we’ve seen an increased trend for sequels and reboots, as developers look to build upon a successful formula while adding something new, and this is perhaps the safest way to try and create a classic.
Among 2023’s most eagerly-awaited games we can see titles like Resident Evil 4, Street Fighter 6, and Diablo 4. However, games such as Atomic Heart and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty may reach the status of classics by introducing something new to gaming.
The remake of Dead Space has helped to confirm it as a classic game, and by looking closely at it we can also see some of the most important factors that help to take it to this level.