Dead Space Review [PS5] | A Remake Done Right

It’s been 14 years since the original Dead Space from 2008. In summary, the OG could be considered Resident Evil 4 in space. At least initially, that is what drew survival horror fans to the realms of outer space.

Even to this day, the original game holds its own. It still looks great, and it has plenty of scares. It also features a compelling (somewhat silent protagonist) and audio design that could teach modern games a thing or two. So, with that in mind, do we need a Dead Space remake?

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Does the Dead Space remake hold its own?

If you’re new to Dead Space, I won’t give too much away. However, if you’re a returning fan, you already know the score. Set in the year 2511, you play as a simple engineer named Isaac Clarke. He, along with a small crew of a repair vessel, was sent on a seemingly routine mission in response to a distress call originating from the planet cracker, USG Ishimura.

However, this was no routine mission. Isaac and his crew were being led into a trap that not even colonel Ackbar could have foreseen. Some might call the USG Ishimura a ghost ship, but unfortunately for us, this is no mere ghost ship. 

Some would call it the home of the walking dead, known as Necromorphs. Yet, it’s much worse. The USG Ishimura is hell in space and at the heart of its horrors, is an ancient artefact and a cult that will stop at nothing to ensure that hell reigns down upon us all.

dead space remake review
Credit: EA/Motive Studio

Will Dead Space join the elite of remakes?

We’ve seen various remakes over the years, and most have knocked it out of the park. Some examples of remakes done right are Resident Evil (2002), Final Fantasy 7 (2020), and Demon’s Souls (2020), to name a few. What’s more, we even have RE4, and Silent Hill 2 remakes, as well as an Alone in the Dark reboot on the way. So how does Dead Space (2023) compare?

The first thing that we should mention here is that Dead Space is a very faithful remake. Whether you consider that a bad thing is all down to personal preference. Some might like a remake to be very faithful, while others prefer something very different.

Personally, I prefer a faithful remake with some added content. Whether that be locations, enemies (perhaps a bit of both) as well as improved gameplay, performance and visuals. Thankfully, Dead Space pretty much offers all of the above.

dead space remake review
Credit: EA/Motive Studio

Some things change, and some things remain the same

There’s an infamous ADS Canon section in the original. For better or worse, that section still remains, but it’s been altered somewhat. Some other locations have been changed and some are new. Nothing overly drastic, but it’s just enough to add to the original without taking too much away,

As soon as the game boots up and to its conclusion, returning fans will feel at home once on board the USG Ishimura. However, this would certainly be an odd place to call home. That’s unless you’re a cultist or Necromorph.

Powered by EA’s in-house Frostbite engine, Dead Space looks amazing. The USG Ishimura has never looked better with its dark hallways, flickering lights and unnerving groans of the horrors that await. Isaac’s blood-soaked RIG suit and the once human-turned-grotesque, dismembered Necromorphs are truly gloriously gory in an oddly wonderful way. 

dead space remake review
Credit: EA/Motive Studio

Two modes are on offer

Being a modern game, you will also be given the choice of two modes, Performance or Graphics. Graphics mode will offer 4K resolution with ray-tracing at 30FPS. Performance mode will offer 2K resolution with no ray-tracing at 60FPS. In all honesty, neither mode is better than the other, as it’s a personal preference. What I will say, however, is that the 30FPS in this remake doesn’t bother me as much as most other games.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. In a nutshell, this remake plays pretty much the same as the original, and that’s not a bad thing. Isaac Clarke still moves in a similar way, and the inventory is still accessed in real time. That being said, Isaac does feel a little less clunky and a little more fluid. 

Combat still feels satisfying, especially as you upgrade your RIG and weapons. Not to mention, jump scares are plenty. However, Dead Space has always been more than jump scares, because the USG Ishimura still remains as horrific and atmospheric as ever, perhaps now even more so.

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Dead Space brings your own personal horror

One of the most significant new features and improvements of this remake is the Intensity Director. This is kind of like the adaptive difficulty in the original Resident Evil 4. The adaptive difficulty would alter on the fly depending on how well the player is performing. So, if a player was coasting through the game, the difficulty would be increased. However, if the player was struggling, more ammo or resources might be thrown their way.

The Intensity Director takes that formula and adds its own spin. Not only will the game throw more or fewer enemies with more or less damage being dealt, depending on how the player is going, but it will also spawn enemies in different locations. 

It will even change the ambience with a flicking light or ramp up the noises within the walls and vents. Don’t get me wrong, the Intensity Director isn’t a game changer, but it does make the game more of an organic experience for the player.

dead space remake review
Credit: EA/Motive Studio

It’s a one-shot deal, as long as you don’t die

Furthermore, inspired by the likes of God of War (2018), this remake can be played from start to finish in one shot. Meaning that once the game loads up, there are no visible loading screens. So technically, if you don’t die in Dead Space, it will be a seamless experience throughout.

Another little improvement that I appreciate in the remake is the subtle change made to the Nodes. In case you didn’t know, Nodes were used in the original game to upgrade Isaac’s RIG, and weapons.

They were also used to access locked doors for added loot. It was a golden rule to always keep at least one Node in your inventory to unlock said door. In the remake, Nodes are only used to upgrade, they will no longer open locked doors.

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You Node what I’m talking about

Instead of using a Node to unlock a door, you gain access by completing a circuit breaker puzzle. However, even when you use a circuit breaker to access a door, the lights might go out as a result and you might have to navigate down a blacked-out corridor to access that loot. It not only makes you work a little for that loot, but it provides an extra feeling of dread for the player. Plus, above all else, you never have to save a Node, just in case.

A standout feature of the OG was its audio design, especially with a headset and this remake is no exception. Playing on the PS5 on a TV with no added speakers, the haunting horrors of the USG Ishimura can have the hairs standing on the back of my neck.

However, if you have access to a headset, those chills are heightened furthermore. There were even some instances of wearing a headset when I thought Isaac’s haunting whispers were coming from my house. That was truly an unnerving experience, let me tell you.

dead space remake review
Credit: EA/Motive Studio

See evil and hear evil!

Speaking of audio, some of the voice actors have reprised their roles, but not all. However, the OG voice of Isaac Clarke, Gunner Wright returns and as with the two original sequels, the protagonist is more vocal. Gunner Wright puts in a superb performance, as do all the supporting cast. I know that there are fans that prefer a more silent protagonist, but again, that preference can be down to the individual.

The Dead Space remake is also a very accessible experience with a plethora of options. Without going through them all, you can remap the controls, alter the dead zone and sensitivity of the trigger buttons, turn off QTEs, toggle the sprint, customise the subtitles, even hide “disturbing scenes” and much more. 

Sure, some might question why play a game like Dead Space if you’re going to filter the gore. However, even if that feature suits the needs of just one player, it’s justified by its inclusion. What’s more, it won’t hinder the experience for anyone else.

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A horror is reborn!

As a returning fan that played the original countless times, Dead Space in 2023 is just about as perfect of a remake as we could ask for. It runs with the old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” formula, but the developers at Motive Studio add some subtle improvements and quality-of-life updates to justify the existence of this remake.

Even when I know what’s coming, I can’t help but be drawn into the atmospheric tension that had me adore the horror classic of 2008. Dead Space is a prime example of how a remake should be done and unfortunately for you, your neighbours will hear you scream.


For our Dead Space, a PS5 code was supplied to GameByte by Electronic Arts PR.

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Featured Image: EA/Motive Studio