The latest piece of DLC for Dead Space 3 entitled “Awakened,” provides a supplemental ending to the game and attempts to answer the burning questions left open following the events of the original finale. It packs on the creepy pretty heavily, but is it worth your time? Well, if you have ten bucks and an hour, then yes it is.
Anyone who’s completed Dead Space 3, knows things get a little weird towards the end of the game. Things go from Lost Planet to Halo, in about 15 seconds. Honestly, it was a rather sub-par conclusion to an otherwise solid, trilogy. I was playing co-op with a good friend and we were honestly laughing out loud at the absurdity of the last few hours of the game. All elements of horror were completely thrown out the window. We got some sick satisfaction when that Elton John, wannabee, got his comeuppance, but other than that, we were pretty let down. (If you haven’t beaten the original campaign, you should probably stop reading, unless you really don’t care about spoilers.)
One of my favorite parts of the entire add-on is the very beginning. It totally pokes fun at itself. It points out just how ridiculous the ending of Dead Space 3 actually was. The scene opens with Isaac in his “apartment.” He slowly walks up to his bathroom sink and looks in the mirror. His reflection is Carver, who shouts “Get the hell out of my apartment!” The bathroom fades and our two heroes find themselves mysteriously back on Tau Volantis. “What the hell are you talking about!?” Carver turns to Isaac, “What the hell man!? We should be dead! You saw that thing go off. What, were we saved by aliens or something?” Issac grabs his head and turns away dramatically, “Maybe we are dead…” It was a really funny way to reintroduce these characters. The rest of the campaign toys with the idea of a “Sixth Sense-esque” ending.
Remember when Dead Space was scary? Yeah, me too… But, there is still some hope. Awakened makes some promising strides towards recreating the terrifying world Dead Space 1 and 2 constructed. You spend most your time in tight, compact spaces surrounded by mutilated corpses and constant reminders of your fading sanity. Your haunting visions are back and more powerful than ever. Issac and John are both being tormented by the vivid image of a recurring moon and the terrifying figure of the “prophet.” You can’t tell when enemies are real and when they are simply a figment of your imagination. Even while playing co-op, there were a few moments where I legitimately jumped out of my seat a little bit.
Religious extremists have always been the primary focus in the Dead Space narrative, but the congregation you encounter in Awakened, take things to a whole new level. These guys make the Unitologists look like a bunch of half-assed, posers. The “Prophet” convinces this estranged group that Unitology has it’s practices fundamentally wrong. Forget about the simplicity of partaking in bread and wine, to join this church, you are required to donate your hands, tongue, and eyes. Watching the events of this “church” unfold, provide images far more terrifying than anything you encounter in the standard Dead Space 3 campaign.
My biggest complaint about this chunk of DLC is the length. Awakened can be easily beaten in less than an hour. Even on “Hard” mode, I managed to complete it in an hour hour and fifteen minutes. This wouldn’t be a huge deal, if EA wasn’t charging ten bucks for the add-on.
Overall, Awakened is a great addition to Dead Space 3. The haunting, and sometimes comical, story provides a much more fulfilling ending than fans original received. The articulately calculated, horrific atmospheres, remind us of why we all fell in love with Dead Space in the first place. There isn’t really anything exceptional as far as weapons parts and upgrades go, but I did manage to wrangle up a few solid circuit boards during my playthrough. Like I said, the only major set backs are going to be the total playtime and price tag. You really have to ask yourself, “Is ten bucks worth an hour of gameplay?” If you’re a Dead Space fan, who wants to experience a more satisfying ending, I’d say this is well worth it. Of course, they could have just given this to us for free right?… Not on EA‘s watch. Not ever.