When it released last month for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Dead Space 3 turned out to be quite the action-packed sequel. There was some mild disappointment for those who were expecting something along the lines of pure survival horror, but there's no question the game had some great momentum force behind it, particularly if you played with a friend in co-op.
For our latest Spoiler Alert, we decided to delve into the story of this third chapter, talking about all that happened within it and wondering what's really going on with Isaac at the finale.
As the title indicates, there are spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own risk.
Let's take it away!
When the game opens, you're not actually playing as Isaac and John, but rather Tim Kaufman and Sam Ackerman, two members of the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces (S.C.A.F. for short) 200 years prior. Their job is to visit the alien world of Tau Volantis in the hopes of recovering a Codex device for Dr. Earl Serrano. Following a from-out-of-nowhere avalanche that does Ackerman in, Kaufman is forced to go through the snowy terrain on his own, eventually reaching his commanding officer, General Mahad. After presenting him with the Codex, Mahad kills Kaufman out of nowhere, purges the data, and then turns the gun on himself.
Cut to the future, where Clarke, still recovering from the Sprawl incident years before, is a mess. His relationship with Ellie Langford (which had taken a romantic turn) ended on unfavorable terms, and now two men, Sergeant John Carver and Captain Robert Norton, have forced their way into his apartment. They explain that Ellie is in trouble, along with her team, during an exploration mission. Since they are the last battalion of EarthGov, they're out to save her – a task that the Unitologist soldiers surrounding Clarke's apartment aren't making so easy.
After escaping capture by the squad, led by contingent Jacob Danik and his activation of a Necromorph-drawing Marker, Isaac reunites with the soldiers and makes his escape on the USM Eudora, which then heads to track down Ellie's vessel. However, during their journey, their shuttle is torn to bits by debris, and they barely make their way onto the nearby CMS Roanoke. They're not alone, however, as the ship is crawling with Necromorphs.
Following a bitter firefight, they manage to rescue the team, with Ellie still intact. It's here that he learns she's moved on with Norton in a romantic relationship – a fact he makes very well known with Isaac on a private transmission. From there, with evidence discovered on the space vessels, it's discovered that Tau Volantis, which is nearby, is a planet where the Marker Home World is generated from, and the 200 year mission beforehand involved a strange Machine, as well as the phrase "turn it off". (This, mind you, is in the midst of John running into some serious hallucinations, involving his dead wife and son.) Despite Norton's objections, Isaac and John head down to the planet surface, barely surviving the crash and being separated from the crew.
Following the discovery of one of the team members (who dies of hypothermia), the story surrounding Mahad takes shape. It turns out that the SCAF began testing on Necromorphs on the planet, but an outbreak occurred, and the General eliminated all witnesses and purged all data in order to prevent it from spreading – obviously an unsuccessful operation.
Trouble arrives on the planet, when it's learned that the Unitologists followed Isaac and the crew, and that Norton, still angry over Isaac's involvement with Ellie, offered to make a deal with Danik to get a ride home, in exchange for handing Isaac over. However, Danik backs out and tries to kill everyone, and Isaac, along with John and Norton, escape. That doesn't stop Norton from trying to do Isaac in, but he manages to kill him in self-defense first.
With only four members of the team remaining – John, Isaac, Ellie and Santos – the team makes their way to an abandoned science facility to find records of the Codex, only for Santos to die during the journey. They find a Rosetta, the creator of the Codex, through a rebuilding, only to discover it's an alien, explaining that the Marker that practically devoured a homeworld of aliens. In the discovery, the planet's moon is discovered to be a Necromorph in itself, tying in with the Convergence event hinted at by the Unitologists. A Machine was built that would allow Tau Volantis to freeze over, and the moon to go into a state of becoming dormant, with the command "turn it off" being passed down.
Before they can do anything with the Codex, however, Danik reappears, with Ellie taken hostage. She admits she still loves Isaac and seemingly sacrifices herself, and Isaac and James escape, pursuing Danik into the planet to the Machine.
After learning the Machine can either free the moon or destroy it, the duo manage to regain control of the Codex, but Danik has a trick up his sleeve – Ellie is still alive, and he's holding her hostage. Danik succeeds in shutting down the Machine, but is killed by falling debris in the process, with Convergence taking place.
Isaac manages to save Ellie by putting her aboard a spacecraft (with a final kiss goodbye), then works quickly with James to reconfigure the Machine so that it destroys the Brother Moon, rather than reactivating it. With one final stroke, they're able to complete the mission, as it crashes into Tau Volantis, destroying the Markers – and sending the two flying off into the explosion.
Ellie, torn up emotionally over the damage done, turns her ship back towards Earth. However, the final credits sequence indicates that the journey for Isaac may not be over, as he calls out to Ellie in a staticky voice…
Is Isaac dead? Or was there some possible way that he could've survived such a catastrophic explosion? And what of James? And, for that matter, the Necromorphs still left behind on Earth, following the launching of Danik's Marker? It'll be interesting to see if these questions are answered for Dead Space 4…
Dead Space 3 is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.