One of Electronic Arts' bigger games coming within the next month is Dead Space 3, Visceral Games' long-awaited follow-up to the first two games in the series.  This time around, Isaac Clarke, the series' often suffering hero, has to team up with a gruff partner in order to find out what's happening on an icy planet – all while a whole new breed of Necromorphs, and some rogue soldiers, spell trouble for him around every corner.

We've played the demo and will have our impressions of it coming up soon, but like the first two games, it creates an unbelievable amount of tension.  The sheer weight of your surroundings definitely creeps in on you, whether it's an enemy popping out at you in the midst of a snowstorm or undead bodies creeping back to life in an underground cave.  Visceral has proven in the past that it certainly knows its way around telling a scary story, and it looks like it's continuing here, with plenty of bloodshed to boot.

For our latest Spoiler Alert, we've decided to revisit the first two games in the series, talking about crucial moments that should've left Clarke too shaken to continue, as well as what they've done for the game scene in general.  If you're a fan of terrific action games, or like a good dose of survival horror where the hero can be chopped up in a number of ways (our favorite is getting shredded by machinery – ouch), then this is the breakdown for you.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Dead Space

The original game, which came out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008, set the dark, decadent tone for the series head first.  Engineer Isaac Clarke and his team are assigned to investigate a distress signal sent from the USG Ishimura, a starship stranded deep in space.  Upon arriving on the shop, a group of monsters, known as Necromorphs, attack, leaving only Clarke and a pair of fellow crew members, commander Zach Hammond and computer specialist Kendra Daniels, alive.

This is a personal mission for Isaac, as his girlfriend, Nicole Brennan, was on board the freighter at the time of the distress signal.  As he begins to explore the dark corners of the ship, he learns more about the Red Marker, a valuable relic of Unitology, an unprecedented religion.  It has a worse impact than he could've imagined, as several people suffered from hallucinations and mass hysteria since it came on board the ship, causing violent killings as a result.  A genetic alien encoding is also embedded in the marker, turning these former humans into the vile creatures that are now attacking Isaac and his crew.

The story takes several twists and turns throughout Isaac's exploration of the ship, as Hammond is violently killed midway through, and Daniels is actually a government operative, sent to retrieve the Red Marker at all costs.  She does manage to reveal Nicole's fate to him, stating that she killed herself via lethal injection to avoid further contamination of the Marker.

Before Daniels can escape with the Marker, however, she's killed by the Hive Mind, a creature responsible for controlling the Necromorphs.  This leads to an enormous showdown between it and Clarke, who's easily outmatched.  However, using his weaponry on crucial points of the Mind, he's eventually able to destroy it and escape the colony before its imminent destruction.

Shaken by everything that's happened with Nicole, Clarke finds himself watching her transmission trying to find answers – only to be haunted by a vision of her bloody corpse, concluding the first game.

Dead Space's unrelenting sense of horror and action made it a huge hit across the board for various gamers, leading EA to work on the sequel, which arrived two years later.

Dead Space 2

Isaac's story picks up following the events of the first game, with him awakening in an asylum on a space station known as the Sprawl.  He has no recollection of what happened over the past three years, and an ally, Franco Delille (from the Nintendo Wii/PSN game Dead Space: Extraction) is trying to free him.  He's killed by an invading Necromorph, but Clarke is able to escape.  Later on, he receives a message from Daina Le Guin, a woman who claims she can help him, as well as Nolan Stross (from the DVD spin-off Dead Space: Aftermath).

Clarke learns from Daina that the Sprawl administrator, Hans Tiedemann, wants to build a new Marker utilizing information from Isaac's mind, since the original Red Marker left an impression that he can't shake.  (He's also seeing quite a few hallucinations of Nicole, similar to the ones he experienced at the end of the first game.)  However, it turns out that Daina is, in fact, a Unitologist agent, and, after helping Clarke through the city, has him restrained to try and extract the information, in an attempt to kickstart a program called Convergence – an event that will change the universe.

Shortly upon finding him, Daina is killed, and Isaac breaks free, eventually reaching out to Stross and trying to find a way to destroy the Marker.  Along the way, he runs into Ellie, a CEC pilot who comes along for the ride.  Tiedemann and the Necromorphs pose a challenge as they get closer to the Marker, and Stross eventually loses his mind, injuring Ellie severely before Clarke kills him.  On top of this, he continues to have flashbacks of Nicole, accepting the fact he simply couldn't save her.

After sending Ellie away in her ship, Clarke eventually gets to a showdown with the Marker, not only having to contend with the Necromorphs and Tiedemann, but also Nicole, who basically drags him into his own mind to directly counter the Marker, which he comes to learn that he actually created.  Angered, Clarke eventually destroys the image of Nicole and the Marker codes, shutting it down.

Sprawl begins tearing away as a result, and Clarke, tired of his plight, eventually accepts that he'll die in the explosion.  However, Ellie comes flying in, saving him at the light minute before it's destroyed.

However, to set up the events for the third game, a post-credits sequence reveals that two dark figures are discussing the destruction of "Marker Site 12", and other sites will now have to "pick up the pieces" – indicating that the saga revolving around the Marker, and the Unitologists, is far from over.

Dead Space has quite a story thus far, and perhaps in Dead Space 3, Isaac Clarke, along with his new-found ally, will finally get some answers.  That is, if he doesn't get killed first.

Dead Space 3 hits stores on February 5th.