Space V.S. The Mind: The Perfect Setting for Horror

I love setting. As a writer, I am always focused on imagery in my writing and the surroundings of my characters. This will be the hardest comparison, because the setting for both The Evil Within and Dead Space is FAN-FRICKEN-TASTIC.

Space

I adored Dead Space’s “alone in the universe” feeling it gives you when you first enter the game. The first and second Dead Space games really gave you that feeling of isolation in the depths of an abandoned Ishimura,

SPACE! It looks beautiful but the place will make you pee yourself...

SPACE! It looks beautiful but the place will make you pee yourself…

Its just you and Isaac and a bunch of monsters wantin’ a taste of you as you fight your way through a sci-fi setting of doom. This feeling of isolation is especially pungent in the first two games, while the setting changes a bit in the third. Because it is co-op, you have the option of fighting through this impending doom with a partner. I chose to play it through co-op with my boyfriend, who got a great laugh every time I was scared half to death.

With Dead Space 3, we see a lot more interaction and freedom with space itself. You can travel outside of your ship, and use a shuttle to get to different areas in the vicinity. In this game, we see a lot more of the atmospheric detail that went into the design of this deadly space setting.

You are able to float through debris and different abandoned ship sights for side quests, and this allow for a whole new Dead Space experience different than the first two games, in a good way.

The Mind

With The Evil Within, it is a whole new story. This setting changes every chapter, and sometimes multiple times within a single chapter. You never know where you are going to end up, as all of these places are memories from a group of victims that died under the hands of Ruvick.

My FAVORITE chapter of the whole game, when you get to enter Ruvicks memories contained in this old Victorian style mansion. It's gaming gold.

My FAVORITE chapter of the whole game, when you get to enter Ruvicks memories contained in this old Victorian style mansion. It’s horror gold.

One minute you are in a hospital, with rolling wheelchairs and creaking doors, the place seems to have a mind all its own. The next moment, you are transported to a Victorian Mansion, Ruvicks home, as you uncover the secrets behind our insane villain. After that, back to Beacon Mental Hospital, or perhaps Ruvick has other plans for you as he transports you to the now post-apocalyptic city. Or how about a church? Or a forest? Or a dungeon?

After that list, you may be wondering if those setting are all really part of one game. I promise they are, and although it may seem overwhelming, the inconsistency is all the more fun. It is a gaming experience like no other, and as the player being thrown around in all of these settings, you begin to question your own reality.

I cant tell you how many times I frowned out of pleasant confusion and surprise and asked myself out loud, “what?” as I was taken to another setting never seen before.

The Evil Within and Dead Space have amazing details put into their setting designs, and I had a hard time which one came out on top.

I went with The Evil Within, because although the Dead Space setting of isolation is wonderful, the whole “super space sc-fi setting” has been done before. I loved it, but The Evil Within was like NOTHING I had ever seen or played through before. It was different and a surprise during every chapter. I had NO idea what to expect, and it kept me wishing the game would never end.

The Evil Within – 2

Dead Space – 1

~G

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3 thoughts on “Space V.S. The Mind: The Perfect Setting for Horror

  1. Having the setting something that can be anything really opens up your palette without having to make it particularly coherent, can’t have a mario world with volcanoes next to frozen tundras and keep people immersed in the tense atmosphere.

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