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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Space V.S. The Mind: The Horror Stories

Space, an unknown universe with twinkling stars and planets, with hidden monsters, terrors and secrets left for explorers to discover, and perish from. The player is left to float helplessly along, in space.

The mind of a psycho, with nightmares and mixed memories from murder victims blended together to make a gruesome shake for the player to consume. Suck on that, suck it good. Enjoy it.

When playing through games like Dead Space and The Evil Within, it is easy for players to focus on the gameplay and the scares that the game has ready for them, but sometimes the stories behind the games are disregarded. The horror and gameplay can drown out what is really going on with the characters and the plot.

Personally, my dream is to write fiction for video games someday, so I am one to focus on the story, the characters, the plot, the twists, the climaxes and the resolutions behind a video game. A video game is a story, each one has one, and I just love to dissect them.

As I compared characters earlier, I wanted to compare stories. Dead Space and The Evil Within both have very interesting plots accompanied by a cast of characters that will keep you motivated to play. In this case, it is harder for me to pick a “winner” because I was fascinated with both stories and how they panned out.

The Dead Space series may have more going for it currently, because it is just that, a series. Dead Space has three games, with a story that takes you on a thrill ride through space. We follow the protagonist, Isaac, as he battles his memories of his long lost love, who was lost to this horrible alien deity worshipped by those that became possessed.

Now that was a mouthful.

As you play along, you discover not only horrible monsters that make for wonderful battle sequences, but you realize how those monsters came to be, and who they really are. There are three games total, so there is much to discover behind the story itself (Especially in Dead Space three. Shit goes down).

Now The Evil Within has a wonderful story too, but it was harder to follow. It was interesting to see how the writers of the story hid certain things away, and how they slowly unraveled into a plot of madness, but I think it did a little too much hiding. It was difficult for me to follow, and I was constantly asking myself, “what the hell is going on right now?”

Not to say this means I did not enjoy it, of course I did. Especially the last few chapters, when things were wrapped up, for the most part. There were still questions to be asked, maybe not for all, but for me.

I don’t want to give away too much for those who haven’t finished the game yet, but I recommend players take time to understand the story and what happened within the plot. It is interesting, but still, puzzling.

I am hoping The Evil Within is continued with at least two more games, just like Dead Space, so the story is cleared up a bit more. As it is now, even with the confusion, it works.

I just want more, I’m greedy like that.

I think we are tied!

The Evil Within – 1, and Dead Space – 1.

I love them both, this is harder than I thought.

~G

Space V.S. The Mind: Isaac and Sebastian, Survivors of Horror!

For the longest time, the Dead Space series was my “go to” for horror games. It’s atmosphere plunges you into the depths of space, alone (at least in the first and second game) and surrounded by hideous abominations.

Since the first Dead Space game, it was obvious they were getting better and better. The second one was my personal favorite, mainly because of the chapter that takes place in the school (I hate school, and they made is creepy AF with exploding babies…)

The third game was given a twist of co-op, which came with a debate if it was going to be as scary or not. I played through it with my boyfriend and he can attest, it was just as scary, at least for me.

But now, a new horror arose last month. As I have talked about in earlier posts, The Evil Within has been a thrill ride through the mind of a psychotic, human dissecting mental patient.

I adored it.

I couldn’t put the thing down, just like I couldn’t put Dead Space down. Which got me thinking about my poor, neglected Dead Space. Since The Evil Within came around, I have pushed away my promise of going back through the series.

Isaac, I have not forgotten you!

I thought it would be interesting to hold up two of my favorite games, side by side, and see what comes of it.

The Hero of Horror: Isaac v.s. Sebastian

Isaac

Isaac

Sebastian

Sebastian

Two protagonists thrown into horrible worlds with back stories all their own. Who is better?

Personally, both Isaac from Dead Space and Sebastian from The Evil Within are great characters to play as, but in this case, Sebastian tends to be the more interesting one.

I feel so terrible for saying that, my poor Isaac! I have grown so attached to thee from playing all the games, but you are just too…good!

Sebastian has faults. We find out these faults through the clever use of collectables and notes from his journal. We go through Sebastian’s life story, and read his journal entries about his falling in love, his daughter, his wife going missing, and his drinking problem. This makes him a very rounded character, and it let’s the player in on who they are actually playing.

As a writer, I want to read those things about the character. Unfortunately, the Dead Space games did not do the same. I love Isaac, don’t get me wrong, but does he have any faults? None that you get to discover through personal journal articles. He is a good guy, who was in love, and is thrown into an unfortunate situation, which is exactly the type of thing a good story shouldn’t do.

In school, I’ve been taught to never make an “all good” character, and Sebastian is a great example of an interesting protagonist with memories and hidden faults all his own (not to mention his angst attitude towards everything).

Now don’t get me wrong, again I feel the need to defend Isaac. He isn’t perfect either, but if we are comparing who I would rather play as, I think I would choose Sebastian.

I am so sorry Isaac, truly I am.

Also, if we take in to count the atmosphere of the stories and the games, we see a difference. Isaac is armored, with a space suit and space weapons and spacey spaciness, while Sebastian on the other hand is had nothin’ but his suit and tie paired with his trusty handgun (and other weapons you find along the game). My point is, there is a difference between Isaac being more equipped, and Sebastian being ill-equipped, making you feel more helpless as Sebastian (an adrenaline rush of feeling) and more badass as Sebastian as well (when you take down a horde of haunted with just your handgun and the environment around you).

So far, Dead Space – 0, The Evil Within – 1 (I absolutely hate myself for giving Dead Space a 0. It has a lot more going for it, as we will find out).

More to come!

~G