My first report from the frontlines of the busiest gaming Christmas since, well, last year, is this: Dead Space is good. Dead good, in fact. Hence the pun.
Despite having a few things wrong with it. The plot and characters have failed to excite me so far. There's a lot of things to collect, Bioshock style, which is a bit annoying. And it's not exactly scary. Not yet, anyway. It's as if, because it's an EA game, it has to be a little bit too polished, too action-movie to truly become the game it aspires to be. Whenever you forget who made this game - which is easy because it's far superior to the usual EA stuff - the largely unnecessary weapon upgrade system and incongruous "kinesis" abilities are around to remind you.
Still, it seems churlish to complain about that when the game is so visually and aurally overwhelming. The brilliance of Dead Space is all in the dark corners, billowing smoke, and constant, unsettling cacophony of clatters, clangs and howls. Oddly, the bits when you're actually shooting things are probably the least scary bits of the game. There's some eek-get-it-off-me moments, and I always get a bit twitchy about what might be behind me when I'm aiming, but generally the tension is relieved when you actually have something in your sights. It's still a lot of fun, though. Having to lop off limbs rather than just spraying the enemies with bullets makes combat very fiddly, in a good way. It's reminiscient of having to shoot the parasites off the Regenerators in Resident Evil 4.
On an almost completely different note, De Blob is quite good as well. Jury's still out though.