The idea of weapon crafting, or scavenging items to build brand new ways of dispatching enemies isn't exactly groundbreaking these days, but the past few years have seen the concept delivered with varying degrees success. The developers of Dead Space 3 are the latest to hand the tools to do so over to the player, and the newest trailer outlining Isaac Clarke's weapon crafting is more than a little promising.
Of all the video game heroes granted the ability to fashion weapons from random items or power sources, Isaac Clarke is one of the most fitting. As an engineer by trade, Dead Space 3's hero has been relying on his ingenuity and technical know-how since the series' beginnings, turning mining equipment and tools into Necromorph-slaying weaponry.
Developer Visceral Games had previously commented on the wealth of information gleaned from fans and reviewers - the basis of many changes being brought to Dead Space 3. One of the most cited issues that was noted after the game's success was the player tendency to upgrade one or two weapons throughout the course of Dead Space 2, instead of experimenting with different guns and strategies. Whether crowd-sourcing design ideas is a good or bad thing is still hotly debated, but the solution that Visceral has come up with could be an elegant solution.
The answer to the problem is a completely redesigned Tool Construction Bench, the in-game location where Isaac could previously apply upgrades and tweaks to existing guns and mining tools. Now adding the ability to cobble together new weapons from distinct component parts, the new Bench has been streamlined to encourage players to mix and match ammunition and secondary effects. Primary and secondary fires equipped with fire or electrical damage are just the tip of the iceberg, according to the trailer, and the problems it is intended to address are hard to miss.
It's been no secret that Dead Space 3 would be carrying serious sales expectations, meaning that doing maintaining the essential gameplay and attracting an even broader audience than before is one of Visceral's top challenges. The brand new setting, fully incorporated cooperative gameplay and heavier emphasis on bullet-frenzied skirmishes are all serving to bring in new fans, but the redesigned Bench should appeal to both camps. Two heads are better than one, after all, so four unique attacks should be even more effective. Especially when taking on the larger enemies that call the icy wasteland of Tau Volantis home.
The trailer explicitly states that the new system has been created to make crafting brand new weapons as straightforward and satisfying as upgrading existing ones, so those who found a specific weapon and stopped exploring or experimenting are obviously encouraged to break the habit. The examples shown in the trailer are a promising start, and given Visceral's past designs for hidden weaponry, we can expect there to be a few absurdly lethal ones in store for Dead Space 3.
What do you Dead Space fans think of the added customization? Will you be more likely to experiment with different components, or are there some weapons that you will always prefer?
Dead Space 3 releases on February 5, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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