Many of us found our hearts eviscerated by Electronic Arts' welcome, if financially maddening, newfound appreciation for original property. And while survival horror is hardly an unexplored genre, it's rare that any company, even a juggernaut like EA, gets everything right the first time. Dead Space nails it, and whether it's an eerie trek through the bowels of a derelict space ship, or surviving being cut to ribbons by aliens, cultists or former co-workers, staying alive has seldom felt as satisfying as it does aboard the USG Ishimura.
Dead Space changes up the experience of shooting anything that moves by forcing us to focus on precision, rending limbs from bodies and turning each frightening encounter into a shooting gallery. It grabbed ahold of us with its many alien tendrils and didn't let go, and at times, with the lights turned down and speakers resonating the sounds of slimy things scuffling just out of earshot, it was easy to forget that what we were playing was just a game. Helping this is one of the most elegant and functional examples of UI ever designed. Truthfully, if the developers don't come away from Dead Space with heaps of accolades for this feat alone there is no justice.
With scares aplenty and more severed appendages than we can count, Dead Space is one of the most remarkable examples of survival horror to come along this console generation, leaving us wanting more as we check just one more time under the bed before turning out the lights.
Next: Everybody talks really fast.