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There has been an ever-growing scarcity of legitimately terrifying games, with some franchises rooted in survival-horror treading ever further into the action-oriented path (looking at you Resident Evil). Two games that continue to straddle the uneasy border between action and horror are EA’s Dead Space 3 and Gearbox Software’s Alien: Colonial Marines. Both are full of rabid, blood-thirsty monsters, both feature lots of weapons, both feature cooperative aspects and both are slated for an early 2013 release. With that being said, which of the two looks the scariest?
The original Dead Space, along with its sequel were both lauded for single-handedly sustaining the now almost defunct survival-horror genre. Taking the reigns of deep-space engineer Isaac Clarke, the player had to guide him through a hostile, overrun mining ship that was ridden with hideous alien beings dubbed “necromorphs” and had to use a limited supply of weapons and engineering tools in order to survive. With the body count rising and Isaac’s mental well-being deteriorating – Dead Space and its sequel were all at once, terrifying, gory and memorable experiences and went on to please critics and fans of the horror genre.
Aliens: Colonial Marines follows more in the footsteps of traditional first-person shooting infused with the jump scares and tense atmospheres of horror games, while rooting all of it in the Alien setting. The first two Alien Versus Predator games both left a remarkable stain on the video game industry, allowing the player to assume not only the role of the marine, but also the scrappy “xenomorph” alien and the jungle-stalking predator. The Marine campaign was noted for being incredibly scary; especially due to implementing the same hymns and noises on the motion tracker first seen in the movie Aliens.
Now, which game between Dead Space 3 and Alien: Colonial Marines is shaping up to be the most terrifying? While Dead Space 3 was initially panned by long time fans during its E3 showing this year for relying too heavily on conventional third-person shooter mechanics and also for implementing a two-player cooperative mode, the developers have stated that the single-player will retain all the horror elements seen in past Dead Space games and that the co-op isn’t shoehorned into the game in a contrived manner.
Now, from xenomorphs to necromorphs and between, what scares you the most? Either way they both use the human body as host only to spew forth the manifestation of their alien horrors and carnage-lusted nature – equally terrifying. From the looks of it, Colonial Marines seem to always put the player in a squad of gun-toting marines, meaning that your AI comrades could squander the potential scares. The same old brightly-lit and foggy corridors along with the pings of your motion tracker are still present here, though, so definitely expect to feel your heart racing as the pinging becomes louder and more rapid.
Dead Space 3 also looks like a moody and tense experience and with Isaac slipper farther into insanity. The chilling hallucinations of Dead Space 2 will likely return in full effect. This time, Isaac isn’t stranded on a mining ship or on an overrun station, but an entire planet. Expect larger-than-life creatures, a good mix of claustrophobic corridors, open areas and even gorier confrontations.
Which of these two games will be crowned the scariest in the first quarter of 2013? Let us know in the comments below.