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7 things to know before starting the Dead Space remake

Welcome (back) to the USG Ishimura

Dead Space Isaac floating in zero-G Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

ttreThe Dead Space remake rebuilt the 2008 survival horror game from the ground up, with better graphics, smoother controls, and just a general 15-years-later respray. It’s still the same horrifying game, though.

Considering that people born the same year as Dead Space are in high school now, it’s probably time for a refresher even if this isn’t your first time on the USG Ishimura. Our Dead Space remake beginner’s guide will get you stomping necromorphs with tips on what’s new in the remake, plus advice on how to deal with corpses, what to buy at stores, how to find side missions, and how best to explore the Ishimura.

It’s the same, but different

If this is your first time with Dead Space, first, hoo boy, buckle up! And second, this section won’t mean much to you.

Generally speaking — we’ll get into more detail on the differences here — the Dead Space remake is the same game, just updated. All the story beats, enemies, mechanics, and abilities are the same, but there are a few details that have changed. Some are as simple as a nice musical swell when you pick up the plasma cutter for the first time or new ways for the game to play with lighting (or the lack thereof). Others are more noticeable.

Certain mission objectives are different — in one instance, to move ahead, you may have to look for a circuit breaker instead of a keycard. It doesn’t change anything in the larger picture, but it’ll confuse you if you’re reading old walkthroughs from years past.

There are also side missions now. These are mostly about filling in the larger backstory of the game. They weren’t in the original, though, so they’ll be a bit of a surprise even if you played the original.

Embrace (or at least tolerate) scarcity

Playing Dead Space means (almost) always being low on health and ammo, and being just on the verge of losing both Isaac’s sanity and the game. That’s just part of it — think of it like a Resident Evil game.

Dead Space Isaac has just run out of ammo for the Pulse Rifle.
No more bullets.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

You’re probably never going to be flush with ammo or health packs (especially early on), and anything you do pick up will get used right away. Be patient, look everywhere for stuff to pick up (a lot more on this below), and do your best to suppress your instincts to blindly fire at every scary sound. Every little bit helps.

The scarcity of ammo and healing makes clever use of non-ammo attacks all the more important.

Use the environment and Isaac’s abilities

Within the first couple hours, Isaac will pick up two new ways to interact with the world: the Stasis and Kinesis abilities. Stasis slows time, and Kinesis allows you to pick up and throw objects. When they’re introduced, you’ll use both abilities to repair puzzle-like mechanical issues on the Ishimura, and that makes it easy to forget they’re there the rest of the time.

Dead Space Isaac using Stasis on a necromorph making it glow blue and slow down.
Using Stasis on a necromorph.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Use those abilities on enemies as often as you can. Stasis will slow an approaching necromorph, allowing you to get away or fire off a few more shots. Kinesis lets you throw everything from severed body parts to office furniture to exploding canisters at the baddies.

There are two kinds of those exploding canisters. The red ones explode in a fireball and the blue ones explode in a sphere of Stasis. Shooting one makes it explode where it is, and throwing one with Kinesis makes it act more like a grenade.

Stomp corpses for items

Speaking of ammo, you’re not quite done with a necromorph once you shoot off its limbs and put it down. Dealing a little more damage usually makes the corpse drop an item like a health pack or a clip of ammo.

The best way to do this is with a melee attack or a stomp — that way you don’t waste any ammo — but any type damage works. If a necromorph dies in an explosion (see above), they tend to take enough damage to drop the item without a stomp.

Explore everywhere

Dead Space is not an open-world game, so you’ll usually know exactly where you’re going next. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for exploration, though. You’ll often find items squirreled away in dark corners or in rooms just off the critical path.

Dead Space’s Isaac standing in front of two open lockers.
Always check lockers and cabinets (and bathrooms) for items.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Go the wrong way down hallways. Check supply closets and bathrooms. Scour every room you head into. Like most of the tips above say, every little bit helps.

You’ll also be upgrading your Security Clearance throughout the game, and that unlocks new doors, lockers, and crates you couldn’t previously open in in places you’ve already visited. Backtrack when you get a new security clearance to look for those items.

Save often and learn from your mistakes

There’s no auto-save in Dead Space, so you’ll be limited to the save points you find scattered around the Ishimura. The thing is, that might be a good thing.

Dead Space isn’t really a Souls-like game, but dying (repeatedly) and replaying a section gives you room to learn where attacks come from and practice a little.

We recently struggled with a wave of several enemies until we noticed a handful of explosive canisters around the room and realized there was time to pile them up nearby before the attack came. Using the canisters not only saved on a ton of ammo, it made a deadly wave of enemies manageable.

Yes, it’s frustrating to have to keep trying (and failing), but you might just find a way to save a little ammo.

Watch behind you

Very early on, you’ll learn that the necromorphs move through the vents. This is creepy in its own right, but it does mean that enemies can come from anywhere. And necromorphs love sneaking up behind you.

Isaac covered in blood (not his) with a necromorph in front of him and a second, headless one coming up from behind.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

It also makes backing away from an approaching enemy even more dangerous. Since there's no quick turn control, you’re in charge of making sure you’re not backing into even more danger — or, at least, in charge of learning your lesson the first time (see above).

The next level of puzzles.

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