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The six biggest differences in the Dead Space remake

Isaac talks more!

Dead Space Isaac and the crew of the Kellion board the USG Ishimura. 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.

It’s been almost 15 years since the original Dead Space came out. The new Dead Space is a remake, but it’s rebuilt from the ground up. If you’re a returning veteran of the Dead Space franchise, you’re going to notice a lot of minor changes and a couple substantial ones.

Our guide to the biggest changes in Dead Space will prepare you to return to the USG Ishimura.

Updated graphics through the Frostbite Engine

Obviously, 15 years of improvements and EA’s Frostbite Engine allows for a lot of visual improvements. Everything from character models to the ship itself got a dramatically updated look.

Arriving at the USG Ishimura in the old and new Dead Space.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Lighting in the game also got a pretty big overhaul. It’s a lot more atmospheric (and spooky) now with volumetric lighting. There’s also just generally less light to go around — entire rooms will be almost completely dark, forcing you to rely on your weapon’s flashlight.

No more loading screens

The move to current hardware also means Dead Space can ditch loading screens. Removing them keeps the story (and anxiety) flowing a lot more smoothly.

Characters (and characterization) are more fleshed out

The cast of characters you know and love are unchanged — with one exception. There’s a new member on the crew of the Kellion. She mostly just stays on the ship, though.

Gunnar Wright of the original Dead Space reprised his role as Isaac for the remake. The larger story is untouched and there were no dramatic edits to the script, but it’s not a line for line remake.

The dialogue isn’t exactly the same, but it says the same thing.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

More specifically, though, Isaac is no longer an all-but-silent protagonist — and he takes his helmet off a lot more often. He’s got a lot more dialogue now, too, bringing his character a lot more in line with Dead Space 2 and 3.

New floorplans and objectives

We mentioned this in our beginner’s guide as well, but a ground-up redesign means that the exact layout of the Ishimura isn’t identical to the original. It’s nothing as big as an entirely new floor, but more like zigs where there used to be zags.

Dead Space Isaac standing in front of a circuit panel with glowing red and blue cables.
New objectives often involve turning out the lights.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Related to that, some objectives are different or modified. These don’t change anything about the game, really, but they might be enough to make those old walkthroughs pretty confusing. For example, the first chapter has Isaac retrieving a data board. In the original, this involved grabbing a keycard off a corpse. In the remake, it requires you to reroute a circuit breaker from the lights to the door (see our note about darkness above).

Side missions exist now

While the larger story hasn’t changed, a new layer of the narrative has been added in the form of side missions. These are smaller tasks that have you exploring the Ishimura and filling in some of the world building details through gameplay (rather than just audio and text logs).

The Dead Space HUD menu for side missions
The side mission menu.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Side missions will show up in your RIG HUD under the Missions tab. Selecting one and tracking it will make your Locator guide you there.

Dead Space Isaac stepping through a doorway with SPOILERS superimposed on the bottom Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

There’s an alternate ending

Arguably the biggest change is the addition of an alternate ending to Dead Space. Per the official Dead Space Twitter account, this is a New Game+ ending. We’ll provide details about how to see it in the coming days.

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