It's time to relive a classic survival-horror experience that has been fully remade from the ground up. Dead Space sees you as Isaac Clark who, with his team, has to fix the USG Ishimura. As soon as you get there, something feels off and you are sucked into a battle to survive against an alien threat. Using an assortment of weapons, you will navigate the dark halls of the mining ship to figure out what happened and get out alive. Can you get off the ship with your sanity intact?
Dead Space is a remake of the original game that came out in 2008. This version keeps most of the story, but features incredible new visuals and 3D atmospheric audio. It does change a couple of things from the original, like showing Isaac's face and voice, but keeps the general spirit that made the original so fantastic. The 2008 version is also a Best on Deck title, so it begs the question, will the remake be able to compete on the Steam Deck? Let's find out.
In the opening scene, I was struck by a massive drop in performance. The opening of the game has the framerate at 22-23 FPS while my TDP limit was at 10. Once I had docked on the Ishimura and I could move around, the framerate went back up to 30 and was much more stable. Through testing, I found that a mix of medium and low settings with FSR 2.0 on balanced kept the game looking pretty nice while allowing a TDP limit of 9. I also elected to drop resolution to 960x600 and use FSR Sharpness 0 to keep stability. This made some of text a bit on the blurry side, but the game itself still looks great.
I tried to run Dead Space with out of the box settings too and I found some weird occurrences. First, framerate had almost no effect on battery drain. Using my settings, I stayed in a single spot and checked out 30, 40, and 60 FPS caps, but the drop from 60 to 30 only reduced drain by 0.4W, which just feels weird. I also noticed the game can handle high framerates, but those spots where framerate dropped felt much more noticeable, so I preferred 30 FPS where the drops didn't feel impactful.
When I first started playing yesterday, there was a crash issue that was caused when you tried to go to the map in-game, but this was fixed relatively quick with a Proton hotfix. There are also some areas that have some framerate drops no matter the settings I chose and a slight drop in frames when going into new areas. There is also massive stuttering that happens for around 10 seconds when going into the pause menu. This dropped the game to around 10 - 20 FPS for around 10 seconds and would then go back to normal. I believe this is primarily a shader cache issue and will be improved on once the full shader cache is built for the game.
I would have also loved to see mixed input support too for fine-tuning shots on limbs of the Necromorphs. It is possible to enable gyro controls to "As Joystick", but it doesn't feel as fluid as if you could set it to "As Mouse".
For what it's worth, I am impressed Dead Space holds up as much as it does. This is a brand new game with gorgeous visuals remade on the Frostbite engine (same as Battlefield). The game itself is incredible and lives up to that wonderful feeling I had when playing the original years ago, so if you are interested in a fantastic survival-horror experience, I fully recommend this game. I do believe performance will get better on the Steam Deck over time too, but for right now, it is playable with some compromises. Just be prepared for some drops in certain sections of the game.
We will be updating this first look in the next couple days with 2 more builds, one for 40 FPS framerate and a quality build, and from there we will upgrade this to a full review as I play more!
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Dead Space is a remake of the original game that captures the same delight the original had and pushes it further. While this game is incredible, it can also be enjoyed on the Steam Deck with compromises.
No Forced Compatibility
Anti-Aliasing: Super Resolution 2.0
FSR 2.0 Mode: Balanced
Light Quality: Medium
Shadow Quality: Low
Reflection Quality: Medium
Volumetric Resolution: Low
Ambient Occlusion: Off
Depth of Field Quality: Low