Announced ahead of Dead Space 3’s launch, “Awakened” was hyped as being more terrifying and gruesome than anything players had seen to that point. Hyperbole aside, “Awakened” is a bit different than the rest of the core game. Normally a change of pace would be interesting, but that’s just not the case this time around. “Awakened” isn’t nearly as engaging or fun as Dead Space 3, and that isn’t helped at all by how quickly it’s over.
Warning: There will be spoilers for Dead Space 3 ahead.
The first installment of downloadable content for Dead Space 3 picks up immediately after the conclusion of the game. There are definitely plenty of questions brought up by the end credits of Dead Space 3, and almost none of them are answered by “Awakened.” In fact, the downloadable content makes a point of how improbable it is that Isaac and Carver survived almost immediately, which tends to suck a bit of any possible momentum out of the narrative. If you have to tell your players, “Shh, don’t worry about it,” you might want to rethink the approach you’re taking. We are already playing a game where the most insane crazy stuff happens, but for the most part, the explanations have been feasible within the world of Dead Space. Here everything is dismissed with a wave of the hand, and it’s a bit insulting.
Making things more disappointing, the story elements that carry the rest of the 1-2 hour-long DLC are few and far between. Isaac and Carver must get a ship to escape the planet, and make it back to Earth. That’s it. There are some Unitology cultists who are remnants left over from the forces you fought in Dead Space 3 that take things to a new level of crazy, but you’ll learn little more about the world and markers during “Awakened.” Of course, by the time you arrive at the conclusion, there’s a host of new questions brought up that may or may not be answered by future content, but it’s almost a bit of a let down to hinge the entire purpose of the content for yet another cliffhanger.
There aren’t any new gameplay mechanics brought into the fold, though there are quite a few more hallucinations in the add-on. They’re all pretty intense, and do a nice job breaking up the pace and locales that have been recycled from Dead Space 3’s main game. The Stalker gets a tough new variant to battle, and the Pack return from Dead Space 2, but there is little else in the way of big new threats. The cult leader looks like he’d be a formidable opponent for Isaac, but is absolutely wasted in execution. New circuits, text logs, and weapon parts can be found scattered among the crumbling planet of Tau Volantis, but there’s little incentive to hunt them all down outside of being a completionist.
Dead Space 3’s “Awakened” add-on is a bit of a disappointment. There is a lot of treading water that culminates in another big tease. The DLC adds nothing new to the experience outside of its closing moments, and even takes the time to insult the players who have spent the past few years relishing in the rich, deep lore of the Dead Space universe. “Awakened” should have bolstered Dead Space 3 in a way that made the overall experience stronger, but instead, the downloadable content delivers a cheap excuse for another sequel.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of Dead Space 3: Awakened. A code was provided to us by the publisher.