Do not fret if this is your first foray into the franchise. The introduction educates the player on past events and everything from Isaac Clark's early days as an engineer on a mining starship to his role in learning more about alien artifacts known as Markers and fighting the re-animated dead.
Isaac Clark, who now resides at a lunar colony, is coerced by the Last Battalion (solders trying to preserve human life) to fight the Church of Unitology. Religious zealots are convinced that by activating Markers they are following some divine plan to 'evolve' humankind.
You play as Isaac Clark and don the iconic pressurized suit. Everything you need is represented contextually on-screen and so a traditional heads-up-display is not visible. Your health is the coloured bar along your spine, aim your weapon to see a projection of how much ammunition you have and use your locator (wrist-mounted gadget) to shine a holographic line to direct you to the next objective.
Stomp containers and corpses for scrap metal, ammunition and upgrades. Ships have work benches that allow the player to craft new guns and improve existing equipment for better firepower and so on.
Step into a kiosk chamber and modify your pressurized suit. Exchange scrap metal for increased hit points or larger oxygen capacity. Mass Effect fans can also change their skin to Commander Shepard's N7 armour for a laugh.
The atmosphere and vibe of Dead Space 3 is like a mix between the movies: Event Horizon and The Thing. Flickering lights, distant clunks and shrill screeches will make you jump in your seat, which is a testament to how well the story is paced. Abominations await behind closed bulkheads.
There are a lot of scripted action sequences with quick-time events, which is at times frustrating. Often it is not clear whether you are supposed to do something or just observe the eye candy. You might be casually floating in the vacuum of space when all of a sudden you are meant to be dodging debris. Fortunately there are regular checkpoints to endure the trial and error portions of the story.
It is not all about blasting baddies though. Your suit grants the bearer special abilities which are not only exploited during combat but also necessary to complete puzzles that must be solved to progress. Kinesis allows the player to move objects without touching them and cryo shot freezes enemies and slows down rapidly moving objects.