Dead Space 3

EA's middling horror three-quel ups the player count but forgets to include any scares

Released in late 2008, the original Dead Space was a chilling reminder of how terrifying the survival horror genre could be in the right hands. Easily on a par with the most spooky entries in the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series, Dead Space gave gamers something to be frightened of. But, like any good horror film, sequels were inevitable, and over the course of two more games and two animated movies, the Dead Space franchise has transformed like one of its monstrous Necromorphs to the point where it only occasionally resembles its original form.

While an ice planet setting makes the franchise's debt to John Carpenter's The Thing more obvious than ever, Dead Space 3 has pretty much given up on horror altogether. Instead, it's all about grabbing (or crafting) a weapon and fighting the game's relentless tide of Necromorphs (either by yourself, or with a friend in co-op mode) – with a new dodge move and the ability to shoot from behind cover ensuring that Isaac Clarke is now a more capable action hero. But while the gameplay has shifted uncomfortably towards that of the generic, mainstream third-person shooter, at least it looks and sounds as good as ever. Dead Space 3 exists in a rundown universe full of eerie sounds that promise genuine shocks – even if the developers no longer know how to pay off on the build up.

Electronic Arts, Xbox 360/PS3/PC, £50 Approx, On sale now