Dead Space 3’s first DLC pack, called Awakening, is an interesting package. While the series has forcibly inserted itself into the mold of a third-person shooter as opposed to a horror standard, Awakening tones the series back to its roots. While it still places protagonist Isaac Clarke in the middle of heavy shooting sequences, the basis of the DLC questions life and death. Unsure of how partner John Carver and himself survived the end of the main campaign, they begin a trek back home to Earth. First step? Getting a spot on Terra Nova, a ship belonging to the Unitology cult.
Thus begins the visions, with scattered images penetrating Clarke’s mind, and delusions of Necromorphs sending him into a different dimension to do battle. Terra Nova has scattered bodies, victims of the religion’s pull, and static filled radio broadcasts pouring out of speakers at every turn. There are sacrificial sights, and initiation ceremonies that put a face on how crazed Unitology is. This was a speck on the main Dead Space 3 campaign.
The DLC is hardly perfect, fitted with familiar locations recycled from previous levels, requiring extensive backtracking, and barely offering any new equipment to check out. At its heart, the DLC returns the series to pleasing form, a grisly story of humanity broken down by vivid images and the draw of words. Why it took a $10 DLC pack to find that form instead of the $60 game attached to it is anyone’s guess.