The upcoming Dead Space remake will ship with two graphics modes, letting you choose between high frame rates or the best-looking experience on current-gen consoles.
On both Xbox Series X and PS5, Dead Space will support either 30fps at 4K with ray tracing or 60fps in QHD (1440p) with the lighting and rendering technique disabled. Developer Motive Studios hasn’t detailed the extent of ray tracing available in the horror remake, but considering the high contrast between light and shadow in the original, I can’t wait to see it in action on my PS5.
It’s been 15 years since the release of the original Dead Space, so the hallways of the game’s derelict planet cracker spaceship, the USG Ishimura, are in need of an update. From the footage we’ve seen, the Dead Space remake looks as though it will feature ray-traced reflections along with ray-traced shadows, and ambient occlusion to bring the monster-filled space hulk up to modern standards.
It’s not new for PS5 games or Xbox Series X games to ask you to choose between 30fps fidelity and 60fps performance modes, we’ve been making these decisions since this generation of gaming hardware launched in November 2020. Developers offer the choice because ray tracing is incredibly taxing on the custom RDNA 2 architecture which power both the Xbox Series X and PS5.
And, sometimes, you may want the game to look its best; other times, you may want it to perform its best. For instance, when playing a multiplayer shooter like Overwatch 2, I want the highest fps I can get, but with an atmospheric single-player experience like Dead Space, I’m happy to take the framerate hit in return for a sumptuous view.
The Quality mode is a good fit for Dead Space, as it was never a game about speed. Your character, Isaac Clarke, walks around the spaceship in a slow, bulky engineering suit and employs a plasma cutter to keep enemies away. It doesn’t require the same twitch reflexes of Dead Space’s spiritual successor, The Callisto Protocol.
Good performance isn’t guaranteed, though. Recently, we’ve seen older games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt struggle with ray tracing on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The implementation of ray-traced ambient occlusion was nearly unplayable compared to the performance mode. There’s a glimmer of hope here, though. That’s because Motive has built the Dead Space remake in Dice’s Frostbite engine, which handled the ray tracing in Battlefield 2042 very well.
What else can I expect from the Dead Space remake?
The Dead Space remake looks to be a faithful reimagining of Isaac Clarke’s first outing, sticking close to the story and set pieces of the original. What Motive has aimed to do is create a more seamless experience, removing loading screens, updating clumsy mechanics and controls, and in every way it can make Dead Space what it would be if it was released for the first time in 2023.
One major point of difference is that Clarke is no longer a silent protagonist. Originally mute through the events of the original game, he will now be fully voiced by Gunner Wright, who portrayed the character in both of the sequels. Also returning is Tanya Clarke who played Nicole in Dead Space 2.
Immersive lighting and good use of contrast was a major factor in the original Dead Space’s claustrophobic environments back in 2008. Even 14 years after its initial release, Visceral Games’ survival horror masterpiece still holds up from a gameplay perspective, so having a faithful, from-the-ground-up recreation for a new generation is certainly welcome.