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Dead Space was something of a phenomenon when it was initially released back in 2008. Dripping with atmosphere Dead Space elevated the action-horror genre by not only sticking you in confined settings filled with hostile encounters but also pioneered an innovative dismemberment system against your enemies. Players assume the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer who boards the USG Ishimura, hoping to find the ship’s senior medical officer and his partner, Nicole.
However, in the process, he finds himself caught in the crosshairs of political intrigue, religious zealotry, and deadly beings known as Necromorphs that have decimated the ship’s population and are eager to kill him. You’ll have access to more than a few different tools to fight back against them. Headshots are not your best friend since you’re fighting an alien life form that can live without a brain.
You’ll have to aim carefully and take advantage of Dead Space‘s strategic dismemberment system, which in my opinion, was the best in a game until Resident Evil 2 Remake was released eleven years later. With a highly anticipated remake set to release in early 2023, now is an excellent time to revisit the series’ debut entry.
If you have a Game Pass Ultimate membership, it’s available to download, and digital codes or physical copies don’t retail for more than $20 more often than not. With that said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and begin our Dead Space Weapons Guide.
The Weapons of Your Body and Mind
Let’s Get Physical
Before we even cover the gunplay, it’s imperative to disclose Isaac’s other abilities to defend himself. Isaac can deliver a wicked curb stomp to any downed enemy by pressing the right bumper when not aiming.
Utilizing the stomp is a great way to save ammo when you’ve brought an enemy to the floor, but it’s still breathing. Unlike other games like the modern Resident Evil remakes, Isaac doesn’t need to waste a valuable round by popping off a postmortem headshot.
His feet are willing to do it for him. It makes you wonder if Isaac ever pursued tap dancing or the Irish Jig before the events of Dead Space unfolded. Alternatively, by pressing the right trigger when not aiming, he can deliver a pretty meaty side hook.
While more valuable as a means to make distance between you and enemies, it does provide some damage and can help save ammo. Knowing when to use his physical attacks is paramount to survival, especially when playing on harder difficulties.
Let’s not Get Physical
Akin to a Dark Souls entry, Dead Space may move on a linear path, but it offers a lot of flexibility in combat and encourages players to develop a unique playstyle. Alternatively, if your playstyle leans more towards having space between you and combatants, Isaacs Stasis and Kinesis tools are super valuable!
While there are moments in which Stasis and Kinesis are mandatory, they won’t need to be upgraded to progress the game. It’s up to you to pick and choose your upgrades and outfit Isaac in your image.
Stasis allows you to temporarily slow down enemies, giving you more time to line your shots up or allowing you to exit the room and save ammo. Players can check Isaac’s Stasis gauge by observing the circular meter on his back next to his health bars and can be refilled at kiosks peppered throughout the maps or by using a Stasis Can. Players can also upgrade Stasis with Power Nodes at a Workbench, and here are the specs needed to upgrade it fully.
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 11
- Maximum Energy: 75% Increase
- Maximum duration: 30 Seconds
Kinesis is an enjoyable and helpful ability in combat and non-combat scenarios alike. Aiming and pressing the B button on an Xbox controller allows you to shoot a beam that can attract nearby objects and hold them in front of you. Pressing the trigger button will enable you to shoot the object in the direction you’ve aimed.
There are dozens of things available to do this with, ranging from explosive containers to supply crates hiding valuable items. Swatting an enemy with an object is a great way to save ammo.
You haven’t lived until you’ve shot off a Necromorphs limb and then fired it back at it. Like Half-Life 2, Dead Space has an impressive physics engine that helps make the world come to life and opens up unique puzzle and combat possibilities.
Unlike the Stasis ability, there is no meter or gauge for Kinesis. From the moment you unlock it in Chapter 2, you can use it as much or as little as you’d like.
The only drawback is that if you miss the item you’re trying to grab, you have to wait for the Kinesis energy to return to you, which can leave Isaac vulnerable against Necromorphs.
Combing through levels and finding all the hidden goodies adds replay value and ups the exploration factor, and Kinesis is an easy upgrade to boot. Here are its specs below.
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 3
- Maximum Range: 12 Meters
All about the Guns
While Isaac doesn’t wield more than seven weapons outside the occasional turret segment, each one is unique and has its place and purpose should you choose to use it in battle. While players can beat the game with their first weapon, the Plasma Cutter (and you get a sweet achievement/trophy for doing so), part of the fun of Dead Space is experimenting with the limited tools you get and finding which one works best for you.
While not a role-playing game by any means, Dead Space encourages players to find and create their combat style and doesn’t punish you for only sticking with one or two weapons. Unique to Dead Space is that aside from the Plasma Cutter and the Stasis/Kinesis abilities, to use new weapons, you’ll have to find their schematics out in the wild and also have to download them at a Store and use credits to purchase them. It helps up the tension and encourages good resource management.
If you want to upgrade your weapons, suit, Kinesis, or Stasis abilities, you must collect and purchase power nodes and equip them at a bench. The upgrade system works like the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X in that you’ll lay nodes out on a grid and have to budget and distribute them accordingly to get your desired results.
- Ammo per Pickup: 6
- Ammo per Inventory Slot: 25
- Alternate Fire: Sight Rotate
- Power Nodes Needed for Max Upgrades: 17
The Plasma Cutter is an iconic weapon in the series, and rightfully so! Unlike most horror games, when your initial sidearm is nothing more than a pea shooter, the Plasma Cutter is useful against all enemies.
If fully upgraded, it can pack a wallop against all the various types of Necromorphs. The Plasma Cutter operates rather uniquely, held like a handgun but fires like a shotgun. When aimed, it has three laser sights that shoot three projectiles per single shot.
The secondary function rotates the sights ninety degrees, making it an excellent tool for dismemberment against all types of Necromorphs. In a game where you’ll have to avoid headshots and aim for limbs and other attachments, having the flexibility to adjust your bullet trajectory is a blessing.
The Plasma Cutter is a weapon I always kept on me. Sometimes it’s good to stick to the old faithful, and the Plasma Cutter is never a bad tool to keep on hand.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 25
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot: 100
- Alternate Fire: 360 Degree Turret
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 15
Operating as the game’s de-facto machine gun, the Pulse Rifle is a low-power, high-velocity weapon that spits out rounds faster than you can blink. Thankfully the Pulse Rifle has manageable recoil, but due to its bullets not packing much of a punch, it’s primarily useful from afar and for most players, will be eclipsed by other weapons you find.
Nevertheless, there is something uniquely satisfying about pumping a Necromorph full of rounds and watching its limbs fly all over, and it does have its uses against certain bosses. The 360-degree turret function can come in handy when completely overwhelmed but overusing it will drain your ammo reserves.
More often than not, it will be more efficient to switch to something like the Line Gun and cleave your way through an enemy and run to generate more space and fewer opportunities to get ambushed.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 2
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot:6
- Alternate Fire: Energy Mine
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades:18
The Line Gun is an entertaining weapon. Serving the purpose of a shotgun, but it’s got that killer Dead Space twist to it that makes it as memorable as it is deadly. The default firing mode shoots off a slower-moving but powerful horizontal beam that can easily cut through a Necromorph in a single shot, especially when upgraded. Its second firing mode is more tactical but can be extremely deadly when pulled off correctly.
Shooting energy mines allows players to pepper the landscape and watch their enemies get blown to bits. The mines are especially useful when timed right against significant encounters or when facing hordes of Swarmer enemies. Those little buggers aren’t too nasty when only facing a few, but when a vent full of them explodes right in front of you, you’re going to wanna make them go boom sooner rather than later.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 6
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot: 15
- Alternate Fire: Projectile Shot
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 18
One of the Dead Space franchise’s most unique and memorable weapons must be the Ripper, hands down. If you thought Ash Williams pulled some groovy moves with a chainsaw, you’ll be putting him to shame with this bad boy.
The primary fire mode of the Ripper shoots a circular sawblade a few feet ahead of you that lasts in the air for approximately five seconds and can be moved with the analog stick. With efficient targeting, you can quickly cleave Necromorphs to bits.
To counter the drawback of having to be at a closer range, the alternate fire shoots a projectile sawblade from afar that can quickly cut an enemy’s talons or tendrils.
The Ripper works great when facing a single enemy because its spinning sawblade can stun-lock an enemy or knock them out of the air like nobody’s business. However, it’s not the best weapon in the game for crowd control scenarios unless your enemies are all approaching you from the same angle.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 25
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot: 100
- Alternate Fire: Fire Trap
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 18
The Flamer is an interesting weapon. Existing in contrast to the game’s strategic dismemberment system, this weapon coats the entire enemy in a blaze. Unfortunately, I found this weapon to be far less helpful than Ellen Ripley did against the Xenomorphs. Quickly eating through ammo, the Flamer is best used strategically.
Its Fire Trap secondary mode can be handy in the proper contexts, shooting out a ball of fire that traps an enemy upon walking into it—simultaneously incinerating and suffocating them all at once. It’s not for everyone but for some players, The Flamer could be a mainstay in their inventory.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 3
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot: 15
- Alternate Fire: Force Mine
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 19
The Force Gun operates like a more standard-issue Shotgun than anything else in the game. It harbors a slower rate of fire but makes up for it in power, hurling destructive blasts of energy at targets sure to make their bodies snap and limbs fly.
Due to the slow rate of fire, I don’t recommend using this gun when severely outnumbered, but combined with Stasis, it can be a deadly weapon, and I found ammo pickups for it to be relatively plentiful for better and for worse.
The Force Mines it fires in its secondary mode can pack a punch, but this wasn’t a weapon I generally kept on me. Using The Ripper, Plasma Cutter, and Line Gun when needed was a pretty effective trio for my playthrough, but your style may differ, and it’s fun to experiment.
- Ammo Per Pickup: 1
- Ammo Per Inventory Slot: 4
- Alternate Fire: 360 Degree Blast
- Power Nodes Needed For Max Upgrades: 18
The Contact Gun is a beast, especially when fully upgraded. Operating like a charge-up magnum, it fires a single shot at a time but makes up for it with oomph. The Contact Gun is a weapon that can tear bosses and regular enemies to bits.
The alternate fire is handy when overwhelmed and ambushed, and even if you don’t fully charge a shot from it, you’ll still lay severe damage onto targets.
The Contact Gun fires even stronger energy volleys than the Force Gun and helps flesh out the world of Dead Space as a future dystopia. Imagine seeing soldiers use a weapon like this in war? Truly nasty.
Due to the scarcity and high cost of ammo at the store, I recommend keeping this on you for specific scenarios or bosses. Still, it really is a fun weapon to play with, and it’s highly satisfying to land a fully charged hit on an enemy and watch them go boom.
Question: How do I Find New Weapons?
Answer: Each Chapter will have schematics for new weapons hidden within it. The game wants you to find them and encourages experimentation with gunplay. I found the schematics for every weapon by Chapter 6 at the latest and didn’t find them too difficult to find while playing on Medium difficulty.
Question: Is It Possible To Upgrade Every Weapon To Its Maximum Level?
Answer: Yes and no. You can get enough Power Nodes to upgrade everything to its highest level, but you will not be able to do so on your first playthrough. Dead Space has a New Game+ feature to encourage replayability. If you want to unlock the achievement/trophy for doing so or the satisfaction of 100% completion, you’ll have to take another trek into the Ishimura.
Question: Do You Need Every Weapon To Beat The Game?
Answer: Not at all! As much as Dead Space encourages experimentation, it also urges familiarization. You can unlock an achievement by only using the Plasma Cutter in the game, and while you will find certain situations in which Weapon A works better than Weapon B, you’re not required to catch them all.
If you find the schematic for a new weapon, purchase it, and then decide it’s not for you, you can always sell it back for half the credits at one of the Stores and invest the credits in resources or Power Nodes instead. I dumped my Flamer and Pulse Rifle during my playthrough; other plays might not. It’s up to you. Isaac Clarke is a silent protagonist, and while Visceral Games did a great job of giving him a personality despite it, they also left a lot up to the player.
He never has a moment where he says, “I love the Contact Gun!” so you’re not breaking the series cannon if you elect not to use it.
Dead Space is a masterclass in brooding atmosphere, gripping tension, and the necessity of quick reaction times. Your journey to find your partner and the truth of the current state of affairs aboard the USG Ishimura remains just as scary and engaging in 2022 as it did when it burst onto the scene back in 2008. There is nothing quite like it, with dimly lit hallways, steam pouring from vents, and a minimal soundtrack focusing more on the screams of your fallen comrades and industrial machinery.
Isaac Clarke will have the opportunity to wield various weapons, and each one serves a purpose without artificially making a place for them. You can pick which tools you’d prefer to keep in your toolkit, upgrade them to your design, and insert yourself into the narrative and experience.
Combining the over the shoulder intensity of Resident Evil 4, the resource management of System Shock 2, and pitting you against aliens that will make H.R. Giger blush, it is an experience that cherishes the past while paving a distinct path forward that was vital to the gaming industry back in 2008. While there may be a highly anticipated remake due in early 2023, I still think the original holds up brilliantly, and due to its inclusion in Game Pass Ultimate, there’s never been a better time to play it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first playthrough or your fifth. The unique presentation and tight gameplay loop with a story that gradually expands over time will surely sink its teeth into you. What was your favorite gun, did you have a preferred upgrade rhythm, and when did you first experience this gem? We’d love to hear it!
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