'Dead Space' highlights the biggest problem with AAA games

Built-in limitations made PS3 and Xbox 360 games hit different.

EA Motive

Somehow, Dead Space is one of the freshest games of 2023. The original hit literal store shelves in 2008 and the remake, which landed in January, doesn't change the game's fundamental mechanics. The remake is a downright treat to play; it's terrifying, fast-paced and expertly balanced. Dead Space's core loop is focused, and this only highlights how chaotic many AAA games are today.

Built-in limitations of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era were critical in helping developers narrow their focus and innovate, and this generation spawned a litany of iconic franchises, including Dead Space, Dark Souls, Dishonored, Red Dead Redemption, Portal, Alan Wake and Arkham. Meanwhile, developers in the ninth console generation are grappling with an abundance of technological possibility, founded on the power and fidelity provided by modern gaming hardware. This has resulted in a litany of chaotic blandness from many AAA studios in recent years. In a creative industry unlimited by its tools, the most powerful mechanic is restraint.

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