Isaac Clarke Needs to Contact His Union Rep in Dead Space Remake

At its core, the point of a gaming experience is for you to complete tasks or challenges for your enjoyment. Predominantly, this will see you take the role of the protagonist, bearing the lion’s share of the workload; such is true for Leon Kennedy’s solo extraction mission in rural Spain, as it is in Choo-Choo Charles, where you fight an evil train with your regular train before it can make train babies. Horror games are kind of weird, I will admit.

The consistent factor behind the above examples is that this is clearly your objective to complete. You may interact with other people along the way, either remotely or directly, but the understanding is that it’s all up to you, hero. Sagacious as you are, even you get lonely here sometimes.

When Dead Space first premiered in 2008, it surrounded the main character, Isaac Clarke, with crewmembers that included his commanding officer and a computer specialist. As with any team, this gives the impression that everyone has their own skillset, and their own burdens to bear on this dangerous rescue assignment.

Alas, what you must do, as Isaac, is literally everything. You are part repairman, part exterminator, part removalist, part mortician, and to borrow a phrase from my colleague Dylan, all interstellar dogsbody.

In space, no one can hear you slack off. Image Source: Motive/EA

It was my sincerest hope that the Dead Space Remake would lighten the load, even if only superficially, to offer the illusion that the other members of the USG Kellion are actually attempting to achieve anything whatsoever. Despite the progressions in technology, Isaac is still being treated like a work experience kid 15 years later. I’m tired of it, and I can only assume that he is, too.

For starters, let’s unpack a little bit about Isaac Clarke as a professional. He is a C.E.C. engineer, noted for his resourceful nature and quick thinking in critical situations. summates the role of engineer as someone who, “…uses science, technology and math to solve problems”, and that they are known to “…design machinery, build skyscrapers, and oversee public works”.

That first sentence aligns well with the requests made of Isaac by his colleagues, as he must implement his RIG and the various power-ups he acquires to overcome issues ranging from broken machinery to eldritch and sometimes pregnant monsters intent on consuming his flesh.

We are unable to verify whether Isaac could build a skyscraper on the USG Ishimura, as no particular opportunity presents itself across the events of Dead Space.

Upon crash landing on the doomed starship, Isaac finds himself separated from the other members of the crew, and flees from the Necromorphs that have begun crawling from every nook and cranny. He equips himself with mining tools for self defense, before seeking a way to rejoin his party.

“I want a word with your supervisor, buddy!” Image Source: Motive/EA

Up to this point, everything seems quite reasonable. A workplace overrun with monsters is an unprecedented event for any employee — besides, say, those in the Monster Hunter games — so there is cause for panic and disarray.

When he re-establishes comms, he is advised that the first obstacle blocking their path is “on his side of the quarantine”. Again, this isn’t necessarily cause for concern; it is a technical fault that is within his wheelhouse, and he has the added benefit of proximity. The fallacy becomes obvious when you begin to realize that, for one reason or another, the responsibility never falls on anyone else.

Daniels may be “accessing the command computer”, or Hammond will proclaim to “stabilize orbit”, and yet, you never see any evidence of them conducting said activities. They just allege that they have completed these helpful actions, before allocating you your next mandate. Occasionally, previously locked doors will open, apparently the hard-earned fruit of their labors.

Even if they are really doing whatever mundane project they claim, it pales in comparison to Isaac’s list of tasks, which are often violent and deadly in nature. You pressed a few buttons on a keyboard, Kendra? Congrats, I just exploded a 30-foot plant monster that was trying to dismember me.

Things take a turn for the farcical when you liaise with Hammond in the Captain’s Nest. He upgrades Isaac’s security clearance before sending him on his way, warning that something big is lurking nearby. In the meantime, he will “hold this position”.

I wanted to see exactly what he meant by this, so I waited with him as he stood there pretending to be busy. Five minutes passed, then 10. It was growing awkward, but still, he remained locked in place, almost as if he was terrified to turn and face me. I began to dance around him, waved my gun around like a madman, even proclaimed my undying love for him — the man did not flinch.

Anthony Alabi
Pictured: Hammond’s voice actor recreating this exact moment. Image Source: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images

The jig is up, Hammond, and you will be hearing from HR within the week. You think the Brute is scary? Wait until you meet Barbara from head office, she’ll make you wish you had been disemboweled.

One thing I will give Dead Space Remake credit for over its predecessor, is that Isaac now has dialogue of his own. Not only do his newfound responses make him more interesting and relatable as a character, it also establishes that he has some sense of autonomy. The way he would simply listen to everything without ever uttering a single word made him feel like a defeated punching bag. I’m not certain he definitively spoke English, did he even understand a word they were saying?

This one improvement notwithstanding, the unavoidable truth is that Isaac is still eerily reminiscent of LeBron James on the 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers; a lone superstar expected to drag everyone else across the finish line with him. And how did that end? With a demoralizing 4-0 sweep in the NBA Finals at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs (in this analogy, Tim Duncan is the Hive Mind).

We’ve come a long way since the mid-2000s, and LeBron has gone on to win four championships thanks to a rigged draft lottery dependable supporting cast. As for our boy Isaac, however? It seems that Dead Space is still his eternal curse, with nary a Dwyane Wade nor Anthony Davis in sight. I advocate they at least add an additional 10 minutes to his lunch break.

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