Dead Space is a third person game set in a futuristic universe where you are Isaac the mechanic, a man worried for the survival of his girl and assigned to repair her ship after the comms went down. Shockingly it all goes to pot even before your repair ship docks with the massive silent ship the USG Ishimura, a planet cracker class spaceship, and before you know it you are on your own fending against strange creatures for your own survival!
Dead Space is one of the most gripping, intense games I've played for a good few years and the creators wanted it that way. Where you generally need an indication of life, either a life bar like Halo or a change in the screen as in Call of Duty of Gears of War, with Dead Space there is a life bar up your spine! And when you want to see your inventory you project an image of it in front of you. Also if you want to see where your next objective is, you click one of the movement sticks and Isaac highlights a glowing line on the floor towards it. They've basically done their best to convey information without using a HUD, obviously to try and draw you into the game more, and it works.
The creatures you encounter in Dead Space are generally collectively known as the Necromorphs. Another interesting idea implemented in Dead Space is that, unlike in Resident Evil (which is pretty much the benchmark for Survival Horror) headshots are NOT the way to go. In fact most of the enemies function fine without a head.
No, in Dead Space the order of the day is dismemberment, and a lot of it. The most common Necromorph is a humanoid creature with scythe like arms. Shoot its head off and it will just keep charging you, but shoot its legs off... and it will claw its way towards you on its arms, but then once you've shot those off it dies. And that's the point really, how tough the enemies are to kill varies with how good you are at dismembering them.
Another section that Dead Space has been clever with is its guns. As Isaac is a mechanic and not a soldier he doesn't have most conventional guns. Yes there is an Aliens style pulse rifle but besides that all the weaponry is based on various tools and mining equipment.
You pickup credits and energy nodes throughout the game which you can use to upgrade all of your weapons and your armour but again the upgrade system isn't just "use a node and your gun is better". Yes, using the nodes to upgrade your guns helps to improve them, but you have to fill in slots in the upgrade chain, some of which do nothing at all.
Another element that Dead Space uses, not quite as original but still adding to the awesome-ness is the Kinetic and Stasis. The Stasis module is a constant weapon in Isaac's arsenal. With the Stasis module you can freeze enemies and objects, and along with the Kinetic module you can move heavy objects, both of which are used to progress through fairly simple puzzles.
Another unique thing about Dead Space is the Zero Gravity sections where you are can leap to walk along the walls floor and ceiling, bypassing holes in the ship's hull, however the Necromorphs still come at you and the fact that they can literally attack from any direction is extremely disorientating
Often, but not exclusively, linked with the Zero-G sections is the fact that due to holes in the hull or the air being purged, you will have to survive on a limited air supply. Like the health packs you can use to heal you, you can use air canisters to top up your remaining oxygen, but when you are fighting enemies and running along the ceiling, trying to use the hologramatic inventory to survive, its harder than it sounds!
Dead Space is a very good game. It has a number of innovative features, it is very immersive, and it a very freaking scary game. You can't really describe scary, you need to experience it yourself. So you should try Dead Space, and just remember that in Zero-G, nobody can hear you scream!