Dead Space 3 Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Peter Krastev), 02/12/2013

Horror cubed? Almost two years after the last installment, EA releases the third game of the Dead Space series to horror fans. The nightmarish third-person title will attract players with a well thought out co-op mode and a diverse crafting system. We tested the single-player mode for several hours and have determined the hardware requirements.

Dead Space 3 Logo

Description

For the original German review, see here.

One of the biggest strengths of Dead Space 3, as was for the first two games, is its thrilling and dark atmosphere. A quick look at the level design clearly shows that the U.S. developers from Visceral Games really know what they're doing. The dismal sci-fi world, built around the mysterious Markers and the necromorph mutants, looks a lot like a mixture of Judge Dredd, Riddick, Blade Runner and Deus Ex. The developers have successfully created a dystopia and players are quickly immersed into the game universe.

The first chapter in the "Lunar Colony" is especially full of lovely details. We fight our way through a shopping street that invites us to stay and explore around every corner. The overall positive image also comes from the good technical implementation. Although the graphics are not necessarily outstanding, the developers have a done a good job. We were particularly impressed by the great lighting and the excellent shadow play. The numerous effects manage to hide the smaller texture weaknesses very well.

The prologue is very well made.
The prologue is very well made.
We abandon ship on a rope...
We abandon ship on a rope...
...slide on the icy surface...
...slide on the icy surface...
...and are almost crushed by debris.
...and are almost crushed by debris.
The scenery and the enemies remind us of Lost Planet.
The scenery and the enemies remind us of Lost Planet.
Sometimes we are in the snow.
Sometimes we are in the snow.

In terms of sound, Visceral Games has done a generally solid job. When you hear a strange noise at the end of a pitch black corridor or a monster lurking round the nearby maintenance shafts, you would want to run as fast as you can and leave the whole horror behind you. There is nothing to complain about the weapon sounds and the music either.

In terms of gameplay, Dead Space 3 is a double-edged sword. On the positive side are the scattered puzzles. Although they are very much alike and generally of low difficulty, the brain-teasers are a nice break from the horror routine. The player must activate energy nodes, repair machinery, move objects and avoid dangerous rotors, all with the help of telekinesis and stasis abilities. These skills also come in handy during brutal fights. After all, opponents are noticeably less harmful when slowed down.

Another advantage is the crafting system that is surprisingly extensive for a third-person title. The developers have divided the weapons into different modules that the player can combine anyway he wants. The resources that the player collects can also be used for the construction of other items, such as ammunition. Dead Space 3 even has a small character system. The so-called "RIG" suit can be upgraded in several stages. You want a larger air supply for the space levels? Then just put more resources in the corresponding category!

The first chapter takes place 200 years later...
The first chapter takes place 200 years later...
...on the New Horizons Lunar Colony...
...on the New Horizons Lunar Colony...
...where you will also fight conventional enemies.
...where you will also fight conventional enemies.
The city is full of billboards...
The city is full of billboards...
...that create a great atmosphere.
...that create a great atmosphere.
For most puzzles we need the telekinesis ability.
For most puzzles we need the telekinesis ability.

In order to increase the suspense, the developers have incorporated a lot of scripts. Sometimes these are so spectacular that the player is left open-mouthed in front of the monitor and the satisfactory "WOW" and "OH" follow as well. In addition we have the boss encounters, regular Quick Time events and the zero gravity passages. The latter offer lots of freedom of movement and are a nice contrast to the rather linear indoor levels. The interesting story is motivation enough to continue playing.

We were not quite as satisfied with the fights. While the "alien" battles offer a whiff of tactics thanks to the "dismemberment" mechanic (it pays off to shoot foes in the limbs), the "normal" enemy fights feel somewhat boring. First reason: compared to other action games, the main character's movement is relatively slow and clumsy. Second reason: more can be desired from the AI.

Overall, Dead Space 3 tends to have more action and less horror for our taste. The unique atmosphere, characterized by isolation, sometimes goes down the drain. True horror fans should look at the development of the series with a bit of skepticism.

Dead Space 3 is definitely not for children.
Dead Space 3 is definitely not for children.
Despite the retrospect, newcomers will sometimes have trouble following the story.
Despite the retrospect, newcomers will sometimes have trouble following the story.
We are happy to roam spaceships and space stations.
We are happy to roam spaceships and space stations.
The inventory is filled up quickly.
The inventory is filled up quickly.
News messages give the universe depth.
News messages give the universe depth.
In addition to the classic mission descriptions, we also have the optional target marker.
In addition to the classic mission descriptions, we also have the optional target marker.

We think it's a shame that EA has not focused on the strengths, which made the series great in the first place (even the first game offered more than enough fights), but has rather gone for the modern "Hollywood formula". A bit more peace and suspense have worked well for the third installment in the series. For us, the first signs of exhaustion came after a couple of hours.

We must also criticize the controls. The options menu is literally overflowing with buttons. There seems to be a different key for every mini-action. After all, this is not a complex flight simulator, but a rather simple action game. Convenient controls were achieved with a bit of practicality. Older action games worked fine with less buttons (Doom for example). Another problem: some menus have a limited or no mouse support at all. Yet, Dead Space 3 runs smoother than its predecessor. Even the first part had slow and clumsy controls.

The cool scripted scenes add some adrenaline.
The cool scripted scenes add some adrenaline.
The characters are well built, but look rather artificial.
The characters are well built, but look rather artificial.
Occasionally they lack facial expressions.
Occasionally they lack facial expressions.
If needed, we can easily change our suit.
If needed, we can easily change our suit.
Even the basic model is visually appealing.
Even the basic model is visually appealing.
The difficulty of the puzzles is rather limited.
The difficulty of the puzzles is rather limited.

Benchmark

Our benchmark sequence lasts approximately 60 seconds. The real-time rendered introduction to the first chapter gives a good overview of the expected frame rate (minimum/maximum/average). A video card should be capable of at least 35-40 fps, because the fights require quick actions and reflexes. A lower frame rate would cause annoying stuttering.

We used the proven Fraps tool for the benchmark. As you can see from the video below, we start the recording right as the advertising and propaganda monitor appears. The benchmark is stopped when Isaac falls on the floor of his apartment.

Settings

The graphics menu is intended for both beginners and advanced users. Those who do not want to deal with the details should use the four practical preset options and ignore the "custom render settings" submenu. In addition to the graphics quality, the user can change the resolution, the display mode and the brightness. The Vertical Synchronization should be turned off only for benchmarking purposes.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings
Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

Great: all graphics settings can be changed directly in the game and no restart is necessary. The short loading times are also noteworthy. With an SSD, the selected levels load after only a few seconds. During the test we did not notice any bugs, crashes or performance problems. The technology seems well engineered.

The action game offers an extensive crafting system.
The action game offers an extensive crafting system.
The weapons are divided into several segments.
The weapons are divided into several segments.
Chip tuning of a different kind.
Chip tuning of a different kind.
You can send a mini-robot that automatically collects resources.
You can send a mini-robot that automatically collects resources.
The missions include numerous mini-games.
The missions include numerous mini-games.
The suit can also be upgraded.
The suit can also be upgraded.

Results

Despite the good graphics, Dead Space 3 does not have high hardware requirements. A video card of the upper middle class such as the GeForce GT 650M is sufficient for a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and the preset "Very High". Those who will be happy with 1366x768 pixels and the "High" setting could easily do with a weaker middle class GPU. The popular GeForce GT 630M managed just over 35 FPS in the benchmark. Entry-level models such as the Intel HD Graphics 4000 are only good for low to medium details.

Benchmark-Tabelle: Dead Space 3

Verdict

In our opinion, Dead Space 3 has fallen between two stools. It is too action-packed for a horror game and at the same time it is too clumsy for the shooter genre. That does not mean the complete package is not fascinating. From a technical point of view, Visceral Games has done a good job. Notebook users will appreciate the moderate hardware requirements.

Without a helmet, the main character would be in dire straits.
Without a helmet, the main character would be in dire straits.
The space levels feature an amazing view.
The space levels feature an amazing view.
We can move around quite freely in space.
We can move around quite freely in space.
The controls could have been a bit better.
The controls could have been a bit better.
Mysterious drawings on the wall.
Mysterious drawings on the wall.
Video messages are displayed via hologram.
Video messages are displayed via hologram.

Test Systems

Our three main platforms are courtesy of Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M(X), GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000)
  • Each with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (2x 4 GB @ 1600 MHz), 160 GB SSD (Intel 320 Series)  & Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

GPU drivers: Nvidia 313.96 Beta, AMD 13.2 Beta 5 & Intel 9.17.10.2932.

From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Dead Space 3
 Dead Space 3 (2013)
low
1024x768
Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1366x768
High Preset
ultra
1920x1080
Very High Preset
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
410.4
384.1
254.2
 4AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
168.5
168.2
166.7
 9NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
455
354
287
184
 10AMD Radeon HD 7970
394.2
289.3
234.4
155.5
 14NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
410.2
319.9
248.6
159.2
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
341.6
276.6
235.3
143.92
 18NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
133
 19AMD Radeon HD 7870
258
218
200
133
 21AMD Radeon HD 8970M
310.4
221
176.7
95.352
 26NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
287
220.4
182.8
111.1
 27NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
458
286.1
223.2
100.8
 29AMD Radeon HD 7970M
263.3
168.4
141
92.3
 35NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
320.4
202.1
153.3
93
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
258.7
171.6
132.1
79.9
 45NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
210.9
154.4
85.2
 48AMD Radeon HD 6870
353
170
135
85
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
405
206
156
90
 50NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
262.1
150.652
117.152
70.13
 54NVIDIA Quadro K4000M
337
129
98
57
Pos      Model                                     Dead Space 3
lowmed.highultra
 56NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
251.1
171
128.9
73.2
 59AMD Radeon HD 7770
280.5
125.9
99.3
60.2
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
291.4
143.9
109.7
66
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
135
103
61
 72NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
251.3
142.2
106.4
59.7
 74AMD Radeon HD 8870M
174.4
97.3
75.2
46.2
 87NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
243.8
113.8
85.1
49.5
 89AMD Radeon HD 8850M
84.8
66.9
42
 91AMD Radeon HD 8790M
188
80
58
36
 97NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
181.3
88.6
65.952
39.52
 99NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
184.9
89.6
69.3
41.7
 102NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
170.8
81.3
62.1
36.7
 106Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
164.6
73.2
55.3
32.7
 109NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
132.252
72.252
52.352
33.952
 111NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
248
113
85
48
 114NVIDIA GeForce 825M
53.6
42.2
 124AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8750M Dual Graphics
53.5
42.2
 125AMD Radeon HD 8750M
128.92
54.452
42.42
25.5
 126NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
135.852
65.352
51.352
23.6
 128*NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
155.2
73.3
55.4
32.5
Pos      Model                                     Dead Space 3
lowmed.highultra
 135NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
155
72
54.8
32.6
 137NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
110.7
53.72
42.752
24.9
 175AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
30
29.8
27.8
 176*AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
66.352
36.12
30.052
19.7
 177AMD Radeon HD 7660G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
106
48.6
37.8
 178AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
90.2
33.1
26.1
 179AMD Radeon HD 8670M
67
32
26.1
 180AMD Radeon HD 7660D
106
50.3
39.5
23
 198AMD Radeon HD 8650G
30
29.8
27.8
 199AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
99.2
45.9
35.9
 200*AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
92.5
45.2
35.3
20.9
 202AMD Radeon HD 7670M
104.4
48.3
37.3
 203NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
121.052
54.82
39.452
22.152
 204AMD Radeon HD 7560D
104
46
35.4
20.2
 207NVIDIA GeForce 820M
49.4
38.1
21.7
 208NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
83.3
40.3
31.8
18.1
 210Intel Iris Graphics 5100
97.8
36.9
26.2
16.5
 214AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
52
27
21.6
 222Intel HD Graphics 4600
101.2
41.9
31.4
17.4
 226NVIDIA GeForce 710M
95.8
43.9
33.8
Pos      Model                                     Dead Space 3
lowmed.highultra
 227AMD Radeon HD 7660G
90.7
41.6
32.9
19.9
 240AMD Radeon HD 7570M
91.9
33.2
26.1
 243ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
106
44.4
34
19.5
 246*AMD Radeon HD 8550G
53.7
42.1
 253AMD Radeon HD 7610M
103
38
27
17
 258Intel HD Graphics 4400
59.44
28.44
223
12.52
 261AMD Radeon HD 7550M
76.4
28.8
22.7
 294AMD Radeon HD 7480D
76
31.8
23.4
12.8
 295Intel HD Graphics 4000
74.556
31.56
24.856
14.854
 297Intel HD Graphics 4200
47.6
20.9
14.2
7.2
 298AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
77
31
23.7
13.3
 302AMD Radeon HD 7500G
55.8
27
21.4
 305AMD Radeon HD 8450G
43
21.6
17.4
 309AMD Radeon HD 8400
44.1
19.9
 311AMD Radeon HD 7520G
44
23
18
 321AMD Radeon HD 8330
42.82
16.552
12.552
 342AMD Radeon HD 7420G
49.6
18.4
 357AMD Radeon HD 7400G
43
17
13
 364AMD Radeon HD 8280
47.9
17.6
14.1
 370Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
38.7
17.7
13.1
Pos      Model                                     Dead Space 3
lowmed.highultra
 373AMD Radeon HD 8240
34.2
14.9
 380Intel HD Graphics 3000
51.152
21.852
16.7
9.1
 383NVIDIA GeForce G210M
47.3
18.4
13.1
 398AMD Radeon HD 8210
30.4
12.9
 401Intel HD Graphics 2500
44.62
18.8
13.5
7.3
 402Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge)
42
17
12
6
 436*Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
32.2
13.3
9.4
 485Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
7
* Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.
static version load dynamic

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Dead Space 3 Benchmarked
Author: Florian Glaser, 2013-02-12 (Update: 2013-02-12)