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The Big Nasty — ‘Dead Space 3’ is a cinematic creep feast with serious action

“Dead Space 3” is a truly creepy horror adventure, featuring more dead things in outer space than ever.

The game’s monsters are one thing. The monster zombies are another thing. And then there are all the dead monster heads rolling around on the ground, like soccer balls. You occasionally kick them by accident while running for your life down unnerving corridors.

In this third “Dead Space” — the scariest, coolest and most fun “Dead Space” of all — you portray the space engineer Isaac, again.

Isaac lives 300 years in the future, centuries after Earth discovered a giant monolith called a Marker.

That marker supplied Earth with a boundless supply of energy. It also turned humans into monsters and zombies.

Naturally, corporations and governments misused the marker poorly, and spread copies of it around the universe — making the universe pretty weird.

Due to dumb things, Isaac’s brain became encoded with the DNA of these markers, so he now has wild powers, such as telekinesis.

In this sequel, Isaac travels to a weird planet beset by bad marker activity. He must hunt down religious crazies who wish to use markers carelessly. And he must save his stupid girlfriend.

I call her “stupid” for a reason. Let’s just say she keeps a diary while battling space zombies. She’s that self-centered.

This game is a big, gorgeous thing. Visually, it half-reminds me of “Blade Runner,” as I run across dilapidated metal-and-concrete city streets and huge space ships, adorned with the seductive billboard neon of pretty girls.

The horror is palpable. It made me jump, and fear corners after I survived startling attacks out of nowhere.

The sound effects are superior to most action movies — every monster growl, explosion and growling dog. The sound and music bring the game home.

As for the action in this third-person shooter, you are equipped with upgradeable and create-able guns.

Creatures that look human-ish attack you. You shoot them in the head. They continue to run at you, headless but, yay, now with tentacles. You shoot them some more.

Then you press a button to stomp their guts to find hidden ammo and First Aid kits in their bodies.

You should gather gobs of that ammo and medicine, because “Dead Space 3” is a “How Many Times Do I Have To Shoot This Guy?” game.

You also use telekinesis to move objects (puzzle-style), and you use another power to freeze creatures and objects temporarily, so you can shoot them or move beyond them.

Plus, you shimmy ladders and chutes. It’s like “Chutes and Ladders 2013.”

I love the cinematic horror of this whole game. I love the gritty, futuristic environments. And I love that there is a “casual” mode, so you bad gamers can play, too.

This year is starting off with splendid games. In January, we got the possibly instant classic “DmC: Devil May Cry.” In February now, we get this superb “Dead Space 3.”

Thanks, game makers, for bringing the big nasty. Don’t stop.

(“Dead Space 3” by EA retails for $60 for Xbox 360, PS 3 and PC — Plays quite fun. Looks astonishing. Challenging. Rated “M” for blood, gore, intense violence, strong language. Four out of four stars.)

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Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at http://www.lvrj.com/columnists/Doug_Elfman.html. Twitter at @VegasAnonymous.

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