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Revisiting the original Dead Space from 2008 on the Steam Deck

I was playing The Callisto Protocol on PS4 with a good friend a few weeks ago, which made me think that it’s really time to play Dead Space again, but I really don’t want to spend money on the Remake right now. So why not dive back into the chilling corridors of the USG Ishimura. But this time, on the Steam Deck.

Back in 2013, I snagged Dead Space for a steal at just €2.49. Playing it in the pitch dark of my first apartment, I was on the edge of my seat, nearly jumping out of my skin at every turn and almost shitting my pants. Really. Think it was the first horror game I played.

Starting Dead Space on my Steam Deck and watching the intro sequence brought a rush of nostalgia, yet the outdated graphics were immediately noticeable. The visuals felt too bright and lacked depth, failing to make the most of the OLED display’s capabilities, and the once immersive atmosphere seemed less impactful.

Installing ReShade

Determined to breathe new life into this classic, I scoured Nexus Mods and stumbled upon some ReShade mods, notably “ULTIMATE Vision for Dead Space” and “DS2008.” My previous attempts to install ReShade on the Steam Deck, especially for games like Assassin’s Creed Rogue, were ineffective due to my unfamiliarity with Linux.

However, I discovered a lifesaver: “reshade-linux” This bash script effortlessly downloads ReShade, along with the necessary shaders, and links them to games running via Wine or Proton on Linux.

After testing both presets in-game, I decided to go for “ULTIMATE Vision for Dead Space”. I changed some of the preset ReShade settings, which was a bit arbitrary in the first place, to be honst, but it significantly enhanced the game’s eerie atmosphere. Especially the Film Grain and Sharpening serves the the game very well.

For those curious to see the difference, I’ll be sharing a series of before-and-after screenshots later on.

ReShade Settings: LumaSharpen, FakeHDR, Chromatic Aberration, FXAA, MXAO, GloomAO, Smart_Sharp, CAS, FilmGrain

Controller layout changes to access ReShade settings

I made it so one of the back buttons brings up the ReShade menu. Then, I made the right trackpad act like a mouse, so I could easily pick and choose settings with the left click button right on the trackpad.

I also set up another back button to turn ReShade on and off. For this i had to bind a back button to “End” key and then set this to the option in ReShade settings. This way, I could take neat before-and-after pictures to really see the difference.

Once I got it all set up and working just the way I liked, I decided to remove the extra button setup for ReShade. I figured this would stop me from constantly tweaking settings and just enjoy the game.

Fixing the right stick dead zone

Moving the camera did not work for small movements of the stick. As I found out, Dead Space is known for its significant controller dead zones on PC. I addressed the controller dead zones manually, ensuring a smoother gameplay experience.

In other guides or posts they recommend to put the slider to about half way across or to 11500, but i found myself comfortable with 10666 for the stick on the deck.

Maybe there are some community configurations available for this, but i haven’t checked.

Fix the dead zone on controllers for Dead Space

Conclusion

Jumping back into Dead Space was super exciting, and I ended up playing for about 14 hours. It was fun to see how simple yet engaging the game is, especially with those quirky zero-gravity controls.

During my playthrough, I found myself curious about whether and old game like this offered a “New Game+” mode, especially after maxing out my suit and two weapons. To my delight, upon completing the game, it introduced the option to start over with a new difficulty level and my upgrades.

I was a bit bummed to find my old 2013 game save was gone since there’s no Steam Cloud Save for it. I’m trying out this thing called “Decky Cloud Save” to keep my saves safe, but it’s been a bit tricky figuring it out. I haven’t found the saves folder on Dropbox yet.

Now that I’ve revisited Dead Space, I’m keen to check out Dead Space 2 and 3, since i have them in my library a while now. And there’s also the Dead Space Remake I’m curious about, but maybe I’ll wait until I get a PS5 for that one.

Before/After Comparison

Links & Resources 

ReShade Website
https://reshade.me/

reshade-linux on Github
https://github.com/kevinlekiller/reshade-steam-proton

DS2008 at Nexus Mods
https://www.nexusmods.com/deadspace/mods/43

ULTIMATE Vision for Dead Space  at Nexus Mods
https://www.nexusmods.com/deadspace/mods/15

“How To Install and Use ReShade on Linux – Step-by-Step Guide”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EagCLrOo7_4

Dead Space – Guide to Fix Controller Dead Zone (Steam Only)
https://gameplay.tips/guides/12760-dead-space.html

Steam Deck: How To Take And Transfer Screenshots
https://gamerant.com/steam-deck-how-to-take-and-transfer-screenshots/

Felix Hirschfeld

Ever since I got my first Game Boy at age 5, I’ve been hooked on gaming, especially those with compelling narratives. Fast forward to today, as a web developer and app creator, my enduring love for gaming fueled the idea to blend the best parts of my world: coding and gaming. The Steam Deck inspired me to integrate my profession with my love for games in a new way.


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