Isaac himself proves to be a fairly pointless lead character, too, unlikely to inspire much in the way of empathy or interest. With only two brief glimpses of his face bookending the story, and absolutely no dialogue, it's hard to invest in his search for his lost girlfriend, especially since the game neglects to develop this element in any meaningful way until its rather inept pay-off at the end. Gordon Freeman can get away with being a mute witness to apocalyptic events because we've viewing events through his eyes, and because he's not required to convey any emotional storytelling. Isaac, by comparison, acts like an emotionless automaton even when faced with the most horrific sights and the human factor - always a key in driving a horror story - suffers as a result.
None of these criticisms will detract from your enjoyment, provided all you want from a game is the opportunity to repeatedly turn evil monsters into red mush in gorgeous HD detail. Dead Space easily delivers on that promise, but fails to turn its polished production values into something truly memorable over the long haul.