Dead Space is a game I've been meaning to finish.
I really like the game. It has a number of "features" that border on exploits... and discovering these makes me feel smart.
What do I mean by "exploit"?
An exploit is a way of playing / winning a game, that the developer's didn't intend.
So here are some scenarios in Dead Space:
1. Stasis Energy
Slows time, it's required to progress through certain areas of the game. Because it's required in some areas, Stasis Energy recharge stations exist, that can be used an infinite number of times...
Stasis Energy can be used as a weapon. Knowing that you will always have Stasis Energy when you truly need it, and knowing that you can use Stasis Energy to slow enemies / punch them to death, it's beneficial to conserve ammo, always use up Stasis Energy on enemies when you have it, and always sell your Stasis Modules that refill Stasis Energy. Certainly when you're near a recharge station, use Stasis Energy and punch your way through that area.
2. Low Health
The game developers never want to put you in a position where you "can't" beat a section, so on a continue / game reload, you are always given at least one block of health - even if you left off with less, a fraction of one block.
Rarely or never use health packs. Sell them and upgrade your equipment. If your guns are strong enough, you should be able to beat sections with one health block, and you'll ultimately conserve ammo, and be better equipped for later sections.
3. Health Pack Currency
Small Health Packs: 1 Health, $1000
Medium Health Packs: 2 Health, $2500
Large Health Packs: Full Health, $5000
If you need to use health, how many health bars do you have? 6 or more, maybe it's smart to use Large Health Packs exclusively, sell the others. Less than 5, use Small Health Packs exclusively, those are $1000 / one health block. It's better to use two Small Health Packs ($2000), than one Medium ($2500), you can sell the Medium and get more money at the store.
Ultimately, the game still feels challenging and balanced, so am I really cheating the game? Or is the game intentionally designed this way? Is it rewarding me with a "feeling" that I'm cheating the game because of the way it's designed? That I'm clever, and I figured out smart ways to play, without being told these strategies?
Regardless, the game is a lot of fun. Something to think about as a game designer! You can balance economies in this example, or design features that make the player feel that he or she is "cheating" the game and being clever. It's rewarding!