Dead Space 2 Review - Strategic Dismemberment Returns!
First off, we have to admit at the outset of this review that we are HUGE fans of the original Dead Space game (read our Dead Space review here!). The first game was so intense; I was worried that the sequel couldn’t possibly be as good as the original Dead Space. On the flipside, if Dead Space 2 was as good as the first game, or *gasp* better, would I have to limit my playtime to the middle of the day with all of the lights on in the house… Not to mention needing an additional living breathing body in the room with me…
Does the survival horror sequel to Dead Space live up to the bar set by its predecessor? Hit the jump to see our thoughts on the game!
We also want you to be aware that this review may be somewhat brief… We don’t believe in spoilers for those that haven’t played a game yet, and Dead Space 2 is a tough one to discuss without dropping spoilers… Rest assured, Your mom won't like Dead Space 2!
Dead Space 2 sees the return of Isaac Clarke after barely surviving his last encounter with the Necromorphs aboard the USG Ishamura planetracker. The game actually ended with a nice little twist, Isaac Clarke using an escape pod to get clear of the Ishamura only to have a zombified Nicole (his girlfriend who had committed suicide to avoid becoming a Necromorph) emerge from the shadows to scream in his face. The ending not only ended the game with a big “Holy Crap” moment, but leads into the sequel.
In Dead Space 2, Isaac finds himself being diagnosed with dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, and confined to an asylum on Titan Station, also known as “the Sprawl”. Due to the current state of his psyche, he is unable to remember the previous three years, or even how he ended up on the Sprawl. Another Necromorph infestation ensues, and Isaac finds himself once again in the middle of it all. Tons of action, plot twists, and strategic dismemberment ensue.
The graphics and sound is top notch, and the team at Visceral Games made a few improvements that were VERY welcome. Among these improvements was an updated locator which allows you to not only get directions to your next objective, but also to the store, bench and save point(s). Zero-G movement has been improved as well, allowing more freedom of movement than the first game.
The key to taking out Necromorphs is “Strategic Dismemberment.” Take off their limbs to slow them down, and eventually kill them, and save a TON of ammo in the process. The weapons from the first Dead Space return for the sequel, including the plasma cutter, line gun, ripper and plasma rifle. There are a few new weapons in Dead Space 2 that offer new ways of blasting through Necromorphs, including the detonator which lets you place laser-triggered trip mines, and the javelin gun which fires large spikes and impales Necromorphs to walls (or other surfaces).
The Sprawl is a MUCH larger environment than the Ishamura was, but there are still plenty of claustrophobic hallways and shafts that you must use to get through the game. The Sprawl includes hospitals, shopping areas, residential quarters and even a school. Each area includes a plethora of detail, including such things as alarm clocks on the nightstand that occasionally go off! While the environments vary, some more disturbing than others, the one thing that they all have in common is that you’re never safe. As soon as you start feeling comfortable in an area, a Necromorph comes along to ruin your sightseeing.
There are several new breeds of Necromorphs to watch out for as well. The “Pack”, which are twisted versions of human toddlers, and they like to run at you in groups. The “Stalker”, much more intelligent Necromorphs that move in packs, uses cover, and attempt to stay hidden prior to attacking at tremendous speed. You also have to keep your eyes out for the “Puker” who, as their name implies, likes to puke on you from midrange.
For the most part, the game is absolutely perfect, but there is a bit in the middle that gets a little redundant. Is Isaac Clarke really THAT unlucky of a guy that every plan for escape requires him to fix something? It makes one wonder where all of the other engineers have been for the last three years because they obviously weren’t keeping the Sprawl up to code…
The game includes 15 chapters and clocks in at around 10-12 hours. We took a little longer, but we’re sluts for saving games… Saving every time we pass a save station (literally).
Make sure and stick around after the credits. There’s some interesting dialogue that you won’t want to miss!
There’s plenty of replayability as completing the game unlocks new suits and new game modes. You can even start a new game using the equipment you had when you completed the game, which is a VERY nice touch.
Dead Space 2 also includes a new multiplayer mode. You’re divided into two four man teams, one for humans/Sprawl Security and the other for Necromorphs. The human team attempts to complete various missions/objectives within an allotted time. The Necromorphs job is to stop the security team. The Sprawl Security force plays exactly as Isaac Clarke, while the opposing team has four different Necromorphs at their disposal: the pack, the lurker, the puker, and the spitter. Experience points are earned through online play and allow you to unlock new weapons, stasis power for humans, and stronger attacks for Necromorphs. It’s a frantic fight for survival that definitely encourages team work.
If you’re a fan of the first game, or the survival horror genre in general (Resident Evil, etc.), you’re going to LOVE Dead Space 2. Be warned, it isn’t for the faint of heart… One of our editors got their hands on the game before I did and they had to stop after the first ten minutes because it was THAT intense (he literally had to hand the controller over to someone else to continue playing). It’s rated “Mature” by the ESRB for good reason. There isn’t much swearing in it, but there are some downright intense and brutal set pieces.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Dead Space 2 is available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
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