I'm really enjoying Dead Space 2, but finding it really difficult to find time to play through it. Mainly because I only want to play it at night, and I don't want to play when people are talking to me, or dragging me kicking and screaming out of the experience. Regardless, Nick Droste has sent in an awesome Reader Review of the game, which actually sums up exactly how I feel about it. Great job Nick.
Take it away Nick!
Dead Space 2 The first Dead Space in 2008 defied the odds and, to me, signalled a return of faith from core gamers in EA’s reputation as video game publishers. Through their support of an original, untested property and their unflinching acceptance of some seriously adult content, one of the best franchises of this generation was created which provided a combination of action, sci-fi horror atmosphere, great shooter mechanics and truly butt puckering gore.
Visceral has created Dead Space 2 as the direct follow-up to the original narrative, which sees mining engineer Isaac Clarke awaken safely on board a space station orbiting Saturn, albeit confined to a straight jacket and having his grasp on reality questioned by authorities. Isaac barely has time to mourn his corpse bride before those dastardly Necromorphs return and he has to engineer them all some new assholes. And thus Dead Space 2 continues, balancing Isaac’s struggle with guilt, grief and no doubt a little post traumatic stress, combined with the immediate threat of reanimated necrotic flesh which needs to be burnt, shot, frozen and stomped into submission. Not always in that order.
LOVED Space Race: The game starts with a gripping introduction and from there the action ebbs and flows with perfect rhythm. While the focus has shifted toward the action end of the horror game scale, the major set pieces dotted throughout the story really bookend the chapters well. Almost every aspect of the gameplay has been scaled up since DS1.
Atmospheric Terror-forming (get it?): I like to gauge a good horror game by how little I want to go back and play it. F.E.A.R, Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl, and Silent Hill 2 have all had sequences which have left me filled with genuine dread at completing sections of the game. This has usually been due to heavy atmosphere which builds and sustains tension. Dead Space 2 is consistently atmospheric and action packed, but 1 chapter stands out about 2/3rds through the game that had me edging forward on the thumb sticks very gingerly as tension built. The final payoff is pant-shittingly good.
Smooth as: Every aspect of the production is excellent. Seriously, everything. Graphics, environments and lighting are thoughtfully detailed. Monster design is varied and imaginative. Your first encounter with the new, highly intelligent raptor like necromorphs will rock you (clever girl). Sound design is so good that it’s fundamental to the experience. Controls and combat have been tightened up too.
HATED The princess is in another zombie sewer: Disappointingly, large portions of the plot are dedicated to chasing characters to their location, only to have the goal posts move or an unforseen obstruction occur. It gets tiresome because it happens repeatedly, sometimes worsened by bulk enemies who are presented in unimaginative monster closets or with enough frequency that no tension or horror is allowed to build.
In space, your neighbours can hear you swear at your TV: Difficulty spikes had me threatening my TV with unmentionable crimes, particularly towards the end. You can change the difficulty at any time, but I wouldn’t recommend the harder setting unless you’ve played through already and have an upgraded weapon/armour set.
Multiplayer arrangement: EA’s current arrangement means that online play requires a single use code, in an effort to reduce trading/second hand sales. Buyers beware. Luckily I tried MP for you and it was rubbish.
Dead Space 2 confirms this series as one of the strongest franchise from this generation. If you’re the kind of gamer to get all the collectables/ unlocks etc. then this is an easy purchase recommendation, otherwise you can maybe rent and finish the story in 10-12 hours. Now go and stomp some dudes with your giant space wellingtons.