Reader Review: Dead Space 2

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.


Comments

    Cool thanks Mark.

    Well written review Nick :)

    Though I hope "Dead Space 2 confirms this series as one of the strongest franchise from this generation." is proven to be wrong. It's a definitely a fun game and has a few jumpy moments, but it takes itself way too seriously for what it really is. Celebrating games like dead space only re-inforces that gamers pocket's have no interest in new and creative scenarios, well written dialogue/characters or innovative game mechanics. (And being called an engineer instead of a marine, having to shoot limbs instead of heads and calling the gravity gun a different name don't count as innovation!)

      Thanks!

      I agree about the Dead Space universe taking itself pretty seriously, but on the whole I didn;t find it entirely un-imaginative. Sure it's not very subtle in the parralels it draws between the extremists followers of unitology and real world religous fanaticism and ignorance, but it's still pages ahead of what passes as narrative in most action games. And other games in the horror genre havn't exactly been plumbing new depths of creativity either on the current gen consoles. (RE4 on Wii doesn't count).

      I feel confident saying they're the best horror games of this generation, PC excluded because I've heard heaps of you guys talking up "Amnesia". I'm not sure my old PC could dig it though.

        See, I'm not sure they take themselves that seriously. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times - there's a moment where you're on your way to Ellie, and she says "But at least you won't have to go through the Medical bay" and not a beat passes before the tram breaks down and announces you'll have to go through the medical bay.

        There's no way that wasn't supposed to be intentionally funny, right?

        Right?

        Anyway, good review. I love DS1 and DS2, but 2 felt so much like more of the same for me, and I found myself really missing the big set-piece boss battles.

          Ha yeah I laughed at that part too, and it was timed well because it was right when the constantly shifting objectives were starting to get a bit tired.

          The parts I'm thinking of are for eg: the dramatic scenes involving Isaac's lady from DS1. It's assuming a level of empathy and attachment that the game just hadn;t developed for me, because in the end you can stomp a dudes face off and steal his credit card while the drama is occuring. Maybe I need to stop acting the fool when all that is happening.

        Agreed, compared to most games dead space is pretty good when it comes to narrative and atmosphere, but I think games should start comparing themselves to other forms of media in order to strive for something better! I think you're right though, at the moment DS is the best horror we have on this gen of consoles, but I'm hoping that changes because something better gets made soon! It's surprising horror hasnt been more prevalent, since on a purely technical level modern game engines are so advanced in terms of lighting and other things suit the horror genre so well. Of course the argument about the definition between 'horror' and 'action gorefest' is a whooole new topic to get started on!

    where were the difficulty spike in your opinion i never really noticed any real difficulty jump more just you got swarmed which to me was simply taken care of with line racks or the standard plasma cutter(only weapons i used in the whole first playthrough)

    And if you use the ripper it's like nothing can ever harm you

    The only thing i didn't like was the fact that you would get to near where a shop might be and youd suddenly have 3-4 schematics a couple of ruby conductors and some health kits and the inventory would be full so i ended up kinises-ing objects around at some points just so i wouldn't leave a schematic behind.

    it was less of an issue on the higher difficulties where they tend to give you less ammo but it was still annoying

      You must be better at it than me, I found some seriously hard parts towards the end when *SPOILERS SPOILERS* you get out of the eye stabber and the monster appears who can regen its limbs. For that whole section I had no ammo and died probably 30-40 times!

      I played through on survivalist level from a brand new character straight up, maybe need to level up your gear and do the harder difficulties on new game +.

      What did you play it on?

    Whilst I enjoyed DS2, I missed the whole engineer role from DS1. There were hardly any set objectives in DS2, only moving forward.

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