Review: Dead Space 2

February 26, 2011

Reviews

Dead Space 2, the sequel to 2007’s Dead Space puts you back in to the boots of space engineer Isaac Clarke. Following the events of the last game set on board the USG Ishimura, a ship designed for cracking open planets, where Isaac single-handedly fought his way through the alien creatures known as ‘necromorphs’ and destroyed ‘the marker’ which was the source of all of the madness, Isaac has now turned a bit loopy himself and has been help captive for 3 years. Although, he doesn’t remember any of it.
The game actually starts off with you in a straight jacket unable to defend yourself and forces you to run away from the necromophs which have mysteriously returned. Turns out you are now in a city called the sprawl, on Titan, and if you know your solar system you will be aware that this is, the largest moon orbiting Saturn. I won’t talk about any more of the story but you can be assured that the story, even though occasionally can seem a bit empty due to all the action in between it, does grip you. The urge to carry on to find out the mysteries of where Isaac’s memory has gone, why he is hallucinating his dead girlfriend, and why the necromorphs have returned make for a compelling journey with satisfying (and unexpected) plot twists along the way.

New to Dead Space 2 is that Isaac now has a voice. In the first game a lot of suspense was built because our hero was silent. For the purposes for this game where communication between characters is vital, it works very well. Isaac talking doesn’t dull the atmosphere and allows him to express his emotions very well.
As you’re exploring The Sprawl you will need a variety of weapons to mow down the hordes of necromorphs which want to slice you to pieces. Thankfully there is a range of brutal weapons available for your usage. Some classic weapons such as the Plasma Cutter and the Line Gun return but also a few new weapons are available for purchase. Every weapon also has a secondary fire button which allows for multiple strategic ways to dismember necromorphs. If you want, pin a necromorph to the wall using the Javelin gun then use its alternate fire to electrocute the javelin which has pierced it. Delicious burning necromorphs.
Dead Space 2 still requires you to dismember necromorphs in order to kill them, so no spray and pray to be had here. Precise aiming to shoot off all of the necromorphs limbs is needed. More inventive ways of killing have been added to this game though. Some glass windows can be shot open, causing everything in a room to be sucked out in to space. If you don’t find a way to close the airlock quick enough though you’ll be sucked to your own death just as quick as the necromorphs around you.
Weapons and armour can still be upgraded in the same way as the original game, using “Bench”. Any power nodes you collect or buy can be inserted in to slots on your weapons upgrading different aspects such as fire power or reload time. With so much upgrading to do though, don’t expect to have much upgraded by the end of your first playthrough. This will take time and effort to fully upgrade everything. As a result you are forced to preference certain weapons and make a choice on what is actually important to you.

A strong atmosphere is created in this game through the use of lighting and sound. Going through a pitch black room with only your torch lighting the way was definitely one of the highlights of this game. Trying to build tension, just waiting to be struck by a necromorph from the darkness, truly terrifying. The musical score has a fantastic mix of ambient noises and more intense music for when the situation arises, giving a great experience for your ears while you make your way through The Sprawl.
One new feature to this game is the ability to travel where you want within zero gravity. In Dead Space 1 you aimed towards a surface then launched yourself to it. Now you just fly about thanks to your thrusters. Although it isn’t a significant change, moving in all directions is definitely fun and makes for some great set pieces later in the game.
As you travel through the sprawl there will be plenty of audio and text logs to pick up. These each give more background information to the game and what happened within the 3 years of Isaac’s “absence”. There are plenty to find and collect and give plenty of reason to replay the game along with the weapon upgrading.
New to Dead Space is competitive multiplayer. This pits you in a 4 vs 4 situation, humans vs necromorphs. There are 5 maps to play on and each have their own unique objectives which humans have to carry out. The necromorphs just have to get in their way. One such example is Titan Mines which has the survivors hunting down pieces of a bomb so they can detonate it. When a survivor is holding a piece they move much slower than normal and depend on team mates to protect them as they return the piece to the bomb. This feels very similar to Left 4 Dead, which is a very good thing, but the levels are short and quickly grow repetitive. On to of this there are balancing issues. If you’re put on a team against a higher level person, then the abilities or weapons they have unlocked will unfairly annihilate you. I also had issues with connecting to games.

Dead Space 2 is a fantastic addition to the series and a great sequel to the first game. The story is gripping and gameplay is fun. The main downside for this game is the multiplayer which really isn’t even worth playing when other games such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed have so many greater multiplayer experiences. But hey, Dead Space was never about multiplayer before, so no worries. Get it for the single player experience, and prepare to be spooked.

9/10

-Mevans

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