Dead Space 2 Review

By on February 1, 2011

Get terrified all over again.


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First Impressions
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There are only a few horror movies that I’ve seen that have really made my skin crawl. Most of the time things tend to be so over the top that the fear factor goes flying out the window along with a decapitated limb. But when it comes to video games with that horror element, things change – simply because you’re there participating in the action rather than being a mere observer. I’ve played a few video games that sent shivers down my spine, and one of these games was Dead Space. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review Dead Space 2 on the PS3, and needless to say I now have to sleep with the lights on.

Dead Space 2 continues the saga of Isaac Clarke, the engineer who escaped from the necromorph-infested space station Ishimura in the original game. This time around, Isaac has to relive the horrors as he awakens from a 3 year coma to find himself on board the Sprawl, a metropolis built on one of Saturn’s moons. No sooner than waking up, Isaac has to literally run from his life as he discovers hundreds of necromorphs have descended and overrun the city. The game skillfully delivers its heart-thumping atmosphere from the very start, and the first few sections of the game are designed to familiarize players with the control scheme as well as take in the extraordinary story.

While much of the gameplay still revolves around the artistic and effective dismemberment of your enemies, there are few new gameplay elements this time around. For one, there are certain panels that Isaac can ‘hack’ – executing this is a simple task of rotating the analogue stick to uncover a ‘blue’ zone in the circuitry. Activating all three zones before a timer expires will result in a successful hardware hack. It’s not the most brilliant addition to the game, but it’s a subtle distraction from all the wonderful shooting you get to do. You also have access to engineer service corridors in certain parts of the level, which allow you to crawl into the engineering ducts to get to other parts of the levels. These slow-moving and claustrophobic sections build up to the game’s atmosphere, and I for one couldn’t wait to crawl out. Upgrades and stores resurface in the game, offering  much-needed weapon and suit improvements, as well as restocking on ammo.

The other surprising change in the game from the original is that Isaac Clarke has a voice in Dead Space 2, and as a result has an actual personality this time around rather than being the mute puppet he was in the original game. The new and improved Isaac exhibits believable facial expressions and an emotive tone of voice, which makes for a more compelling protagonist. Of course you encounter plenty of other characters in your quest, but by far it is Isaac himself that stands out from most of them.

The multiplayer component of Dead Space 2 is somewhat simple in nature, but still delivers a satisfactory experience. Two teams are put on a map, humans and necromorphs. The humans have to fulfill a particular objective, while the necromorphs have to sabotage their attempts. At the end of the round the players switch teams and play the map again. I have to say that I had a blast playing as the necromorphs, as you can choose one of four different creatures and spawn anywhere in the level, even right behind a player. Granted that the overall experience isn’t as cut-throat as the singleplayer campaign, but if you’re looking for a bit of a chuckle the multiplayer will do just that. Weapon and suit upgrades also become available the higher your multiplayer rank is, so there is incentive enough to keep playing online. Visually the game delivers plenty of gore as the original did, and coupled with the superb soundtrack and voiceovers delivers a truly horrifying gaming experience. There are also a number of DLCs coming for the game, and some are already out that add in more multiplayer maps and suit skins.

Dead Space 2 is a faithful follow-up to the original that delivers a perfect horror ensemble. While the multiplayer component isn’t as varied as we’d like it to be, it provides a lighter form of gameplay from the otherwise engrossing single-player campaign. If you’ve played the original Dead Space and want to find out what happens to Isaac, or you just want something to clear your brain from the true horror that was Clive Barker’s Jericho, then this is the game for you.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9
A fantastic follow up to the original that delivers scares at every turn.
GRAPHICS
8
Gore and plenty of it. If it moves, cut it up or stomp on it.
SOUND
9
Terrific voice acting and a superb musical score helps to deliver a believable nightmare
VALUE
8
Multiplayer could have been better, but hopefully additional DLCs will improve upon the experience.
FUN FACTOR
9
Dismemberment was never this fun.
OVERALL
9.3
A game that doesn’t skimp on the gore, and makes for one hell of a scary ride.

About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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