After playing “Dead Space 2,” I was reminded rather quickly that this game is not for the faint of heart. “Dead Space 2” will definitely satisfy those looking for a bloody good time.
For those not familiar with the games, “Dead Space 2” is a sequel to the 2008 survival horror game “Dead Space,” which gathered a solid audience soon after its release.
The original “Dead Space,” developed by Visceral Games, takes place in the year 2508 and follows the story of a man named Isaac Clarke. Isaac is an engineer for the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC), a crew assigned to investigate the USG “Ishimura,” a ship which has gone into a communication blackout. The ship was “cracking” a planet known as Aegis VII, and an artifact named the “Marker” was recovered. The “Marker” is later found to be of alien intelligence, and is the source of the crisis on the Ishimura.
After arriving, the crew quickly realizes that something has killed everyone on board, and Isaac must find who or what is responsible. Without giving away too much of the original story, nothing goes as planned and Isaac must find a way to escape the ship. “Dead Space 2”continues Isaac’s story after the Ishimura incident.
Three years have passed since Isaac’s encounter with the Ishimura and he is not doing so well. He is now located on a metropolis called the “Sprawl,” which is stationed on Titan, a moon in the orbit of Saturn. Isaac is asked about the Ishimura attack, but has no recollection of the incident. Isaac spends the game trying to find a way to both escape the Sprawl, and to find out what has happened over the past three years.
The story for the most part is very good, with extra secrets and Easter eggs hidden that fans of the original game will love. Isaac, who talks in the new game instead of being a silent hero, is a much more engaging character because of his voice. This is where “Dead Space 2” succeeds over the original. Character development is much more noticeable here, and it shows throughout.
The problem with the story is not really the story itself, but the way it is told. As Isaac, you are basically ordered around and told what to do and where to go. The game is linear in that respect because you don’t have any freedom as the player. The game follows one story, and that could serve as a turn-off to some gamers who like the freedom to do what they want. But for fans of the original “Dead Space,” it shouldn’t be a problem.
As far as gameplay, “Dead Space 2” is as solid as ever. The same mechanics are still intact. The killing of Necromorphs, which can only be achieved by cutting or shooting off their limbs, is known as “strategic dismemberment” as in the original Dead Space. The sequel brings back favorite weapons such as the Plasma Cutter and the Ripper, along with an arsenal of new weaponry. More favorites, such as the Stasis and Kinesis modules are also included, which give the player the ability to slow enemies down and turn ordinary object into projectiles. Both have received upgrades however, with Stasis now recharging over time and Kinesis can be used to toss enemy limbs at other enemies (which is extremely satisfying). Both are welcomed additions and have helped evolve the Dead Space gameplay.
New villains are also featured in the game. Enemies such as the “Puker,” which as you might guess, pukes on you, and an enemy called the “Pack” which has 10 to 15 infected young children running straight at you.
Players can also loot in this game, which is now done by stomping or shooting an enemy corpse. Looting gives the player many objects such as healing kits or ammo. It also gives the player “credits,” which they can use at stores located around the Sprawl. Power Nodes are also back in “Dead Space 2,” and these nodes are used to upgrade both your weapons and your suit abilities, such as your oxygen levels and your health. Nodes seem to be much more plentiful in “Dead Space 2,” and can be found in various locations throughout the game. Even though the gameplay will feel a little too familiar to “Dead Space” experts, it still is a blast to play.
Visually, “Dead Space 2” looks nearly the same as the original game. Playing in full 1080p, textures look a tad smoother, but you will still see some rough edges in the more unnoticeable objects in the game such as bottles or walls that are far away. The frame rate will sometimes suffer in the moments when many Necromorphs are on screen at once towards the end of the game, but none of these make the game unplayable.
Sound design is also great once again, with a fantastic score orchestrated by Jason Graves. The atmosphere created by Visceral Games is top notch and gives us that creepy feeling that we all love to hate.
Also included in the game is a multiplayer component that pits humans against Necromorphs. As a player, you will either fight as a Necromorph or a human, each with an objective, but neither is very engaging or fun. You have the ability to level up and earn upgrades and new weapons, but you won’t get very far because of the bore factor. The multiplayer aspect could have been something very cool and different, but in the end fails to really deliver.
The creators of “Dead Space 2” have turned up the violence big time, with horrific death sequences and chilling, bloody firefights that will make you turn your head away at some points. The game is rated “M” for mature audiences, and with good reason.
Clocking in at just above seven hours to complete, the story is told well enough to make the player want to find out what has happened, and Isaac is a much more player-friendly character.
While the game doesn’t make any major changes to both the gameplay and the visuals, it still looks and plays very well. “Dead Space 2” is a fun ride through a great, ever-expanding universe that gamers can enjoy.