Dead Space 2 (360)

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Friday, February 11, 2011

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 9.00

If you think things are bad for you at the moment, just be thankful you’re not Isaac Clarke, the Dead Space series main protagonist. Isaac’s troubled story picks up roughly three years after the events in Dead Space. After the horrible events that took place on the planet cracking ship U.S.G. Ishimura, the game opens with Isaac being confined to a straight jacket on the Sprawl, a densely populated metropolis built on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Though he was physically able to survive the events on the Ishimura, his mind wasn’t so fortunate.

Reeling over the loss of his girlfriend Nicole (one of the main subplots of Dead Space), Isaac has been suffering from reoccurring nightmares. Unlike the Isaac of Dead Space, the Isaac of Dead Space 2 has substantially more personality. For one, you’re able to hear him speak, giving a new layer of personality to an otherwise linear character. This allows the player to connect more with the character at a much deeper level.

The original Dead Space set the bar high for the horror game genre, Dead Space 2 raises it even further. With refined graphics and music, the designers of Dead Space 2 created easily the scariest video game to date. Improved graphics and sound aren’t the only thing new to Dead Space 2, the addition of new variants of Necromorphs helps keep the franchise fresh. The Pack, which are mutated children attacking in, well, a pack are one of the first new additions you’ll see once you pop in the game. While they’re relatively easy to kill if you can get them down your sights, their speed and numbers make it easy for them to flank you and cause you substantial frustration. Pukers are another interesting addition to the Dead Space 2 world. The Pukers do exactly what their title describes – puke. They’ll projectile vomit in your direction and if you’re hit with any of it, you’ll take a pretty good amount of damage.

While it’s all well and good that the developers added in new bad guys, a new Dead Space wouldn’t be complete without new weapons too. The Javelin gun for instance shoots a titanium spike at high speeds, great for impaling necromorphs. The Seeker rifle is a powerful sniper rifle and the Rivet Gun fires high velocity rivets that can nail items to each other over distance.

I was happy to see they’d tweaked the difficulty levels more for this game, as some of the less skilled gamers complained that some of the levels were too difficult in the first one. This allowed a more fun and stress-free experience for the more casual gamer. One of my favorite difficulty levels, the aptly named “hardcore,” requires players to begin with un-upgraded equipment, and only allows them to save three times, with no checkpoints. If I fail to find the difficulty I hope for, hardcore mode ought to do it.

The biggest addition to Dead Space 2 was adding multiplayer. Like most games, the multiplayer involves two teams. Those two teams consist of Sprawl Security Officers and Necromorphs. Sprawl Security Officers are tasked with completing all the objectives before time runs out or all of the team is killed and necromorphs goal is to prevent the SSO from completing the objectives.

There are five different multiplayer modes that players can switch between: Escape, Titan Mines, Solar Array, Fuel Core and Marker Lab. They break down as follows:

Escape: The Security Officers need to traverse a facility to a set of escape pods and escape the Sprawl

Titan Mines: Sprawl Security Team are required to find three separate components to a bomb in order to complete the process of destroying the Necromorphs and blowing open an escape for the team.

Solar Array: The Human team has been ordered by Tiedemann to deliver the firing coordinates to the Solar Array.

Fuel Core: The Human team is on a mission to eradicate the Necromorphs by detonating the fuel core.

Marker Lab: The Human team must destroy the Marker experiments to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.

After playing a few matches on each map (both as SSO and Necromorphs) I honestly felt that they shouldn’t have even bothered to add multiplayer to the franchise. None of the modes were overly exciting or felt innovative in any real way. If I had to choose one mode that was more fun than the others, I’d probably go with Fuel Core.

Overall, Dead Space 2 is a huge leap forward in the horror franchise. Adding in new weapons and bad guys helped keep the game fresh and innovative in its own right. But perhaps the greatest addition to the Dead Space franchise was dialogue for Isaac. While to some this may seem petty compared to say, adding multiplayer, giving Isaac more personality truly made the Dead Space 2 campaign worth playing through (more so than the first one) and really made the player feel like they were in the thick of the action.

Full Disclosure: Review copy purchased by author

Overall Rating: 9.00

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