Dead Space 2 Review
Sequels are made to do things bigger and better than the original, and Dead Space 2 does that and then some. The levels are bigger and much more well designed, the scares are more frightening (and when I say frightening I mean a-couple-drops-of-pee-dripped-out frightening), the game exudes more personality thanks to new character developments, and there is even multi-player slightly similar to Left for Dead, which I couldn’t have cared less about because I’ve been waiting for this continuing story for two years. Usually I find myself somewhat comfortable while playing games, but this game had me so tense that if someone were to pull the chair out from under me, I would be sitting in mid-air. Every door I walked through, every long, dark corridor I treaded down, I was always anticipating something jumping out of the darkness. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t, and that’s what kept each level fresh, the not knowing and the never being in control of the situation at hand, which differs from other so-called survival-horror genre games where predictability is rampant. With the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series becoming shadows of their former selves, survival horror hasn’t had much to scream about these days. That is, until now.
This review comes right off the heels of me completing the game for the first time, and let me tell you, what an incredible ride it’s been. As soon as the controller left my hand, I felt as if I had just narrowly survived a fatal car crash by just a simple swerve of the steering wheel. Dead Space 2 had me locked in from the opening sequence with the mad run to safety in the straight jacket, with no means of defense or protection whatsoever. With this brief 15 seconds, Visceral Games completely blew the first Dead Space away, as well as my expectations. Protagonist Issac Clarke returns from his incredulous ordeal from the USS Ishimura a completely changed individual, and it’s not for the better. It’s been three years since the events of the first game and the alien relic known simply as”The Marker” has left its mark in Issac’s mind. Haunted by visions of his girlfriend, who was killed aboard the Ishimura, he is slowly slipping away. His inner turmoil and guilt is what keeps you paying very careful attention to the story that is put before you. Desperately seeking answers, you make your way through the newly infected Sprawl, a human space station located on Saturn’s moon, Titan, knowing all too well the threat that looms all around you.
Never has a game had me second guessing any of the actions of whether or not I should be doing this. Do I have enough ammo? Health? My God, I haven’t been this terrified from a game in a long time, and it’s a welcome change from the usual, “go and run errands” games that are out there. Not only are the enemies harder to kill, they seem to out-think you in certain aspects. In this there is no simple”point and shoot”; you have to keep your head on a swivel because they will surround you and you will have no idea from which way acid is being spit on you or what’s happening when all of a sudden a Necromorph grabs you and tries to rip your head off (which I did fall victim to many times). The one main thing I did enjoy was the fact that the protagonist had a personality. Unlike the first game, no longer are you a soulless avatar, fixing a ship’s hull; you are now a survivor of one of the most diabolical events in human history, and with a face and a voice you get to explore deep in the mind of Isaac and his now mentally abused psyche. With that, he is still human and his reactions to other survivors shows that he’s not completely gone. Isaac feels like a man on a mission here. He has fought this threat before and he has used these weapons before. The first game he was a scared engineer tossed into the meat grinder. In the second game is a guy who’s lost everything to these creatures and really has nothing left to lose, so hell yes he’ll put his life on the line and shoot out an airlock if it means killing every Necromorph in the room. Isaac is stronger here and I feel stronger playing as him.
Then there’s the multiplayer… I’ve tried all of the game’s five modes/maps, and none of them really sparked my interest. Players are broken into two teams: the humans, who have an objective, and the Necromorphs, who are out to stop them by any means. As a human, I’d make my way to an objective, killing as I go, get there and hold out for as long as I could, and then die. As a Necromorph, which was somewhat fun to play as (even though damage done compared to the human squad was almost laughable), I’d hope to do some amount of damage or spawn in the right area just to get the drop on the opposing side. Basically, I just gave it a go for a full review. Nothing really to write home about because the singe player is the meat and potatoes.
The key thing I noticed about this game was the lack of end chapter boss fights, which to me was a welcome change that the developers incorporated. It made the game seem to flow more evenly, as if you were actually following a movie and not just another cliche video game. As a Dead Space fan, I can honestly say Visceral Games went above and beyond in capitalizing on an already well crafted game/story and making it feel fresh, and I was also happy to see that they didn’t steer away from survival-horror and go action like the failing Resident Evil franchise. So, in closing, as I make my way back to the power button to give it a second play-through, before I even dare try the Hardcore mode (in which enemies are even harder, health and ammo drops are too few and too far between, you start at your last save, and you can only save three times throughout the entire session), I will say this: BUY THIS DAMN GAME!!! Trade in whatever you have that’s of any value to Gamestop and get this game in your system, because you will not be disappointed.
Final Verdict for Dead Space 2:
5 out of 5