Review: Dead Space 2

Friday, 12 August 2011
This is a new regular segment I will be featuring on this site. As an avid gamer, I love to play as much as possible. I will be reviewing the games I've played here, so look out for my new posts. The first games that I will be reviewing are Dead Space 2, as well as Dead Space: Ignition.

Developer - Visceral Games
Publisher - Electronic Arts
Platform - Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genres - Survival Horror, Third-Person Shooter
Modes - Single-player, Multiplayer
MetaCritic - 90
User Ratings - 86
My Rating - 85
Achievements - 900/1000
Hours Played - 10

MjolnirX - Dead Space 2 is an all-round great game. The story picks up where Dead Space 1, or more recently, Dead Space: Ignition, left off (more on that later). You continue as protagonist Isaac Clarke, awakened from stasis by Dead Space: Ignition "protagonist" (I use that term loosely) Franco Delille. The game takes place on Saturn's now-shattered moon Titan, on a human colony called "The Sprawl". This time around, the story pits you against multiple adversaries: EarthGov, Unitologists and, of course, the Necromorphs.

The fate of Franco

The updated graphics are a welcome addition to this new iteration of the Dead Space franchise. They're visually rich and effective at establishing an unsettling environment. The music is dramatic, and queued to individual events, even some as small as things being knocked over in an area beyond your vision, being seen only via shadows cast on poorly-lit walls, creating a crescendo of nervousness and anxiety. Of course, Dead Space 2 makes best use of this in low-lit rooms, with full 5.1+ surround-sound, and on the largest HDTV you can find, with your chair or couch only two feet away.

Though the game is one of the best I've played so far, it has its flaws. My biggest disappointment is the lopsided multiplayer. It just seems unbalanced in favor of the Necromorphs. It is, however, fun. I spent a few hours playing through it, and I've had just as many fun moments as I've had frustrating moments. Another thing I couldn't get into was Isaac's new appearance and personality. I liked how in the first one, he was a faceless hero. It was easier to personify him. With his own personality, and his own struggles, it seems like they are just trying to dramatize and romanticize the whole story. The story itself seemed to make next to no progression into the Dead Space canon. It also seems, other than the now full-faced Isaac, the game has a Halo-like storyline: a be-all, end-all object that threatens the galaxy, and it turns out there are more, and the faceless hero has to save the day, and all this occurs in space. The length of the game was also kind of odd, considering it takes up two discs. I ended up getting 90% of the achievements in less than 10 hours.

As far as the controls go, I couldn't be happier. The sluggish movements pay homage to the greats of the Survival Horror genre like Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill. The lack of a HUD makes the game much more immersive and cinematic, thus drawing the gamer in and setting up the inevitable scare-tactic that will scare the shit out of you and make you wonder why you're playing the game at all. Though there is a selection of weapons, I found that every time I acquired my next weapon, I never used it at all because my original weapon had all my nodes in it, and was superior in almost every way. This isn't a major concern, but it seems that for all the work put into diversifying weapons, there isn't any real reason to take any of the others, save for achievements.

My copies of Dead Space

I ended up only getting 900 out of the available 1000 achievement points. The last two are just too frustrating to try. One requires you to play the game on the hardest difficulty, which provides you with little to no ammo or health, makes each enemy seem like a boss, and you only get three saves for the entire length of the game. When you die, it sends you back to the last save point, not a checkpoint. Hours of work could be lost. Maybe some day I'll go back and try again, but not likely in the near future.


Overall, I think Dead Space 2 is easily one of the best games for 2011 so far. I've never really felt so much anxiety playing a game. It is scary, but it's also fun and rewarding. I could easily recommend this game to anyone who loves FPS or Survival Horror games.


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