Dead Space 2 Review (PS3/360/PC)

February 6, 2011

PC, PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Dead Space 2 is a survival horror third-person shooter by Visceral Games for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the sequel to the original Dead Space that was released in October 2008.

Story: 5/5

Dead Space 2 begins three years after the original game, where we find our protagonist Isaac Clarke waking up in a hospital on the Spawl, a densely populated metropolis built on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. As Isaac wakes up in the infirmary, he speaks to Franco (the protagonist from Dead Space: Ignition), who is shortly killed and turned into a necromorph, leaving Isaac to escape on his own. Isaac eventually comes into contact with a woman named Daina, a unitologist sent to recover Isaac in order to build more markers. However, an unfortunate turn of events leaves Daina and her crew dead, leaving Isaac alone on the sprawl once again. Along the way, Isaac also meets Nolan Stross, a deranged patient that talks Isaac into destroying the marker, the cause of the infestation on the Sprawl. Nolan informs Isaac that the marker is located in the Government sector under lockdown, and that destroying the marker will set things right. As the story progresses, Isaac also meets Ellie Langford, a CEC officer that aids him in his quest to destroy the marker. Meanwhile, Isaac is receiving disturbing visions of Nicole (Isaac’s girlfriend from the first Dead Space who died on the Ishimura), who taunts Isaac throughout the game and leads him to his ultimate sacrifice. If the marker is not destroyed, then Isaac’s dementia (caused by the marker) will eventually kill him.

Gameplay: 5/5

Everything about the first game is intact, along with some fun additions. For starters, Isaac is no longer a silent protagonist, and is fully voiced by Gunner Wright. This addition gives Isaac a more personal feel to the game play, making him an even more likable character. Isaac is once again controlled in a third-person point of view, and features no HUD. Inventory and messages are displayed as holograms that are projected onscreen, while health and stasis are shown as visual indicators on Isaac’s back. Just as in the first Dead Space, necromorphs need to be dismembered in order to permanently keep them from attacking you. While a clean headshot would kill other “normal” enemies, necromorphs will still charge toward you and attack relentlessly until most of their organs have been blown away. Given that this is the second game in the series, the necromorphs are not as scary as they were the first time around, but the intensity grows the further along you play. Towards the final moments of the game, you need to make sure to stock up on supplies as the various necromorph types surround you at every corner. The difficulty ramps up significantly towards the end, even introducing a “Nemesis” type of creature from the Resident Evil 3 days. Quick time events are played if a necromorph gets too close to you, leading to an instant death if not pressed in time, but as long as you have a quick finger, this shouldn’t happen often. Also, a nice inclusion to the game was in the form of zero-g moments. While this occurred in the first game, this time you are able to “pilot” Isaac through obstacles and puzzles using your thrusters. I was a tad bit disappointed about the final boss and how quickly I was able to defeat it, but the experience of the fight keeps the score high. The bench also returns, and I highly recommend searching for nodes and schematics to upgrade and enhance your equipment as soon as possible. Dead Space 2 has some amazing interactive cut-scene moments that I won’t spoil here, but the game is a thrill ride from beginning to end. Also, the PS3 version includes Dead Space: Extraction (originally exclusive the Wii) for even more replay value, while the 360 version contains Dead Space: Ignition.

Graphics: 5/5

The game showcases some incredible detail and lighting effects, with highly immersive environments and gory looking creatures. You’ll see smooth character movement in fantastic landscapes, as well as some impressive effects throughout the game.

Sound: 5/5

All of the sounds that made you so tense in the first Dead Space return, with atmospheric music and powerful weapon effects. You’ll feel the power from each shot of your plasma cutter and cringe from the nauseating sounds of splattered blood and gory deaths. The sound design truly immerses you into the game and enhances the experience.

Overall: 20/20 = 10/10

Dead Space 2 is a tense third-person shooter that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The game has some amazing moments and challenging game play, with an experience that matches the original.

PROS:

+Strong game play

+Gripping story line

+Immersive sound

+Inclusion of Dead Space Extraction (PS3) and Ignition (360)

CONS:

-Last boss not as difficult as it should be

-Not as scary as the original

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