Like i tell the people who have Mass Effect 2 for the PS3, but not the first mass effect for the 360...The strategy guide will be your best bet IMO. To be honest though, unless you are just a hardcore fan of this game and you have to know everything, you can actually get by with just starting out on the 2nd one. Or you can even youtube the chapters and watch someone else play it. The character in the first one doesn't really a...what's the word..personality. They changed this in part 2 though and you can even get by with watching the anime that came out a while ago...which are the events that led up to the actual game. Hope this helps.
In addition to what Kevin suggests, before you actually start a game of Dead Space 2, there is a menu option that is something like "previously in Dead Sapce". That gives you a short little trailer/summary of the first game's events.
I appreciate the responses, the main reason I asked was because I was receiving the game through GameFly and I wasn't sure if I would be totally left in the dark. I wasn't since there was a trailer in the main menu and YouTube allowed me to fill in the blanks on things I had questions about. Dead Space 2 was one of the best single player experiences I've had, hands down.
You'll be ok if you start out with the second one; as others have mentioned there is a 5-minute video you can select from the main menu to help you get caught up on things. But also, as others have mentioned I highly recommend that you give the first one a shot beforehand. It really is an incredible game (I should know, I've played though it 4 times!). In Dead Space 2, there are a LOT of shout-outs to the first one and I really think DS 2 is that much more interesting / fun / fulfilling if you have at least gone through DS 1. But yes, you'll be ok and will enjoy Dead Space 2 nonetheless if you haven't.
Yes, there are Youtube videos that are called "The Story So Far" for both the first and second game that give you recaps, pretty good ones, of the ... well... the story so far. Since I hadn't played the first one in a while I watched the first video recap and it was a great way to sum up the story.