26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
In space, everyone can hear you scream!,
This review is from: Dead Space 2 (Video Game)
I am a huge fan of the original Dead Space, it being the first game I bought for the Xbox 360 and the one I have gone back to constantly, and my hopes were suitably high for the sequel. The first game was a chilling at atmospheric game that was part Aliens and part Resident Evil, and Dead Space 2 retains the looks and feel while providing some marked improvements that fans of the original will love.
Set three years after the events of the first Dead Space, the main protagonist Isaac is confined to the mental ward of a hospital, suffering from dementia and haunting visions of his dead girlfriend, who comes to him in creepy flashbacks and cut scenes early in the game. The first acts of the game are rather hazy, as Isaac is suddenly freed from the hospital during an invasion of the Necromorphs from the first game, and when he escapes with his life and begins to make his way through the chaos that surrounds him. After being eased into the game through some expository dialogue, you don the space suit and obtain the weapons and then the real fun starts. The first thing that is noticeable from the start is that Isaac is more fleshed out as a character, having full dialogue and an intriguing back story. The secondary characters, some looking to help and others looking to harm him, are equally compelling and add a depth to the story that felt absent in the first game. The frightening Necromorphs are more aggressive than ever in Dead Space 2, and you will spend a good part of the game fighting them off along with a host of other nightmarish creatures. The key to survival is aiming at their limbs, and this leads to some tense firefights where you are surrounded by enemies and aiming becomes a frantic and sometimes frustrating endeavor. The weapons we know and love form the first game have also returned, including the Plasma Cutter, the Pulse Rifle, and my favorite, the Line Gun.
Dead Space 2 is every bit as creepy and atmospheric as the first game, but you will immediately notice that they have increased the gore and the frequency of the "jump" moments. Like any good horror movie, you will find yourself walking into a dark and eerily silent room, knowing that something is going to jump out at you. The graphics and sound of the first game set a gold standard for survival horror games and they are equally stellar here. Adding to the atmosphere are more varied locales, including hospital rooms, a concourse and, most creepy of all, children's bedrooms with bloody handprints on the wall. This adds up to an experience that feels fresher than the original Dead Space and you get less bored of travelling through space station areas that all look the same after a while. The gameplay is as tight as the original, with responsive controls and meaty weapons are are a pleasure to eviscerate enemies with. That I have noticed an improvement on are the controls in the Zero-Gravity areas, which were cumbersome in the first game but feel better here. Returning are your abilities with Stasis, which allows you to slow down enemies and grab far away objects. Using this skill is a life-saver, especially in the more hectic fights later in the game.
The other notable improvement is the online multiplayer, which consists of two teams of four people, one side being the soldiers and the other being the creatures found in the single-player campaign. The leveling up works like most other competitive online games; you earn points by getting as many kills, as few deaths, and assisting your teammates when they are overpowered. The points from levelling up allow you to upgrade equipment, armour and abilities and it works well for the most part. The only drawbacks are the high learning curve, especially when playing as a creature, and the lackluster performance of your weapons and stasis in the beginning. Some of my friends have complained about the connection issues with the servers and horrible lag, but I have yet to experience this myself. It's fast, frantic, and yes, a little frustrating. However, I look at the multiplayer as a bonus since I bought this for the campaign.
Overall, Dead Space 2 is a sequel that keeps the strengths of the original game while making some improvements that will please fans who are looking for something new. The single-player campaign is very solid and will keep you busy for 10 to 12 hours, depending on the difficulty chosen, and the multiplayer should satisfy your competitive streak once you get past the learning curve. I purchased the Xbox 360 version of the game, but the Playstation 3 version comes with Dead Space: Extraction, an on-rails shooters previously exclusive to the Wii, but I own this already so it didn't make a difference to me. Whatever version you choose, Dead Space 2 is a winner and is one of the first great games of 2011.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2011 10:06:18 AM PST
Gucci Sosa says:
Awesome review but shouldn't it be "In space, NOBODY Can Hear you Scream!"?
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2011 10:30:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2011 10:31:58 AM PST
Ben Rowland says:
LOL - I know, I was thinking of a flashy title and I figured a variation of that one would be cool given that Dead Space has multiplayer. A little cheesy, I know, but I like it :)
Posted on Jan 26, 2011 12:52:09 PM PST
Excellent review! I admit that I was somewhat wary of Dead Space 2 simply because some sequels don't necessarily live up the original. However, your review helped tip the balance in DS2's favor for me. Here I come, Dead Space 2! :D
Posted on Jan 26, 2011 3:19:01 PM PST
I'm so glad to hear DS2 is as great a game as DS1. Other than the meteor mini-game in DS1 (which I almost never got through), DS1 is one of my favorite games. Are there any sucky mini-games like that in DS2? (Guess I'll find out in a day or two when my preorder arrives.)
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2011 11:44:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2011 11:44:24 AM PST
Timothy Beaulieu says:
I haven't found any of those mini-games yet and I'm well into the second disc, but there are certain timed events where you have to be quick with your aiming or it's instant death and there's this one section where you've been jettisoned by jet pack and you're flying through space -rather quickly I might add- to another part of the station and you have to maneuver around debris floating in your path.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2011 5:00:42 AM PST
As long as there isn't some situation that I have to replay 50+ times to get past it (as I did the meteor mini-game in DS1), I'll be happy.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2011 7:29:18 AM PST
Ben Rowland says:
There are no real "mini games" to speak of. There are a few puzzles that are easy to solve and a few situations where you really need to look around the environment to find ways to open doors and progress, but anyone with even a modest level of skills will solve these without breaking much of a sweat. Don't worry, there's nothing like that meteor mini-game that caused so much frustration in the first Dead Space.
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