on March 28, 2013
I remember when I first heard about the Dead Space series, and it immediately piqued my interest. I'm a sucker for science fiction, but with all the Halo's and Gears of War's, I was looking for something a little more intriguing than your average first person shooter. I was not disappointed.
There is a certain unique style to Dead Space that I've grown to like. The over-the-shoulder third person view that doesn't break, even for story or menus, does wonders for the immersion. It felt like I was always in the thick of the action, even when I had to check my inventory. Newtonian zero-gravity? Fighting off monsters in vacuum? Exploring an abandoned space hulk? I'm sold! All of it helped me feel like I was genuinely in the shoes of the main character, Isaac Clarke. This feeling was all the more rewarding in the second game when I felt some of the same PTSD as Isaac as he struggled his way through Titan Station.
The major gripe I have with the games is predictability. While they certainly execute part of it well, sometimes it's painfully predictable when you're going to get hit with a jump scare or mobbed by enemies. "Oh, just found a room full of ammo and health packs? Guess who's gonna get ganked the next room over!"
Another facet of the predictability is the formula of each chapter (in both games) follow the same pattern to a T with few exceptions. Isaac is sent somewhere to fix something/escape somewhere. An "unforseen" obstacle prevents him from reaching said goal. Isaac must fix two or three other things to bypass obstacle and reach goal. It became mildly irritating, because I was able to predict what was going to happen next. What prevented the hoop jumping from ruining my experience, was just how fun and well made some of those hoop jumping sequences are.
In my opinion, Dead Space 2 was an overall improvement from the first game. It changed the scenery a bit, added some new features (e.g. thruster controls for your suit so you can change velocity mid-flight in zero-g), and made the story a bit more character-oriented. That said, there is something magnetic about the claustrophobic, "haunted ship" theme that keeps me coming back to the first game time after time. While they both suffer from a fairly predictable plot and mission outline, the gameplay and environments nearly make up for it.
on September 22, 2014
Make sure you play these in order, this goes for 1, 2 and 3. The story/scare factor is best with the original, but the game play mechanics, graphics, and smoothness get better with 2 and then 3. Note: 2 and 3 both are still great games, just not as absolutely terrifying.. play this game at night and you will get an amazing experience. You might have trouble sleeping, but you will get your thrills without a doubt. First play through lasted around 13 for me on normal difficulty. Playing on the harder difficulties will make this game even scarier... play at your own risk lol
on February 26, 2013
I really wasn't very excited to play this game. I've passed on it during “Sale” events multiple times in the past, but strong word of mouth and another enticing sale (both DS1 & DS2 for $7.99 download) finally convinced me to give it a try. I started out with a Love/Hate review: very pretty graphics, excellent sound, and good performance on my laptop, but I just kept going thru the checklist of sci-fi video game clichés in my head:
• Get separated from the group and watch them get killed thru plexi-glass
• Crew mutated by virus or alien artifact
• Video/Audio/Text Diaries scattered around to slowly fill in the story
• Sick Bays / Experiment Rooms with body parts, tools, and blood everywhere
• Ship turning into an alien or living entity (ok, this didn’t happen but sure looked like it in several sections)
• To repair the ship/escape pod, you need Part A, Part B, and Part C, all scattered around the area
• Heavy Religious or Demonic overtones
Then there was the very obvious triggered events that had Doom 3 written all over it: Step past a hidden line, hallway goes dark and creature kills you from behind. Restore from Save, tip-toe to the hidden trigger, turn and shoot. Variations of this were everywhere, and every time you hit a large open room, or a long hallway, you began to watch for where that hidden trigger might be.
But here’s the thing: After the first couple chapters, I was able to ignore most of the mechanics and clichés and enjoy it for being a darn good game. The graphics and the sound certainly went a long way, but the gameplay was actually fun, and when it was all put together, there were several wow moments. Such as the first time I walked onto the bridge and looked outside, or when I had to walk on the surface of a meteor with no air, or the first time I encountered a no-gravity room and kept having to re-orient myself when I jumped on the ceiling.
So when I was on the 10th Chapter out of 12, and had to quit for the day, I suddenly realized I was excited to play again to see how the game would end. Strange for a game that I considered cliché. That was the point when I was glad I hadn’t written my review yet, because clearly something here was working for me. It wasn’t any one thing, but that everything was put together so well that the end result was a game that was fun.
And then during the last couple chapters, the story takes several interesting turns and produces an X-Files-worthy mythology. There’s some plot twists (which weren’t complete surprises), but then suddenly I’m second guessing everything I thought I knew about the Marker, the Government, and Unitology. What does the Marker actually do and why, what did the Government do and why, and Red vs Black anyone?
My final closing comments: that while the game “worked”, and was significantly more fun than I had anticipated, there were a few areas that caused me grief:
• Save Locations. While they were often well placed, there were times that they weren’t – instead they would be too far away from a tough encounter, or literally just down the hallway from another one. And why have them at all? Even the checkpoints (ie if you die, you reload from a checkpoint) were sometimes painfully too far back from the area that I had to keep replaying to succeed. I get it that maybe you don’t want someone to “Save” during a fight, but it would be nice to Save just before entering a difficult room or puzzle.
• Asteroid mini-game. This one took me probably 20+ times to complete. For me, it was the hardest part of the game, and anytime you say a “mini-game” (required to progress the story) is one of the hardest sections of the game, you know you’ve done something wrong.
• Tough Puzzles. There were a couple puzzles that I thought were too tough and I had to look up the solution on the Internet. The puzzles were all pretty fun, but some were very difficult to figure out while you’re playing the game. For example, one enemy continued to take a ton of damage and still get back up again, so I thought he was “another” variant that can’t be killed, or maybe I was supposed to lead him somewhere else for the Environment to destroy him. Instead, I find out that he takes more damage from the sides or back. Hm… didn’t get that memo, and wouldn’t have figured that out on my own. Another one was planting the beacon and destroying the 4 beams holding the Asteroid. The mission sounded simple enough, but I had the darndest time figuring out exactly what I was supposed to do.
The end result is that DS1 is a fun game to play and worth your time - and that’s really how you should judge a game. I spent a good 15-17hrs having a blast for less than the price of a matinee movie ticket (let alone the popcorn, soda, and m&ms). The story picks up considerably in the last 2 chapters, setting up what could be a very exciting DS2/DS3, and I’ll be adding those to my playlist very soon.
on September 9, 2012
Got this dual pack on sale, both games activated fine on EA's Origin service. I'm writing this review since some people seem to be marking it down for not being able to activate the games on Steam. Most newer EA games won't, since EA launched their own online service.
I use a wireless Xbox 360 controller with my computer and both games work perfectly fine, no issues (unlike many Ubisoft PC games). Graphically, both games look fantastic despite not being the kind of games that push your graphics card hard.
Please note that Dead Space 2 does use DRM that only allows it to be activated on about 5 computers, but it does have a deactivation tool.
As for the games themselves, they are modern survival horror classics (although a bit more action-oriented than classic games are). Dead Space 2 obviously benefited from a bigger budget and has much better story-telling and set pieces. Overall though, you can't go wrong on these games if you are even a remote fan of the genre.
on January 3, 2014
This bundle falls slightly short by not including Dead Space 3, but the first two games are just as great! I bought this bundle on sale, and was not disappointed. Even at full price, you can't go wrong. These games are very fun to play, and have some pretty scary moments as well.