Dead Space 2
There are probably only two reasons why you want to read this review. The first is simply the chance you’re one of the many people who stayed away from the predecessor, the underdog in 2008′s end of the year lineup, and chose for more well-known IPs to spend your money on. Now you of course want to know why everyone is so hyped about Dead Space now. Or the second reason; you were a fan of the first game and want to know whether this sequel still has that fun but creepy gameplay of the first.
In Dead Space 2 you still play with Isaac Clarke, the engineer and sole survivor from the last adventure. Three years have passed since his escape from the Ishimura. Unfortunately the consequences for Isaac are huge, the contact with the alien relic, The Marker, has caused a form of dementia that’s responsible for severe hallucinations and anger attacks. He’s now on Sprawl, a large human colony on one of the moons of Saturn. During one of his clear moments the nightmare starts again; the Necromorph have landed on Sprawl and bring death and destruction. Can he again escape despite his illness, and how did these creatures arrive here?
Those that played the first game know the story was brought in a clever way. The hero was silent and we didn’t get to see a lot of emotion. Still this created a bond nonetheless and Visceral now goes for the next step with a story that has more dialogue and emotion. We experience how Isaac copes with himself after being touched by the Marker and this slowly but steadily is pushing him off the edge. This makes that eventhough he’s not alone and gets to meet new characters on his path, the story is centered around him. The slow telling we know from the first Dead Space as well as the better integrated sudden cut-scenes make for scare-moments and sweaty palms through the entire game.
The gameplay of course offers more of the same, the succesful amputating limbs makes an end to the various enemies, but they’re not so easily killed anymore. The AI in the original wasn’t bad, but you now notice a real difference between the different kinds of hostiles and the way they attack. Some quietly wait for you while others prefer to attack in group. Your weapons arsenal will have to be used at full to get you out of the many bad situations.
There’s some strong progression in the graphics. Better looking characters, more details on enemies and well-designed locations make for the right atmosphere. Combine this with top shelf audio where terrifying music, screeching monsters and perfect voice acting, and you’ll feel cold shivers going through your spine. The only downpoint I found is during Isaac’s hallucinations about Nicole, his deceased wife, where the voices are sometimes unclear due to the overload of added sound effects. Playing with subtitles is the message here.
Completely new to the series is the multiplayer. You can choose to join the humans or the Necromorph. The gameplay is comparable with the Versus mode from Left 4 Dead. Working together to survive or killing your opponents quickly is key to success. The multiplayer is a nice extra to prolong the lifespan of the game.
Dead Space 2 has few downpoints and we really need to nag about details to find something. The only things may be a small lack of depth in the gameplay as it’s little more than amputating monsters, and there could have been a bit more innovation compared to the previous game. Still Dead Space 2 plays better, it’s creepier and you get a multiplayer mode on top. As such I’m going to stop nagging and can only say the following: Buy and Shiver!