Dead Space 2 is finally here. The sequel to the surprise 2008 hit is much anticipated and hopes to give players another spine-chilling adventure. After the immense success of the first one, Dead Space 2 certainly has a lot to live up to. Does it succeed? Yes it most definitely does! Grab your Plasma Cutters, you are in for a treat.
Dead Space 1 came at a time when the horror genre of gaming was nearly dead. Games like Resident Evil, which used to rule the horror genre have now become nothing more than an intense shooter. Dead Space is still a shooter but it’s most definitely a horror game too. It used amazingly creepy atmosphere, bone chilling audio and extremely intense firefight to always keep you on your toes. It was the first time in years gamers were genuinely afraid to play a game because you had no idea if you were about to be attacked from the vent beside you, or from the floor directly in front of you. With the twist ending, gamers have been very eagerly awaiting to find out the fate of Isaac.
Dead Space 2 takes place 3 years after the original attack of Necromorphs on the Ishimura. Isaac isn’t in the best shape and is having visions of his dead girlfriend Nicole. The Marker from the Ishimura that made him believe that she was alive has had some long term effects that are making Isaac start lose his sanity. To make matters worse, Isaac hears that another Marker exists and has caused another outbreak of Necromorphs, and it’s very quickly spreading. It’s once again up to Isaac to destroy the marker and stop the evil that it produces.
The campaign of Dead Space 2 is quite amazing. It drops you right back into what you know and love about the Dead Space universe. It starts off a little slow, but once you get into it you will not want to put the controller down until it’s finished. The pacing is phenomenal and the game does a great job of never really stopping, literally. Load times are nearly unnoticeable due to elevators and smart design. It almost plays out like the lovechild of a mystery and sci-fi movie.
Isaac is much different this time around. He actually has some character which differs from the first game entirely where he was terribly bland. You learn a lot about him and his feelings on every situation. It adds a nice layer of depth that was missing from the first game. Toss in some F.E.A.R. style visions and you have one hell of a ride that will keep you glued to your controller. New game+ also returns and offers players who play through the game a second time some new suits and weapons keeping the game fresh.
Playing through the story is pretty similar to the first game, but finely tuned. Navigating through the long corridors is easier due to Isaac be much more agile. Turning, kicking and aiming feels much smoother than before and you feel like you have much better control. Location variety was somewhat a letdown in the first game. Everything pretty much looked the same, but in Dead Space 2 you will see many different types of rooms. Some narrow and small like you are used to, but new areas can be very large and force you to looking around constantly to avoid danger. New gravity sections are much improved with the addition of 360 degree movement. The awkward space jumping is gone and you have complete control over flying, similar to an Iron Man control scheme.
Taking down your enemies will be a little harder this time due to the much improved variety of Necromorphs. No longer can you just use your Plasma Cutter to destroy everything you see. Make use of your Ripper, and Pulse Rifle or you will die. You will still be aiming for the limbs for some enemies, but new types require some pure firepower. Examples of some of the new types are the Stalkers which are truly scary. They hide behind objects and wait till you’re in line and come sprinting at you with the intentions of ripping you apart. The Crawlers with their baby like appearance travel in packs and can turn any situation into a fight for your life. Not facing the same enemy over and over keeps the game fresh, and boss fight are more frequent-however some are recycled and aren’t very difficult, which is somewhat of a letdown but still much improved over the first title.
In the visuals and audio department Dead Space 2 doesn’t disappoint. A much larger color pallet was used so environments wont just look brown or black, and have a much more distinctive feel. Characters look more lifelike, and enemies look and move much more horrifying. And of course, Necromorphs still have bone chilling moans and screams that will make you cower in fear.
Multiplayer is a new feature to the Dead Space universe and is an addition that will be loved or hated. There is only one game type called Outbreak, which puts Engineers against Necromorphs. The goal for the Engineers is to capture a point or move an object from point A to point B. As far as the Necromorphs go, they have one goal, kill the Engineers. Necromorphs have 4 classes with the Puker, Lurker, Spitter, and The Pack. The Pack and Puker focus on close up attacks, while the Lurker and Spitter concentrate on ranged attacks. The Engineers all have plasma cutters and a secondary weapon of their choice such as the Pulse Riffle and Cutter depending on their rank. Stasis packs and health packs for The Engineers do occasionally drop from killing Necromorphs.
The real issue with Multiplayer is balancing. On some maps the Lurkers can absolutely break the game. Lurkers are capable of wall crawling and can position themselves where they can be almost impossible to hit, and since they have a mean ranged attack it’s only a matter of seconds before they can kill and Engineer. The leveling system is somewhat of a problem conjointly. Higher level Necromorphs have additional bonus abilities which can rip apart a low level Engineer with only entry tier weapons. Multiplayer is fun if you put in the time to become a high level, but if you don’t have patience, then steer clear.
Overall, Dead Space 2 is an amazing sequel that did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do, improve everything and make a better game. While the multiplayer may not click with some people, the campaign offers an amazing ride that can be enjoyed numerous times. If you missed the first Dead Space do yourself a favor and buy both Dead Space 1 and 2. Turn off the lights, close the blinds, crank up your surround sound, and prepare for one hell of a ride.
Polished gameplay, fantastic level design and lots of scares make Dead Space 2 a worthy sequel.