For the past decade, no other game truly defined the survival-horror genre until Dead Space was released back in 2008. When Dead Space was released on the PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360, a lot of gamers were proud that the survival-horror genre made a resounding comeback. Resident Evil 4 and 5 were good games but were more action-orientated compared to this game.
The conclusion of Dead Space left the gamers longing for a sequel to be made. Almost three years following the release of the first game, Dead Space 2 creeps out from the shadows and continues the epic tale of Engineer Isaac Clarke in battling the Necromorphs and solving the mysteries of the Marker.
For gamers who played the first Dead Space, are there any new gameplay features to expect? Is there something new that fans should look forward to? If so, is it a good improvement?
Let’s take a look on the HOTs and NOTs of Dead Space 2.
Just like the first game, Dead Space 2 offers one of the best graphics in this generation. The places that players will most likely to visit will offer distinctive design and sharp details. Sprawl, the final frontier of where the horror will take place is massive. There are a lot of places that Isaac will explore such as stations that players are familiar with in the first Dead Space, an outer space where players will have to rely on their oxygen for survival and the traditional facility where puzzles and Necromorphs await. Speaking of Necromorphs, the ones that players all adore from the first game will make a come back on this title. There aren’t really any new types of Necromorphs, except for a minor ones like the exploding babies. Although you can expect some Necromorphs to be faster and deadlier than ever before. One of the more grotesque things they can do is spit acid on your limbs and tear them apart. It’s this type of disgusting and frightful horror that makes Dead Space games so unique.
Being a survival horror, action sci-fi game, it needs to have a soundtrack that will let the players truly feel the intense fear of danger coming your way. As I played through the game from start to finish, Dead Space 2 successfully scared the hell out of me as there are many scenes which made me jump out of my skin! There is a part in the game where players will hear someone screaming, and footsteps that sound as if someone is creeping towards you, but in the end, it was all just a coy to successfully deliver a scary atmosphere. Another thing that players should expect in Dead Space 2 is a strong delivery of the lines of each character in the game. While the game does not have a lot of cutscenes, it does offer a deeper storyline when compared to the first game.
The first Dead Space was all about the exploration of USG Ishumura and the recovery of the Marker. In Dead Space 2, it offers a far more meaningful and deeper storyline that players will appreciate till the very end. Several years after the events of the first Dead Space, Isaac Clarke, the lone survivor of the USG Ishumura massacre, was placed in a psych ward in the Titan Station of Sprawl due to the “dementia” he acquired from the first game. The game starts in a hospital where Isaac Clarke is being questioned by someone about the Marker from the first game and immediately changed to a setting where the hospital is breaking into pieces, and a bunch of Necromorphs are lurking around the place. This starts the story of Isaac as he finds out more on the Marker that is now on the Sprawl.
What makes Dead Space 2 have a deeper storyline is the way Isaac battles through his dementia and finding acceptance on what happened in the first game. Since the conclusion of the first game (Warning spoilers ahead), Isaac not only acquired the dementia but he also suffered psychological problems through the death of his girlfriend. Throughout the game, Isaac will not only solve the mystery of the Marker but he will also figure out what’s been happening to him and see how he can escape from his problem.
Gamers who played the first game will see minimal changes when it comes to the gameplay of Dead Space 2. The controls and how it plays are pretty much identical. One of the changes I’ve seen is that Isaac Clarke now has a waypoint indicator that tells the player which direction they should follow. While the waypoint makes it easier for players to find their way through the game, it is always best to search each room as there will be items and ammunition that may come in handy later. In terms of killing the Necromorphs easily (for those who are new to the series), it is always best to kill them by taking out the limbs instead of the body. If the player never played the first game, go out now and buy it then play this second one to have a deeper understanding of the game.
Another feature to look forward to are the Quick Time Events that players will participate in. At some point in the game, there will be scenes where players will have to press a button repeatedly in order to escape from the enemy’s grasp or simply shoot the latch that closes the shutter in order for the gravity to be stabilized inside the station. While there are QTE’s from time-to-time, they were not overused like in some games. There is a new type of enemy that players should watch out for and that is the spitting bomb and the babies that crawl and explodes. Expect there to also be a decent amount of puzzles that you will have to solve, and they all vary from entering vents, matching the tiles to gain access to the next area or simply get the power cell and put it on another. Don’t worry, the puzzles are not that hard to figure out.
If you get tired of playing through the single player mode of the game, you can go ahead and jump into the multiplayer section. Before you’re able to jump in and play through the game online, an online pass must be entered. Without it, you cannot play and the only way to play online is when the code is bought from the Marketplace or via a free trial of the game.
The online portion of Dead Space 2 adds more replayability to the game. There are a total of five game modes in the game with a map designated on each mode. One of my favorites is the Escape where players will be in USG Ishimura and they will have to evacuate using the escape pods. The other four game modes that players can look forward to are Solar Array in which players will have to do an objective mission where a firing coordinates must be delivered. Fuel Core is where the players’ main objective is to detonate the fuel core and kill the Necromorphs along the way. Titan Mines is where players will stop the outbreak of Necromoprhs by placing a shockmine, and the Marker Lab which is basically like a Team Deathmatch that gives the player to play as a Necromorph or a Human and kill each other. In all honesty, the online portion of Dead Space 2 is nothing that players should get obsessed about but it’s a good way to take a break from the single player portion.
In addition to playing the multiplayer mode of the game, players who finished the game can go back and play the game again on a harder difficulty. A New Game + will be unlocked and all of the weapons and items the players acquired from the first game will be available on the first in-game store that players will encounter. Don’t forget to have a clear saved data as they will be needed for the New Game +. For trophy and achievement hunters, playing the second or third time is highly recommended.
PS3 Only – Dead Space Extraction
Exclusively on the PlayStation 3, players will have the ability to play the enhanced version of Dead Space Extraction that was previously released on the Nintendo Wii. Dead Space Extraction is compatible with the PlayStation Move and for those of you who don’t own a Move controller, they can settle with the Dualshock 3 controller instead. Dead Space Extraction will only be available for a limited time and for those who aren’t able to get it can expect it to arrive on the PlayStation Store later this year.
Variety of Weapons
There are a number of weapons that players can used in Dead Space 2. The majority of them are from the first game while the others are new like the Javelin gun. Sure, a lot of weapons are always good but as you finish through the game, you will only find two or three weapons that you will be using the most aside from the other five that you didn’t use. Since there is an option to upgrade the weapon, I find it hard to pay attention to the guns that I just got while I was entirely focusing on my Rivet Gun from the very beginning. My best advice would be pick a weapon that you will upgrade through the very end as it will come in handy on your second play through.
A great way to start the new year begins with Dead Space 2. While it’s true that Dead Space 2 plays very similar to the first game, it doesn’t fail however in giving the scary atmosphere that we all are looking for in a survival horror game. From the creepy sounds, to the intense action that players will experience while playing Dead Space 2 is a moment you wouldn’t want to miss. Expect to feel the tension running through your bones as the Necromorphs sneak out behind you and give you a scare that will last you the rest of the year. Overall, Dead Space 2 is a near perfect title for those who are looking for a great start in 2011.
[Editor’s Note:Dead Space 2 was reviewed on a PlayStation 3 platform. The game was played to completion and was provided by the publisher. Played the game on Normal difficulty and a few hours online]Dead Space 2 Review,