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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Feb 23, 2011

Review – Dead Space 2 (PS3)

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So for the past few weeks I’ve been playing through Dead Space 2, and now it’s time for the review. I am a huge fan of the Dead Space series, and I think Visceral has done an amazing job with creating a sequel that lives up to, and even surpasses the first. The game is upgraded in almost every sense, and it brings a lot more to the survival horror genre. Let’s get straight into the review.

Storyline

The story in Dead Space 2 picks up about three years after the ending of the first game. Isaac was found aboard the shuttle that we last saw him on at the end of Dead Space, suffering from some kind of insanity. The game opens up with Isaac being released from some kind of imprisonment by a character named Franco, who happens to be the protagonist in the downloadable Dead Space: Ignition game. They are both on what is called the Sprawl, a space station built on one of Saturn’s moons, Titan. Before Franco can fully remove Isaac from the straitjacket he is killed immediately by a necromorph, leaving Isaac to fend on his own. Soon after Isaac is contacted by a woman named Daina, who attempts to lead him to her location. Isaac also gets contacted by a fellow patient by the name of Nolan Stross. Throughout speaking to Stross and coming upon Daina Isaac finds out that he has been branded as the one responsible for the outbreak of necromorphs in the Sprawl. Hans Tidemann, the Director of Titan Station, is dispatching security teams to locate and capture Isaac at any cost. Throughout the game you travel along with Isaac to uncover what happened on the Sprawl, and just exactly why he is being held responsible for a new Marker that has been constructed on the station.

Gameplay


The gameplay in Dead Space 2 follows the same scheme found in Dead Space, but contains many improvements upon it. The use of lighting and sound play a major role in the fear that the game instills in you while you play through it. Within the first ten minutes of the game I found myself already on edge, almost scared out of my chair. The controls are far more responsive, and more user friendly as some of the buttons have been switched around. The game contains a quick reload button now, which comes in handy instead of having to aim to reload a weapon. It’s more convenient and fluid. The locator device has received an upgrade as well, allowing players to locate save stations, benches, and stores with the press of a button. The jagged, rough line that we’re used to has been replaced by a multi-colored, curved line that bends around corners. It’s a nice touch to the user interface.

The graphics have been turned up a bit as well. Isaac’s facial recognition is top-notch, as are the other characters’. Visceral took a big jump when deciding to make Isaac speak out in the sequel, but I feel like it really worked out for them. It’s good to hear Isaac’s voice, as it allows us to see him feel fear, anger, and emote much better within the game. It shows us that Isaac is an “every man” just like us.

Visceral added new weapons, suits, and enemies to the game that show what can happen when the storyline is altered even a bit. Enemies like the Pack, the Stalker, the Spitter and more make an appearance in the game, forcing gamers to really step it up a notch. With new upgradable weapons and suits, though, players are given the option to customize their own edge against the necromorph horde.

One feature that Visceral really picked up on in the sequel is the ability for players to use the Kinesis Module to their advantage. Using the module players can take limbs off of necromorphs and use them to impale said enemies. This is a great feature, mainly because it opens up a new style of gameplay that wasn’t fully explored with the last game.

I think the gameplay in Dead Space 2 is something that all survival horror fans need to experience. The team at Visceral did an amazing job of making players feel overwhelmed within the world of Dead Space. The game keeps me coming back over and over again just to see if I can do things differently than I did last time.

Multiplayer

The biggest feature added to Dead Space 2 is the multiplayer mode. In the multiplayer part of the game players will find themselves filling the boots of humans, and the claws of necromorphs in objective-based games. Each game consists of two rounds. In round one you play a human, along with a team, faced with a set of objectives. For example, on the Titan Mines map the humans are set with the objective to gather all the materials needed to construct a bomb within the time limit to kill the necromorphs. Those on the necromorph team have the same objective every game, no matter the map – kill the humans and stop them at all costs. Once either the objectives are met, or the time runs out, the round is over. In the next round the teams switch and give it a go again.

Players can choose from different necromorphs at the beginning of the match in which they are on said team. Each necromorph has their own special abilities and behaves a different way. When playing as the humans, players can customize their loadout while in the lobby menu. You can swap out weapons and suits all while waiting to enter a match.

I really enjoy the multiplayer in Dead Space 2. One of the best parts about it is the fact that it’s not all about who can get the most kills. Kills earn EXP that can be used to level, that’s true, but completing objectives and working together as a team is where the creativity comes in. I enjoy working together with other players to complete objectives. Even when you are on the necromorph team you can work together to take down the humans in different ways to stop them.

As players gain levels, they gain new weapons and abilities. Each ability/weapon is preset, so all players have equal chance to attain each feature. Players can gain abilities like increased damage for certain necromorphs, increased speed, more item/weapon slots as a human, and much more. It’s a real driving force to play online, just to see what else can be unlocked. I think adding the multiplayer aspect to Dead Space 2 was a great idea, and I can’t wait to see what else comes of it.

Verdict

Dead Space 2 is a great game. I recommend any fan of survival horror, or sci-fi games to check this one out. Visceral Games really did a great job with this sequel, and while the storyline wasn’t explained too well throughout the game (which is why I am giving it a 4.5), I enjoyed playing through every frightening moment of it. I am just going to have to play through it again to appreciate the complete story for the game, which I won’t complain about. I can’t wait to see what else Visceral has for us from the Dead Space world.


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