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Having heard friends and my boyfriend tell me about how great a game Dead Space was, I was determined to get in on the action and bought Dead Space 2. Obviously as I'd missed the previous game I wasn't exactly sure what to expect and boy was I in for a shock.
The game is very graphic and the sound effects especially add a gruesome, animalistic aspect to the game, as you brutally stomp through corpses in order to search for medical packs for health, cash, or ammunition. The game begins with the main protagonist, Isaac Clarke, in a straight jacket, who must fight against fellow humans, cannibalistic mutants known as necromorphs, and hallucinations of his dead girlfriend that plague him constantly causing him to doubt his sanity and himself.
Isaac must be clever, thoughtful and quick if he's to get out of the Sprawl, a city on one of Saturn's moons, and make his way to safety. He is helped alone the way by a number of minor characters who allow us insight into Isaac's life and personality, giving us hints as to what happened to put him a straight jacket for example, and what to do next. Having never played Dead Space 1, I found it relatively easy to pick up the controls and get used to playing, and caught up on the storyline almost immediately, having had it thrown in my face with cut scenes and web-cam like communications in the top corner of the screen.
Interestingly, the 'scary' elements of Dead Space 2 do not all come from the enemies you are fighting against. Don't get me wrong, the Pukers for example, who spew acid like substances at you from great distances, and the disfigured disgusting looking mutant who produce spine tingling screams are definitely scary. But the music, building of tension and and quick paced action that pops out of you and forces you to act now.
It is possible to upgrade Isaac's weapons at a number of conveniently placed workbenches that with the use of 'power nodes' as a kind of currency, it is possible to upgrade your weapon or armour in terms of Damage, Capacity, Speed, Reload, Alternate Fire, Charge, Duration, Range Width, and Special option for each indiviudal gun. Weapons include the Javelin Gun, a powerful speargun which can impale your enemies, and the return of weapons from the previous game such as the Plasma cutter which has been improved.
Isaac is also telekinetic which is a great additional tool that enables him to open gates/shutters and to fire objects at assailants from far away.
Overall, Dead Space 2 is an excellent game suitable to gamers of all needs, as it comes with the option of Casual, Normal and more Difficult and there is the additional option for Multiplayer gaming. The actions is slick and constant action and is at times very demanding, but worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it and was always entertained either by the visual effects, storyline and even the sound at times. Its an excellent game I would recommend to shooter game fans, and was definitely worth the money.
The first Dead Space was a little underrated, so they've really gone for it on this one, amazing graphics, better aliens and varied set-pieces. The game is very similar to the prequel, but this isn't a criticism; it's more the old-school game sequel: the same basic design/plot/character with a different plot and a load of improvements thrown in too the old formula. Basic but it works and it doesn't screw with what made the first game enjoyable, as some games are actually starting to take the paths of films with becoming progressively worse each sequel. Anyway....
-GRAPHICS- Dead Space 2 is a few months old so you'd expect the visuals to be top of the game and they are; What better way to showcase this than the amazing outer=space sequences. Seriously, it's some of the best graphics around on the next gen consoles and despite most action taking place in dimly light mechanical corridors, the enemies, weapon animations and just the plain ol' gore makes DS2 much more enjoyable. They've also gotten rid of the annoying 'pixel fade' animation when a character dies from the last game and expanded the amusing death scenes, which now can even be up to 3 different possibilities from a single situation so you can see Isaac beheaded, exploded, vivisected, eaten alive, tentacle raped etc.
-GAMEPLAY- Slightly more action orientated than before with most of the new weapons being fully-fledged guns rather than futuristic tools, although a spear-shooting javelin gun makes a very welcome appearance. The biggest problem with this however, is that with all these cool new guns you can still only carry four at a time and the way the upgrading is set out means you can't swap 'em out very often. The game could be too slow for some, but those people are properly idiots, this is the pinnacle of survival horror shooting, incoherent and terrifying screams surround you before an onslaught of flesh and teeth race toward you, making you do several 360' turns to rip apart necromorphs. Zero gravity and zero oxygen set pieces are back and can provide a nice change to murdering mutated babies in the regular setting. Saying that, the game is increasingly depraved including sections where you mow down pale, infected children as they run and shriek at you with assault rifle fire like some sort of Nazi officer. However, disturbing sequences included, a horror game is mean to scare so it's welcome.
-STORY- Continuing from the last game, Isaac has been experimented on in a huge space station called the Sprawl and of course unsurprisingly the Sprawl has now come under attack by the parasitic necromorhps. A little more convulted than the story of DS1, the plot is still fairly original and interesting with the great bonus of text and audio logs scattered around the game to expand the plot. The finale isn't quite as good as the last game's, but it is less depressing.
-SOUND- Sound is more prevalent in this game, with more frequent contact with other humans and terrifying necromorph death-shrieks at the same time. Music is a little lacking, but when it is used, it works.
Summarily, if you like horror, shooters or Dead Space 1 (obviously) then give this a go.
Dead Space 2 was a game I was really looking forward to having played the first one. The original, which is one of my favourite titles from the current console generation, was a science fiction survival horror adventure staring an engineer called Isaac Clarke. In that game Isaac is sent along with a small team to repair a mining ship called the Ishimura. What seemed liked a standard mission to repair communication equipment turns into a nightmare when Clarke and co get stranded on the ship. That may not sound too bad were it not for the fact that most of the Ishimura's crew had been turned into hostile monsters by an alien artefact. After much carnage and mayhem Isaac gets away wondering why he became an engineer. In comparison a career as a soldier suddenly seems more peaceful.
The game takes place three years after the first one so it is highly recommended that you play the original before tackling this one. You can find the first game pretty cheap these days so there really is no excuse for not tackling the Dead Space games in order. If however you cannot find a copy Dead Space 2 rather handily provides you with a "previously on Dead Space" option on the main menu. That option plays a movie which recaps the first game's story. Not that you will need it as erm my opening paragraph was so detailed that reading it is practically like playing through the entire game.
Anyway, Isaac now finds himself on the Sprawl, a city built on Titan (one of Saturn's moons.) At first glance it appears that he has been receiving treatment after the trauma of the first game. The alien artefact known as the Marker has screwed up his mind, kind of how numerous pints of cider messes with my brain, which has left him seeing visions of his dead girlfriend. We don't get much more information as Isaac's memory has been erased... just like my ability to recall the night before after one too many alcoholic beverages!
Players don't get too much time to dwell on Isaac's situation as you get thrust right into the action. When the game kicks off Isaac is being awoken from a coma to find that the medical centre he is in is under a necromorph attack (necromorphs are the reanimated monsters encountered in Dead Space.) He gets contacted by a rude lass called Diana who tries to direct him to safety. From that point on it's up to the player to guide Isaac to meet up with her and find out what is going on. Along the way you'll meet other characters including a fellow mental patient called Nolan Stross and a badass pilot named Ellie Langford. Expect many twists and turns in this second scare filled instalment to the Dead Space series. Do yourself a favour and skip breakfast... you won't want a full stomach when the gore starts raining down on you.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
Just like the original game what we get in Dead Space 2 is a visual treat. I guess you cannot call smatterings of blood and dismembered body parts a work of art, but it all looks great. The monsters you encounter all look horrific and are all the more scary due to the detailed environments they reside in. After a while you get desensitised to the atrocities contained on the PS3 disc, but early on it did feel creepy tip toeing around in the dark trying to avoid the nasties that lurk there. Shame that they couldn't keep this tension going throughout the game, resorting to jump scares to spook you. I guess it is harder to scare players later on as you will feel naturally braver when armed to the teeth with a range of weapons.
The human characters, like the monsters, are rendered well. Realistic and resembling the voice actors that play them. I think I liked the style of this game more than the first as the Sprawl allowed them to be more creative. In the first Dead Space you were mostly confined to the Ishimura so you had to trek through narrow metal corridors which all looked pretty much the same. The Sprawl however is a big city so the creators managed to mix things up from chapter to chapter. As you make your way through the complex you'll visit the medical centre, a day care area, church, computer core and so on.
Audio wise the music adds to the atmosphere of the game. If anything I found hearing the noise of a necromorph I couldn't see more unnerving than walking into a pitch black room. The voice actors all did a fine job with their roles including the guy who played Isaac Clarke. It was good that the hero was not mute this time round as it allowed them to develop the story more without having to rely solely on audio logs. Isaac is more fleshed out than in the first game were he felt like a sheep merely hearing what others told him and going along with it.
If you have played the first Dead Space you will be able to dive right into this one as it controls pretty much the same. The action is presented in a third person view, were you see things over Isaac's shoulder. When the game starts all you can do is run from the threats you come across as Mr Clarke is in a straight jacket (I did warn him that watching the Twilight movies would turn his brain to mush, but he just wouldn't listen.) Thankfully after a while you get to fight back. Isaac eventually is released from the vest and arms himself with armoured suits and weapons.
The rig you wear is a real life saver. It comes with an oxygen tank that allows you to breathe in deep space environments, offers protection from damage and comes equipped with a stasis beam which can freeze things and pick up objects. Hurling junk with the beam is a good way of protecting yourself when you are out of ammo as is the ability to slow down monsters. Those two features of the rig also get some use in puzzle sections were you have to replace damaged power cores or get passed fast moving spinning blades that would normally shred you to pieces. It's good that they mix in the action with bits that test your brain to keep things fresh. I didn't however care for the hacking sections you had to complete to open locked doors. When hacking you have to find three blue segments by spinning the analogue stick before the time runs out. It felt more like a test of luck than a test of skill.
As in the first game you can upgrade your suit, as well as your weapons, by using nodes which you can find across the Sprawl or buy from stores. I always thought it was funny how you are expected to buy equipment from the stores. Even in the middle of a life threatening crisis big business wants to make a buck and demands that you cough up some dough. Moving back to the suits, you will find a number of them along your travels. Some suits offer special bonuses such as allowing you to buy things for cheaper or doing more damage with certain weapons. Each time you find a new suit your inventory space increases which is a big help as it allows you to carry more ammo and health items. If your hands are full you can however sell off things you don't need or keep them in the storage bank.
Difficulty wise I found this sequel to be a tougher game. I died more times than I did in the original. Anyone should however be able to get through to the ending with enough practice as you can set the difficulty to match your level. If you just want to play for the story set it to casual or if you are a hardcore freak who enjoys pain pump it up to the highest setting (which restricts how many times you can save.) I believe you get the full content regardless of the difficulty used so newbies don't get short changed for going the easy route. As far as I understand the difficulty is amped up by increasing the damage you take and reducing the amount of ammo dropped by creatures.
I managed to get through the first game without too much trouble using the trusty plasma cutter (a good all round handheld device that can disable necromorphs by slicing off their limbs.) With Dead Space 2 being more of a challenge it is however recommended that you expand your arsenal by using more of the weapons on offer. Trust me, using the right weapon in the right situation makes life a lot easier. There is a good number of weapons, but most players will probably stick to a maximum of four which they can easily switch to by allocating them to the D-Pad.
Each weapon has its own pros/cons so which you ultimately choose will depend on your play style. Aside from the plasma I used the line cutter, pulse rifle and force gun. The line cutter is basically a plasma cutter on steroids. It's more powerful, but slower and the ammo is more pricey. The pulse rifle is like a machine gun due to its rapid fire (best to use in short bursts as it eats ammo for breakfast.) Probably a good choice for people with a bad aim such as myself after too many drinks... is anyone getting tired of the drunk gags yet? Finally the force gun is great as it can kill most things in one hit or at least knock them back, which is handy when you get surrounded.
I won't list all the weapons for the sake of you poor readers who are struggling to get through this lengthy review. I will however mention the best of the rest. You get the flamethrower which has been improved over the version you got in the first game. It's hard to use due to the lack of range, but ideal for toasting swarms of weak enemies. You also get the scary sounding ripper that shreds things with its blades, the seeker which is pretty much a sniper rifle, the detonator that allows you to place mines on the ground and the javelin gun which shoots spears that can shock things. Phew that's more weapons that the U.S army and I didn't even bother mentioning them all.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The main game can be completed in around ten hours although play time will obviously vary on certain factors such as the difficulty setting you pick. I know some people who blasted through the whole thing in less time and others who have dragged things out for almost twenty hours due to many deaths and an insistence to explore every nook and cranny. Ten hours doesn't sound like much value, but I think it's okay. I enjoyed the game so much that I ended up replaying it again straight away (something I might not have done had it been a longer game.)
What I really like about Dead Space 2 is the new game plus feature. It allows you to start your next game with all the credits, items and upgrades you got in your last play through. This sort of thing really encourages you to run through the story multiple times to try out different weapons and upgrade your gear to the maximum level. The neat thing is that you can then use the uber gear you amass on the higher difficulties which is ideal for anyone who wants a challenge, but doesn't feel like they could get through it all by starting from scratch.
Dead Space 2 also comes with a competitive multiplayer mode. I haven't played it so I cannot comment, but from videos I have seen it does look like fun. One side plays humans and take on other players who control different kinds of necromorphs. If you pick up the limited edition of Dead Space 2 you also get Dead Space Extraction (previously out on the Wii) which offers support for the Playstation Move. Two fun games for the price of one? Sounds good to me.
I loved Dead Space 2 so it gets a full five stars from me. It's one of those games that you cannot put down. They've tried adding some new things in this sequel (for example in the anti-gravity sections you fly instead of sticking to walls on magnetic boots which gives you more freedom) but for the most part it is more of the same. That's fine with me as I am of the opinion that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Yes I do expect games to keep improving, but in the past we have seen many examples of sequels trying to change a winning formula and screwing things up.
The ending is satisfying and hints to a third game which should come as no surprise. If they give us the same thing again I will be content although I would like to see better interactions between the characters and Isaac. Normally they talk to you and that is it. Perhaps they could add companions that follow the player and help out? We shall have to wait and see. For the time being we will have to make do with the stellar second game. Definitely something to buy if you liked Resident Evil 4 as what we have here is Resident Evil in space. You may however want to stay away if graphic violence is not your thing... they even marketed the game as something your mum would not like!
Review also posted on Ciao.
Horror games are not normally my thing, but i was glad that i made an exception for this game. I actually bought the first game after starting to play this one just to get to grips with the storyline, which is well thought out and has some very nice twists to it. If you havent played the first one i recommend it as it will only add to the Dead Space 2 gaming experience. The controls are easy to use and after a short while become instinctive, which does help when you are attacked unexpectedly from anywhere at times. If your a fan off chopping your enemy to tiny pieces then this is the game for you.
First off i will say that the one main bad point about this game i found was the camera angle. Like the first one it is third person but it is over the shoulder. This can become irratating as you cannot see an enemy on occassion. But this is not a major issue just an occassional annoyance. Secondly the game still isnt that scary. Yes there are parts that may make you jump or creep you out but it isnt down right scary. Thats about it for the bad points, but dont let that put you off it has many things that make up for this.
The look of the game is great its dark and gritty and although you are on a colony on one of saturns moons, so the scenery isnt amazing the changes in the look of the interior are well thought out and add to the overall experience. The weaponry has been given an upgrade and so has the armour. The same system from the first dead space applies for both, and the indicators on Isaacs back are....well back. The game looks better, plays better and keeps you hooked the whole way through. You now have free floating zero g movement and your improved suit has thrusters to propell you through the external environment, no more wall hopping. This brings a new element at times with new challenges and new puzzles. New enemies are also a welcome sight and they will challenge your skills and force you to think before shooting. Its got guts and gore galore and as with the first one you have to blow off the limbs of your enemies before they go down, but sometimes not permanently.