Dead Space 2 Review

Fresh off an intense carnage riddled encountered with an alien species known as Necromorphs aboard the planet cracker USG Ishimura, and our lead protagonist Isaac Clark now suffers from an acute case Dementia.

Dead Space 2 wastes no time throwing you right in the middle of a terrifying race for your life journey. One minute you’re under close observation while being questioned about your prior experiences from the original Dead Space, to literally running for your life while restricted to a straight-jacket. No futuristic engineering suits to save your hide from the relentless onslaught of Necromorphs, starting out Isaac is completely vulnerable to the surrounding chaos befalling The Sprawl.

Unlike the USG Ishimura, The Sprawl is in fact a space station significantly larger with more wide open spaces and not without those uncomfortable tightly sealed corridors. In addition Isaac is no longer completely alone. The Sprawl which inhabits a complete colony of humans displays some entertaining set-pieces of sheer terror being enforced on the remaining survivors creating more tension to the experience.

Shedding light on Isaac Clarks personal qualities, Visceral Games gives our everyday man survival specialist a more personal touch this time around. Far more than in the original title, players will see the face of Isaac, hear Isaac express his frustrations and doubts, even witness Isaac sacrifice his life for others in the most realistic and emotional fashion.

If you’ve ever played the original Dead Space you’ll be right at home with the sequel. From the slightly changed interface, an character maneuvering to stomping the skulls of your enemies, it’s all here from the original just better in every conceivable way.

The ability to perform anti-gravity maneuvering is no longer the chore of the original game. It quickly become a fun skill-set to dismember Necromorphs and impale them with their own limbs. This is also a great tool for conserving your ammo especially when ammo is running low. No longer having to go on wild goose chases to locate benches for power-ups, stores for weapons, ammo and gear management, game objectives or the all important save stations, now Isaac’s locator device marks a clear path for each destination. Even though the locator device in the original title was limited to only pointing out the direction of the next objective, the games design and atmosphere made it easily forgivable nevertheless, the tools now at Isaac’s disposal are well-received.

Atmosphere is everything in an action-horror and Dead Space 2 takes this concept to whole new level. Crawling through ventilation and elevator shafts, the sound of the constant dropping of liquid (whatever the substance may be) the disturbing ambient sound of screams echoing from the unknown distance, corridors riddled with bloodstains, traversing pitch black areas and the ever-present condition of claustrophobia can almost be cut with a knife.

Ever on the edge of your seat as the game introduces new and crazed encounters, it is sometimes difficult not to stare at the smallest details throughout the elaborate level designs. Visually Visceral Games has not only polished up the sequels overall presentation, lighting and color assets also bleed within the environments leaving behind an almost perfect re-imagined canvas. While the original title offered much to brag about in the eye-candy department, Dead Space 2 clearly looks head and shoulders better. Shadows silhouette the walls realistically, character models and environmental textures are smooth and tightly detailed despite some characters later on that look rather bland and how it all moves is what brings this experience altogether. Whether enjoying a play through of this latest sequel across the PS3, Xbox 360 or PC, one movement to span around any given environment and the motions conveys a realism that is not found in many games.

Dead Space 2 now allows players to loot corpses of nearby enemies and random bodies giving out more money and weapon valuables which also seems more accessible over the original. In addition to the needed gameplay items, datalogs and audio logs are also scattered throughout your journey leaving clues into previous events which ultimately led to the terrible circumstances Isaac now finds himself in once again.

In similar fashion of it predecessor, Dead Space 2 waste no time penetrating you with it’s terrifying and visceral gameplay claws daring you to pull away. For new comers to the Dead Space series, Visceral Games smartly includes the “Previously on Dead Space” option quickly bringing you up to speed on the story and plot with an elaborate story narrative trailer something I wouldn’t mind seeing implemented in all sequels. Isaac Clark while courageous in how he goes about his business, this guy has to be scared out of his mind or maybe I’m just putting my own convictions on him. One thing is certain, this is one heck of a ride and a must buy title offering one of the most engaging experiences we’ve played since the original.

A heart-pounding scare at every corner Dead Space 2 is an incredible way to start off 2011.


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