Synyster Graves

Dead Space 2

by on Jan.25, 2012, under Xbox 360

Personally I thought the first Dead Space title on the Xbox 360 was great. It was atmospheric and creepy, and in some parts down right frightening. Bringing back scared memories from my youth from having nightmares from watching Event Horizon when was probably too young to see it, Dead Space was definitely one of the best survival horrors on the next gen consoles.

Dead Space 2 was set after the events which took place in Dead Space, reprising the role of Isaac Clarke, a CEC Engineer sent aboard the USS Ishimura planet cracker ship during the Necromorph outbreak. Isaac has been in a coma and his consistent nightmares of the ordeal with the Marker are still prominent in his consciousness, so much so that so that he has been diagnosed as insane and you begin the game attempting to escape from a mental asylum. The storyline centres around Isaac’s attempts to destroy The Marker again, which has caused another Necromorph outbreak to occur and his interactions with various characters along the way shape the course for this horror story.

Can't face them all? Shoot a window and suck all the enemies out!

The controls are practically identical to the original game and straight from the off sees you thrust into the action in yet again, a spontaneous Necromorph outbreak. While this is the only game I’ve ever played whereby in the “tutorial” beginning you can actually get killed, DS2 can be quite merciless on a player who has never played the first one before and are just learning the controls for the first time, coupled with my pet hate, QTEs right from the off.

The weapons and collectible node based upgrades have returned too but this time with a lot more guns, of who’s application is more tactical than running about spraying bullets around like a Gears of War game. The assault rifle has had a decent revamp, it’s alternative fire being an underslung grenade rather than a the haphazard bullet jambalaya from the first game. The Ripper, Line Gun, Force Gun, and Pulse Cannon all return with the omnipresent Plasma Cutter to dismember limbs in the most inventive ways you can.

Seriously those children monster things scare the crap out of me, especially when they swarm en mass like you're a doughnut in an ant's nest

The enemies have had a new breed added to scare the crap out of you in more ways than previous. Along with the creepy lurkers and necromorphs they have added the constantly flanking Stalkers, spooky child like monsters and exploding babies with backwards heads like the Dybbuk in The Unborn. There are also boss monsters like the three limbed Tripod creatures and the rampaging Brutes also return. Also taking a page from Left 4 Dead come Spitter monsters which projectile vomit acidic bile which slows your movement leaving you vulnerable to another Necromorph onslaught. But this is where the creativity in dismembering them comes from. You can take them all on head first gunning them down, but you will run out of ammo. Instead there’s kinetic pressure valves, breakable windows which suck enemies out and conveniently placed exploding stasis and incendiary canisters.

Much like the first game, saving up enough for nodes to upgrade all your weaponary and equipment is one hell of a bind as you’re forced to be tactical with how much equipment you can carry and sell the surplus without leaving yourself unarmed without ammunition. There is definitely more impetus on using the much improved kinesis module to fire back the sickle shaped body parts of felled Necromorphs to preserve ammo and kills the oncoming monsters.

The level design in parts is frankly brilliant, with fantastic attention to detail as compared to the first game find yourself battling through a sprawling metropolis rather than the industrial space ship from the first one, which drew the obligatory similies to Event Horizon. The levels are a bit on the lazy side from the other perspective, as you see yourself back track through the levels once you have performed some objectives but not to the degree that Devil May Cry 4 forced you to repeat every previous level in reverse. The ambience like the first one is terrifying. The subtle child singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” which shoots your nerves to pieces, or the constant sepai palette swapping to highlight Isaac’s hallucinations. All scary stuff. Not to mention how Necromorphs tend to break through the vents and seem to materialise RIGHT BEHIND you.

In summation, Dead Space 2 is a brilliant sequel to the already frightening Dead Space, taking it to a new limit of scary sci-fi survival horror. The atmosphere is thick and can be cut with a knife, and the lack of ammunition and reliance on using the stasis and kinesis modules give the player an all round feeling of being isolated with hideous monsters coming out of every air vent in a five metre radius. A fantastic game and well worth being terrified over.

:, , ,

Leave a Reply