Dead Space 2

Platform: PS3*/Xbox 360/PC
Genre: Survival Horror
Players: 1 (Online: 8)
ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language)

Dead Space 2 is the sequel to the fantastic Dead Space, a game that helped revitalize the survival horror genre. Isaac Clarke narrowly escaped the USG Ishimura, and now finds himself on the Sprawl – a space base on Saturn’s moon Titan – where the outbreak has spread.

The game throws you right into the action – Isaac is in a straight jacket being interrogated on the Sprawl, and before you know it, he’s fleeing the station while still strapped in with necromorphs flying around him. Of course, this is exciting enough in itself, but it introduces us to a new enemy – Clarke himself. The events on the Ishimura took their tole on Clarke’s mind, and now it seems to be slowly deteriorating with images of his dead girlfriend haunting him at every turn. Personally, I’ve never found mental instability to be a particularly effective scare tactic in video games, and this one is a bit cheesy in all honesty, but it’ll get the player a time or two, and if not, it still does its job in telling Isaac’s story. As far as the necromorphs go, they’re still frightening, but less so. However, there are a couple of justifiable reasons for this.

After playing the first game, returning to the Dead Space universe is a lot like visiting an old friend. The enemies are back and the mechanics are similar, so we’ve all been numbed to it to some extent. But, on the other hand, so has Isaac. While it was defining that Isaac didn’t talk in the first game and that we had no idea who he was really, as Dead Space 2 progresses you find that there wasn’t much of a choice – a veteran of the outbreak, Isaac steps up as the man with a plan. The lowly space engineer has had some practice with the big guns and has a handle on the situation, and so now he’s the one handing out commands. The player gets around a little better, and while it’s hard to say exactly why, you can feel that Isaac is more comfortable as a slayer of necromorphs.

Moving right along, the game is intense at every corner, frightening or not. A couple new enemies shake it up a bit – especially those based on kids and babies. A more linear feeling means the heat is never off. Instead of going from level to level via the tram station, the action continues as Isaac walks to most locations, meaning that there will often be times when it’s just not feasible to put the game down.

A continuity note – they changed Isaac’s girlfriend’s haircut, even in the old video from the first game. Not a big deal, but interesting to note.

In all honesty, I can say that I have no complaints with this game. The slight lift on the scare will only deter those really looking for it. For everyone else open to anything just plain good, this game fits the bill.

Bottom Line: 9.5/10

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