David Klein On February 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

Isaac Clarke is back and he brings along with him yet another alien marker that’s bigger and badder than ever. Taking place three years after he successfully escaped from the USG Ishimura, Isaac finds himself in a straightjacket within a mental health hospital in the Sprawl a giant space station. He must then make his escape as hoards of necromorphs; dead humans transformed into horrible monsters are running loose in the station. Isaac’s first journey was one to remember with necromorphs coming at him from every direction, and him not being sure who you can trust, but is this second journey every bit as epic as the first? Gametactics reviews Dead Space 2 limited edition for the PlayStation 3.

The first thing that comes to mind when I try to describe Dead Space 2 is ‘refined’. Visceral Games took the formula from the first game and improved it where they could. For instance instead of the clunky zero gravity jumping mechanic you now have a zero gravity jetpack that let’s you travel around free form for instance creating some intense free forming battles. The developers made a concerted effort to eliminate all the backtracking that was in the original game that became quite formulaic after the first few times to instead have your character seeing more new locations. The mini-map system has been removed entirely from the inventory/objectives menu in favor of simply pressing the left analog having it point you in the right direction being my preferred way of navigating in the original game anyway. Most of my basic complaints that I had with Dead Space 1 seem to have been addressed in this follow-up. The basic gun shooting stays largely the same, if there was any difference then I couldn’t really tell. You still have your primary and secondary fire options with each gun, can heal using med packs, freeze your enemies dead in their tracks with a stasis pack during particularly hairy situations and you use your Half-Life 2 style gravity gun to move objects and pick up items. The basic controls didn’t need any changes and so they were rightfully ignored.

Looking away from the basic game mechanics, there’s been some effort made to make the game a more psychological horror experience. The game tries to mess with you, creating some tension while waiting for the next ambush to happen. The game has slower start than the original Dead Space as far as personal investment but you start getting into the story just as much as the first game after the few chapters are done. Nicole your dead girlfriend who committed suicide in the first game is back and this time she’s doesn’t try to hide the fact she’s a hallucination created by your contact with the marker. This allows the developers freedom for her to mess with you in more ways than just direct manipulation of your action, she creates hallucinations like in ones found in F.E.A.R. and she tries to rattle you with her ghostly manifestations and creepy messages. Aside from Nicole you’ve also got new types of necromorphs to deal with and the one that comes straight to mind is the Charger; a necromorph that prefers to stay hidden in the shadows jumping between cover until it finally decides to charge at you head on like the name implies. This one necromorph manages to create some pretty tense situations especially when there’s more than one in the room where you’re sure how many there are or where they are before it’s too late.

This time around a multiplayer mode has been added to the mix to try and add some replay to the game once you’ve gone through the single player campaign two to three times already with Nightmare the hardest difficulty and New Game+ that let’s you play with your old weapons already available in the first store. The multiplayer mode has you take turns playing as both the necromorphs and the humans in a four versus four multiplayer mode a la Versus in Left 4 Dead. As a human you and your teammates have five objectives you must accomplish that range from activating consoles to destroying mini markers before the timer runs out and it’s the job of the necromorphs to make sure that the humans don’t do that. As a human this mode plays a lot like if the single player had a 4 player co-op except that the necromorphs are a lot smarter or dumber depending who you’re playing against. That being said the necromorphs have to think a lot more than the humans about strategy since in the direct firefight every type of necromorph (there is 4 total) usually is dispatched quickly from plain machine gun fire. The necromorph have to set up traps (which is helped by the fact they can see humans through walls) so that they can ambush them and successfully take them out. Another valid strategy is using your fast respawn rate and your ability to crawl out of air-vents all across the map as their version of a respawn point to better take out the more powerful human opponent. While this sounds all well and good usually speaking the humans do have the advantage. The game starts to grow stale since there’s just this one mode and 5 maps so there just isn’t much to do to keep things fresh. You do have incentives to keep leveling up your character with new armor and weapons but it still just doesn’t to do it for me.

Graphically the game does look good with great enemy design in particular. It definitely easily stands up in comparison to the likes of Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I’d try to draw a parallel with the first game’s graphics except I played it on the PC making it a really unfair comparison given the PC’s power. The environments are really well done make for a pretty varied bringing you from being in a Unitology church to shooting up necromorphs inside a deserted school you get a more varied environment than just the insides of a mining ship. The sound creates a great ambiance where you hear the necromorphs coming from a general direction leaving you not quite 100% where they’ll be striking. It’s just plain creepy to hear Nicole telling you to “make us whole again” or just simply whispering your name in the main menu.

The PS3 version I got was the limited edition (I’m still not quite sure how limited they are), which included a free copy of Dead Space Extraction originally from the Wii. While I’m not going to give a full review in this tiny paragraph I will say the game benefits from the addition of true Dolby Digital surround sound and the HD helps make the visuals look crisper and better than the Wii version ever did even upscaled up to 1080p. The game plays just as well and is a welcome bonus for arcade style shooting games.

As it stands, Dead Space 2 is better than the sum of its parts. Horror is one the genres that benefits greatly from the interactivity of video games and this being one of it’s finest examples. You never know when the necromorphs are going to strike and as you’re waiting you get to watch your character draw ever closer within the grips of insanity. If you’re a fan of survival horror you owe it to yourself to pick up Dead Space 2.


It’s been improved since the 2008 game making the game mechanics like a fine wine improved with time.


Dead Space 2 is a good-looking game just like it’s predecessor.


Those damn Necromorphs noises scare the crap out me and that’s not counting when Nicole is speaking.


Dead Space 2 starts the year off well giving horror fans and just gamers in general something that shouldn’t be missed.

Buy Dead Space 2 online for the PlayStation 3 from EBGames.com

Click here to buy Dead Space 2 online for the PlayStation 3 from EBGames.com for a great price!


One Response

  1. jonathan says:

    I just ordered now off your site, I hope it’s better than the first one. I can’t wait to get my hands on this!