Sitting here this week I’ve been trying to come up with ways to get my Dead Space 2 review into words. It’s hard for me to describe how I feel about it. When it was announced last year, I knew the game was going to be a blood-dripping masterpiece. Then I heard Isaac Clarke would be voiced, and I was a little iffy after my other favorite silent protagonist (Samus Aran) got “upgraded” to unemotional and stupid. Now that I’ve played it I can say it’s definitely a masterpiece alright.
The story of Dead Space 2 is something to behold. Isaac is back after the incidents on the USG Ishimura, having spent the past 3 years in solitary confinement. He’s got no weapons and he’s in a straight jacket. This sets the tone for the entire game: suspenseful. Eventually you get cut out of the straight jacket and get a flashlight, plasma cutter and your suit. Isaac is then plunged into battle not only with Necromorphs but with the guilt he feels for ever having let Nicole work on the Ishimura. It’s about a man’s fight for survival and both a mental and physical struggle to stay alive. Many people have compared the two main games in the Dead Space series as Alien and Aliens and I absolutely agree. For those who haven’t played Dead Space 1 there is a little “previously on Dead Space” segment right before you choose to start the game. It recaps the events nicely and gets you right into the fray.
The gameplay is just as smooth as it’s ever been. The game is a lot more action based which many people groaned about but I find it to be a step in the right direction. The shooting has been tweaked as well as the new addition of impaling those pesky Necromorphs with their own razor sharp blades. The big new addition though is the Zero Gravity traveling. You press R3 and you float in Zero G environments. You can fly around and give yourself a little more speed by holding L2 as well as if you’re upside down you can press R2 to bring yourself right side up. Many people were just as excited as they were skeptical to see how Visceral would implement it, and they did so flawlessly. There are many Zero G moments in the game that just get your heart racing and keep you asking for more. The quicktime events luckily are just hack this and press X (or A) to get out of this certain position here or stop this necromorph from totally ripping your face off here. Oh and I almost forgot that any form of new gameplay almost always means new weapons to go along with it. The new Seeker Rifle and Javelin Gun pack a mean punch. The Javelin Gun shoots out a spear which can stick the enemy to the wall or just impale it; while pressing R2 will electrocute it and if you upgrade it fully it will have an explosive outcome. If you catch my drift…no? Okay back to the weapons. The Seeker Rifle is a powerful military rifle basically similar to a Sniper Rifle in the Dead Space universe. Fully Upgraded the Seeker Rifle can take out bosses within’ 2 shots and kill any early enemies in one shot. P.S. The last boss is absolutely one of the best boss fights of all time…Yeah I said it.
One of the biggest negatives about this game is definitely nothing to do with anything in the Single Player. It’s within’ the Multiplayer. You’ve all heard this ever since Dead Space 2 was announced. The multiplayer feels tacked on. It’s like EA told them “we want multiplayer” so Visceral said “Here ya go, now shut up so we can make our single player that much more awesome.” The main reason it sucks it just the overall design. You’ve got 4 engineers against 4 Necromorphs. That originally sounded very interesting but it’s just a bland Left 4 Dead knock off. You gradually level up and get more weapons for the Engineers or abilities for your Necromorphs. Each game you have you play as both Necromorphs and Engineers. When you finish they tally up how well you did and whether or not you won to level up. That’s fine and dandy but when the Necromorphs are getting about 20 kills for killing people while they’re in quick time events instead of fighting with the humans. Even when Necromorphs gang up they’re at a serious disadvantage.
The graphics and sound design in this game are absolutely flawless. They’re breath taking. Neither has ever been more important to me than gameplay, but in a game like this you have to at least take into account the visuals. DS2 looks mysterious and it captures that “You‘re alone in space“ feeling. The new enemies also add to the horrific effect. The first freakin’ time you meet a crawler it just sends a shiver down your spine. After you first encounter them, you will NEVER look at Babies the same way again…I guarantee it! The levels are all well designed and flow within the game whether it be the Church of Unitology, The Nursery, the CEC or even The Mines chapter. The sound design is also noteworthy. From the monsters’ continuous yelps to the nebulous banging around it has all still retained that survival horror feeling. Still, this game would be nothing without its music. The continued use of fast paced strings and low percussions adds to the effect that it’s trying to achieve, particularly effective in the Nursery chapter. It knows it’s scary and will not stop being so until you man up and beat the game yourself.
In the end. DS2 is one of the biggest and best games I’ve ever played, it definitely ranks up with one of the greats. The game is an emotional roller coaster throughout the entire experience. Never will you see a more complete Survival Horror game inside and out than this one…it’s one hell of a ride.
Favorite Dead Space 2 Trailer
My Final Verdict 5/5
– A new Standard of Survival Horror indeed, and so far, My Game of the Year for 2011.