sdoots's Dead Space 2 (Xbox 360) review

Dismemberment made easy.

The original Dead Space was soaked in frightening visuals, superb sound, and phenomenal gunplay. Dead Space 2 is pressure washed in those qualities. Issac Clarke's continued adventures take him to some absolutely stunning environments, and most of them are filled with the brutal combat that you expect from the series. The few of these beautiful vistas that don't involve you cutting limbs off of necromorphs quickly tend to escalate into absolutely crazy levels of action. You will fly through low gravity between two train cars, base jump through space, and more. One sequence involves running like hell from a giant brute, getting blown out into space along with that brute, shooting a gas canister to propel yourself away from the brute, and plummeting through ventilation shafts back into the space station. This all happens in about 30 seconds.
The game flow remains what it was in the past title. You'll fight through a bunch of creepy rooms full of necromorphs, things will jump out at you, subtle scares break up the combat, and eventually you reach a break in the action. These breaks typically have a save point, a store where you can buy equipment, and a bench where you can upgrade your gear. Finding schematics unlocks new items at the stores, and power nodes scattered throughout the world are used to pay for the upgrades at the bench. You can also use a node to unlock one of the various locked rooms in the game, which typically contains a schematic, some money, a bunch of ammo and health, and occasionally another power node.
However, Visceral uses those crazy action moments to break up that predictable flow. It keeps things fresh and exciting when those moments occur and mess with your expectations as to what's coming next.
Visceral also saw fit to add multiplayer this time around, and thankfully it's far from halfassed. While it won't stand up against the juggernauts of online multiplayer, it is very enjoyable. The obvious and somewhat justified comparison is Left 4 Dead's Versus mode. 2 teams of 4 players compete on one of the 5 maps, with one team humans and the other necromorphs. Humans have to complete a variety of objectives within the time limit to win, and the necromorphs have to stop them. What keeps things intense is that necromorphs can spawn at any of the numerous vents located on the map, so it's very possible to spawn right behind a human activating an objective and murder him. The smart thing to do would be to stick close then, right? Well, not really. The necromorphs can choose one of four classes to spawn as, and a coordinated team can split humans apart from their friends for melee kills, and push them together to rain acid spit on them all. Everything can kill you unless you react to the situation quickly and properly.
I'm not someone who plays through games more than once very often, if at all. As soon as the credits finished in Dead Space 2, I started a new game. Simply put, the game is fun as hell.


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