yummylee's Dead Space 2 (PlayStation 3) review

He has the voice, now he just needs the personality.

Dead Space 2 is broader, bolder and maybe even a little sexier (?!) at that, than its predecessor. It's now completely stripping most of its survival horror instincts for a much more action orientated experience and feel reminiscent as something resembling the Terminator 2 of a trilogy. And yes, there will definitely be a third Dead Space.  
Trading off all the originals allure and mystery for incredibly large and loud set pieces was a great effort, though it still didn't quite match just how I felt while patrolling the halls of the Ishimura, back in 2008. 
 

 Hey, so.. do you like Dead Space?
Set three years since that horrific event, Isaac Clarke, who's become EA's own official Mascot at this point, is once again thrusted into a nightmarish world filled with necromorph limbs flying willy nilly and weird symbols plaguing the walls as well as his mind. As one would expect, Isaac didn't exactly leave the Ishimura unscathed. Sure he had all his limbs attached, but his mental state took a real brunt. Understandable, what with dear ole blue collar Isaac having to butcher countless monstrosities, then finding out the soul reason he came to this damned ship, Isaac's girlfriend, is dead. And all without a voice to scream his frustration with! 
 
Oh right, not only is Isaac more or less declared insane, and has you quite literally running for your life while still in your straight jacket at the beginning, but the fellow now has miraculously managed to dig up his voice box. Isaac is now a full fledged character, rather than a walking suit of tech armour who'd I'd just as believe was possessed by a phantom than by a mute. Though Isaac may now have himself a voice, to which he does make use of plenty throughout, that doesn't mean he's all that interesting of a character. As a whole the entire story and its cast aren't very memorable, either. 
It increases the back-story with the whole Unitology cult and does well to create an arc that a third game will be able to fill into nicely, but it's all mostly some generic sci-fi shlock. The cast that delivers you the story are also pretty unmemorable, with solid voice acting but also with a rather plain script. There's still a great number of audio and text logs to locate too, but most I found myself just quickly skimming through and came out barely remembering anything I just read/listened to. (which is probably how most will respond to my review--heyoo..aww)
 
It's a darn shame too, since Visceral games clearly went to some great lengths to establish a lot of backstory for their Universe here, with the prequels, animated movies and novels. 
 
 Bet you wish you were back playing golf with Tiger Woods?
Not knocking off the story completely, I'd guess that Dead Space has gained most of its fans through its incredible atmosphere and shooting. And lo and behold, Dead Space 2 delivers! It's really not even all that different over the original from a gameplay standpoint. Refinement is very noticeable throughout with Clarke's movements being somewhat faster this time around, and melee attacks that aren't completely useless is one of the games most highlighted improvements. The Kinesis ability is the one striking alteration between the two games. In the original it was mostly for solving puzzles and picking hard to reach items. It was viable par some combat tactics but wasn't as effective as the weapons. This time around you're introduced to the Kinesis as your first weapon, and pulling off the razor limbs off your fallen enemies can act as a suitable replacement to keep the remaining foes at bay.
Again, though, for people who played through the first Dead Space will find a great deal of familiarity as they step into the heavy space boots of Isaac Clarke. The now trademark plasma cutter returns and is as reliable and efficient as ever. That still leaves an attractive amount of other weapons to find yourself relying upon as well. The Pulse Rifle assault gun is another handy firearm to have at your side, though is still just a futuristic, but still average, assault rifle. The imaginative weapon design lies in most other weapons like one that shoots out a razor that'll temporarily stay stuck in that position cutting anything you deem to walk into. A new weapon for Dead Space 2, The Javelin gun, can also shoot out... javelins... at the enemy which can at its worst pin enemies to the wall (or miss completely of course), and at it's best can then have its javelins electrocuted, harming the enemy it if isn't already and any nearby enemies at that!  
  
Overall, there's a nice variety, and more than enough weapons for people to gain their favourites. You can equip four weapons at a time, which'll can make for some unique combinations depending on how you want to play the game. PRO TIP: Go with the weapons that kills stuff the quickest.
 
        I am a man, not a machine! Who smiles like a cat. 
Besides the dismembering, the game gives you the expected assortment of occasional puzzles, most stricted to a simple searching for the sweet points within a circle acting as the games hacking mini-game. There's still the few stasis require puzzles that'll require you to slow down deathly obstacles thus allowing you to pass. 
The grand scale of the puzzles that take place in zero gravity are some of the best of the lot. Zero gravity this time around is also not limited to Isaac jumping from one flat surface to another and can essentially fly. Such sections more often require your use of Kinesis to move large obstacles, such as an incredibly simplified light puzzle that is still made to be fun thanks to the grandiose size of the areas you're in. Admittedly, though, it can be pretty jarring to try and control Isaac as he floats about, and it's pretty easy to find yourself getting disorientated or at least at a loss of direction. You can press the R3 button in to align Isaac with him facing the right way up, but in the larger zero gravity sections it can still take some hassle to get from where you may need to go.  
 
The game as a whole is also completely linear this time around. You may sometimes backtrack should you want to head back to the store to buy some new goodies, or the bench to once more upgrade your said goodies with nodes you'll invariably find along your travels; but story wise, you'll always be on track to somewhere new. The tram that used to connect the chapters is also long gone--well you'll ride it once, but don't expect the same conclusion to when you'd enter the tram in the original. Now the chapters all seamlessly connect to one another, and it keeps the game at a steady pace, but also furthers its departure from what little survival horror elements it used to have. 
 
Dead Space 2 is an all round action shooter, but the atmosphere and disturbing sights are still in full effect. Now located on The Sprawl, a colony located on Saturn's largest moon, there's a lot less of the dreary, close quarter corridors and now more open residential areas. You'll find all kinds of Blade Runner esque advertisements, complete with modern day product parodies, and eventually even find yourself trekking through one of Unitologies own churches, complete with a pretentious audio guide to explain each room. The gore isn't cut off any, either, and can expect yourself to spread plenty of the red stuff just to survive! 
 
 Look out below!
Some new enemy types are also introduced, as well. There's the Puker, as every zombie horde needs a guy who vomits, who, well, pukes on you. Acidic no less and can even slow you down if you're unlucky. And trust Dead Space to go even further down the age limit with Necromorph babies that explode should you shoot their bodies, or at the very least watch their heads slowly roll off. Far as the enemy roster goes, you'll be encountering virtually everything from the original once more, with the same techniques still working. That doesn't mean the game won't be easy, even for veterans. The easy/normal modes aren't so much to rage over, but the higher ups, Survivalist/Zealot can really push you to the edge. Which is in turn due to the designs nearing the later stages that literally have seemingly never ending hordes constantly coming at you from every direction. It's understandable to have so many foes racing after your limps, but to sometimes witness them all popping one after another out of the same vent can make some areas feel like killing arenas. 
 
Fortunately this time around, the prevalent New Game+ actually functions how a New Game+ oughta; with completions of lesser difficulties allowing you to then bring over everything, your current suit, upgrades and weapons, right over from the very start. That is besides the newly introduced Hardcore mode, which is apparently a tribute to the difficulty of old with limited checkpoints. Hardcore mode forces with a fresh new Isaac, but with only three saves, which simultaneously act as your own checkpoints as well. It's a completely optional affair of course, but for your potentially precious Platinum, you're going to have to drudge through that Hell and hope for the best. 
 
On its own, the single player has a surprising amount of meat to it, with the aforementioned difficulty modes, New Game+, and the gameplay for Dead Space 2 is so finely tuned and fun that you'll be hard pressed not to play through just for the sheer thrill of it. It's roughly around 12 hours on your first run at that
 
 Some of the environments look brilliant!
Regardless of how many times you choose to play through its single player, there still exists a multiplayer component as well. It's nothing quite as substantial as most of the FPSes on the market, nor even popular third person shooters such as Gears of War or Uncharted 2. It instead features a fairly modest team objective mode that is very akin to Left4Dead's multiplayer. 
Two teams made up of five, one playing as the humans who must complete a series of mundane objectives, while another will control the notorious necromorphs themselves! You can select from 5 of the most infamous, with the fragile but deadly Pack, to the tentacle stricken baby to even the Puker. 
 
The humans all play as an ''Isaac'' with more weapons and suits eventually unlocked as they go up the ranks. It's all surprisingly well balanced; the necromorphs are all quick to die, but have lightning fast respawn times while the human teams are vice versa. It only goes through two rounds giving everyone a chance to least play on both sides and then awards experience based on kills, objectives ect. 
It's a fun alternative, and playing as the different necromorphs is worth giving it a try, but with the human objectives literally boiling down to ''go here, press this'' while the necromorphs are to simply ''kill'', it'll no doubt get repetitive, There's only 5 maps, too, but it's at least assured to have a decent run for the sheer enjoyment it gives during your first batch of matchs. 
 
If you're aiming for the platinum, though, you can rest assured that you needn't even click on the multiplayer mode. All trophies are aligned with the single player alone. 
 
And then minus all that, the PS3 'Limited' version features the exclusive bit of extra content in the form of the prequel rail gun game, Dead Space: Extraction, complete with MOVE support. Along with with trophies (a lot of trophies), updated graphics and, local only, coop, and literally everything that existed in its original Wii release. 
And as far as Light Gun games go, it's pretty darn good, making good use of a lot of the Dead Space mechanics. The story is considerably cheesier than what Dead Space fans may be used to, but it brings out a lot more colour and character to it, and I'd probably wager it a more enjoyable story than Dead Space 2's own.  
 
All in all, Dead Space 2 is practically bursting with its content here, and well worth its full price purchase for the PS3. Its story is kinda monotonous, despite its surprisingly fleshed out back-story, and the characters being all but forgettable fortunately don't hamper the outstanding gameplay. There'll be no awards of innovation coming Dead Space 2's way, but its still varied, brutal and overall satisfying shooting keeps it flying high among the best.
3 Comments
Posted by Claude

It read well, but should a review be this long? If anything... a very in-depth review.

Edited by Yummylee
@Claude said:

" It read well, but should a review be this long? If anything... a very in-depth review. "

It should be able to go as long as it needs to be, I think. It looks so long no doubt because it's one single page. If it was able to be separated through multiple pages ala gamespot/IGN, it would look more contained and not so much of a hassle to attempt to read through :P 
 
In any case, cheerz for the recommendation! X)
Posted by TheSuperPickle

Great review, been a while since I've played this after I beat it near release yet I'm getting a yearning to replay this and try for the hardest difficulty, or at least pick up some more trophies. Also NewGame+ is certainly my favorite thing about this game, more games need to include this feature.

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