Isaac's not the only one who's had a lot of practise.
Dead Space 2: Severed is a fitting name for the first single player DLC download for the smash hit, Dead Space 2, acting as only a small snippet of what fans have come to recognise with Dead Space. And when I say small, I mean it. (you know it's small when it's a small snippet.. snippets are already small enough as it is!) Severed is literally only about an hour long, and with a price tag of £5.49/7$, it's definitely not delivering within the value department.
Fortunately, this is a still a really fun hour, making use of some of Dead Space 2's best moments and amplifying them, thanks to the notable return of the Twitcher Necromorphs, whom veteran fans will remember from the original Dead Space. Besides those faithful throwbacks, Severed introduces very little to the Dead Space franchise. What it does push forward is the story, or rather a branch of it.
Much like the trailer entails, Isaac Clarke is not the leading man for this little adventure: Gabe Weller, best known for his lead role in the Wii/PS3 Dead Space prequel, Dead Space: Extraction, has briefly taken up the reigns to carry forth this over-arching story. The game is set during Isaac's own struggles through the Sprawl, though it's tough to decipher when. What can be made certain, is that Isaac is long gone from the medical centre, rolling about in his straight jacket. The proof for said assurance is also one of the best parts of the DLC. As Gabe, you'll instead find yourself starting off into the mines, and will be making your way backwards, to the very medical centre to where Isaac's 2nd instalment of terror began, to which Gabe invariably comes across some of Isaac's own handy work. The why of it all is so he can save Lexine, another Extraction star, who he is now currently married to. That there predicament also brings up one of the more glaring issues the story for Severed has; there's no real backdrop for any of it. Fans of Extraction will at least appreciate the return of Gabe and Lexine, and all PS3 players have now been given the chance to catch up with the characters, but the time in-between Extraction and Dead Space 2 is a lot of empty air. What happened to McNeill and why the hell did Lexine and Gabe get married? Dead Space 2 managed to help catch up new fans, or fans who had forgotten most of what transpired in the original, with a decent ''Previously on Dead Space'' clip that brought everyone up to speed, which is something Severed sorely could have used.
Because of that, there's not much of a premise besides Gabe must save his wife, and it doesn't nearly push you through as hard as Isaac's own mental degeneration over his girlfriend's death and trying to uncover the mystery of just how the latest outbreak began. The overall story arc is still preserved, fortunately, with more references towards whatever seems to make Lexine so special, which is at least something that you can work with thanks to the plot of Extraction.
Weller isn't made to be nearly as memorable this time around, either. Lexine is simply there to scream Gabe's name every so often, with the occasional flatly delivered line much like her role in Extraction, with Gabe himself having lost a lot of his luster and energy. He comes across almost as like a skin of Isaac, just with a different voice actor. Physically, though, these are still Gabe and Lexine. Gabe himself is also given a new suit, unique from anything Isaac would have been able to acquire. Being a security guard for the Sprawl, Gabe'll have himself fitted with some already node'd equipment, which includes an advanced Pulse Rifle and Seeker Rifle (all other weapons can still be purchased from the store, however). They may have an extra adjective lodged into their titles, though they still function practically the same, much like Gabe's suit, which is simply a cosmetic alteration. No new weapons nor gear to find at that.
The gameplay is thus a complete mimic from Dead Space 2, though it gets noticeably hectic from the outset, with multiple Necromorph variants attacking you at once as a common occurrence. Those Twitchers also will make you heart your stasis now more than ever, though they don't quite give the same amount of fear than they did in the original; mostly due to you facing them in fairly small spaces, not giving them the room to show off their twitchin'. Some of Dead Space 2's own memorable set pieces are recreated here too, such as finding Gabe hanging upside down with a horde of necromorphs pouring his way, to yet another room full of conveniently placed boxes for the weird dinosaur-like Stalker Necromorph to hide and charge at you from. Severed does contain some originality thanks to a fairly intense elevator ride, as well as an incredible finale that easily ranks as one of my favourite moments in Dead Space history. None of the larger scale pieces, such as hovering through zero gravity or even kinesis puzzles, to be found, however.
As said before, Severed is an incredibly short pack, taking at most of an hour. Replay value is still evident, but only barely, with multiple difficulties--no hardcore,however--and a number of trophies to unlock at that. Though there's no New Game+, unfortunately. With that said, at its price of £5.49/7$, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they are really craving that bit more of Dead Space's traditionally exceptional shooting and pacing. Already the story is most likely posted all over the web, with videos of the notable happenings up at that, so if Severed appeals to you more for its plot advancement, it's best given a miss.