So it's been two years and something like 3 months since the first Dead Space hit the scene, and with a generally well received birth it was a absolute wonder to me how Dead Space 2 just seemed to come out of left field in the grand scheme of things. Baseball phrasing aside however, it was a very welcomed surprise regardless or at least I hoped it would be, especially considering the quality of its predecessor and yet it doesn't disappoint in the slightest.
Necromorphs at it again...The story for Dead Space 2 basically takes up where Dead Space left off, Aegis VII thought to be decimated and the infested USG Ishimura thought to have been destroyed in the planet's wake. Nevertheless you again find yourself playing as the intrepid space engineer Isaac Clarke . Whom has found himself abruptly awoken from cryosleep, strapped up in a straight jacket and has been in stasis sleep, confined in an asylum on Titan Station for just around 3 years and with absolutely no memory of it. But the worse is yet to come. Oh!? yeah the Station just happens to be infested by hordes upon hordes of Necromorphs. Ain't that terrific? Nevertheless though as Isaac your definitely in for a crazy, action packed, Necromorph slaying, scary adventure. But potentially along the ride you'll undercover what exactly went awry on the station, and maybe even solve some your own personal drama as well, because let me tell you Isaac's got some issues. Lastly, all while trying to stay alive long enough to even get off The Sprawl and hopefully with at least most of Isaac's body parts intact.
The GoodA Seemly Far more Expansive and even more Disturbing Location
So with Dead Space 2's new set piece being a sprawling space community it's definitely one of the most noticeable differences in comparison to it's predecessor. This environmental variety is most apparent when one reminisces of the dreary gray hallways of the USG Ishimura, The Sprawl however is a seemingly expansive metropolis that has a mix of churches, labs, shopping malls, schools and even a day care center. While some of the urban areas still breathe that ambiance of plain normal space city life, that perception is quickly distorted, if first with the signs of the infestation to the eerily twisted way the former inhabitants roam the environment. Yet somehow Visceral manages to keep the dark and foreboding essence intact almost flawlessly regardless of the locations mundane roots. The way this location is craftsmanly presented really delivers on the sense that The Sprawl was at one point a bustling metropolis as well, one that was flourishing with life, well of course till the outbreak turned most of them. Nevertheless this "sprawling" environment brings a much more unpredictably action packed experience to the table then it's predecessor did with its more stereotypically employed survival horror archetypes.
A Barrage of Memorable MomentsOne of the most appealing aspects of "Dead Space 2" is that it never seems to get boring. This game is constantly throwing new, remarkable moments at you, keeping things fresh. Whereas the original game tends to feel much more linear and predictable in scope. Don't get me wrong though, Dead Space 2 is far from breaking the linear mold. It's just like the original game is much more analogous to a old-timey wooden roller coaster, where as for "Dead Space 2" it's like a futuristic roller coaster that goes 200mph the entire time and then just randomly explodes. However, it's definitely not just its newly action packed persona that makes this game a quality one. It's things like the atmosphere as well, which in this game is seemly sentient at most times and really adds to the overall effectiveness of the game. Especially in retrospect to the original game if you think about it, it more or less just borrowed from the standard survival horror dark and gray wash and through in some particularly scary noises. But that aside, not to dive too deep back to the action aspects, but the newly added quick time events most be discussed their extremely thrilling and suspenseful moments in the game, although they lack really any sort of challenge it can most certainly be overlooked for what they do to the game's "grand" action adventure persona. Therefore, overall I'd have to say some of these more memorable moments should most definitely be witnessed.
Halo Jumping!!, plus an abundance of Zero-GWell when I first saw the improved zero gravity trailers I was doubtful that it would be all that worthwhile in comparison to the original. As it happens, my doubts were most definitely misplaced, because it's not only just a worthwhile improvement the zero gravity is a remarkable feat of game design to boot. I mean having the player have full 360 degree control over where they float, and objects maintain momentum dependent on movement?! It's a stupendous accomplishment, sometimes it's even like you're playing a space simulator that just happens to feature Isaac the astronaut/engineer. This is definitely one of Dead Space 2's most note worthy features hands down.
When I first heard about the multiplayer I was in a perpetual disbelief, and was almost certain the Dead Space franchise would go the way of Mass Effect. That of course meaning that the single-player campaign would taking precedent over ever putting in something like multiplayer. So I was very uncertain to as what the quality of it might be, or even how it would even work well, like I'm sure some other people were as well. Yet Visceral delivered, borrowing the foundations from "Left 4 Dead" franchise's multiplayer and adapting it to their own specific needs, which produces this arcade-y style multiplayer packed with action and fast paced play. Each of the Necromorphs is also really fun to mess around with given their "unique" individual aspects, while playing as a human can be genuinely unsettling. It of has basic character progression (weapon, armor and ability unlocks) definitely give players a reason for replay factor. Overall though the multiplayer is an excellent bonus which should not be ignored.
The Not So Great
What The!?Frankly the story in "Dead Space 2" is just a little too chaotic. I'm not sure I'm being completely fair based on my bias however, since I enjoyed the previously formatted chapter sequences instead of the whole free form thing. But I totally understand why it was necessary of course, it was just another tool to enhance the action packed appeal of the game. Whatever the case or not, by the end of the game, you'll likely be left scratching your head in awe. Some things do feel a little rushed and are annoying however, specifically towards the endgame it seem to be trusted upon you and its sort of a game changer at least tactics wise for me it was. I can't forget this big trans-media push either I can't really blame EA for trying to make some money, but when story notes get missed out it's sorta of lame.Oh! Most importantly not giving anything away about the Final Boss, it was rather cliché and was much more better thematically then gameplay wise I'm most certain. Nevertheless though with the quality of this game it easily outshines the negative aspects significantly.
Dead Space Extraction
EA really out did themselves on this one, a whole another game for the price of one? and basically a just overall improved version of it? Score! I remember originally playing Extraction when it hit the Wii and thought it was fine light gun shooter, yet they some how fixed everything that was wrong with it at the time by porting it. First HD that's a major point on it's own, which also definitely brings up the issue of high definition Wii games, but by also porting it, its come out to a control platform that's definitely the spiritual successor to the Wii-mote. The "Move" really does generate a difference, and even for the people who are "Moveless" the Controller works too it's not excatly ideal but it works. All in all I'd definitely recommended getting the PS3 "Limited Edition" version at least over the PC version. A whole another game should definitely top high fps in my opinion, plus there's just waiting to buy the PC version later when it goes on steam sale or something. :P
The VerdictWell despite the few issues, that I specifically thought weren't Dead Space 2's most lovable qualities some I know won't have any problems with them at all. But after all though the generally quality of the game, because if it isn't the craftsmen like design, to the ridiculously fun shooting, or the surprisingly great multiplayer, or the stellar ambiance, or heck even the totally intense zero-gravity scenes and the story to boot; that don't just make you forget about any issues at all then I don't know. I do know though all this makes Dead Space 2 a must play game in my opinion and a real ringer to start the year off with.