Dead Space 2 Review

I’ve already told you how much I adore the guys at Visceral, who make the Dead Space games, but I have also managed to finally getting around to playing Dead Space 2 on the XBox 360.

Let me preface this review with a statement. I love being scared. I love the horror genre, whether it be movies or books or video games. I like turning the lights out and having something scare me enough to make me jump out of my seat.

This is why I love the Dead Space games. And Dead Space 2 delivers the moments that make my heart race and hands shake.

While I’ve been playing this game, I’ve had moments where something would suddenly happen in-game that made me jump out of my chair, squeal and then laugh at how silly I had just been. But it’s wonderful! It’s as if the necromorphs are right behind me, breathing over my shoulder and will attack at any moment.

You cannot walk down any of the dark corridors (or into wide-open rooms – they could be anywhere!) without wondering what’s coming at you next. But then there’s a lull in the action and you fool yourself into a false state of calm and then before you know it – WHAM! Something is coming at you and trying to chew off your face. And it happens so fast, you barely have time to get your weapon armed and start shooting.

Dead Space 2 delivers on the scares, but also continues the storyline from the first game. Isaac Clarke seems to have no memory of the last three years and finds himself in a psychiatric ward of some kind, strapped into a straitjacket. Turns out he is suffering from dementia caused by a new Marker aboard the city where he finds himself. His mission (once he’s released and realizes that the city is now overrun with necromorphs) is to destroy this new Marker.

I think I like this game even more than the first installment of the series. The sound design is even better, if that is possible, and you find yourself using both sight and sound while playing to determine just how safe an area is (here’s a hint – nowhere is safe). Not many games use sound so effectively as part of gameplay, but Dead Space has this down to an art.

The necromorphs are as grotesque as ever, but there are a few new additions, including some child-like monsters, as well as some exploding baby necromorphs (which I found the creepiest of all).

The weapons are similar to the first game, although I find myself using the same three, as they are my favorites: the pulse rifle, the plasma cutter and the line gun. You also get stasis and kinesis, as in the first game. Finally, oxygen isn’t as limited with the new suits. Which is good, as I constantly used a cheat in the first game because I always seemed to be running out of oxygen.

Upgrades are the same as in the first game, using nodes at Workbenches. And the stores are placed throughout the game to buy bigger and better weapons, suits, ammo and supplies.

I haven’t finished the game yet, but I’m sure the end will be brilliant. I’m also sure there will be some sort of cliffhanger. I hear Dead Space 3 is already in the works. Bring it on. I’m ready!

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