by J.D. Cook
If you are anything like me, then you believe Dead Space, the survival horror hit from 2007, is a modern classic of gaming. It’s plot is simple – a deep space mining vessel has gone dark and a small team is sent to investigate the communication breakdown only to find horrifying creatures have dispatched the crew and your only real goal is to survive the ordeal. The game play is nearly perfect, and the setting creates a tense fearful atmosphere that is heightened by the amount of startling moments in the game. So the question on everyone’s mind now must be – how could such a successful game be followed up?
Dead Space 2’s plot is nearly as simple as that of the first. You return to action as the protagonist Isaac Clarke. Only instead of having to survive on a space ship you now have to survive on a space station, contend with dementia acquired during the first game, face the military madman trying to kill you, deal with other survivors, and attempt to destroy an alien artifact (ok, so maybe the plot got a little more complex). Yet it really is not that hard to follow I am simply adding dramatic effect. But the simplicity of the plot is a positive because they do not need to wrap an overly complex plot around the game play that was already close to perfection in the original.
The only problems with Dead Space 2 are small. The first is that the marketing campaign did a great job pointing out that this game would disturb mothers, but the game itself disturbed me just a bit. There is a section that takes place within a day care, and they did an overwhelmingly good job bringing the setting to life. So good, in fact, that I couldn’t help but think of the small children I know and shiver when a small baby explodes on its mother. I get it – this is supposed to be shocking! But why? It just seemed like they could have done something more interesting and altogether more tasteful then have an intensely cool protagonist running around shooting morphed babies and children.
On the note of that intensely cool protagonist, I should bring up the fact that the character has dialogue in Dead Space 2, as opposed to the original in which he didn’t utter a word. Many fans were worried this would detract from the fearful element in the game, but if anything it adds to it. As already mentioned the plot grows because of this and hearing him shout curses when you stomp open creates saves me the trouble of doing it out loud like I used to.
Moving back to problems with the game, I come to one thing that did become a negative in Dead Space 2. In the original game the characters deaths were overly extreme and shocking. In Dead Space 2 they are kind of boring. One or two of them is rather intense but the majority of them involve your character splitting into three sections, and what makes this worse is that you cannot skip the death animations. So if you get stuck at a particular section of the game get ready to see Isaac Clarke disemboweled over and over and over again. After the first time it’s just boring and frustrating to watch, and only two of them seemed as shocking as the first games.
Honestly, other than that, I cannot find many problems with this game. Well with the exception of the final boss battle which was a let down in the first game as well as this game. The online mode adds an fun element to the experience as you fight with online enemies as opposed to the computer. The game may not be quite as scary as the first but it certainly startles you more, and there are some very creepy sections of this game. It would have tickled my fancy if the Zero Gravity sections of the game were a bit longer but, oh well.
This game does not improve a whole lot on the first one but it does not ruin anything either. I’d recommend it if you are already a fan, or want to experience the Dead Space universe for the first time.