Dead Space 2 Review Issac Clarke returns to his nightmare, but is it one that we want to share with him? It would be hardæto argue against the factæthat ‘Dead Space’ was one of the scariest horror / survival games to be released in recent years. Where games like ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Silent Hill’ have showed signs of losing the direction that gave them such huge success, ‘Dead Space’ has emerged to remind horror aficionados of what makes ‘scary, scary!’
Creatures scuttling around in the walls, dark corridors filled with screams and deathly whispers, things leaping out of corners hell bent on ripping you to shreds; these are the qualities that make ‘Dead Space.’ Events take place in ‘Dead Space 2’ 3 years after the original plot on board the Ishimura where a strange, alien marker began turning crew members of the mining ship into Necromorphs. These Necromorphs are reanimated corpses of the dead crew and their desire is nothing more than to try and spread the infection.
Using piercing limbs that form from their limbs and also burst from their shoulders they attempt to grab hold of any surviving human attempt to kill the body so that they may possess it. Issac’s objective is simple…survive!æEarly on inæIssac’s journey through the Ishimura he discovers that the only way to kill these creatures is to ‘cut off their limbs’ thus leaving them motionless, defenceless and dead. Haunted by the death of his girlfriend Nicole, Issac battles against various forms of the creatures and eventually finds himself in a position whereby he is able to destroy the marker and as he plans to escape he is attacked by Nicole in Necromorph form (revealed at a later date to be part of Issac’s hallucinations caused by his guilt)
Issac is woken inside a straight jacket where Franco Delille (protagonist of Dead Space:Ignition) is trying to rescue him, but only succeeds in providing Issac with a chance to escape, which he naturally takes. He is led by a woman named Daina who insists she can aid Issac, but once he finally reaches her it is revealed that she is a Unitologist and it is her mission to recover Issac so that he can help them build more markers.
The Unitologists are a religious group whom worship the marker and believe that the infection is the purge that humanity needs. Through his discussion and escape from Daina Issac discovers that he and a man named Nolan Stross (one of the main characters from Dead Space: Aftermath – an animated film filling the 3 year gap from Dead Space and it’s sequel,) built their own version of the marker, which has led to the outbreak on board the Sprawl where Issac finds himself. Issac now makes it his objective to bring down the marker that he is responsible for and proceeds to do this by linking up with Ellie Langford a heavy equipment pilot who is looking to flee the Sprawl. She guides him to the location of the marker, but Issac’s progress is hindered by Hans Tiedmann the Sprawl’s administrator and the man responsible for making Issac and Stross rebuild the marker.
Also trying to prevent Issac is the continued hallucinations he suffers from caused by his guilt over the death of Nicole from the first game, but upon combating Tiedmann and accepting his guilt Issac is able to find his way to the marker and to destroy it is forced to face off in a battle against the embodiment of the marker found in the form of Nicole. Issac succeeds and is rescued by Ellie and the two fly off into space, hopefully to live happily ever after, but more likely to prepare themselves for the events of ‘Dead Space 3!’ NB. at present ‘Dead Space 3’ is a planned project. So after covering the events of ‘Dead Space 2’ how does it compare? Well, in all honesty it doesn’t really change anything. Weaponry is almost the same, particularly the faithful Plasma Cutter, which I don’t think I removed my armory at any point through the roughly 10 hours of game-play.
You get new weapons to play with like the Contact Beam and the Seeker Rifle, but personally I found these better for nothing that earning the weapon based achievements / trophies that are available. With the amount of ammo that is littered around and the ability to upgrade all weapons you can easily complete the game on the easier settings using only the Plasma Cutter and nothing more. The Stasis ability (an option to slow assailants or moving obstacles down) and Kinect ability (able to carry alternative objects to be placed into new locations or to be used as weapons) both make a welcome return, offering something different from other FPS’s, but a lot of the time you feel that you are only really using them to help solve puzzles that consist of nothing more taxing than putting the square block in the square hole or matching the colours!
The game is still scary, but doesn’t quite create the fear that was present in the original game. After you have had your fifth Necromorph fall on top of you from a vent or you have had one of the horde climb onto your face as you beat it away using the quick time event you begin to become immune to the scares and instead finding yourself waiting expectantly for the next ‘BOO!’ moment. Other elements of the game-play that ‘Dead Space’ became critically acclaimed for were their moments in outer space where there is no gravity or no oxygen.
The gravity free elements of the game have been slightly altered allowing you to travel openly through the areas in comparison to the original concept where you could only move from one position to another, these have been improved, but the moments when Issac is relying on his oxygen tank to keep him alive never really feel like his life is inæany dangeræasæany enemies encountered are few and easily dispatched andæthere is such a time length available that travelling from A to B is not going to cause a threat. At times you feel the game was made for the casual gamer. Whereas in the original ‘Dead Space’ it felt as though Necromorph attacks felt as if they were random and could occur at any time,æbut this outing feels scripted and designated.
Save points are readily available and even if you have to trek backæhalfway through one of the levels you can do this without fear of being attacked. Considering the size of the Sprawl in comparison to the Ishimura this should not be the case. After completing the game I felt myself in need of investigating the plot further. I was convinced that I must have missed something, but upon researching it I discovered that I had not. It felt at times that the plot wasn’t really progressing and when it did it didn’t seem relevant.
Because of spin offs like ‘Dead Space: Aftermath,’ ‘Dead Space: Downfall,’ and ‘Dead Space: Ignition’ I felt at times that the producers were desperately trying to link the games rather than actually focusing on developing the story of Issac Clarke. By giving him a voice this time out the intention had been for us to embrace him as the new Chris Redfield or Leon Kennedy, someone we could care for and whom could lead the franchise, but this never really happens. Issac is only really given the opportunity to interact with other characters via the video messages he receives via his outfit and thus we never really get to see much of Issac’s character. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it and I believe this was the idea that Visceral Games approached ‘Dead Space 2.’ They had a formula that was scary. You wanted to look away, but couldn’t because you were so gripped by events.
At the end of ‘Dead Space’ you encounter a battle with a Necromorph that keeps reanimating despite how many times you shoot it. It would follow you through several levels of game play and in the end had to be killed by leading it into a chamber where you could freeze it and ultimately destroy it, but it would then return again and you had to freeze it in a position where you could set it on fire using the test fire of some rockets on a ship. This was terrifying!! One of the worst moments I had ever experienced in gaming because it was that scary! A similaræNecromorph appears towards the end of ‘Dead Space 2’ but it feels like he was tacked inæand you don’t even have to defeat it, you can simply run away.æI am pleased that I played ‘Dead Space 2’ and I’m sure I would play a third if it is released, but at the same time I don’t believe it has simply been me growing up that stopped me from finding ‘Dead Space 2’ the game that I believed it was going to be. Brown trousers were not required on this occasion!