Dead Space 2 [PS3]

It isn’t often I play a game and think, “Wow, this would really make a good film!” It also isn’t often I think, “Wow, if this were a film, the amount of blood would put the Saw series to shame!”

Dead Space 2 is just as good as it is bloodthirsty, and I for one endorse that. I mean, in the really real world, if you woke up on a space station, seeing dead people and surrounded by re-animated corpses you probably would pull out the biggest, most bad-ass weapon you could find, and I know you wouldn’t hold back.

[img_big]center,1560,2010-11-17/ds2_e32010_02.jpg,This hurts you more than it hurts me…[/img_big]

This is finally a game with a decently hard difficulty setting. I died continuously, which was a good thing – if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on some really awesome death scenes, watching my face get impaled on claw, watching my limbs and torso separated in a fairly gruesome manner, and of course there is the good old-fashioned stake through the head. All of these things I wouldn’t have seen if I was actually any good on a PS3 controller (ah, give me a mouse and keyboard any day!).

So a bit of history, Issac Clarke is an engineer, and he’s been having a hard time since his girlfriend died on the ship USG Ishimura. To make things worse he encouraged her to work there, so you could say the guilt of her death was killing him from the inside. It was also doing a damn fine job of driving him insane, although he wouldn’t show that on the outside. Throughout the game, Isaac sees and hears things that aren’t really there, which contributes to the the horror feel of the game. I think Visceral Games did a pretty good job of keeping people jumping in their seats. I don’t think it was quite to the same level as F.E.A.R., but it definitely meets the qualifications of a horror game.

[img_big]center,1560,2010-11-17/deadspace2_gc1.jpg,Spooky child-aliens[/img_big]

Most of the game is spent killing Necromorphs, a half human/half alien race. Each of these have special features – some spit acid at you, others can reanimate the dead, and others just explode – however, the most disturbing are the children and babies.

I have to admit I found running around killing children and baby mutants a little disturbing on a few different levels. Firstly they are children and hurting them is just wrong. Secondly, the babies explode, and the children are quick and one of the best methods I found to kill them was to punch them or hack them up with a spinning blade, both things I found a little bit hard to do, I had to keep reminding myself it was “just a game”.

[img_big]center,1560,2010-11-17/ds2_09.jpg,She’s behind you![/img_big]

The other Necromorphs were there to mix it up a bit, I won’t mention all but I will mention the chargers. A few times during the game you find yourself in a open room faced with a maze of containers. This is where they come out, peeping around corners at you followed by a scream and then they come charging. Luckily one of the handy skills you pick up early on the game is stasis, the ability to freeze someone or something for a short period of time. This gives you the ability to freeze the chargers, and then kill them. But of course in a game where blood isn’t feared, you don’t just kill a enemy, you are rewarded by stomping on them to reveal anything from ammo to health. Yes, that’s right: Dead Space 2 does in fact encourage you to stomp on things after you have killed them, and yes, this does include children and babies.

There are a few things I really liked about Dead Space 2. The main thing is the ability to always know where you are going. For the vast majority of the game you are guided by people, some good, some not so good. They all give you waypoints which can be accessed via the controls. A line is drawn on the ground to tell you where you need to go. Of course it isn’t that simple, at times you have to solve a puzzle or hack a console before you can continue, sometimes you must do this before the next wave of enemies appears, and stasis can really help with that.

[img_big]center,1560,2010-11-17/ds2_mar_10_e.jpg,Pew pew pew![/img_big]

One thing I didn’t like – and as small as this is, it drove me crazy for the first couple of episodes. When you are learning how to play a game, it would help a lot if the instructions of the controls were big enough to read on your TV. I have a 40” TV (it was big when I bought it), and I found myself having to stand up and walk to the screen to see which buttons it was saying. This drove me insane, especially because the game uses every button on the controller – both alone and in various combinations. I ended up keeping the manual (thanks for supplying one) on my desk so when it talked about something on the TV I could read up on it in the book. However this is a fairly minor thing on what can be described as a exceptional game.

Everything about this game is polished, It looks fantastic, runs smoothly and the changes of maps are seamlessly done with a cut scene or elevator ride. The environment looks awesome, from the industrial spacecraft all the way down to the apartments and child care areas. Even the auditoriums looked great. The enemies were fairly smart in that “we are always just going to run straight for you” kind of way, and the way you killed them was a masterpiece of destruction every time.

[img_big]center,1560,2010-11-17/deadspace2_gc2.jpg,Isaac Clarke – back for more[/img_big]

A lot of these games think that if you make it darker then that makes it scarier. I found that Dead Space 2 didn’t subscribe to this theory. Yes, there are dark spots, but the game didn’t rely on that and monsters jumping out of the dark to try to make it scarier. Dead Space 2 used atmosphere to full effect, utilizing sound and lighting to engross you into the the and to make you jump just at the right time.

I really find it hard to fault Dead Space 2. It was just a really good game, it wasn’t too short, the storyline was believable (within reason) and the gameplay was enthralling. It looks fantastic, and you can tell a lot of work went into making it look fantastic. I will say that if you are a PC gamer, and you’re not sure which platform to get this for, get the PC version! The controls are well suited to a nicely set-up mouse and keyboard.

Dead Space 2 was a sequel up to the task, and I can’t wait for the next one.

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