Our hero Isaac Clarke is back for another round with the creepy necromorphs. We’ll try not to give away any major spoilers (who wants spoilers in their review! No way, it’s far more fun to have the story unfold for you). You may recall we kind of loved “Dead Space”, let’s see if “Dead Space 2” can match it.
Visceral games and EA once more bring us a horror game that is very special indeed. Isaac Clarke somehow managed to survive the horrors aboard the Ishimura and finds himself on Sprawl, a habitat on one of the moons of Saturn and so the game throws you right in.
As with its predecessor “Dead Space”, you play Isaac Clarke in this third-person shooter. Problem is Isaac has a few psych issues and his dead girlfriend Nicole keeps popping up to throw him off his game (no pun intended). Add to this the environment you’re in is running wild with psychotic necromorphs, who basically want to rip your face and limbs off and things aren’t what you might call peachy.
Necromorphs come in a range of ugly, from the small fast ones, to the large regenerating ones, to all the ugly in-between. The trick with most of them is, shoot their limbs and if they’re a bit on the big side, shoot anything that looks like it might be glowing yellow (weak spot!).
This being “Dead Space 2” you have a multitude of weapons, including your favourites from “Dead Space”. A smart cookie will choose a weapon and upgrade that sucker whenever you get the chance to do so, this will aid you no end in the later levels. Speaking of the levels, there’s 15 in the game, some long, some seem to fly by. All in all though you’re probably looking at around 10-12 hours play time to finish it. You will also get some cool armour upgrades if you choose to purchase them. Credits can be found laying around, or on bodies and in boxes, collect as many as you can to buy things in the shop. Nodes also exist as they did in “Dead Space” and you can collect and use these to upgrade your suit and weapons on the handy upgrade benches dotted around the levels (sparingly)
The story in “Dead Space 2” is great, it’s compelling, interesting and keeps you on your toes. Characters are great and you never quite know what you’re in for, at least for the most part. Graphically things look similar, yet more polished. It even seems there may well be more than the odd nod in the direction of “BioShock” with some of the environments. The ambiance of the entire thing is smart, with movie touches throughout, steam vents gush at you when you least expect it, lights flicker, shadows jump and it all feels quite movie-like in its execution. The sound too is superb, adding more than a few scares in aural manner alone. The deaf or hard of hearing gamer should still be able to plow their way through without issue.
Female gamer angle
Although you play Isaac Clarke, there are some cool female characters in “Dead Space 2”. We won’t give away any spoilers here, we’ll just cover them briefly. Firstly there is your dead girlfriend Nicole Brennan, she is one creepy chick who just wants you to see the light… in her eyes and you will, oh yes, you will. Next up there’s Daina Le Guin (nice sci-fi shootout there we think), Daina is the first female character you meet in your travels aside from the aforementioned dead girlfriend Nicole. Daina sounds Australian, probably because she is voiced by Aussie actress Tahyna Tozzi. Lastly there’s Ellie Langford, a heavy equipment pilot, you’re probably going to like her the most, again, she sounds Australian, but it’s actually British actress Sonita Henry who does the voice. Not bad, three female characters, sadly all peripheral as usual, but at the very least you’re going to love one of them, so we’ll forgive that because the one in question is fairly awesome.
Overall “Dead Space 2” is a fantastic game, I can barely think of a bad thing to say. I suppose the worst that could be said about it is, it’s linear, but then that is to be expected with this type of title. Environments are great and varied enough for you to really feel the sprawling nature of them. The developers have managed to craft a wonderful horror story, with a real human core. There’s mayhem, panic, a few fairly simple puzzles, zero-G environments and more, all packed into a finely crafted third person gore-fest. This is a truly great sequel to another fantastic game. If you missed “Dead Space” get it cheap, finish it, all so you can play this one. Wonderful and with a kick ass female character in the story to boot.