Review by Crash_WL
"No one will hear you in Dead Space"
I'm sure that most people will go on and say that "(Dead Space) 2 lost its feeling, as opposed to the original, and the multiplayer destroyed it"; I'll say they don't know what they're talking about. Dead Space 2 is how all sequels must be: improved in all possible ways. From graphics to Isaac's controls, and the addition of a multiplayer component, Dead Space 2 is worthy of the title "great sequel", easily if I might add.
The story starts with Isaac being awaken by Franco Delille, a survivor from the game "Dead Space: Ignition" who was on the Sprawl at the time. Isaac had been in stasis for 3 years after the events on USG Ishimura. Soon after he's put out of it, the action starts. Isaac, having mental trouble after all he's been through on the planet cracker ship, was psychologically depressed and hallucinating his lost love, Nicole, who now is more aggressive towards him. Isaac must put up with his health problems and head to the Marker's location, to destroy it once and for all. On his little trip to there, the Necromorphs, as well as the EarthGov, won't be missing from the scene. Now chased as a fugitive from the authorities, he has to outrun the law while surviving the endless waves of reanimated nightmarish creatures. Stross, another patient, promises to tell Isaac how to destroy the Marker, thus Isaac must find him in order to achieve his goal. Together with Stross, he runs onto another survivor called Ellie Langford, a young woman who's also trapped in the Sprawl during the Necromorph outbreak, but looks like she can handle herself, as when she is first seen she is holding off the Necromorphs using a Plasma Cutter pistol. The three of them will have to reach and destroy the artifact, and eradicate the Necromorph threat from the once great city. In the meanwhile, hallucinations of the now hostile Nicole haunt Isaac, who struggles to keep his sanity throughout the whole quest. Giving a greater insight of Isaac's character and emotions, the once mute protagonist has now full voice-acting support, helping bond the player with him more as they travel through the devastated city, always prepared for an attack by the deadly Necromorphs. Armed with new weapons, and new RIGs, but with the original Engineering RIG also being available, Isaac is back and ready to face the Necromorph threat, which now consists of even more creatures, while being scarred from the horrible events on the starship 3 years ago. And for those who got into the series with Dead Space 2, Visceral smartly added a "Previously on Dead Space" short-length animated movie describing the events of the previous game.
The game features new mechanics, such as Telekinesis Impalement, whereas the player can use Telekinesis to grab sharp objects or Necromorph blade-like limbs and use them to destroy stuff or even impale the beasts. The zero-gravity controls have also been tweaked, and now the player has total control of Isaac while hovering in zero-gravity environments using his new suit's capabilities. The graphics are polished, the environment looks great and keeps you on the edge of your seat with its smartly put horror elements. The voices provided for the game characters are outstanding, and Isaac sounds exactly how he should; not cocky, not scared, but obviously psychologically marked, with a bit of humor that doesn't ruin the game's great atmosphere. The soundtrack is guaranteed to make your heart pump at crazy rates, with every minute of the game sounding different than the previous one, and showing true value. The controls are more or less the same, and the new mechanics are implemented nicely, not once making the player get confused as in what to do next nor being unresponsive. Chapters also make their return, and the game consists of 15 of them, with an average length of 10-12 gameplay hours. When you have finished the game, it's not the end; New Game+ is available, where you start with your suit, upgrades and weapons all over again, as well as having the Hardcore difficulty mode, where you're allowed 3 saves only, have to survive with very limited supplies and each death might push you hours away from completion.
The brand new team-based multiplayer feature pits 8 players in total against each other, with 4 of them being Human Security Officers and the remaining 4 being Necromorphs, who also have some AI Necromorph assistance. So far, it features 5 maps, each one with a different objective for the human side to accomplish, such as to activate the escape pods in order to escape or detonate mines in the Necromorph infested tunnels to seal them off. The humans are allowed to use Stasis, with the standard weapon being the Pulse Rifle and later unlocking secondary weapons, like the Line Gun and the Plasma Cutter. They can also unlock RIGs as they level up, but are purely for cosmetic purposes. When the Necromorphs are killed, they may drop med-packs, ammo packs or even Stasis recharge packs, to aid them in their battle. On the Necromorph side, the objectives are pretty simple; keep the humans away from their objective by any means necessary. The Necromorph classes include three of the newly introduced Necromorphs; the Pack, a melee-based beast that used a young child as a host, the Puker, a melee-based adult-turned who can also spit acid in close distance, and the Spitter, the long-ranged adult-turned creature that spits acid in great distances but can also melee with its blade-like hands. The fourth class is the old Lurker, the toddler-turned Necromorph with the 3 bone(?)-spitting tentacles on its back, that can also climb walls. The Necromorphs can be mutilated as in the single-player mode, and they can also launch the Execution attack; an attack that differs from one class to another, where the player engages the opponent in a button-mashing lock and takes out a great chunk of health that can be fatal if the human doesn't push it away. The Necromorphs also receive upgrades as they level up, with the maximum level cap being 60 for both races. Experience is earned upon match results, for example, an objective completion for the humans brings +150 points to their pocket. Being a team-based game, it features microphone support, which is extremely useful for the rather weak, if solo, Necromorphs as well as the easy meat humans when alone.
Closing with, Dead Space 2 breathed fresh air to the survival-horror shooter genre, and not only that, but it also raised the standards for future games. Living up to its promise, it's a totally atmosphere-creating-based horror game rather than occasional frights, which makes you think "what if they come from there? Or from there?", which in turn makes you never be self-confident and always alert for a possible attack. And remember; no one will hear you in Dead Space.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/12/11
Game Release: Dead Space 2 (EU, 01/28/11)
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