Waiting for the newest installment in the series, we’re cutting our way through the story again to remind us all why we love the Dead Space series so much. Playing through Dead Space 2, we find more reasons to love it, and take detailed notes for those who haven’t played it yet so that you can all have an incentive to catch up before Dead Space 3 arrives in February.
Dead Space 2 brings us back to the life of Isaac Clarke: system specialist, engineer and survivor of the “incident” on the USG Ishimura and the planet Aegis VII. Several years have passed, and the massacre on the Ishimura has been swept under the rug by government officials, who are now calling it a ‘terrorist attack’. And for these past three years, Isaac has been confined to a mental ward on The Sprawl, a space station on Titan, one of Mars’ moons, in a government wing of the hospital that has little or no oversight by civilians.
As the story unfolds, you learn that the government officials were members of the Altman Unitarian order, and they have forced you to build a new marker. If that wasn’t bad enough, Isaac is battling through hordes of enemies even as he fights an internal battle for his sanity, as the spirit of his girlfriend Nicole (now dead for several years) still haunts him. Luckily, we manage to find help, though most of the tough stuff is still on our shoulders.
The graphics compared to the original are much improved, while still keeping true to the look and feel of the first Dead Space. Sharpening the details, making the interfaces faster, and improving the detail on the enemies you face is just a few of the noticable changes. The world around you has taken shape in a more realistic way and video logs and communications are now in color and are more detailed as well.
While the graphics are improved and beautiful, it doesn’t compare to the improvements in the gameplay. Dead Space 2 takes everything we loved about the original and amped it up. The weapons are slightly easier to upgrade, the rig is slightly different (due no doubt to the technology improvements over the last few in-game years) but true to the original look, and the zero gravity sections are much more maneuverable, challenging and fun. They quickly became some of my favorite sections because of the new freedom of movement added by the zero gravity thrusters on the new suit, allowing for semi-flight capability.
I also couldn’t help but notice that upgrading was a bit easier, being able to find more power nodes and accumulate cash easier than the first game (on the normal setting). I don’t know if this is because of changes in the gameplay or if I was just more thorough in Dead Space 2 than I was in the first installment. Either way, its all good.
The music in Dead Space 2 kept me emotionally linked with the story, from soft emotional exposition to creepy and borderline paranoia about when things will jump out at you. The score is beautiful, and the end credits’ instrumental song was absolutely perfect. Oh, and for those who skipped the credits, you may have missed a line or two of dialog after the credits were done.
As with the original, Dead Space 2 unlocks a bunch of content to keep you wanting more as soon as you finish the game, including Prototype versions of the different suits, as well as a Hardcore difficulty which not only limits your health and ammo supplies severely, it also only allows you to save 3 times during the entire game. Upon your death, you go back to the last time you Saved, making it extremely difficult to go back to where you were. (I recommend this setting for people who don’t die very often, and even then… good luck!)
All that being said, I can’t stress this enough: Dead Space is good, DS2 is even better, can’t wait for Dead Space 3!
Story: 9 / 10Graphics: 8 / 10Gameplay: 9 / 10Music: 9 / 10Replayability: 9 / 10