Dead Space came right out of left field from EA, of all companies, which most people think of as releasing Madden every year. Around the time they were picking up new studios and talent for their large stables, no one was sure of their plans. Well, EA really kept its word and had used this collected pool of personnel to create fun and exciting new IPs, Dead Space, obviously, is one of them. 2008 saw many AAA releases: Metal Gear Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, LittleBIGPlanet…etc.
Yet no game caught my attention and impressed me more than Dead Space. That was my 2008 Game of the Year. I reviewed it for COE back when our old layout was still in use. I’m pleased to return for the sequel because EA did such a great job on first. The bar was already high, and I’m here to tell you if it’s been exceeded.
+ Another great experience, if not better. From the moment you start DS2, it’s obvious how great it is. Everything feels right. The same great gameplay is there, with polishing changes to improve matters. The graphics also are more impressive, especially the shadows and lighting. But Dead Space doesn’t look bad at all, so it says a lot about the work put in to this sequel. There are cool new weapons and suits, and the story maintains relevance throughout the game. There’s nothing to hate about it, so keep reading to learn more.
+ Scary! It’s interesting that Visceral was emphatic about upping the action in DS2, to include more sequences to make Isaac a fearsome force. Apparently some gamers didn’t play Dead Space long because of the lack of chaos. For many this spelled out: DS2 will be less scary. I didn’t think so at all.
The pacing is excellent, with some moments of downtime and others with lots of action. Thanks to a chilling atmosphere and sound design, I never really felt safe on the Sprawl. That’s a feat. There are predictable occasions, but the mission provides plenty of surprises and exciting circumstances.
+ Begs to be re-played. You have to play at least twice to feel ownership of the Sprawl. The “New Game +” feature after initially finishing is great because your gear is transferred, and more hidden goodies pop up. It’s also a great way to mop up those remaining achievements/trophies. With all the cool equipment and knowing what’s in store, Dead Space 2 feels a good deal different.
+ Better weapon balancing. Before, the weapons’ effectiveness wasn’t consistent. It was too easy to stick with four or less throughout the campaign. In DS2 however, every device is useful, making it difficult to choose. The same upgrade trees return to strengthen your gear of choice. Plus, melee is improved, leading to more dead necromorphs and less skewered Isaacs.
+ New team-based multiplayer. I’m honestly mixed on this. It’s not bad (it wouldn’t be written here otherwise), but seems unnecessary. I don’t like shoehorned multiplayer, but in DS2’s case I’m overlooking the inclusion because it doesn’t detract from the rest of the game.
It has a Left 4 Dead 2 sort of vibe: humans versus necromorphs in objective-based matches. The pacing is understandably faster, and teamwork is a must. Experienced can be earned to upgrade your arsenal, but I’m skeptical of the mode’s legs. After all, people buy Call of Duty simply for multiplayer, and likely won’t with Dead Space 2. You can skip it entirely and still be satisfied with your purchase. The single-player campaign is the main attraction.
+ Special PS3 user treatment. Too bad for 360 and PC owners, but hooray if you own a PS3. DS2: Limited Edition ships with an HD version of Dead Space: Extraction right on-disc that supports Sony’s Move controller. The on-rails shooter, and a great prequel, was a favorite of mine for Wii. Odds are most PS3 owners missed out on it, so I’m happy Extraction is receiving more exposure. Who would turn down another full game for free?
± Not much new. The additions and graphical/gameplay tweaks doesn’t necessarily equate to a new experience. This isn’t bad though, hence why you’re not in the Bad section yet. Dead Space 2 is just so great as a whole; it’s difficult pin legitimate criticisms for it.
As you can see, there isn’t a ‘Bad’ section at all. The polish is excellent, as are the graphics, atmosphere and replayability. Dead Space 2 is engaging and hooks you in from start to finish. 2011 is starting off strong for gaming, with DS2 leading the charge. This is a must-buy.