Reviews (Video Games)
Dead Space 2 is the first truly great game this year and seems like a guaranteed contender for this year’s GOTY Awards. We were orginally gonna have multiple reviewers for this but we couldnt get them all in at the same time so we may add more later; but for now we have the first review from editor Justin Cangelosi! Enjoy.
Humanity will be forever known as an existence that wishes to expand itself throughout the universe. We’ve seen this many times throughout history, from Pilgrims crossing vast seas to find new land, to astronauts attempting to colonize on uninhabited bodies of rock and ice. But one question will always reside in the minds of man and will always be overshadowed by the hope that man keeps in their hearts: How far will we go? When we eventually lose hope in grabbing hold of our futures and do the unimaginable to obtain something beyond us, will that outcome be exactly what we were looking for? Or will it show us that we have, indeed, gone too far. Dead Space 2 shows us an example of this question by showing us a very grim possibility in the future of mans’ ever constant urge to expand. This game exhibits a haunting experience by utilizing pure anxiety and desperation, while delving into the mind of Isaac Clark, as he begins to decline down a road of self guilt while trying to survive the horrors of the mutated Necromorphs.
Dead Space 2 begins where the last title left off, putting you in the RIG of Isaac Clark, a CEC (Concordance Extraction Corporation) Engineer for the USG Kellion, who was the sole survivor of the tragic Ishimura ‘terrorist attack’. Three years after finding out about the fate of his girlfriend, Nicole, and destroying the Marker, a ‘creator of Necromorphs’, Isaac finds himself being held in the Sprawl, an orbiting settlement, undergoing psych evaluation. After an initial outbreak of Necromorphs on the Sprawl, we find out that Isaac is under a very heavy case of dementia and must try to escape from the Necromorph horde, once again.
Throughout the story, we get to understand the thoughts going through Isaac’s mind (delivered by a projection of Nicole) as he teeters on the edge of sanity, revealing the truth behind the reason he is there and his purpose in this incident. During his escape, Isaac must deal with the government, a religious faction, and the never ending Necromorphs, while dealing with his own mental problems as well. He also meets fellow survivors and acquires their aid, as they require his as well, to survive. Through explanations from survivors and enemies alike, Isaac finds out why he is there and vows to find a way for this to never happen again.
Even in the confines of space, Dead Space 2 still delivers a visual masterpiece that will take your breath away (forcefully, if necessary) and sounds that are so perfectly executed that you’ll feel like you’re actually there. The lighting in the environment is what makes this game shine (pardon the pun). Lights stagger on and off because of destroyed equipment, TV screens flash warning messages and announcements, and flickers from fire give off brief glimpses of the darkest areas.
Dead Space 2 delivers one of the greatest examples of fine lighting I have ever seen. But when there are great visuals, there are bound to be great sounds as well: the clanging of broken machinery, random thuds and bangs behind walls, and even the horrid screams of people still trying to survive. Echoes of previous life still linger in the devastated halls of the Sprawl, and Dead Space 2 makes sure you remember it. The perfect blend of sight and sound.
With the destruction of the Sprawl comes a haunting labyrinth of eerie halls, dark corridors, and dreary rooms, perfect for a Necromorph to surprise you in. The environment in Dead Space 2 is classically unnerving and spooky, giving you a feeling of abandonment and suspense when exploring it.
Creepy day-cares filled with littered toys and bloody body parts, churches with only candles and moonlight to light the way, and maintenance areas with machines running by themselves spells chilling locales with a ghostly feeling. You’ll be constantly checking your back and edging yourself around corners, just so you feel that you’re safe. The developers for this game definitely did their homework, making sure that you’ll think twice before entering a new area.
Now that you have a space station filled with mutant monsters trying to kill you, you’ll definitely want something to fight back with. That’s where the weapons come into play. The return of the Plasma Cutter is a sigh of relief to see, allowing you to dismember your enemies to give you the advantage.
Pulse Rifles with automatic machine gun fire, Flamethrowers to incinerate your enemies, Ripper buzz saws to totally mutilate enemy bodies, and a gun that literally ‘forces’ your opponent away from you are just some of the weapons to add to your arsenal. With the help from a Stasis module, you can freeze your enemies in time and launch debris and their own blade-like arms back at them, which make surviving a little easier. Managing which weapons to use and supplies to bring ensures that you get the perfect survival experience. Just make sure you grab as much as you can, because there may not be a lot to go around!
Gameplay in Dead Space 2 is as simple and easy as it was in the first game. The controls are spot on and every button is utilized to make sure that you have a use for them. It makes it easier to flow in combat, especially since you’ll be gripping the controller with all your might. The interface still gives you that cautious feeling, as managing your inventory leaves you open to enemy attacks instead of pausing during the combat. Fortunately though, First Aid and Stasis refills are mapped to make it possible to survive hectic fights.
Developers tried to make Dead Space 2 more fun by adding a multiplayer mode. You play as either the Engineers or the Necromorphs. Engineers get the typical weapons we all know and love and have to complete an objective and the Necromorphs have only one objective: prevent that from happening!
This makes the game challenging in some cases thanks to match time constraints and the leveling system, which gives you better weapons, armors, or stronger Necromorphs to play as. The multiplayer is quite fun though, as it pretty much requires you to play as a team to complete your objective, unlike some other games on the market where you can sometimes do it with only a few people or yourself. If you have online capability, you should definitely check it out.
Dead Space 2 is one of the best games that I have played this year, hands-down. It has great visuals and sounds, tight controls, exhilarating combat, and a compelling story. With a spine-chilling atmosphere that makes you jump out of your seat while playing, Dead Space 2 gives you an experience like none other.
As the universe of games expands like humanity does, hopefully we will learn, to a certain extent, how far we can go. Dead Space 2 is a game that stands on the boundary between going too far and not going far enough. It gave me an experience I will never forget (or maybe I want too).With all that said and done, here is a warning to all those thinking about buying this game: Your mom will hate this.