Resident Evil gave us zombies, Fatal Frame gave us ancient Japanese ghosties, and Silent Hill gave us God-knows-what-kind-of-creatures-those-were.[firstpara]
Dead Space however, originally released in 2008, took the fright game to the deepest recesses of outer space—a setting that obviously lends itself well to this kind of genre—and a nice sci-fi flavor to survival horror.
Now, we've got the sequel in our hands, Dead Space 2, where our protagonist, space engineer Isaac Clarke, finds himself waking up in a hospital, his memory hazy of the three years that have passed since the events of the first game.
Familiar Stalking Grounds
The memories that the first game gave us are still fresh, namely: the absorbing, tense visuals and atmosphere, the masterful use of sound cues that sent us screaming like little girls, and all that gore that came with dismembering Necromorphs, which are mutated creatures hell-bent on killing poor little Isaac Clarke.
Dead Space 2 is essentially more of those. This is a sequel that takes all the elements that made the first game a hit, and polishes the execution further. Rarely does the game innovate, or rather, never.
But for those of you who wants more of the same from the series, Dead Space 2 doesn't disappoint. More often than not, excites even greater than the first with its slew of new enemies, weapons and scenarios.
The Meat of the Game
The game never lacks in intensity as our encounters with the Necromorphs suggest. Dealing with those creatures is not as simple as hammering their bodies silly with bullets, and not that you'll have enough ammo to do that anyway. The key is to blast off their pointy limbs, and the ways to do that are both numerous and immensely satisfying.
Classic weapons from the first game make a return. There's the plasma cutter, which is as cool and deadly as it sounds. The line gun is your standard laser beam-firing weapon. The ripper has spinning blades which only the bravest Necromorphs would dare get near.
The new weapons are equally proficient at this Necromorph-dismembering business, like the detonator for instance. It allows you to set traps that lead to a decidedly explosive end for unlucky enemies. And then there's also the javelin gun, which uses spikes as ammo, allowing you to impale those creatures. All of these weapons are also upgradable, as is tradition with most of today's survival horror/action games.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the variety of merciless Necromorphs you face has also been increased. Our favorite? The ones which the game calls "the pack." Downright disturbing, these Necromorphs are like human babies, but instead of being cute, they shriek like hellish imps, and apparently have no qualms at murder.
The action is truly the meat of Dead Space 2. The story will lag at the middle points of this 12-hour campaign, and will sometimes task you with boring objectives, but the chance to carve up another Necromorph will definitely be enough to keep you going.
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream
With even better visuals than the original, and a haunting atmosphere that the game's sound design creates, Dead Space 2's presentation is second to none. Combine that with the game's heart-stopping gameplay, a solid campaign, and the bonus multiplayer mode which allows you to play as a Necromorph, and you've got a game that screams "must-have." The scares are all good in this space survival horror thriller.
Dead Space 2 is published by EA, and developed by Visceral Games. It is available for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES