Hello hello! What did you all do last weekend? I’ll tell you what Shaun and I did…
We played Dead Space 2! Well, Shaun played and I watched (and didn’t watch, when it was particularly scary). I managed to snag a copy brand-new for only $40 on Amazon! Shaun played the first one back when we moved to Brisbane last August, and we both thought it was pretty fun, so we had been looking forward to the sequel. With new games having insane price tags like $110 here in the down under, we figured it’d probably be a while before we played DS2… But we got lucky!
Since I didn’t actually play any of the game, but merely watched as Shaun dismembered hundreds of alien-zombie creatures (aka necromorphs), I will refrain from doing a true review and just talk about some of our thoughts and impressions.
For those of you who haven’t played the original, the game centers around Issac Clarke, an engineer (pictured in the image above) who is part of what seems to be a rescue mission sent to the spaceship Ishimura. It turns out the ship has been invaded by some kind of alien life force that distorts and reanimates human corpses into necromorphs. Searching for answers and haunted by his dead girlfriend, who was stationed on the Ishimura before the outbreak, Issac delves deeper and deeper into the ship, with minimal chance at escape.
Haha, ok, sorry for my horrible summary. Anyways, Dead Space was quite well received when it came out for being an atmospheric survival horror game with a unique premise–namely, the nercromorphs can only be killed by cutting off their limbs. This provided gamers with interesting gameplay and innovative weapons (Shaun still talks at length about his beloved line gun). The game uses similar techniques as other big names in the genre, such as the Silent Hill series, using minimalistic sound and dimly-lit or seemingly vacant environments to create a sense of eerie foreboding. Though a little slow at first in terms of action, the lack of action works very well to creep out the player (or spectator, in my case).
I recall reading in a couple of reviews before DS2 came out that the creators were looking to up the ante a little in terms of action for the sequel. They certainly achieved this, as the whole game feels like a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. The first sequence of the game even has you running for your life in a straight jacket!
|such detailed environments! (source)
What made Dead Space 2 a successful sequel, in my opinion, was that it built so well on the original formula. Not a whole lot was significantly changed except for the addition of multiplayer (which we have yet to try, as it is online only) and the revamping of the sequences without gravity (which they did a great job of, these were really cumbersome in the original). The Sprawl, where much of the game takes place, is full of very interesting environments, which I think the game really benefited from.
There were a few things that irked Shaun and I about the game, however. The fast pace actually felt too fast at times, and it seemed as though they cut back on the pacing that leads to a good story in order to include more “mindless” action. Shooting necromorphs is fun and all, I suppose, but I really like is a gripping story and lots of tense moments, and DS2 didn’t really meet my expectations there. At the beginning of the game I was convinced there was some really interesting stuff happening with the story, but it really fell flat in that regard.
Another issue, and this is one Shaun mentioned but I probably wouldn’t have thought since I wasn’t playing, is the amount of guns the game gives you. There are so many that there is
no real way for you to fully upgrade even one by the end of the your first playthrough (edit: sorry, my mistake, you could upgrade one or two fully, but you’ll have to do a couple of playthroughs to get them all). Shaun also noticed that a couple of the guns (such as his favorite line gun) can be used to kill the majority of enemies even up to the end of the game, so there really isn’t much of a reason to use some of the the others (such as the flamethrower, he didn’t even use that once).
Back on the positive side of things, I did enjoy what DS2 did in terms of character development. While Issac was a silent protagonist in the original, in 2 he has a voice, and we see a lot of his inner turmoil regarding his dead girlfriend and the events that happened in the previous game. I really enjoy that he can be very capable but still be unable to come to terms with what happened in his past. There is also a strong female character who teams up with Issac around the middle of the game, and I’m always excited to see bad ass women in games!
Dead Space had its flaws, but it was still fun to watch, and I know Shaun had fun playing it. It’s too bad there was a little too much going back and forth to complete unimportant tasks (a flaw of the first game, as well) and seemingly endless hordes of enemies in the last few chapters, which we both found repetitive. Just like the original, the sound and atmosphere is great, and the game has some of the best graphics I’ve seen, even on our crappy TV. I know I’d be willing to check out any future sequels (there’s been talk of them already), but I do hope they put a little more thought into the story for future installments.
And I know this wasn’t really a review, but Shaun says he’d give it about a 8.6/10. That’s pretty high, Shaun!
Thanks for reading! I’m hoping to get on a two-posts-a-week rotation for a while, so look forward to an increased number of updates! If you’re interested in receiving emails when I update, please sign up for the RSS feed on the right! Thanks for reading