Dead Space 2 Playtest: Flexible Action, Disconcerting Horror

By Kris . February 27, 2011 . 3:29pm

Dead Space 2 opens with its (formerly-mute) protagonist, Isaac Clark, in a straightjacket, and the world going to hell around him. He’s defenseless, unable to stop the carnage around him as he runs past it, clumsily knocking medical equipment out of his way and narrowly escaping having his neck torn open by patients that have been turned into the twisted "Necromorphs." This opening sequence is brutal, disempowering, and one of the most cleverly implemented tutorials in a game I’ve ever seen.


Isaac’s abilities and equipment from the previous game have been taken from him during his three-year stint in the mental ward of a hospital on "Titan Station." He’s gone a bit crazy since his first encounter with the Necromorphs on the previous game’s mining ship, haunted by images of his dead girlfriend and traumatic flashbacks. Because his doctors were unable to help him get past these visions he’s been seeing, they do what any good sci-fi doctor would do and put him into cryonic sleep for a while.


When he’s awakened (still uncured), Isaac is in the thick of a Necromorph outbreak and has no choice but to make a run for his life. However, Isaac’s mad dash through the hospital allows him to get the majority of his abilities back.


Surprisingly, the first thing returned to Isaac isn’t his trademark Plasma Cutter, but his Kinesis ability. Kinesis acts somewhat like Half-Life 2’s gravity gun, allowing Isaac to mentally pick up and throw items. Whereas the first game utilized kinesis as primarily a puzzle fighting tool, Dead Space 2 turns it into a tool for combat by kindly scattering pointy and aerodynamic objects everywhere.


It doesn’t hurt that Isaac can also use Kinesis to tear the claw/blade/sharp thing off of a dead Necromorph and impale a living one with it. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a certain crispness to Kinesis. Spearing an enemy with it feels weighty and effective, whether they just stumble backwards or are skewered against the wall. It wasn’t uncommon for me to end battles with three or four enemies pinned to the wall (which coincidentally makes finding another claw to use much easier).


That said, all the psychic impalement in the world couldn’t make up for uninspiring combat. Fortunately, Dead Space 2’s combat is really, really good. It feels like a regular over-the-shoulder TPS at first (albeit one that wears its Resident Evil 4 influences openly), but it’s the wide range of combat options that set Dead Space 2 apart from every other third person shooter out there. Each weapon (generally based on industrial equipment) has two fire modes. The inventory ranges from the iconic Plasma Cutter, a weapon that shoots either horizontal or vertical beams that are lovely for removing enemy limbs, to the very traditional sci-fi Pulse Rifle, to (one of my personal favorites) the Ripper: a weapon that fires circular saw blades which can be used to hold a single rotating blade in front of Isaac as he walks through a horde of enemies.


Learning to use each weapon properly is a game in and of itself, and I occasionally found myself using some weapons for their alternate fire more than their primary because their alternate fire was simply more effective for the combat situations I was in.


By combining the aforementioned Kinesis with Isaac’s enemy-slowing Stasis ability and his arsenal of cutting tools, even the most imposing of situations can be overcome. Surrounded by enemies that split open and spill smaller exploding Necromorphs everywhere? Slow down the one closest to you, slice through it and the creatures in its stomach with the Ripper’s alternate fire. Then, switch to a Plasma Cutter to remove the Necromorph, pick it up with Kinesis, and throw the organic bomb into the swiftly approaching group behind you.


Alternately, with enough Stasis refill packs, you could just slow everything down and beat them all to death. There’s a considerable amount of freedom in how you dispatch your enemies that other games simply don’t have. It’s fortunate to have so many viable options, because battles can get pretty tough.


The Necromorphs are very intelligent for reanimated flesh, and it’s nice to know that for once in a game humankind wasn’t overrun by a bunch of brain-dead enemies. However, this does mean that it’s vital to pay attention to survive. For instance, in one encounter I was locked into a circular room and a handful of quick, almost Deinonychus-like enemies were running around behind these opaque gates. I’d try to fire at the enemies as they became visible, but for the most part I’d always miss. They were too smart to be caught by my ineptly-placed proximity mines, too.


After an assortment of violent and sudden deaths, I started to understand how these creatures behaved. It dawned on me that whenever I reloaded a weapon, one of these enemies would charge me. When I figured this out, I backed into a corner and baited them out by reloading a weapon with a quick reload time, before slowing them down with the "Stasis" ability and divorcing their legs from their torso with the wide-reaching "Line Gun." However, after systematically eliminating a couple of them, one burst through the gate next to me and nearly killed me. The fact that the game forced me to watch my enemies’ actions to defeat them, and that even then it was willing to change things around on me pleased me quite a bit. It’s refreshing to have an action game ask players to think once in a while.


"Time out, did he just say action game? I thought Dead Space was supposed to be a horror series!"


Yes, Dead Space 2 is an action game, but it’s a pretty horrific one. For me, the horror’s success rides high on a single element: humanity. The first step towards establishing this was giving Isaac a personality.


This gambit pays off pretty well, actually. Dead Space 2 took a character that could have essentially been a robot filled with jam (lots and lots of blood-like jam) and tried to humanize him. Sure, he’s not really redefining what modern third-person action game protagonist is (he’s a gruff white guy with short hair), but giving him a voice and a personality made me care about Isaac. Furthermore, Isaac’s new personality doesn’t feel jarring at all. It builds the horror of the game in a couple of ways. For one, hearing Isaac’s shouts of pain as he gets torn apart make the series’ gratuitous death scenes feel a lot heavier. When he was just a jam robot in the first game, seeing his appendages methodically lopped off was gross, but now that Isaac’s been established as a squishy human, it’s even more brutal.


It’s not just the cheap or violent scares that make the game horrific though — Dead Space 2’s most effective moments of horror come from the game’s tone establishing his human limitations. Sure, enemies popping out of the walls/floors/ceilings/vents can make you jump, but since (as you may have gathered from the last couple of paragraphs) Isaac is an able combatant, those jumps are quickly replaced with satisfaction upon annihilating whatever just stood in your way. It’s the ambient and subtle moments that are harder to shake.


As briefly mentioned earlier, Dead Space 2 takes place on "Titan Station" (more colloquially called "the Sprawl"). Titan Station feels like it was once an accomplishment: it’s a city in space, technologically advanced and beautiful, but filled with the mundane touches of everyday life. Everyday buildings like churches, theaters, and schools contrast the beautiful glimpses of space you get through the station’s picture windows. The Sprawl seems to convey mankind’s mastery over the formerly unknown: a society built apart from earth.


The wondrous environment makes the Necromorph plague feel more like a violation than it did on the first game’s mining ship. It feels like society has been violently interrupted. You’ll run into people who had their doctors leave them in the middle of open-heart surgery, see giant cracked screens running calm-sounding infomercials for the fictional Church of Unitology, or even come across almost blackly comical "Get Well Soon" balloons on a bloodstained reception desk. It’s disconcerting to walk through a formerly populated city and see nothing but death and the remnants of the people that once lived there.


For me, the apex of this ambient horror was in an apartment complex. On my first walk through the area I heard hysterical voices shouting at me to get away from their door or yelling at each other. About half an hour later, I walked through the same complex and everything was silent. To my left, I heard a baby crying. I approached the sound and discovered that it was behind a locked door. There was no way for me to get in, no way to break the door open. All I could do was listen to the baby cry and think about what might have happened to its parents.


Did they abandon it? Were they killed before they could get back? Did they commit suicide in the locked apartment? The baby has absolutely no effect on the game narratively or otherwise, and I’m sure some players will miss this moment, but it made me aware of Isaac’s limitations. He’s human, there’s no way that he can save everyone, but this seen made me feel helpless and small. It’s just a single ambient moment, but it cemented the game’s mood for me.


Horror isn’t born from mood alone though. There’s a lot of scary stuff that’s out to kill you, and you’re reminded of that at every turn. A tension is built around sound, whether it’s the subtle scurrying of feet in a room that you thought was empty, or a washing machine that’s making a lot more noise than it has any right to, there’s always something that reminds you that you’re surrounded by some very angry things. Even with these little audio cues, it’s a challenge to determine whether an enemy will appear or not, since some of the most ominous sounds are nothing but red herrings. There’s no chance to relax: you’re always worried that things are either too quiet or too noisy to be safe.


This nigh-on paranoia becomes so pervasive and thick that even the sound of a closing door or a depressurizing helmet can make you jump. You’re constantly on edge, never knowing when or if an enemy (or an entire horde) is waiting in the walls for the moment you make yourself vulnerable. It’s not quite survival horror (although you will get killed pretty quickly) because the player is given so many ways to deal with an onslaught of Necromorphs. It’s action and horror in equal measure, and that genre hybrid is something wonderful.


It’s not often that you get a game that mashes two genres together and stands strong on both ends. Dead Space 2 is both a really fun and flexible action game and a disconcerting horror title. It’s the kind of game that has you running from giant monstrosities one minute, and deftly clearing a room of twenty enemies the next. From the subtle differences in the sounds Isaac’s readied weapons make to the joy at figuring out a strategy for a difficult enemy, there’s not much more I could ask for in an action-horror game.


Food for Thought:


1. Dead Space 2’s UI is entirely built on Isaac’s gear, and stuff like health bars are incorporated into the other characters that you come across.

2. Dead Space: Extraction is included with the PS3 version of Dead Space 2. It’s a light-gun game, sure, but the story is even stronger than Dead Space 2’s, in my opinion.

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  • Testsubject909

    Personally, the ease at which everything and everyone seems to be dismembered in such a cartoonish manner makes me laugh moreso then anything else, as for the subject of humanity, I’ve seen it pulled off with greater flair in other games…

    And also, as for the tension and the so called horror. It’s… not so much horror as it is surprise really, you’re more then readily equipped to deal with whatever it is that’s up there, and due to the adrenaline rush aimed towards offense, since bullets works so well to take down whatever horror comes your way and, I personally say, you shouldn’t have trouble with maintaining your bullets.

    The game is honestly about as scary as Resident Evil 5. The concept is disturbing, certainly, I wouldn’t want to live in that world… But the actual gameplay, the pace at which we ride the game? It’s… not all that scary. It’s dark, it has ambiance, it’s certainly got moments to give you chills as you fear for your character’s death. But at the end of the day, the game won’t make me feel fright or fear that lingers throughout.

    Though you do make an interesting point about Isaac being only human, I personally didn’t have much of an emotional investment in the guy… And honestly, with all his guns, and the ability to crush and dismember creatures with a firm stomp. Something like a locked door felt more like a limitation of the game, rather then a limitation of the world. He may be a human whose armor is surprisingly ripped to shreds like paper by the natural weapons of the creatures that strikes at him (yet surprisingly leaves no scratches or dents on his armor. It’s the little details that can really take you out). But he’s a human who can stomp and crush the femur of a being as large or larger then he is… Honestly, it’s hard to take his fragility all that seriously when he can do the HULK STOMP!

    Nevertheless. The U.I. of Dead Space is nothing short of absolutely Brilliant and certainly aids in adding to the atmosphere and the sense of immersion.

    That and, with the locations of the checkpoints, we’re also met with a phenomena similar to the chase scenes of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. That is to say, we just eventually memorize what’s going to occur and what’s left is just the action, as the sense of surprise is completely removed and, after a while, we just learn how to take down each and every opponent to the point where we may or may not jump at the next opponent popping up. Not to mention we’re given certain cues with some, such as the music…

    Food for thought:

    Just how many kids were there in that freaking station? I swear, with the amount of babies and children, you’d think the population of that space station was 60% kids.

    Just in case some people were wondering. No, I’m not parodying Kris up there, no I don’t hate the game, it’s entertaining. It’s just that the horror aspect of it, or to some, the so-called horror aspect, is more ambiance and setting then it is actual horror (ironic since it’s so very “in your face” isn’t it?). Of course, the subject of horror is in parts subjective and of course what doesn’t scare me can scare someone else. And in some extreme cases, phobias can also be taken into account as certain subject matter or visual/auditive cues can certain impact another person with greater sensibilities then my own for X reasons.

    • Ultimate_Tifa_Fan

      giant wall of text………..must somehow force self to read…..

      • Testsubject909

        Hang in there. And again, sorry for such long comments. It’s just how I work… I’m a bit of a reactionary force and, well, yeah… Results shows.

    • Kris

      I get where you’re coming from. Horror is totally subjective, and for me, horror isn’t as much disempowerment as it is dread. I really liked the way DS2 establishes its tone, while only making Isaac vulnerable in the opening sequence. For me the baby behind the locked door is essentially the developers’ subtle way of saying “you may live, but so many others won’t” and that had much more impact to me than any amount of corpses scattered around the environments would have. It didn’t have me staying up at night, but that moment did stick with me as I played through the game.

      And yes, Isaac is very “game human,” able to shatter limbs with his foot like no man ever has. But honestly, do we have any protagonist that isn’t “game human?” I mean, most games have health packs or healing aerosols that cure anything, people who can jump 10 feet into the air, people who survive bullets to the internal organs, etc. If it took as much force as it would in real life to stomp through muscle and bone in Dead Space, there would be no reason to use it. It’s a game mechanic that worked for me in the same way Nathan Drake’s regenerating health does in Uncharted, or every RPG character ever’s resistance to swords. It didn’t ruin his believability as a human for me any more than any other game has.

      It’s interesting to see how differently we enjoyed the game. I’m actually curious though (since I thought Dead Space 2 was much creepier than RE5, which I didn’t find creepy at all), what games would you consider horror?

      (PS: I think there must be like 8 children to every adult on the Sprawl, those things are everywhere, and all the same height and build)

      • Testsubject909

        [note: Having noticed how huge of a post this is… Feel free to skip to the last paragraph. There’s a friendly TL;DR to explain everything in the shortest amount of words I could find]

        What I consider horror huh? Well… most likely the same thing I would find horrific of any other form of art. Stories, concepts and ideas that haunts me throughout further then the experience itself. That which makes me doubt my reality, my being, my mind, my perceptions. That which ultimately makes me fear my own mortality, the fragility of my existence and reinforces it with it’s entire being.

        That which actively makes me fearful despite the knowledge of my own skills… For example, and this might be a bit odd for some, but Demon’s Souls to me is part horror. The first time I was invaded, I felt shivers and cold chills throughout my entire being, panic and fear at the loss I would have in my progression and in the skills of this sudden opponent who wasn’t some regular A.I. Not only so but the dread atmosphere, the lack of music that led an odd credence to it’s world and made it seem all the more real and visceral, the disturbing sights of the nest of slugs slumping down to their death and looking almost alive as their bodies jiggled against one another.

        But Demon’s Souls is an experience in horror that I could surmount and ultimately is not meant as a horror game, despite having moments of horror within it. I suppose you could say I’m a bit emotive about this, as what I consider horror is what induces into me moments of anxiety and panic… I think too much, and that’s my own troubles, my own problem, and if a game, a story or whatnot, provides me with a concept to which my train of thoughts can drive me into moments of blind fearful panic, then it’s certainly done it’s job wonderfully well.

        And I have a great fear of my impending death, an inevitability that is most likely to occur in due time. As well as the passage of time itself, as I fear the meaninglessness of my own existence, within hundreds of years, I will not only cease to be, but I will ultimately be entirely forgot, less of course I bring to the world great marvel… But even then, disaster could come and strike at any time and ultimately all I have done will be for naught. And furthermore, in thousands, millenias, aeons, the earth will cease be, humanity will perish, the universe may revert itself and restart, and our existence will be as it has always been, but a grain of salt amidst a neverending desert.

        Though of course, existentialism isn’t the only thing that scares the living crap out of me. The unexplained, the inexplicable, the possibilities of the world, that which haunts your dreams and your thoughts and gives you doubt. The astral world, the ethereal, the metaphysical, things such as ghosts and the likes for example, such as Fatal Frame, the powerlessness of your being such as in games like Silent Hill (the earlier ones) or Hell Night (Dark Messiah for the japanese, PS1, not PC or PS2).

        Startling me won’t do much, just putting on a dark ambiance won’t do much either. Giving me some form of twisted mutation and plague could work, but only if it is similar in a way that the book Oryx and Crake provides. Which is to say, a possible future, a very near possibility considering the evolution of our world. A horror that could become reality and that, in some ways, does exist in our current day and time.

        Though most of all, for games, it’s the ability to maintain that veil, to maintain this illusion and this mood and sense of fright throughout. The panic and fear of loss, the equal parts powerlessness and ability to survive as well as the forces that comes down to destroy us or our sanity or whatnot… (For example, despite the comical effects of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem’s Sanity meter, the subject covered truly does lend some moments of fright and I for one do fear the possibility of insanity.) If a game aim’s for a more realistic feel, rather then a stylized feel (Look at Killer 7. Not exactly a horror game, but certainly provides a lack of balance and some truly nightmarish visions at times, though always intermixed with comedy here and there…) then certain gaming mechanics can indeed knock me out of the immersion, which in turn disassociates me from the subject matter.

        As I said, considering how Isaac has such superhuman strength, things like the “powerlessness in the face of certain forces” is harder for me to accept, mainly because of some of his superhuman feats. It isn’t to say horror cannot be married with action, but that it is a delicate balance and that certain small details can pull you out so much so that you no longer fully interact with the world itself, so much so as you’re just puzzle solving your way to see the rest of the story, or just the next segment of gameplay.

        I will make a note that the whole checkpoint issue is somewhat superficial, as for any game, one can overcome this and when one does so repeatedly, the game is left bare boned to the concept of the fright itself to carry the fear throughout and a game that succeeds at continuing the push towards such emotions that others such as frustration cannot meet at equal strength, means that it is horror beyond others.

        *looks at his watch, then at his post* Holy wall of doom, this is bad. Well, to wrap it up.

        Dead Space 2 feels like it’s far more action focused in both it’s gameplay and mechanics, it works a wonderful atmosphere but ultimately the fright themselves are not enough to truly sink their teeth deep inside of me. Certain matters touched upon in this game, I’ve already seen repeatedly and in ways in which I was far less capable in defending myself against such frights or far less able to put an end to it. The ultimate lack of powerlessness, combined with some powerful and incredible feats that Isaac provides gives us a hero to stand behind who can protect us against the frights to a point where we can block away, whether willingly or incidentally, what fright can come. Gameplay mechanics hamper some of the experience if we are to judge it as a horror game, but aid it as an action game.

        The scripted nature of the game also causes replays of segments and events to become a bit second nature or repetitive or simply frustrating as opposed to paranoia inducing and I would suggest that they add a certain level of randomness to events, in ways such as Shattered Memories did with the slight alteration of details pending playstyle and answers which is far from impossible. (imagine going into a hallway with hanging limbs across the ceiling, hands reaching out to grab you and such an event happening only if you’ve obsessively dismembered a large number of creatures prior to making your way there, and when you get to the forums to discuss it, you find yourself with only a few others understanding the event you’ve gone through.)

        *looks up* Oh jeez, I’m still going aren’t I?

        Let’s just say, TL;DR:
        DS2 didn’t really get to me, I’ve seen it before, it could’ve done some stuff better. Gameplay got a bit in the way of the horror. Subject of horror wasn’t able to fully sink it’s teeth in me or work my imagination further then other games/stories have. Despite being a bit of a coward for horror, I’m also a bit desensitized to this stuff, oddly enough.

        P.S. I can’t help but think I repeated myself a lot in that huge post…….

        • It’s funny, Demon’s Souls did have some scary moments, but whenever my game would be invaded, it was more annoyance than fear I felt. “Oh God, another moron trying to wreck my game.” lol

          • Testsubject909

            Oh me, it happened in the worst of time.

            It was 3AM, I was already tired, my reflexes were low. I was trying to kill one of the dragons and I had a limited amount of arrows. Just barely enough to kill it from my calculation of the damage I was doing to him and the amount of ammunition I had.

            And there I was, with barely 20% of the dragon’s health left, and out of nowhere… I saw “You are being invaded”. And all I could think of was “No, please no. I just wanted to get this dragon dead before going to sleep, don’t you dare kill me now!”

            And in part, I was hoping he just wouldn’t find me, but unfortunately he did. Now, since I auto-aimed the dragon while he swooped down (Dragon in 1-2), I had a small moment when my reticle would swoop behind me, as the dragon flew past, it was the only moment where I could clearly read whether or not I actually hit the damn creature.

            And a few minutes after the invasion message, there he was. As my reticle automatically caused me to look behind me, there was that other player, glowing red like a black phantom, with his overtly large two handed sword in hand, slowly attempting to sneak up on me for a critical backstab.

            I immediately changed weapons, and we ended up dueling on top of the tower as the dragon kept shaking the bridge, swooping down and breathing fire along the pathway. We exchanged a few blows, he almost killed me twice, and each time I paused to recover with my herbs, he was there lunging towards me to strike me down and each time I would barely evade.

            In a moment of stutter, most likely caused by the lag, as his motion felt interrupted, I struck him down and stunlocked him with my curved blade and assaulted him until I ran out of stamina. Hands shaking, sweat across my brow and a heightened heartbeat, he died, dissipating before me, and the fear that all my effort as I whittled down the dragon’s health would ultimately be for naught dissapeared and thus, I was able to fell the damned beast and return to safety after retrieving it’s soul.

            And that was how I spent my first day with Demon’s Souls and defeated both the 1-1 boss and the 1-2 boss without dying once (except in the tutorial stage). And I’m damn proud of it too…

            (And then my PS3 HDD got corrupt about two months ago on the same day I was trying to back it up and since my save file of Demon’s Souls is copy protected, it’s now forever lost…)

        • Kris

          Wow, awesome response.
          I never felt scared by Demon’s Souls but I can totally see why the invasion thing could be terrifying. I wish I had time to write a better response, because your post deserves it, but seeing what scares different people has always fascinated me.
          I’ll try to come back here with a more interesting response when I’ve got a bit more time, but I do want to say thanks for writing up all that. :)

      • My biggest problem with the stomp is that you could still do it without your suit. I can buy that you can stomp off limbs while wearing this suit, because I can imagine it either weighs a ton or enhances your muscles, but when he’s in his hospital scrubs at the beginning, it was one of many reasons I hated the first couple hours of the game.

        • Testsubject909

          Really pulls you out of the atmosphere doesn’t it?

          • It completely did. I’d find myself giggling while madly stomping corpses, which was exactly the opposite feeling I had in DS1 (and the later half of this game), where I’d be all, “Oh man, I better stomp those before an infector comes in here.”

            In the beginning of DS2, it was…”Take that corpse, with all your tasty power-ups! Imma stomp you with my bare feet!” But later on, when I got the suit again and regular corpses didn’t wield power-ups anymore, I got back on track.

  • BelmontHeir

    Personally, I found this game to be one of the most disappointing sequels of this generation.

    • SolidusSnake

      Seriously? What was disappointing about it compared to the first one? I keep hearing that it’s fantastic. Haven’t played the sequel yet, but I thought Dead Space 1 was rock solid.

      • [The Hunter] Doomrider

        It is a great game. Sure, the horror aspect is practically gone (there’s just no subtlety), but everything else is so well executed that it is hard not to like it.

        The graphics are some of the most impressive on a console, the controls are more responsive than ever (at first I preferred DS’ tank-like controls, but now I’ve grown accustomed to the new ones), Isaac and [another character whose name I won’t say because you may consider it spoilers] are likeable characters (top notch voice work), the gameplay is fun and the game has some VERY impressive set-pieces. My jaw literally dropped during some of those (ridiculous, I know, but what can I do).

        As for the story, I think it also lacks subtlety. Bah, can’t go into details (Spoilerville). I think it was kinda bad.

        Oh, yeah! Extraction is AMAZING. The camera work is crazy good, the story is mysterious and interesting and the atmosphere is even better that 2’s. I was very impressed. A great addition to the Dead Space franchise, no doubt.

        And tomorrow we get Severed. Should be fun.

      • BelmontHeir

        I loved the first one too. I think part of where “Dead Space 2” falters is by not adding to the formula of the first one, but more than that it just wasn’t as fun as the original game. The enemies are way, way more aggressive – they’re seriously on crack this time around – which I found to be frustrating because it’s a constant assault of crazy enemies, depleting your resources and making you tense.

        But it becomes predictable. I could walk into a room and know which enemies would appear just based on the design of the room. The story wasn’t as compelling this time around, some of the scares fell flat, and the design of The Sprawl was highly repetitive at times.

        So yeah, I didn’t really find it “scary” as much as tense, frustrating, exhausting, etc.

        • Not in the last two chapters, though. That was when it really became survival horror, unless you intended on only have two bullets when it came time for the last boss. Those last two chapters, running is a better option than fighting.

  • I completely recommend the PS3 version (because Extraction made getting a Move completely worth it. I mean, seriously, I cannot stress how much I love Extraction as a lightgun game), BUT I have to say that I did NOT like the beginning of DS2. I felt the same way about the very beginning of this that I felt about the very beginning of Resident Evil 2: that it throws too much at you, too soon. I really like when there’s a slow build-up to horror. The beginning of both games felt like someone was screaming at me, “BE SCARED NOW!!!!”

    I would’ve loved to have seen the Sprawl as a working environment where people live, work, and play on a daily basis, only to see it turn into the bloodbath it becomes in the game.

    That said, as someone who was very disappointed at first, once I got to the apartments for the second time, I was hooked. Not to mention *SPOILER WARNING* that anyone who plays this knows exactly what eventually happened to the baby you mentioned, as well as all the other children on the Sprawl. *SPOILER OVER*

    When the game got to its most quiet moments is when it got good. There’s a chapter towards the end where there was so much tension and barely anything happens in it. I loved it.

    That said, I think if you haven’t played part one, there’s a lot you won’t get, including the ending. You’ll still enjoy the game, but you’ll probably be asking, “Why was ___ a big deal?”

    I also love that there’s so much continuity in every Dead Space product. I like that having played through Ignition opens up doors and adds audio logs to the game, as well as explaining to you who exactly the guy in the beginning is. I am told that there’s a mobile Dead Space game that explains exactly how the outbreak on the Sprawl happened.

    Cannot WAIT for the Severed DLC on Tuesday, which features the survivors of Extraction in the Sprawl. I hope that has a little bit of the normal Sprawl that I’d like to see.

    • In their defense, they were aiming for it to happen after DS1, meaning you already know about the evil going on. You weren’t meant to feel safe anymore.

      • Yeah, but the very easily could’ve started off with the Sprawl normal and no one believing Isaac’s story about the necromorphs until it’s too late, like in Aliens.

  • idofgrahf

    played 3/4th of the way, can’t say I’m impressed. Feels more like an FPS than anything else, basically go into a room and lay waste to anything that moved, rinse and repeat the process. I can predict when enemies will jump out at me, when there will be a fire fight, boss fight, trap etc. It ceases to be scary when you know when things are going to happen or when you are too damn busy killing hordes of enemy to even think about being scared.

  • I loved DS2 even more than the first game. I love that he’s an actual person now and not just a puppet. They proved that silent protagonist = lazy writers.

    They had me crying at 2 points in the game, and emotionally frozen for another.

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