January 28, 2011
One week ago, IGN gave you its official take on Dead Space 2, a third-person adventure about Isaac Clarke's crappy life, and it was penned by me, the Internet's Greg Miller. Well, believe it or not, I work with a bunch of people who love to play video games. Rather than take my word for how awesome Dead Space 2 is, they actually went and played it for themselves.
Crazy, I know.
Anyway, with their opinions simmering in their brains, I cooked up a Dead Space 2 questionnaire to get to the bottom of what they thought of developer Visceral Games' latest work. Grab your number two pencil, and let's find out their thoughts...
Yeah, it has a lot of action in it, but this is what survival horror is all about. It's moody and creepy and you struggle to survive.
First of all, every game has action so "action game" is meaningless. It's definitely a struggle to survive in Dead Space 2 and you have to be very careful with how you spend your ammo – especially towards the end.
It's not all survival horror thanks to its variable difficulty and inheritance feature, and it's not pure action. Some of the puzzles were pretty nebulous if you hadn't played the previous game.
It goes from creeping through bloody corridors trying to conserve every piece of ammo to blasting wave after wave of shrieking horrors without missing a beat.
Why does that matter? You should play it because it's a great game, not because of how many elements of a certain genre it does or doesn't incorporate. It's a focused, thrilling, brutally gory ride.
It's more creepy than anything else. I'll never look at babies the same way again.
It didn't keep me up at night, but there were one or two times when a Necromorph surprise got the better of me.
Dead Space 2's encounters were like the ones in Run Like Hell (not a compliment); if there's an empty room, there's either an ambush or it's a prep-zone for an enemy ambush. And since encounters don't change, playing the game on subsequent rounds becomes more of a speed-run than an experience.
Or maybe twice. The environments can be pretty creepy, but by the tenth time a monster jumps out of a closet at you it loses its shock value.
The biggest area where Dead Space 2 falls short of its predecessor is in its lack of scares. While it maintains the atmosphere quite well, it's too scripted to be poop-your-pants scary.
Faster, more streamlined, looks better, cooler weapons, a more personal story. Kind of an easy pick.
I liked the Sprawl in 2, but I loved exploring the Ishimura more. I also felt the pacing was better in the original. I liked having very specific goals that needed to be accomplished in each section of the ship before I had to move on. The sequel was more "You are at Point A. Get to Point B. Go."
Although aspects of the gameplay (specifically the combat) have been improved for the sequel, I still prefer the first Dead Space. It does a better job of creating a horrific atmosphere that becomes more bleak and oppressive as the game goes on. Furthermore, Isaac is brilliant as the ever-suffering, silent protagonist. His exhaustion and terror is palpable.
Sure, you can go around and just kill stuff. Hey, it's a game -- wheeee!!!!! But there's no context for what you're doing and the things affecting Isaac will have no weight to them. Even the starting gameplay is more for a Dead Space veteran than a rookie.
It's one of the best games of this generation. What the hell is wrong with you?
This is what that movie "What happened in Dead Space 1" is for on the main menu.
But should still be called stupid for missing a great game.
EA has done an impressive job fleshing out the back story and universe of Dead Space in the original game, movies, and comics. However, none of this is really necessary to enjoy the game.
It's a good way to start the year. Still no sexromorphs in the game, but plenty of Necromorphs to cut to pieces. Fun, pretty, and worthy of multiple playthroughs.
Dismembering Necromorphs never gets old.
Buy Dead Space 2 used. As great as the game is, It's still a take-it or leave-it game. You can finish it in 10 to 15 hours.
It's not as good as the original but it's still a solid action-horror game. Plus dismembering crazy zombie-aliens and then stabbing them with their own arms really never gets old.
The first Dead Space was scary, polished, and very, very good. Expectations for Dead Space 2 have been set high, and it mostly delivers. It ups the action, and tones down the scares, while still providing a fantastic gameplay experience. It has great graphics, some of the best sound design in video games, and is a ton of fun to play. Oh, also, if you can stack up enough corpses in one place, you can literally paint walls with blood by repeatedly stomping on the pile. So, yeah, there's that too.