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Dead Space 2
, Playstation 3
, Xbox 360
The Dead Space franchise probably owes a lot to the Alien movie franchise and so far the games have shared a lot in common with their analogous movies. Like Alien, the first Dead Space was quiet and at times claustrophobic. Dead Space 2 is like Aliens, more action packed and while technically better makes me miss some of the design choices from the first game.
Dead Space 2 picks up where the original left off, albeit three years later. Isaac Clarke, tormented by visions of events from the first game, has been hospitalized on the Sprawl, a city established on Titan, one of Saturnís moons. After an outbreak of necromorphs, Isaac desperately tries to fight his way off the moon and destroy the source of the infestation, the Marker.
Although the Sprawl is supposed to be larger than the setting from the first game, it doesnít feel larger mostly because there arenít a lot of environments that showcase the larger scope. But moving the action off a ship and onto a city allows for more varied environments. Instead of creepy hallway after creepy hallway, we get our taste of creepy daycare center and creepy shopping mall. And now the environment is more of a hazard than ever because you can shoot out surprisingly fragile glass walls which protect you from the vacuum of space on the other side.
If youíve played Dead Space, the sequel will feel very familiar. Not much has changed in the way of gameplay mechanics and what has been changed has been improved upon. You still have various weapons that you use to dismember the hordes of enemies youíll face, but now youíve got more choices. So many so that youíll probably want to play through the game a couple times to at least try out all of them. You also have the ability to slow enemies with your stasis field or hurtle objects at them using your kinesis. If you were a fan of using stasis and dismembering the necromorphs in slow motion, rejoice! Stasis now automatically regenerates allowing you to use it more often.
The zero gravity sections of the game have also been improved. Instead of being able to move from point to point in zero gravity rooms, you now have the ability to travel around freely in space. In order to compensate for the complete freedom of movement and ensuing disorientation, the ability to orient yourself to the floor has been added and is a welcome addition. Battles in zero gravity are especially challenging and fun since it can be difficult to figure out where you're being attacked from but you also have the ability to dodge in any direction you want.
New to Dead Space 2 is the multiplayer aspect, which splits you up into teams of humans and necromorphs in objective based games. If youíre playing as a necromorph, you get to choose one of four different types that are taken from the single player campaign. If this multiplayer mode sounds familiar its probably because youíve played Left 4 Dead at some point, because this feels very similar.
One of the things I really liked about the original was the atmosphere of the game. The main contributor to the atmosphere was that Isaac was a silent protagonist. Because you never heard his voice and only seldomly saw his face, it allowed you to put yourself in Isaacs shoes. But in Dead Space 2, Isaac is a chatterbox by comparison. What giving Isaac a voice does accomplish is it allows a deeper emotional story. Itís a different way to establish a connection between the player and the game. In the first, the situation is what connects you to the game in the second, itís the story. Itís a subtle difference and a subtle change, but I kind of miss the Isaac from Dead Space.
The difference between Dead Space and Dead Space 2 reminds me of another James Cameron franchise, Terminator. While Terminator 2 is clearly a superior movie, there was something about the first movie that speaks to me more. I feel the same way about Dead Space. Thereís something about Dead Space that I love, but Dead Space 2 is a clearly superior game.
I had a lot of fun playing Dead Space 2. There arenít a whole lot of games that Iíd consider playing a second time around. Dead Space was one of them and now Dead Space 2 follows suit. This one is a ďbuyĒ
- If you havenít played the first, you probably should. If you play Dead Space 2 first, youíre probably going to miss all the little enhancements to the gameplay, but itís still a solid game.
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