- Great visuals
- Engaging story
- Creepy, creepy, creepy
- Competent but uninspired multiplayer
The survival horror genre has a new king, and Dead Space 2 wears the crown.
Gaming has come a long way from the days when companies were forced to hide blood and gore behind a code fervently typed into controllers by teenage boys looking for carnage. Survival horror has come into its own as a genre, and few games define it as well as Dead Space 2.
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- Genre: Third-person survival horror
- ESRB rating: Mature
- Platform availability: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Publisher: EA
- Developer: Visceral Games
- Minimum requirements (PC): Windows XP, 2.8GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 8x ODD, 10GB free HDD space, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or ATI X1600 Pro
- Price: $59.95
If you can hear me, run
The original Dead Space introduced engineer Isaac Clarke, a man who probably wishes he’d picked a different profession. For those who haven’t played it, the story is set several hundred years into Earth’s future. A dystopian tale, it’s a place where continuously growing populations have extracted all the natural resources possible from the planet.
Discovery and subsequent derivation of the unified field theory granted control of gravity itself to humanity, and the concept of planet cracking was born. Huge ships find planets ripe with raw materials, split them into huge chunks and process the resultant ore, bringing it back with them to Earth.
The USG Ishimura, out on a routine planet cracking mission, goes unexpectedly dark. A crew is sent to find out what happened and, if necessary, repair the issue. Isaac is a member of this maintenance team, eager to get to work – his/your girlfriend is stationed aboard the Ishimura, and she’s there mostly thanks to prodding from Clarke.
You can probably tell how things go.
When the crew gets on board, the situation spirals rapidly from bad to worst (this is not a typo) as horrific creatures known as necromorphs attack.
Necromorphs, which are the main encounter in both Dead Space games, are perversions crafted from the dead crewmembers. Created by a discovered alien artifact, the Marker, they’re tough, crazy, and out to do one thing: kill you.
EA launched an effective – if critically panned – advertisement
campaign that used moms’ disapproval to showcase the game.
Rise and shine
Dead Space 2 opens with our unfortunate engineer waking on an unknown space station three years later. One of the best parts of Dead Space 2 is Isaac Clarke’s humanity: he isn’t possessed of some kind of superhuman sanity. The events of the first game have broken him, leaving him infected with a progressively worsening dementia that threatens to kill him if he doesn’t receive treatment.
As the game moves forward, the dementia manifests with auditory and visual hallucinations, seeing creatures that aren’t there, hearing people talk when rooms are empty and, least comforting of all, nightmarish recollections of his dead girlfriend mixing with guilt over effectively – and completely unintentionally – sending her to her death.
From the first minutes of the game, Clarke is trying to reach a mysterious woman who promises that she can cure him. The dementia plays an important part of the story; only you, as the player, gets to see just how crazy he becomes. You soon discover that you’ve been kept mostly unaware for three years as a scientist tries to cure you.
Instead, he succumbs to the madness himself and builds a new Marker – bringing the necromorphs.