Creator: Visceral Games
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Official Website: Dead Space 2 Official Site
ESRP Rating: M (Mature)
Like so many other genres survival horror was starting to lose its luster after the most recent installment of the Resident Evil saga, that is to say survival horror had lost all hope of ever having another truly great franchise until late 2008 when Visceral Games introduced us to Isaac Clarke and the damned Ishimura. Dead Space was a hit and I know it scared the panties right off of some of the toughest guys I know. The combination of lighting, eerie music, and specific jump points made this game scary and the lack of ammo and health made it difficult, hence the genre title of survival horror (duh!). But Visceral had started something and ending the game in such a cliff hanger (no I’m not going to spoil it…If you haven’t played it I suggest you get to it!!!!) as they did everyone wanted to know what was in for Isaac in part 2.
Dead Space 2 starts with cut scene of Isaac in a nightmarish therapy setting. You wake up to a man named Franco trying to get you out of the padded room aboard a giant space city called the Sprawl that Isaac called home for the past three years. Well Franco dies before your eyes and worse yet he gets transformed into a necromorph BEFORE he cuts you out of straitjacket you are in. Well thanks to Isaac’s experience (and a little help from the gamer) he gets away. Next is the daunting task of finding weapons and getting out of the hospital. I won’t ruin what comes next I want gamers to play the game for themselves because what unfolds is by far one of the best survival horror games since the original Resident Evil which pioneered the genre and the same can be said about the original Dead Space.
Now as far as weaponry all of the old favorites make a comeback including the line gun, pulse rifle, and of course the most iconic weapon of the game the plasma cutter. However how can Visceral call this a sequel if some changes haven’t been made to the arsenal? The answer is not much and they answered this question with flying colors. Most notably is the javelin gun, it’s a spear gun with its alternate fire electrifying the spear previously launched. What is even better about this weapon is the fact that necromorphs can be stapled to walls. Now I would be remised if I didn’t mention the improvements to kinesis. Kinesis is not just a utility in this game, and the developers fully intend for gamers to use it as a weapon by picking up poles, boxes and even the necromorphs own claws and the results are quite devastating. Other additions include the detonator which is a mine launcher and the seeker rifle which is a handy sniper rifle. Gamers are going to have to find a clever combination of four weapons to help them survive this new necromorph outbreak.
Now let me revise my earlier question: What would a sequel be without new enemies to kill? And I answer again not much. Fortunately again Visceral gives exactly what gamers want in this department. In fact there are so many so that game takes the survival horror moniker to a new level. The classics such as the slasher and the leaper make a comeback in new and improved grotesque forms however you can look forward to the acid shooting puker and spitter, as well as the fast agile and did I mention small pack and don’t forget the velociraptor like stalker whose group hunting tactics can quickly overpower Isaac and his quest. My advice to gamers and put something behind you to ensure you don’t get surrounded by any of these enemies.
Other improvements in the game come with the upgrading and stasis systems. First let me touch on stasis. When gamers acquire this powerful tool it only allows you to shoot two shots of stasis and I will suggest now that this be the first thing you upgrade I can’t count how many times stasis saved me from enemies and bought me those valuable seconds to be able to dismember my foes. Other things you might notice are that the stasis module is self-replenishing. It is not quick but when you are walking through an enemy free zone and you are low on stasis it is nice to know that you don’t have to waste a stasis pack to recharge it. Other nice things about upgrading is that they have added special upgrades to certain weapons for instance the plasma cutter can be upgraded so far that it sets enemies on fire. These additions to game should help gamers survive the nightmare of the Sprawl.
For those of the gaming community who choose to enjoy this game on a PC there are a few things you should know. First thing is the minimum requirements are Windows XP or better (sorry MAC users this isn’t a compatible game), a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 10 GB of Hard drive Space, and 256 MB Video Card. Of course anything above these minimums is ideal and since my system is I had the privilege of playing it on the best graphics possible and the details are so clean that it feels like the necromorphs can jump off the screen and touch you. A note on the controls for console gamers switching to PC the controls can be awkward at first (I was an Xbox man myself). This game is a keyboard and mouse game meaning you need both to play, however this is how all shooters are played on PC’s but because this is a third person shooter right click is used to aim and the left click to shoot leaving the space bar as the alternate fire making for some learning curve for those who are used to controller sticks and trigger buttons. Other than that it’s a pretty standard usage of keys with the “W,A,S,D” keys being used for movement and strafing and the mouse to look around. However, Caps Lock locks Isaac in aim mode so make sure it’s turned off.
Visceral Games has truly impressed myself and hopefully will impress the rest of the gaming community with this installment of the Dead Space saga and this gamer can only hope that they continue to produce games of this caliber and continue the Story of Isaac Clarke and his dealings with the Necromorphs.