Picking up three years after the creepy events of the first game, Dead Space 2 takes you on another adrenaline-stuffed scare ride as you once more try to stop the malevolent, bloodthirsty Necromorphs.
The game opens sedately enough: The main character is talking with a psychiatrist aboard a space station about the horrors he experienced on the devastated starship USG Ishimura. However, the quiet won’t last long, and the pulse-pounding doesn’t let up for the entire game. You will fight, run from, gun down and — sometimes — hide from enemies that are guaranteed to give you nightmares. The developers at Visceral Game have crafted a worthy sequel to the superb and scary Dead Space.
The single-player campaign is taut with tension as you once more take on the role of Isaac Clarke, a simple ship-repair engineer whose previous experiences aboard the Ishimura have scarred him in ways no-one should be, and yet make him uniquely suited to surviving the Necromorph invasion, once again. However, the creepy, claustrophobic survival-horror atmosphere of the first game is not simply re-created here. Instead, we are treated to a full-on action game that takes the finest parts of the first game and builds upon them in some of the best ways imaginable. As Thierry Nguyen at 1up.com states, it’s like the changes from Alien to Aliens. You can see the similarity, and see the narrative push from one to the other, but the sequel builds upon the first in new and exciting ways.
Those players returning from the first Dead Space game already know what horrors they’re in for. Those new players who are joining along will absolutely enjoy the action, but may wish to try the first game before jumping into the sequel. It’s worth the time and effort, in my opinion, and truly helps to bring out the fact that Isaac’s survivor’s guilt is eating his sanity away, slowly and surely.
While DS2‘s single player game is extremely good, the multiplayer component is not a lot of fun. There are five different modes of gameplay in multiplayer, and each consists of two teams, the humans and the Necromorphs, each attempting to meet certain objectives. The modes sounded intriguing when first announced, but they failed to deliver, in my opinion. However, I haven’t had any problem finding games to join when I go online, so I could be in the minority.
In closing, I’d highly recommend that anyone who enjoys shooters or horror survival games should play Dead Space 2. It’ll scare the hell out of you; it’ll make you uneasy as Isaac’s mind starts to unravel and he begins to despair; and it’ll keep you up too late at night because you just can’t seem to put it down. And those, in my opinion, are the marks of an excellent game.
One thing I can’t recommend, though, is to play the game at night, in the dark, with a pair of really high-quality headphones; I ended up sleeping with the lights on for two nights after that. Your reaction may vary, however.