- Created on 31 August 2011
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 & PC
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Visceral Games
Release Date: Out Now
Review Author: David Holmes
Survival horror games are few and far between these days. Resident Evil seems to have gone the action route leaving little in the way of horror and Silent Hill's current gen outing was pretty disappointing. Then in 2008 Electronic Arts introduced Dead Space, a sci-fi based horror that breathed new life into the genre.
Like its predecessor Dead Space 2 has you in the role of engineer Isaac Clarke, one and only survivor of the infestation of the USG Ishimura. Haunted by events of the first game Isaac, suffering from dementia, wakes from a coma to find himself once again fighting off hordes of Necromorphs, only this time around he isn't confined to the tight corridors of the Ishimura, the action now takes place on a vast space metropolis called the Sprawl.
A welcome addition to the game is that Isaac is no longer a silent protagonist, this helps add depth to his well scripted adventure to destroy the 'Marker', the route cause of the Necramorph infestation.
Any experienced Dead Space players will be familiar with the term "strategic dismemberment". This combat system is what separates the series with any other game in the genre. Rather then simply aiming for head shots the game encourages you to shoot the limbs off of any advancing enemies. This can prove to be difficult at times as the Necramorphs can move at incredible speed but this just adds to the experience. At times even having both legs removed wont stop the Necramorphs in their tracks!
Isaac does feel a little lighter on his feet in this sequel with Visceral Games opting to slightly speed up the controls. This does help somewhat when dealing with those pesky Necramorphs whose running prowess wouldn't look out of place at next years Olympic 100 meter finals.
Much like the original, Dead Space 2's graphics are extremely impressive, yet they are still overshadowed by the incredible sound design. As you'd expect from a survival horror the game can be very dark at times, this can make navigating the various locations of the sprawl difficult even armed with Isaac's flashlight, add to the this to the terrifying screams of nearby Necramorphs and Dead Space 2 can be a very intense experience.
The Sprawl offers a refreshing change of scenery to the USG Ishimura, the majority of the game does still take place in cramped dark spaces but this is broken up with visits to a sci fi take on locations such as a church, a hospital and even a childrens nursery.
The highlight of the game simply has to be the atmosphere. From the word go Dead Space 2 is an immensely intense affair that cannot be matched by any other game in the survival horror genre. Everything from the graphics, story telling and sound effects make Dead Space 2 a great and unique game that is definitely not for the faint hearted.
A slightly disappointing omission from Dead Space 2 is the lack of any real boss battles, the original had a couple of unforgettably epic fights that are sadly missing from this sequel. The inclusion of multiplayer might please some gamers but is a forgettable and unnecessary addition.
4/5 If you are looking for a scare then look no further then Dead Space 2. The game offers a lengthy, well executed sole campaign that shouldn't be missed by survival horror fans. I just hope the developers behind Resident Evil and Silent Hill are taking notes because for the time being Dead Space 2 is keeping the genre alive single handedly.