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“Dead Space” returns

January 28, 2011

Space engineer Isaac Clarke returns Electronic Arts newest game, “Dead Space 2.” Not surprisingly, Isaac’s luck has not improved much.

The game takes place on Titan, which is Saturn’s largest moon, three years after the necromorph outbreak on the USS Ishimura. Isaac wakes up in some form of hospital to a doctor telling him the incidents on the Ishimura never occurred and is merely a figment on his imagination. However, that theory is instantly shattered when necromorphs appear and begin killing the entire population on Titan.

From the start of the game, players will notice many differences. For one, the graphics and visuals improved drastically. The lighting is well done and the necromorphs look more gruesome and deadly than ever.

The second noticed improvement is Isaac’s movability. He is much more responsive and can move around faster. For instance, he can sprint forward and quickly stop and backpedal, which comes in extremely useful when dodging swarms of necromorphs.

As for combat, the seven original weapons from “Dead Space” return, in addition to three new ones. The seeker rifle is basically a powerful sniper rifle, while the javelin gun fires spears that can impale enemies and then proceed to electrocute them. The last gun is called the Detonator and is one of my personal favorites. It allows Isaac to set traps by laying proximity mines. The best part is that Isaac can pick up unused mines, meaning you won’t waste much ammo.

Isaac still has the ability to use Kinesis and Stasis to help him survive the onslaught. Kinesis is imperative to conserving ammo, which is much more scarce this time around, because Isaac can spear enemies with their own limbs. Another improvement is that Stasis now recharges, meaning no more carrying around Stasis packs.

Probably my favorite change is how Isaac moves in zero-space. In the first game, the player just aimed at a wall and Isaac would leap towards it. In “Dead Space 2,” Isaac has jets on his boots that allow him to literally fly around.

When I first heard about this change, I was nervous that the controllers would be too difficult to control, but it was surprisingly solid.

“Dead Space 2” also introduces some unique and unusual enemies. The pack, for instance, is what happens when a child is transformed into a necromorph. Let me just say it’s not pretty.

Another new enemy is called the stalker, which is my new least favorite enemy. Unlike most necromorphs, these enemies are intelligent and will hide behind objects until they decide to leap over and charge Isaac with ridiculous speed. They almost seem to set up ambushes because they will often all charge at once and even flank Isaac. I was reminded of raptors from Jurassic Park.

There are other new enemies, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises “Dead Space 2” has to offer.

The biggest difference between the games is the style. For instance, the first “Dead Space” focuses mostly on atmosphere and is solely focused on scaring the player.

“Dead Space 2” focuses less on atmosphere and much more on Isaac as a character. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I do not believe Isaac said a single word in the first game. The second game does the opposite and has Isaac holding conversations with NPCs and players get to see his face on multiple occasions throughout the game.

The storyline also focuses more on Isaac as he struggles with his guilt of failing to save his girlfriend, Nicole, who was stationed on the USS Ishimura during the outbreak.

The game portrays Isaac and his struggle through special scenes where a vision of Nicole will haunt him, blaming him for her death. By the end of the game, the player is able to relate and really feel for Isaac, unlike the previous game.

Another difference is the overall environment. The first game took place inside the enclosed and dark tunnels of USS Ishimura. “Dead Space 2,” however, has more variety in the environment. Isaac will battle for his life in wide open areas in addition to small enclosed corridors.

Another observation is how difficult this game is at times, especially towards the end. Ammo and health is much more scarce, meaning you can’t just spraw down enemies.

It is most likely that players will experience plenty of deaths, which is not necessarily a bad thing due to the brutal and jaw-dropping death scenes. I often allowed special enemies to kill Isaac just to see what would happen.

Needless to say, “Dead Space 2” took all the aspects that made the first game good and improved them. However, I still have a few minor complaints.

My biggest complaint is corpses have no weight in the game, meaning they flop all over the place everytime you walk over them. This was a big complaint in the first game that, for some reason, was not fixed in the sequel.

Another complaint is the lack of bosses throughout the game. There were plenty, and I mean plenty, of normal enemies, but few bosses. The final boss looked awesome, but was too easy, similar to the boss of the first game.

The multiplayer also seemed unnecessary. It basically pits four humans vs. four types of necromorphs. The humans must complete an objective while the necromorphs try to kill them.  It is basically “Left 4 Dead.”

Some may complain that you can beat the game in less than 15 hours, but I believe this is a game that is fun to replay multiple times.

Also, beating it once unlocks hardcore mode, where players can only save three times throughout the entire game.

All in all, “Dead Space 2” is a fantastic survivor-horror third-person shooter. If you enjoyed the first game, then you will love the second one.

Features Editor

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