Dead Space 2 - game review

Author: Krystian Smoszna
Date: 2011-01-25 11:17:00
The review was based on the X360 version. Also applies to the PS3 version

Three long years have passed since the incident on the planet Aegis VII. As we witnessed at the end of the first Dead Space , Isaac Clarke managed to destroy the entity controlling the Necromorphs, and also ruined the mining colony where the Red Mark was located - an ancient artifact copied by scientists that was the key to the invasion of bloodthirsty creatures. It seemed that after this heroic deed, the engineer would be able to take a well-deserved rest. And in a way it did, although he did not necessarily like the resort.

The action of the second game in the Dead Space series takes place on Titan, the largest moon of the sixth planet of the solar system, Saturn. Clarke is in the Cluster space station, specifically in the hospital there, where he wakes up from a coma. It is not known how Isaac landed in the sanatorium - we can only suspect that the stay there is related to the events that our daredevil witnessed at Ishimura. There is no time for deeper reflection anyway - at the beginning of the game, another infection occurs, which turns the lives of people living in the Concentration into a nightmare. Alien creatures are rapidly increasing their ranks, because every killed person is immediately incorporated into the bloodthirsty horde.

Clarke has no choice. In order to survive in a hostile environment, she has to face the Necromorphs again. This time, however, not only monsters are his enemy. The engineer has obvious problems with his own psyche, as we are convinced by hallucinations related to his late girlfriend - Nicole Brennan. So Isaac is fighting both the Necro-Plague and himself. By the way, he also tries to answer the basic question: what the hell is going on here?

The plot in Dead Space 2 was run quite smoothly. The next pieces of the puzzle are revealed gradually and almost to the very end it is difficult to predict how it will all turn out. A little more emphasis than in the "one" is on dialogue, due to the fact that Isaac began to speak. The creators did not forget about placing a large number of text messages and audio recordings in the game, revealing a lot of information about the station and its inhabitants. Unfortunately, the story itself leaves a lot to be desired and at times you can get the impression that the writers have reconsidered a bit - I don't want to go into details here, so as not to spoil anyone's fun, but the story in the first Dead Space, although not original, made a much better impression. You can feel huge disappointment especially after the grand finale. The endgame is terribly lame, the authors did not show any interesting idea to end the game with style. However, they have not forgotten to leave a gate for possible continuations. In fact, after such an ending, fifteen Dead Spaces can be created.

The game also seems to be less organized in completely different, seemingly prosaic issues. While the presence of mining tools on the planetbreaker did not raise any objections, it is hard to accept the fact that the plasma saw - Clarke's main attribute - is, by chance, in a medical complex.

In the first game, the need to fight in closed rooms was also cleverly explained, which is common in both installments of the series. When Necromorphs appeared in the area, Ishimura's system ordered a quarantine and would not allow anyone to leave the contaminated room until it stopped recording alien life forms. Clarke had to kill them then to move on - logical, right? In Dead Space 2, the problem was solved less convincingly. In the Cluster, the order of the day is simply to cut off the power, and energy is not restored until the last enemy is dead. Why then, I don't know, but after one such incident it started to irritate me. For comparison - in the "one" I did not pay attention to it at all.

Okay, I complained to myself - now it's time to praise the new Dead Space . The biggest plus is of course the fantastically realized action. If someone liked this specific, sluggish pace of the game from the original and does not mind that Isaac Clarke turns at the speed of a turtle, you will easily fall in love with the "two". The authors improved the controls, slightly accelerated the engineer himself, and increased the field of view a bit, but still the shooting is hard to call lively. Dead Space 2 requires angelic patience, because the clashes with creatures are very similar to each other and tiring in the long run. It is true that in the game we come across some variations every now and then, in the form of a simple logical puzzle, and again in the form of an exciting action almost entirely based on scripts (the train ride breaks the head!), But the essence of the struggle was the laborious progress, preferably immediately with the weapon ready to fire, to reduce any losses in health to a minimum.

The enemy menagerie has increased by a few new Necromorphs, which is also a plus. They are especially brilliant with creatures that move faster than Isaac himself - any clashes with opponents who can move around the board at an express pace clearly increase the attractiveness of the fights. I must admit that there were moments when I stood in the doorway, afraid to take a few steps forward, because I knew that the nearby Stalkers would immediately try to ram me. I am also glad that the difficulty level has increased significantly. The chrysalises attack in larger groups, and direct contact also occurs more often than in the original, so you have to be pretty naked to get out of trouble. However, the real massacre awaits in the last chapters. The creators stuffed so many opponents on the boards that the fight becomes hellishly tiring. And Isaac is not a tough guy. He loses his health quickly, and he usually has little ammo - if you think that completing a "two" with a plasma saw in the paw is as easy as before, good luck.

The enlargement of Clarke's handheld arsenal also deserves another praise - now he can choose from a few really interesting guns. In addition to those known from the original, there are completely new inventions, incl. a bolt gun, similar to that of the Painkiller and the second BioShock, and a sniper rifle that deals very high damage. Weapons can be improved in workshops found here and there, just like in the original. Of course, the necessary power nodes for this purpose are so few that it is impossible to improve everything to the maximum. So let's get acquainted with each tool of doom and simply choose a few that suit us best. It's not Quake, where the weapon hidden in the inventory can be pulled out at any time during the game. If we do not systematically develop two, maximum three poppers, at the end of the game we will wake up with a hand in the potty.

The last positive thing I would like to point out is the atmosphere. Stifling, overwhelming, claustrophobic. The authors did everything to make the hero as honored as possible. There is not a single moment when we feel like a one-man army with a powerful arsenal in the paw, quite the opposite. Dead Space 2 teaches incredible humility, respect for the virtual alter ego, forces you to carefully explore the stations and react immediately to every, even the smallest threat. The journey is accompanied by moans, whispers, strange noises and absolutely insane music by Jason Graves. Let me repeat what I used to say in such cases: this game only triggers emotions when we fire it up at night, sitting alone with headphones on. After a dozen or so minutes, we completely soak into the atmosphere, ceasing to pay attention to the fact that the creators use cheap licks to scare us. Under favorable conditions, even those not very sophisticated scarecrows fulfill their task - a horse with a row to those who will not jump on a chair at school.

It took me ten and a half hours to finish the game, and actually about twelve (sometimes I repeated certain fragments, oh, sometimes). Considering today's standards, this is a pretty good result, but you have to remember that the pace of the game is incomparably slower than production like Call of Duty . The fun is, of course, completely linear. There are times when we can make a side jump for a while, but this only applies to the exploration of rooms that are right next to the main hiking route.

Dead Space 2 is a solid product, although not without tiny flaws. The first chapters threw me to the floor, the next ones allowed me to notice minor flaws, while the ending was a disappointment. However, this does not change the fact that it was time well spent. I liked the streamlined and much more difficult combat, nice cutscenes in the form of simple logic puzzles, all scripted and breathtaking scenes, and the amazing atmosphere. You can see that the authors have worked hard on the gameplay, pushing the story aside a bit. As a result, the Visceral Games product is associated with the second BioShock. There, too, the gameplay has been significantly improved, with less emphasis on other issues. Some people think it turned out to be good for that game, others didn't. It will be exactly the same here.

Of course, Dead Space 2 is a game a bit more specific than BioShock 2. It is aimed at a small group of enthusiasts who like space survival horrors and sluggish pace straight from Resident Evil 4. If the previous part of this series simply bored you, I don't see any chance to improve the situation after contact with the "two" - this title, although slightly improved, is simply too similar to the original. And since the work of the studio from Redwood Shores does not offer anything other than the campaign (let's lower the veil of silence for a clog in the form of multiplayer mode - after a few hours of play you will not remember about it anymore), it is no wonder that only fans will enjoy it cycle. But that was to be expected.

Krystian "UV Impaler" Smoszna