Today I will be telling you about a game which has scared many mothers. I’m not joking! That game is Dead Space 2.
For those who are unaware of the prequel you are (voiceless) Isaac Clarke, an engineer sent to check on the planet cracker ship Ishimura to see what has happened to your girlfriend, who has apparently died mysteriously on board the ship. When you board not everything is as it seems as you notice messages smeared in blood along with bodies everywhere. This isn’t the worst of it as grotesque monsters (called necromorphs), who can only be killed by dismemberment, start appearing everywhere on the ship, each more grotesque than the last. You find out the cause of all this is an alien artifact called The Marker which reanimates dead tissue and brings them to life. OK, I’ll admit it: you are fighting space zombies. You destroy The Marker and escape via shuttle with a special friend who tagged along unbeknownst to you who surprises you when you look to your right.
Dead Space 2 happens after the infamous Ishimura incident but how many years are in question. You are in a psych ward that is used for people who have been “touched” by the alien artifact known as The Marker. The game starts with you waking up and talking (yes you have a voice in the sequel) to this “shrink,” along with your dead girlfriend talking in the background. Moments later you wake up in this psych ward being freed by outside forces because they do not wish for you to die as the entire station has been infected, just like the Ishimura. Shortly after you are free you arm yourself with your trusty plasma cutter made using spare parts.
Your main goal is to get this cure being advertised and to get off this station but you soon find out that things aren’t what they seem as you find other survivors like Nolan Stross, who is another victim of The Marker who is worse off than you, and Ellie Langford, an employee of the station who has survived by herself for a while. With their help you do what is required.
The whole area takes place in a space station and your journey takes you all over, from the psych ward to the civilian households and even into space. Each area of the ship is new with few areas being used again and again. What I enjoyed about the visuals is the lighting because it added the fear of the unknown to an already desolate place you were exploring and it enhances the scares throughout the station. It’s startling when only part of the room is lit with a couple of flickering lights but when you are alone in the dark you just back yourself in the corner and expect something to try to kill you… which happens a lot.
The enemies themselves are varied and grotesque enough to know what type of enemy you are fighting. One enemy in particular I hate fighting is called the Puker. It has three legs, a little grey and showing some internal organs. As you have guessed they hurl puke at you that are corrosive which hinders your movement making you vulnerable to other enemies and it lasts a couple seconds making you watch how it is corroding your armor. Plus, it’s really nasty. The other enemies while they may not be as nasty as the puker (personal opinions may differ) they still look diseased showing flesh hanging, looking sickly or just plain infected and they come in all sizes to an infant to a raging gorilla size monster.
All the enemies in the game can kill regardless of size and each of them need a specific strategy to end them. Luckily carrying four guns helps with the strategy of dismemberment. You will need to exploit this due to each enemy having superior defense, offense, or that “miscellaneous factor.” Trust me: the “miscellaneous factor” will get you killed if you’re not careful (I know all too well).
The game play is your standard third person shooter with simple melee attacks, minus the cover and instead you have to run away from danger instead of hiding using cover. There are roughly ten guns you can use, each in a further part of the station and each having a primary and a secondary fire. Once you find the gun you will have to buy it from the store. Your first gun – the plasma cutter – is relatively near the beginning and one I believe is the most versatile. In order to kill the monsters you have to dismember them. With the plasma cutter it is simple because of the secondary fire rotates your gun by 90 degrees; shooting either vertically or horizontally, depending on where or what you choose to shoot. Each gun has a different secondary fire and all give you different options on dismemberment. You also have stasis which can freeze enemies temporary giving you space to think. It can be charged using stasis packs found throughout the game and random recharge stations. Last weapon in your arsenal is kinesis and it allows you to pick up any object you see; including the limbs of your slain enemies, and throws it at anything you desire. This is helpful when you want to conserve ammo and there is no cost to use.
There are also some quick time events that happen in the game and they provide a surprise because you never know when they happen and if you fail you die. These events cause tension while they happen and provide a good scare to people who aren’t expecting it.
A new thing I haven’t seen in a video-game before is that here they added have weightlessness as a game mechanic, having more than one instance that you have to navigate an area which can be disorienting; even more so when enemies are trying to kill you. These bouts of weightlessness are fun because you get to see the world in many ways. The movement is still the same when you’re tethered to gravity with the exception of having a boost which is needed to traverse some areas successfully.
The last game play mechanic in story mode is the level up system. The way that it works is you find or buy power nodes along with anything else you desire from guns, ammo or health packs, and you put them in your armor, stasis. It is simple enough that you start with adding the node on the first circuit and after that any circuit that is connected to the first and so on. Most of the circuits on your armor, stasis or any of your guns improve a trait and all are helpful in some way. The rest of the circuits bridge the gaps for other circuits.
A new thing they added that wasn’t available in the prequel is multiplayer. How they implemented this is there are two rounds; one as a human and one as a necromorph. Your objective as a human is basically to turn on this machine with necromorphs stopping you. Being a necromorph, your job is to kill the humans and stop them for as long as possible with four types available after a certain amount of time. As you level up you will be able to access new guns and suit skins.
Dead Space 2 wants to show us a man slowly losing his mind, and with the “conversations” Isaac has with his dead girlfriend, this concept comes across clearly. The dialog, while not full of swears, reflect the situation well and show emotion. Sound effects help add to the atmosphere and to the enemies which never feel out of place and there is blood when you kill enemies and when you die yourself. This game is a survival horror game and is rated M.
This game is one of the scariest games I have ever played and I am glad I have it. The story is good, the game-play is tactical and fun and the graphics are well done. Multiplayer isn’t that well thought out but it is a fun distraction and it is interesting to be a necromorph. This game is easily nine dismembered necromorphs out of ten.
A helpful tip I bought Dead Space 2 through PSN and that took a literal four solid days to download. If you want this game go buy it in disc form because not only does it save you four days it also comes with a second game called Dead Space: Extraction which was originally for the Nintendo Wii and in terms of scares it is better. Extraction actually scared me more.
Oh and if you’re still wondering why moms hate this game is EA chose to make a commercial with moms watching the game play and showcasing their reaction. It was a little silly but it is also a little controversial if you think about it.