Game Name: Dead Space 2
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: January 25th, 2011
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, XBOX One
This is why I love Games with Gold on the XBOX. I get to discover games and franchises that I would have never tried otherwise. I have discovered the Saints Row franchise, Dead Space franchise and even played the games from Assassin's Creed that I had never even tried.
I had played the original Dead Space and wrote my review about it last year. You can find it below.
Dead Space Review
I was pleasantly surprised of the gameplay. It was a action space horror that was just enough story, mixed in with action. As many have advised and I must agree with them, it feels like the game equivalent of the Alien movies. Traversing through a ship with a bunch of aliens ready to take your life at any moment.
Was this a worth sequel to the good first game? Let us see.
You reprise the role of engineer Isaac Clark. You are awakened during an attack on the insane asylum in an unknown location. So the first moment of the game you have to manage to navigate the level without using any weapons or your arms and hands.
Through dialogue sequences and the audio logs, you learn that Hans Tiedemann has built a new Marker. The Marker was apparently build with signals that were implanted in Isaac and Stross's mind when they encountered the original Marker.
Isaac has this deja vu feeling about all of this. In the meantime, he is also hallucinating seeing his ex-girlfriend Nicole from time to time. He tries to fight it as he knows that she is not real.
While going through the station Isaac speaks with Stross and he tells Isaac that the Marker can be destroyed. He advises that it can be found in the Government Sector. However, he seems to be distracted and disoriented. While trying to decipher what Stross is saying, you meet Ellie Langford. She is a CEC Pilot who lost everyone that she knew during the outbreak. As you would expect she does not trust Isaac at first. Eventually they will need to trust each other in order to get through the hurdles found on their path.
Once they reach the Government Sector, they fix an old mining drill and cut through the various gunk and aliens that are in their way.
Once they reach a certain point, Isaac sends Ellie away on a ship so that she can be safe, while he finishes what he needs to do. With some guidance from Nicole who is in his mind, he activates the Noontech Diagnostic Machine. This is a machine that could be used to destroy the marker. Once this is finished, Isaac makes his way to the marker and is flooded with waves and waves of Necromorphs. Then he finally encounters Tiedemann. Isaac ends up killing him and you would think that the story ends there but... no.
Once Tiedemann is killed, you enter your mind for a battle with Nicole. She advises that they need to be whole again. Isaac who is angry decides to kill Nicole in the final boss fight.
Once everything is done and you are back, Isaac seems tired and discouraged and just sits on the ground expecting to die. However, surprise, Ellie came back to save him and takes him away in her ship.
If you played Dead Space the original, you will feel at home here. The mechanics that you were accustomed to in the first game are here, with a few additions. The R.I.G. (Resource Integration Gear) suit is back in this installment. You get to upgrade some weapons and parts of your suit with Power Nodes.
You will also be familiar with the Statis module. This allows Isaac to slow down enemies so that he can have a little more time to destroy them.
There's also the return of the kinesis module which will allow you to move things with your mind. They added an element to your Kinesis abilities. You can now take body parts of the aliens and use it against them. This allows you to save ammo during battles. That was a nice addition in my opinion.
You still have Stores where you can buy inventory items such as Power Nodes and Ammo. Then there are the crafting stations where Isaac can apply the Power Nodes to make the suit stronger.
There are more suits than in the original Dead Space. In the first one, if I remember correctly, you needed to upgrade periodically in order to get more inventory slots and so on. You only had a few suits that you could upgrade to. Here, the suits seem to be more random. There is the Vintage Suit which is basically an older CEC suit that is very bulky. However, it gives Isaac a 15% damage resistant and 10% discount in the store. There is also the Advanced Suit which looks much cooler and gives you 25 inventory slots and in addition 20% more armor.
The more that you play, the more of the unique suits you will discover. For example on the first play through you will find only certain suits. However, once you play other modes after your first play through, you will have more options. The list of suits and their perks can be found below, courtesy of GiantBomb.
Engineering- 5% armor, 10 slot inventory, no special bonuses, available at first store
Security- 10%,15, +5% pulse rifle damage, schematic in Chapter 4
Vintage- 15%, 20, 10% discount at stores, schematic in Chapter 8
Advanced- 20%, 25, 50% stasis recharge time, schematic in Chapter 11
Riot Security- 25%, 25, +10% contact beam damage, available at first store
Elite Engineering- 25%, 25, +15% medpack heal, schematic in Chapter 1
Elite Vintage- 25%, 25, 15% discount at stores, schematic in Chapter 6
Elite Security- 25%, 25, 15% javelin gun damage, schematic in Chapter 9
Elite Advanced- 25%, 25, +10% all weapons damage +15% stasis duration, schematic in Chapter 11
Arctic Security- 25%, 25, +10% flamethrower damage, available at first store after beating Zealot Soldier- 25%, 25, +10% seeker damage, available at first store after beating Hardcore
Zealot- 15%, 15, +5% force gun damage, available at first store with collectors edition
Hacker- 15%, 15, -1 hacking stage, schematic in Chapter 2 with Dead Space: Ignition save
The game starts with 4 difficulty levels. You have Casual, Normal, Survivalist and Zealot. If you beat the game at any difficulty it will unlock Hard Core. In Hard Core resources are more rare hence killing the enemy will be more difficult.
I cannot really talk about the multiplayer aspect of the game as I have not played it at all. It would not be fair to comment on this, having not played it.
Dead Space 2 (XBOX One) - Sample Gameplay
Is this a worthy sequel? I think that it is. My main complaint in the first game was that it was too short. In this game I find the length of the game is just right.
The closed quarters, jump scares were still good. The sound design to these games is amazing. You really feel like you are playing in a movie and you can die at any time. From the music to the random shrieks during gameplay. It keeps you on your toes no matter what.
I love the game graphically and it suits the game very well. It is very dark, similar to Doom 3. Although the story is quite linear, I do like the level design. You can still find gems off the beaten path, but it is not too difficult to find them as they are close to that path that you are supposed to follow.
The one thing that I found that improved, was that there was no mini games. That was one of my main complaints with the original Dead Space. I was not a fan of what pseudo basketball game and the long shooting range part. I understand that I could have skipped those parts but I found that it killed the momentum of the game when they were played.
Some argue that this game was more action and less strategy as the first. I could see how some could say that but it did not bother me. I really liked the action in this game. It had a good flow and it had a good mixture of story and action.
There are parts of the game that I really liked and would have liked if they would ahve expended on it. One of those sections is called the Church of Unitology. This is basically a religion that worships the Marker. At the same time, it also seems to poke fun at the Church of Scientology.
This game as a whole feels like Dead Space 1 with extras. It took what Dead Space 1 did very well and expanded upon it. Is it superior to the first game? I believe that yes. The first game felt like a a series of fetching quests. Hey, this is broken, fix this. Oh, this section is blocked, go kill the aliens and free up the area. The story for Dead Space 2 feels like a story and not just a series of missions. One element that contributed to that is that it is not clear when a chapter starts or ends. In the first one, you knew exactly when you were done a section. here it is not as easy to see, so the story feels more continuous and less like checkpoints in the game.
One thing that I really enjoyed was that I actually cared for the characters. I kind of feel sorry for Isaac and Ellie was a great addition to the story. Throughout the game I was thinking that she would turn on Isaac and it was nice to see that she never did. I liked the evolution of trust between these two characters. From Isaac's perspective he has trust issues after the first game and with reason. As for Ellie, she has trouble trusting anyone after her crew was killed. It was nice to see 2 people find themselves and work together to the end without any drama.
In summary, this is a good third person shooter with some improvements on the first game. I think that anyone that has not played this series, owes it to themselves to play Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2.
Rating: 9 Markers out of 10
What do you think? Was this game good or not for you? Let me know.