Dead Space 2 screenshot
Dead Space 2 screenshot

There used to be a time, many aeons ago, when survival horror was a lonely business. You'd tip-toe through the dingy corridors of a Mysterious Mansion/Horrible Hospital/F**cked-up Fairground, whimpering as you turned each corner. If your path happened to cross with another sentient being, you'd most likely try to kill each other; your only friends were the 12 bullets you'd carefully saved, a near-useless knife, and a powdered green herb (this was the '90s; everyone was stoned). Back then, we used to save our progress on typewriters - but you kids probably don't know what they are, do you?

While Resident Evil 5 made a half-decent stab at co-op spookiness, there's no question that Left 4 Dead is the king of sociable scare-em-ups. It's hardly surprising, then, that Dead Space 2 has taken heavy inspiration from Valve for its own multiplayer massacres. To be more precise, it's Left 4 Dead 2's Scavenger mode that's the key reference point - pitching four human troopers against a quartet of lovable Necromorphs. The former have to complete a number of linked objectives before the time limit expires; the latter have to pull out their opponents' organs and turn them into Christmas tree decorations (intestines make a great substitute for tinsel, so I hear).

Like the single-player campaign, Dead Space 2's multiplayer matches are set on The Sprawl - a civilian settlement on Titan, one of Saturn's moons. The concept here is that we're following a group of security forces as they set about important tasks around the city, in locations that won't crop up in the main campaign. In the demo at today's showcase, the anonymous workers are paying a visit to The Solar Array. They might be on a mission to fix something important, or maybe they're here to install a Sky+ box; I don't know, but what I do know is that they're almost certainly going to fail. Why? Because the nice EA man has already explained that cooperation is vital, and the security forces are running around like headless chickens - quite literally, in some cases.

Matches work on a two-round basis, with each team swapping sides at the halfway point. It's a sensible structure that gives everyone a chance to play as the 'morphs; given the choice, I suspect most players would side with the mutants every time. There's an undeniable novelty in assuming control of a rotting baby with massive tentacles, and while it's still fun to blow these nasties to pieces as a human, it's far more satisfying to humiliate your rivals by tugging out their squishy parts.

Three of the four Necromorphs on offer are brand new; The Lurker is the sole familiar face - he's the dead baby one who looks a bit like a frog with a trio of tentacles sprouting from his back. The Lurker has the unique ability to climb walls and ceilings, and is best suited to ambush strategies, wanging his waggly bits at people who pass beneath him. The Spitter and The Puker are tall, stalking creatures who respectively gob at and vomit upon their unfortunate foes. Finally, we have The Pack - the most normal-looking mutant on offer, although that's not saying much. Mr Pack is a pale, bald humanoid mess with long claws. If you absolutely had to go on a date with a Necromorph, and given his relative lack of mutation, you might consider The Pack to be the best choice. You'd be wrong: Mr Pack is a child, and a dead one at that. What the hell were you thinking, you big sicko?

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Highest Rated Comment

SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ rbevanx

Dead Space is very rarely appreciated for the technical marvel it is. The HUD is masterfully handled, the atmosphere expertly concocted, and the enemies are given a character beyond the shambling polygons commonly relied upon in a lot of horror games. When I played through the first level of Dead Space my heart had been tested better than any doctor could have achieved. If I had any problems with the ol' ticker, I would have found out then and there.
However, I'm lucky enough to be able to say I survived my first rendezvous with Visceral Games' creation and I'd be damned if I wasn't going to play that game until four in the morning. It didn't take long for me to come to terms with who Isaac Clark was, and what this world surrounding him was going to be.

Throughout my play-through of Dead Space I remember one thing very vividly, Isaac Clark. It sounds a foolish thing to say; of course I'd remember the main character. However, this isn't always the case. Isaac Clark had been given just as little and as much personality to make him relatable. He had been formulated in a way in which I felt as though I was Isaac Clark, struggling through the hallways, trying to survive. Half-Life is referred to on many occasions as the game that managed to create a story without set pieces, but where's Dead Space's credit? Visceral Games’ have done more than a competent job in portraying a narrative, as well as a world, without ever really taking control away from the player. I'm extremely grateful for their efforts, and as a sign of thanks I will continue to write and talk about it until people really do see it for the masterpiece it is.

Just wrote it for an IGN thing. Hopefully they'll like it ;)
Posted 21:13 on 11 November 2010

User Comments

CristalShines's Avatar

CristalShines

Best, Like The game, waiting to come out!
Great post neon ! +
Posted 02:44 on 28 November 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ guyderman

Yes, a shame. I'd have no doubt taken you up on the offer but thanks anyway :)

I've had a quick look on ebay and it appears that copies are still selling for around the $30.00 mark, which is good but I may wait until my next trade in day or see if I can't get it cheaper after the silly season.

I'm kidding myself if I think I have enough time to play all of these games. Maybe if I quit my job....
Posted 09:51 on 15 November 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ clangod

It's a shame you are not in the UK or I'd have posted you my copy to borrow.
Posted 09:40 on 15 November 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ clangod

So glad that at least one person is now going to play it after writing that.
I've been playing the game for four straight hours this morning on Impossible.

I remember trying Hard on my first play-through, and feeling like it actually was impossible, however, now I know my way around the game, and how to do things, I'm finding Impossible actually rather straight forward. The game really lends itself to understanding what to do in order to survive :)
Posted 16:03 on 14 November 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ guyderman

I am now willing to accept that as fact. I have undertaken mission "Find Dead Space Cheap on Ebay" which is now in its earliest phase.

The only thing being is that I already have so many I've yet to finish, adding another to the pile will only make it a far more daunting task. Oh well, gotta be in it to win it :)
Posted 09:56 on 13 November 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ clangod

Take zero notice of the demo - it was a poor demo for a great game.
Posted 09:47 on 13 November 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ SexyJams

TU Jams. You have made me want to actually play Dead Space now more than ever. I did try the demo some time ago and it was a throw away project but I feel I may have delved a bit deeper if I actually had the disc in the drive.

I like the Dead Space concept so if not before Dead Space 2 arrives I plan to get a hold of the original and give it a go. I sense there is a game there that I can enjoy.

Plus the first will sell for pennies these days. Why not???
Posted 00:18 on 13 November 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ rbevanx

I agree with you totally about the reduced price Bev - I picked it up for £25 only two weeks after it's release - I wasn't trying to say that it made loads of money as it wouldn't have made anywhere near as much as EA would've originally liked (or deserved) - but even 2 million sales at a reduced price makes a good amount of profit, (which again is proof of how much we are ripped of when buying the games at full RRP - but that's a different discussion), and as long as it made money, and came away with the fan base it did, it can't really be described as a flop.
I also think EA have actually been clever with the sequel as they knew they had a hit IP on their hands and I think they have ensured that the almost cult following this game has ammassed has been their prior to greenlighting the sequel - they have also been very clever with their release date for this - pay day after the whole Christmas season has calmed down and very little competition from any other big titles. I think Dead Space is about two months of really making it's money in the form of it's sequel. I really think this title is gonna be a big hit for them.
Posted 15:06 on 12 November 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ rbevanx

Thanks man, glad it was appreciated. I worked for a little bit on it. It's a bloody awesome game.
Posted 14:46 on 12 November 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ guyderman

Yeah I see your point guyderman and I agree at one point and disagree on another.

2 million sales is impressive but was more than 50% of that from a reduced price (I bought mine for 15 quid brand new) and have EA made a decent ammount of profit compared to other games where they have spent the same budget as Dead Space.
I think Dead Space 2 will sell far more than the original anyway as I'm sure the first one did well in the 2nd hand market.
Posted 13:41 on 12 November 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ rbevanx

I think I've posted this before - but Dead Space had a slower start than it deserved but it has sold over 2 million copies - which can't really be considered a flop for a new IP - but most importantly it has a lot of love within the gaming community which means Dead Space 2 should sell really well (unless it's a shower of Sh!t of course - LOL!)
Posted 12:14 on 12 November 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ SexyJams

Well that was a good read, that came out of nowhere and shocked me lol

Totally agree and TU.

I think the main reason that it flopped and people never got round to playing it was...

A) Terrible Demo from what I have been told instantly gave it bad word of mouth
B) I don't think it was well promoted compared to other big franchise games. Yes I'm aware of the cartoon anime film and comic etc but I never saw a viral site like MS did with Halo and the bee's etc which I think works better and costs little money. From the ads on the websites it could have been mixed for just a shooter.
C) It was originaly made for the first Xbox and EA possibly felt that the audiance may have changed since.

Those are the reasons I can think of which is a shame but I really hope the second does well to make up for Dead Space 1's financial performance and for EA having the balls to make a second game when the first one flopped.
Posted 09:00 on 12 November 2010
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555

Great read Neon!

I reeeeaaalllyyy should pick up the first..
Posted 22:18 on 11 November 2010
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker@ SexyJams

Thanks for the tips; I actually didn't realize you could open those either! Lol
Posted 22:14 on 11 November 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ rbevanx

Dead Space is very rarely appreciated for the technical marvel it is. The HUD is masterfully handled, the atmosphere expertly concocted, and the enemies are given a character beyond the shambling polygons commonly relied upon in a lot of horror games. When I played through the first level of Dead Space my heart had been tested better than any doctor could have achieved. If I had any problems with the ol' ticker, I would have found out then and there.
However, I'm lucky enough to be able to say I survived my first rendezvous with Visceral Games' creation and I'd be damned if I wasn't going to play that game until four in the morning. It didn't take long for me to come to terms with who Isaac Clark was, and what this world surrounding him was going to be.

Throughout my play-through of Dead Space I remember one thing very vividly, Isaac Clark. It sounds a foolish thing to say; of course I'd remember the main character. However, this isn't always the case. Isaac Clark had been given just as little and as much personality to make him relatable. He had been formulated in a way in which I felt as though I was Isaac Clark, struggling through the hallways, trying to survive. Half-Life is referred to on many occasions as the game that managed to create a story without set pieces, but where's Dead Space's credit? Visceral Games’ have done more than a competent job in portraying a narrative, as well as a world, without ever really taking control away from the player. I'm extremely grateful for their efforts, and as a sign of thanks I will continue to write and talk about it until people really do see it for the masterpiece it is.

Just wrote it for an IGN thing. Hopefully they'll like it ;)
Posted 21:13 on 11 November 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 28/01/2011
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 14,638 132
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