Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

Isaac Clarke returns for another heart-pounding adventure, taking the fight to the Necromorphs.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Dead Space 2 screenshot
Dead Space 2 screenshot

These latter parts are completely at odds with Dead Space 2's finest moments. The game works best as a struggle, one where each corner leaves you feeling like you're a couple of bullets and a medpack short of getting through the next encounter. These are the plentiful moments where Dead Space 2's 15 chapters shine - the game is often an overwhelming taut, tense affair, with bouts of satisfying blasting offset by a lingering hesitation about going down the next corridor.

A slight tweak to the rhythm of play means enemies now attack in slightly denser groups - or, in the case of the new mutated Pack children, an infant swarm - with you using a hefty array of dangerous mining equipment to separate Necromorphs from their bladed, contorted appendages. The focus on dismemberment still feels refreshing in our age of the one-hit headshot, and the deep, bassy rumblings of the weaponry adds a satisfying weight to even the most mundane gunfights.

Where the sequel's combat truly excels over the original is by bringing Isaac's kinesis and stasis abilities to the forefront - two tricks that only those who ploughed through the USG Ishimura on the original's more demanding difficulty levels would ever be forced to utilise. Now freezing foes mid-air and snapping off Necromorph's blades to use as weapons comes naturally, the moves easily executed even in the middle of frenzied gunplay, and the game competently emphasises these potent abilities in its opening chapters.

The laws of sequel creation demand the addition of new enemies and rejiggered weapons alongside refinements, though, and Dead Space's 2 new foes and modified guns (hurrah, the flamethrower is actually useful now) effectively widen the game's combat diversity. The Stalker, for instance, is unashamedly modelled on the velociraptors from Jurassic Park, and pops out its eerie head to signpost an incoming attack. I felt prickles on the back of my neck more than once.

Meanwhile, Isaac's loosely explained three-year stint in stasis has made him nimbler and tougher, and after slotting a few upgrade nodes into your equipment you'll quickly go into situations feeling like the hunter rather than the hunted, only for the game to quickly send your bloody chunks crashing back to the last checkpoint. Isaac might be tougher, and the enemies might fall a little easier, but the game still makes sure there's enough opportunity to show off its many gruesome executions.

Nips and tucks to navigating zero gravity are also much appreciated, with the ability to manually drift around in a vacuum turned into a viable option with the simple addition of a button to reorient yourself alongside a simple method of taking off and landing. Isaac's ability to boost through decompressed space is used to good effect, as is his newfound trick of shooting out certain windows to drag everything inside a room into the void.

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14 Comments

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EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist

This review is exactly what I DID NOT want to hear, because it'll make me forget that I felt fairly 'meh' about the first game and I'll buy this and probably never finish it. Or maybe it'll spur me on to complete the first one and move on to this. Time will tell!
Posted 17:17 on 02 February 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ Joey_Bananas

Haha, totally what I did.
I'm on my third play-through now.
Looking forward to one day completing it on Hardcore... one day.
Posted 13:36 on 01 February 2011
Joey_Bananas's Avatar

Joey_Bananas

Good review. I agree with most of your points but I found the game actually got BETTER towards the end. Around chapter 7 onwards I began to become more interested in the story as it took a decent twist. Still, the end boss was completely disappointing and I don't remember any notable boss encounter throughout the whole game (unlike in Dead Space 1, where I can count a few).

It took me 9hrs 5mins exactly to complete the campaign which is 15 chapters long. I could've probably shortened it to around 8hrs, but I'm a sucker for exploring every room and deliberately going in the opposite direction of the objective just to see what's laying around. :)
Posted 19:36 on 31 January 2011
calvinlo's Avatar

calvinlo

Now with hindsight, giving Isaac Clarke a voice may seem like a double-edge sword, but I think it is a necessity. One element of Dead Space is its religious, conspiracy-driven storyline, which makes most of us stand still in a corridor reading data logs while the necromorphs are lurking around. With this rich background, it is inevitable to give Isaac some human elements, rather than to leave him as a heartless stomping machine.
Posted 10:09 on 26 January 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Wow, very surprised but still extremely happy with this review.
Brilliant read Martin.
Posted 07:57 on 26 January 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Right - once this arrives, I have 2 weeks to clear DS2 and try and hit level 100 in ZP2KXX before Test Drive Unlim. 2 hits - then all my gaming time shall e spoken for until, I should say, early April.

Any thoughts on the weapon/costumes DLC that hit the marketplace today? Are the weapons new styles and types, or just reskins, does anyone know?
Posted 22:31 on 25 January 2011
thompo555's Avatar

thompo555@ squidman

Nice long campaign then. I'm interested, just need to do Dead Space 1 now!

Great read as usual!
Posted 19:47 on 25 January 2011
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993@ squidman

Thanks! Great read as well Martin.
Posted 19:40 on 25 January 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Ooh, good review Martin. Wasn't going to get this, but I might be tempted.
Posted 19:17 on 25 January 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ GeNeCyDe1993

From the other journos I know who've completed it, it ranges from about six hours (if you charge through) to ten. I clocked it at just over 9, mainly because I'm a bit softy and had to slowly creep around all the corridors.
Posted 19:10 on 25 January 2011
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993

Sorry if its in there and i missed it, how long roughly is the campaign?
Posted 18:58 on 25 January 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

If I remember correctly the first Dead Space was a bit of a slow burner, coming out as it did practically the same day as Fable II. What I do remember is getting both on the same day and being surprised at Fable II gathering dust whilst Dead Space sucked me into its horrific immersion.

Whilst I didn't think a sequel was warranted (the first game was one of the greats) I'm delighted for the attention Visceral (formerly EA Redwood Shores) are getting now that they've made one. I really hope it sells well for them, that they make a bucket load of money, and that they come out with another great new IP further down the line.

From the review it sounds like another couple of BAFTAs will be headed their way.
Posted 18:57 on 25 January 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice read Martin. I expected a 9 before reading the review, but this has certainly surprised me to say the least.

"giving Isaac a voice and a face is a move which may come back to haunt Visceral Games more than Derek Acorah does Living TV."

Best line so far this year. Neon has competition to make me chuckle.
Posted 18:50 on 25 January 2011
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Nice review, sounded like a 9 though. And 8 I think is the lowest score I've seen for Dead Space 2
Posted 17:51 on 25 January 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Dead Space 2
8
Out of 10
Dead Space 2
  • Production values are excellent.
  • Lingering sense of dread.
  • Satisfying combat.
  • Momentum stalls towards the end.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 28/01/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 2,143 6
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