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.