Dead Space 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
Dead Space 2 screenshot
Dead Space 2 screenshot

Moving the game to the Sprawl however, provides the game with a decent amount of aesthetic diversity: there's a lot more going on than the Ishimura's endless metal corridors. And where Isaac haplessly assumed the role of back-and-forth courier over engineer in the original, now the game is mostly a linear progression through a whistle-stop tour of flashy sights and expensive-looking set pieces. A boss encounter early on is the game's whizz-bang highlight, mixing up QTEs with cutscenes and quick-fire reflex actions.

The game betrays this potential near the end, however, where levels become padded affairs of regurgitated combat; the developmental desire to have Isaac shatter bones and tear sinew takes precedence over nervous exploration and slow-building tension. It basically feels like chunks of cheaper meat have been thrown in to add some unnecessary bulk to the Necromorph patty, and it doesn't particularly work well as an example of great action, either. Each room contains another dense concentration of monsters, and then a couple more will routinely spring up behind you and shout boo. Simply kill and repeat. And the less said about the lacklustre final boss the better.

Still, by the time you reach Dead Space 2's saggier later levels you'll have committed yourself to finishing the course hours ago. Phenomenal production values, including perhaps the best use of sound in modern gaming, and an early barrage of rich environments, alongside the game's satisfyingly weighty controls and returning dismemberment conceit, ensure the game stands tall amongst its peers. Most of the time, anyway.

Post-completion there's the urge to go back and replay on a higher difficulty, though probably not on the punishing Hardcore mode, which unlocks after finishing the campaign, that limits you to three saves for the entire game and will be completed by next to nobody. I got a few levels in before dying and promptly concluding it to be too much work. It's a far cry from the original, where maximum completion was an accessible uphill climb.

A wholly average multiplayer mode rounds out the package, which pits two teams of four against each other as humans versus Necromorphs in a standard objective-based gametype. It comes with your standard vertical progression system of persistent upgrades, and teamwork is an absolute must. While no single component feels notably faulty, I found my enjoyment of the mode completely exhausted before the end of the three hours of playtime EA provided on the game's pre-release servers.

Dead Space 2 is sometimes a confused and disappointing production, but more often than not it's tense and fascinating. Just make sure that, whatever you do, you don't fzzfzgghzhghghghcrkrkkkckkkzzzzzzz...

New stuff to check out

14 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

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: 4,009 1280
View Full Site