by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die
One of the main issues that was universally cited as a let down in Dead Space, was the lack of variety in the Necromorphs throughout the game. Even in large encounters you would only fight one or two different types of Necromorphs at a time. Visceral has thankfully addressed this issue by introducing several new species of Necromorph, all of which feel unique and avoid being rehashes of previous ones. They range from the Puker, which sends an acid projectile at you, to the Necromorph infection of a child known as the Pack, which uses agility and group attacks to get the jump on you. Probably the most interesting and terrifying of the commonly-found Necromorphs is the Stalker, as they work together in packs, hide behind cover, and charge the player intent on smashing into you with their thick skulls. The variety presented is excellently done and makes the cast of enemies feel more rounded out and challenging than they were in the first game.
Until I had played Dead Space 2, I still considered Dead Space to be one of the most violent, gore-oriented games I’ve ever played; that title has now been passed over to its successor. Visceral’s “Strategic Dismemberment” gameplay design is still in full effect in the sequel, but the amount of gore present seems to have been increased due to the new creatures that stand in your way. It still amazes me sometimes to see a body explode after being hit with a round from the Contact Beam; watching the body parts fly off in all directions. Clearly this isn’t a game for the squeamish.
Listen To The Voice Of God
With all of these new creatures to deal with, Visceral have provided some new weapons that have quite the bite attached to their bark. One of the more dominant new additions to the arsenal is the Javelin Gun. As can be guessed from its name, the Javelin Gun is a weapon that pneumatically fires spears that can stick an enemy to a wall, and its alternate fire mode sends out a bolt of electricity that has the potential to fry nearby Necromorphs. Players can also obtain mines that can stick to any surface allowing you ample opportunity to protect your flank. Other weapons have seen some much needed refinements such as the Pulse Gun, which now has an alternate fire grenade launcher and the Contact Beam has become less unwieldy than it was in the previous game.
One of the big problems in Dead Space was how much of a crutch the Plasma Cutter, the first weapon found in the game, could be. Many players, including myself, found the Plasma Cutter to be the most effective weapon and relied on it throughout the course of the game. Visceral has addressed this by scattering the environments with plenty of ammo for other weapons rather than the one you are currently wielding. This thereby forces you to utilize multiple weapons and to mix up your strategy which becomes the cause of some intense moments.
One of the wonderful things about Dead Space for me was the HUD. As the industry goes away from a crowded on-screen display with games like Red Dead Redemption, Visceral actually put it to use on the character itself; with the spine representing the character’s health and the inventory popping out on a holographic display. Thankfully Visercal has retained this feature and has even tweaked the quality of the video display so they actually look like they are rendered in real time rather than the blurry pre-rendered sequences in the original game. The tracker which drew you a line on the ground to your next objective has been improved as well as it can also point out stores, upgrade benches, and save points. Perfect if you find yourself in a pinch with low ammo or a full inventory.
Excellent singleplayer experience
Multiplayer somewhat lacking