Dead Space 2 Review
- Posted February 1st, 2011 at 19:22 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Survival Horror has never been so thrilling.
- The high quality graphics and audio work
- How the dismemberment mechanic demands accuracy and speed
- The intense atmosphere, created by a mix of great production values and brilliantly animated Necromorphs
- Such are the thrills along the way, it does inevitably run of steam in the latter stages
- The lack of a co-op mode; the multiplayer could have been fleshed out a little more
Necromorphs are among the most hideous and terrifying creatures to have ever graced a third-person shooter. In the click of a finger, these mutated corpses will bury their sharp claws right through your skull and tear your head clean off before ripping you apart limb from limb. Relentless in their pursuit of any non-Necromorph creatures - keen to spread the alien infection and adopt new body forms - these alien freaks are brutal in their execution. They burst out of air vents to take you by surprise, hunt in packs to try and overwhelm you and creep around dimly-lit corridors ready to leap on your shoulders and feverishly claw away at every part of your body like Freddy Krueger on meths. Like any good horror movie and videogame creation, the presence of the Necromorphs stays with you long after you’ve blown them into pieces.
In the original Dead Space, the Necromorphs cemented their place in videogame history as some of the most evil creatures you’ll ever encounter. For the sequel however, Visceral Games has pushed the boundaries even further by designing a bunch of freakish corpses and big bosses that take the gore factor to new heights for this particular genre. Take the Pukers, for instance, who disgustingly projectile vomit all over you, or the Guardians who stick to the ceiling with their tentacles dangling crudely out of their wide-open stomachs. These new creatures and others work in perfect disharmony with some familiar old faces, like the infected babies that screech like Banshees and grab you with their trio of tentacles as they savagely rip away at your flesh; or the horrific-looking, lightning-quick Leapers who sport human heads, yet possess massive in-human jaws that house their repulsive razer sharp fangs. The cast of particularly nasty characters are undoubtedly the stars of the show due to their ability to shock and frighten with their array of inhuman attacks, but Visceral Games has also pulled out all the stops in terms of the overall production, which is award-winning in quality.
Whether you’ll be actually scared by Dead Space 2’s collection of hideous Necromorphs though, will really depend on what type of things really frighten you. For some, psychological horror games like Silent Hill and Fatal Frame will be where the real scares lie. However, even if you’re not freaked out by a sack of guts spilling all over your head, or alarmed by the frequent visions of your dead girlfriend, there are still plenty of frights to be had, because Visceral Games uses every trick in the book to make you jump out of your skin. Dead Space 2 is designed to thrill, excite and make you jump; and it works spectacularly, regardless of whether you're truly scared or not. Though we've played a hundred-and-one horror-themed games over the years, Dead Space 2 has an atmosphere so thick that a chainsaw couldn’t even cut through it.
The action and the thrills start immediately. After waking up from a coma on a massive space city known as The Sprawl, you have no memory of the last three years. Once again, you play the role of Isaac Clarke, now battling against dementia and dealing with a new infestation of Necromorphs. Trying to survive, while fending off hordes of nasty creatures, is really what the game is all about. From the very second the first cut-scene kicks in, you get your first sight of a Necromorph - an Infector that sneaks up behind Franko (last seen in Dead Space Ignition) and plunges its sharp talon right through the center of his forehead. Taking over his body, it then stretches the poor man’s neck to such an extent that you see all the muscles, ligaments and nerves expand in front of your eyes as tentacles burst out of his head. The man writhes in pain and begins the short transformation into a hideously mutated Necromorph. Such is the graphic nature of this opening scene, you can’t fail but be taken aback by its power.
This impressive opening sets the tone nicely for the rest of the game, and the action rarely lets up from this point forth. You now need to run for your life because the straight-jacket you’re wearing means that you can’t fight back. And, just like ... (continued on next page) ----