Visceral Games has done it again with a sequel to the sci-fi horror survivor Dead Space. Much like any sequel it usually never holds up to the original. There are always exceptions to the rule for example the movie Alien and its sequel Aliens. Both films were flawless in transition and didn’t leave the audience in confusion. Such is the case with Dead Space to Dead Space 2.
Dead Space 2 follows up the story of the original 2008 Dead Space by being set three years after the event of the first game. If you pre-ordered Dead Space you received a code to download Dead Space: Ignition a small arcade game that featured various puzzles for the player to solve. What is unique about Ignition is how a player can chose to get to the ending. There are branching paths that the player can chose to get to the same ending, which was a guy named Francis Delile freeing Isaac Clarke from his stasis chamber. This is where Dead Space 2 picks up, with Isaac Clarke being freed by Delile amidst a new Necromorph infestation on the Sprawl Space Station.
Dead Space 2 features new guns, new suits, and new enemies to go into combat with, but never are left wondering how any of these new things manifested. In games like Halo and Gears of War there isn’t that smooth transition from the first game to the second. Designers decide to throw in these new features and expect the players to just think that they were always there. This isn’t the case with Dead Space. If you have been following the franchise you will know that this game takes place three years after the first events, and that EarthGov and the Unitologist religious zealots have been working on decoding the Marker.
Now without giving anything away for those who have not completed the game I will just say that Dead Space 2 features a couple of key plot twists that will make your head spin. Isaac Clarke is suffering from extreme hallucinations that haunt his mind of his dead girlfriend Nicole. Nicole, was dead the entire time during Dead Space one, but the player did not know that until the end of the game, and Isaac Clarke was actually having visions of Nicole back in the first game. This brings up an interesting plot hole because as to my understanding goes a person must come in direct physical contact with the Marker in order for the effects to creep into the human mind. Isaac Clarke had not yet been in direct contact with the Marker, but was having strange visions of Nicole several times throughout the first campaign. Is there something more that we don’t know yet?
The new Dead Space 2 campaign features three more chapters than the first making for a grand total of 15 chapters spread out over two discs. The chapters now move seamlessly between each other as opposed to having to board a transit shuttle. There are new features to Clarke’s suits that are very interesting. First, the most noticeable is the folding of the helmet. Visceral Games, wanted to give the silent Isaac Clarke, more personality and better character development. There are several sections where Isaac Clarke will take off his helmet to interact with other people. The suit also features a new anti-gravity feature. No more jumping from platform to platform in zero gravity. Instead you now use little thrusters on your shoulders and boots to float around in zero gravity areas. It’s a lot of fun, and a lot more fun than in the previous game. The stasis module on the suit now slowly recharges over time and can be upgraded with power nodes to recharge more quickly.
Keeping up with the original title that are hundreds of text and audio logs scattered across the Sprawl. These text and audio logs add a little bit of back-story and foreshadowing to the Dead Space lore. Playing Dead Space: Ignition unlocks several rooms called “Conduit” Security Rooms, where I am assume Delile initiated his hacks, and left short audio logs behind.
Finishing the game on any game mode will unlock the ability to play game on Hard core mode. Much like Impossible mode from the first game, however, the one twist this time around is players now only have the ability to save the game three times. Every time Isaac Clarke is killed he has to start back over at the last save station much like in Impossible Mode. Upon completing the game on Hard core mode, players will unlock the humorous foam hand cannon.
And again without giving anything away look forward to a Dead Space 3 in the future. It will most likely take place on Earth, and if not, a moon, or some type of planet. All signs are pointing to Earth if you follow the mythology of Dead Space.
The story was excellent, challenging, and frightful. For those three elements I give the campaign a perfect
The Multiplayer is another story and was a component not featured in the first Dead Space. The first night I played the multiplayer I had a blast with my friends. I thought for a moment that everything was okay and that this game actually shipped with a perfect multiplayer. Then the bugs started rearing their heads and the imbalance issues became apparent. The only bugs noticeable were disappearing objectives, and a few times players did not spawn after the respawn timer reached zero. There also seems to be an issue with connectivity but this hasn’t been proven to be consistent.
The imbalance issues are a whole other story. First of all players on the Necromorph side only get 4 different types of Necromorphs to chose from in a Universe filled with over a dozen different types of aliens. Visceral Games could have given players a few more options to how they want to brutally maul their human opponents. The Necromorphs featured are The Pack, Lurker, Puker, and Spitter. The system will spawn computer controlled A.I. Slashers. Why can’t I spawn as a Slasher?
The Humans are completely over powered in this survival multiplayer. The 4 humans spawn with a full stasis module that can be used twice until recharged. Most players just stand near vents waiting for Necromorphs to spawn and then use their stasis to freeze them, and then blow them away with the line gun. My suggestion to Visceral Games is to remove stasis from the human players; it shouldn’t be something players spawn with, but an item those players could pick up at a stasis station like in the story mode. This will prevent some of the stasis spamming I have seen. Then the Line Gun needs to be nerfed to do less damage. Most players only equip the Line Gun as their secondary weapon because it’s the cheapest weapon in the game. Very rarely do I see players using the Plasma Cutter or Seeker Rifle. These simple tweaks would certainly help to solve some of the imbalance issues seen in the multiplayer.
So with the bugs and imbalance issues I am going to rate the multiplayer a measly.