Dead Space 2

Now she is what I call a bad 'ex'. She'll haunt you throughout the entire game. Gimme a kiss!
Hang on, I'll be right with ya. Just gonna check my facebook a bit. Isaac's happy that he's finally got some decent armor.
Pro tip: shoot the elbows until it dies. No! I do not want to have sex with you on that bed right now.
The cityscape of Titan. I fail to believe there is so much power from so little solar panels.
Kaching baby! Someone had a lot of fun with glow in the dark paint.
Eye see you... Holy crap! I better load up on extra ammo...
Destroy the core... Isaac, awaiting his death...or does he?

My Background and Experiences
One of my closest friends is a big Dead Space fan, and ever since its sequel came out he has been lauding about how cool Dead Space 2 is. I caved in to his persuasion and checked the game out just a little bit over a week ago, and I have finished my first play through last night. I have never played the original game.
I finished the game in survivalist difficulty, the next level above normal. I ran the game in 1600×1200 resolution with almost all settings on their highest, managing very smooth framerates of around 30-80 frames per second. My weapons selection reflected very traditional first person shooter loadout. I kept the plasma cutter throughout the whole game, which is essentially a pistol equivalent and functioned as my backup weapon. The pulse rifle is your typical assault rifle with a grenade launcher attachment, and it served as my primary weapon for most situations once I got it. I rarely used its secondary fire (launches a grenade), as at 25 ammo per pop it wasn’t very ammunition efficient, and the third weapon I picked up served the purpose even better. The detonator was my primary area-of-effect weapon. Save for annoying maze-like sections filled with stalkers, I rarely used the detonator to set up traps. I mainly used the detonator like a rocket/grenade launcher, shooting directly at tough or groups of enemies, causing immediate explosion upon contact of a necromorph. One great feature about this gun is that if you “miss”, you can simply salvage the mines and reuse them. So theoretically, barring you tripping over your own mines, you can never truly “miss” with the detonator. The fourth gun I picked up was the force gun, which functions somewhat like a shotgun in primary fire, and like a railgun in secondary fire. Problem is, the force gun deals very little damage in either modes. When it takes 3-5 shots to kill an elite necromorph, and its ammo comes in single shots, well, it’s just not a very sustainable weapon. You could easily use up all your force gun ammo killing a few enemies, and then have to spend a long time hoarding up enough ammo to use the gun again. I never bought ammunition until the very end, hence the force gun never saw much service. Unimpressed with the force gun, I eventually swapped it out for the ripper near the last sections of the game.
I upgraded the stasis module first, simply because stasis is the single most important talent that you have throughout the game. Period. A few stasis shots could mean the difference between half dozen elites tearing you a new one before you even have the time to react, to near immobile target practice you while line up that perfect shot. Upgrading the number of stasis shots is of the utmost importance, followed by reduction of stasis recharge. As for duration of stasis effect, while useful, I do not find it particularly essential. Next upgrades went to the pulse rifle and plasma cutter evenly, then the RIG for health bonuses, then the detonator. The fourth weapon saw very little upgrades.

My Assessment
When I first started this game my immediate thought was that this game bore a strong resemblance to System Shock 2. Both games are set in the not too distant future. Dark, metallic, and claustrophobic environments. Protagonist awakes after some major setback that occurred beforehand. Lonely and moody atmosphere that emphasized scavenging and survival. Story fleshed out by text and audio logs left behind by characters. Zombie-like monsters. These are all hallmarks of both Dead Space 2 and System Shock 2. Mentioning Dead Space‘s similarity to System Shock is by no means a criticism of Dead Space. After all, System Shock 2 is an amazing game, and the nostalgia brought by Dead Space 2 is certainly welcome. Dead Space 2 does have a few traits that sets it apart from System Shock 2, namely the former is played in third person, and the latter in first person. Dead Space 2 relies a lot more on cheap thrills, where a body would suddenly drop from above, or a necromorph sudden appears right in front of the door you just opened, accompanied by loud discordant music. Such events fades away as the game progresses, but never truly disappears. Dead Space 2 also employs more set-pieces, and is almost completely linear when compared to System Shock 2. And of course, Dead Space 2 is much better looking.
The greatest praise I can give to Dead Space 2 is its production values. This is an extremely well polished game. Beautiful graphics that ran surprisingly well on my aged computer. Top notch voice acting. Game play was devoid of noticeable bugs, expect for the part when (spoilers!) Isaac had his right eye poked out and he is seen immediately after the set-piece with his right eye bloodied and closed. But yet a few minutes later when changing suits at a shop, his right eye is fine again. What’s up with that? (/end spoilers). At survivalist difficulty this was a reasonably challenging game that provided just over ten hours of entertainment. The replay value lies in new unlocked items (mainly suits) upon first completion of the game, and in trying out new weapon loadouts.
I have to say though, this game commits a cardinal sin of PC gaming: checkpoint saves. Checkpoint saves is my number one pet peeve in computer gaming. I want to be able to quit the game at anytime and save my progress, and not be forced to play until the next checkpoint or lose the last fifteen or whatever minutes of game play. To me, there is no excuse not to be able save anywhere and anytime for a game released for the PC (or any platform).

Bottom Line
Do you enjoy first or third person shooters? Do you like psychological thrillers? Are you a graphics whore? If you answered yes to even just one of these questions, Dead Space 2 is a title worthy of your time.

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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