Dead Space 2

Necro-fear-ia

Dead Space 2 brings the scares, certainly, but it also follows up the surprise hit original with just as much exploration. We've braved The Sprawl and brought back our take on Visceral Games' big budget sequel.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: February 13, 2011
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It feels incredibly strange to be writing this phrase, but of all the third-party publishers entering the HD generation, it feels like EA is the one that "gets it" more than any other. I'm of course using a rather myopic view that only takes into account the Dead Space series, but with that single new franchise they seem to have been able to branch out into multiple platforms and new types of media to expand their new franchise without it all feeling scattershot.


In truth, the first Dead Space wasn't especially heavy on story, but it teased it in fantastic ways, giving out just enough information about the world that engineer Isaac Clark inhabited without bogging it down too much with needless exposition for those that just wanted to poop themselves with fear and shoot at scary things. Instead, they spent time fleshing out the world and characters around Isaac, and the result is something that feels more cohesive and expansive than almost any new brand -- if you want to actually explore it.

Take, for instance, the free (and wonderfully upgraded) copy of Dead Space: Extraction that comes for free with every PS3 copy of Dead Space 2. A seemingly simple light gun shooter, Extraction is in actuality arguably the best pointer-based shooter this generation, and it's made quite a bit better by having it just be upgraded in resolution over its native Wii version. This isn't the kind of slapdash pack-in that we saw with Medal of Honor: Frontline in the new MoH reboot, it's an honest-to-goodness bonus for opting for the PS3 version of the game.

Moreover, it actually serves an even more important purpose than just making someone feel extra special for getting a freebie. Eurocom did a hell of a job in taking the assets and environments from the first Dead Space game and paring them down for standard-def resolutions, but they seemingly were ready for an HD port because things still look fantastic. Better still, they serve as the perfect refresher on what happened in the events of the first game while serving as a prequel to that first outing. You'll get to explore more of the colony on Aegis VII where the mysterious Marker was unearthed due to the massive planet cracking operations humanity undertakes hundreds of years in the future to save their resource-choked homeworld.

From the slight fake-out of the game's opening to its eventual resolution leading up to the arrival of Isaac, the game does absolutely amazing things with familiar locales, and though it is usually an on-rails shooter, it's also peppered with moments of light free-looking exploration, quick reaction grabs of ammo and unlockables with always-ready kinesis and plenty of real, actual story details. This is not just another light gun shooter, it's an experience every bit as intense (and yes, that does mean it can be creepy) and populated with characters you come to trust and care about as the HD entries into the series.
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