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February 15, 2011 • Gaming, Reviews

PlayStation 3 Game Review: Dead Space 2 Limited Edition

The Hype

Chaos Hits The Sprawl:

  • Caught in the middle of a horrific infestation that’s decimating a massive space city, Isaac Clarke will dismember, impale, and stomp his way across the Sprawl.
  • Blast through the Church of Unitology, jet across the Solar Array, and infiltrate the CEC facility on the path to survival.

Master The Terror:

  • Familiar as well as all-new grotesque creatures lurk around every corner.
  • Wield a set of devastating tools to bring the terror to space. Impale Necromorphs into the walls with the Javelin, use improved telekinesis to turn limbs into deadly weapons, plant powerful dismembering trip mines, or create a hull-breach to suck a group of monsters out into space.

Tear Through Space In Zero G:

  • Fire up Isaac’s suit boosters to rocket around in zero gravity like never before. Explore the depths of the Sprawl and encounter new weightless combat and physics-based puzzles with full 360 movements.

Online Multiplayer:

  • For the first time, experience the horror of a Necromorph outbreak with others. Fight in skirmishes around the Sprawl and strategically dismember your friends.

The Reality

“There’s no escaping from what I’ve done”

Powerful storylines, sci-fi horror, and visceral action fill this third-person shooter/action game to the brim while high production values and great execution create a high-level experience. Outstanding action scenarios center on protagonist Isaac Clarke who has “been out for a while” and now finds himself in a massive space city (a.k.a. Sprawl) on Saturn’s moon.

Set in 2511, three years after the first installment, survival horror-action ensues as he contends with dementia, the government, and visions of dead girlfriend who he encouraged for a position at this space camp turned horror show. Isaac’s inner dialogue asides and disturbing visions remain, but they do not slow down the game. Thankfully, Isaac has special telekinetic powers to balance his current situation more towards his favor. These powers can be used any time while the stasis powers, which slow down enemy movements, require recharges. This power really serves as a crowd-pleasing slow motion mode for fantastic moves. Full 360-degree movement gives players a fighting chance with the “zero g” movement provide memorable thrills and challenges.

Controls and movements begin on the complex sides as weapons advance from the basic plasma cutter to the mine launcher. The basic flashlight always guarantees some scares while an objective mapper provides a specially viewed line for guidance. Developers could have allowed simultaneous use of the flashlight and objective mapper at same time for quicker progression, but players would definitely miss some items and experiences. Players already know what they are getting, but get some extra education and foreshadowing from the straightforward Necromorph names including the divider, belly, slasher, infector, leaper, and puker. Unlockable weapons and clothing items are great pick-ups along the way.

Linear does not mean bad here. Players can ride the rails on a complete experience full of memorable interactions and close combat. The supporting cast enhances Isaac’s storyline throughout the core 15-chapter single player mode.

The new multiplayer mode, online pass, and add-on content expand the considerable gameplay even more. This epic battle requires 2.7 MB hard drive space on the PlayStation 3 and also includes Dead Space: Extraction, previously exclusive on the Nintendo Wii, with PlayStation Move capabilities. The Collector’s Edition also includes replica plasma cutter, soundtrack, concept art and in-game items.

In the multiplayer mode, players can play as human or Necromorphs in teams up to four. The intelligent people try to complete a mission while the monsters get a license to create pure havoc. The individual “rogue” approach does not work here. Teamwork obviously helps as players experience the support firsthand. The mode could easily expand into deeper experiences with more customization and options along with the man vs. freak survival format. For example, a “quick escape” mode would require careful weapon choices and top-notch navigation moves as players bail out of the station before time runs out.

The included online pass code includes quick matches, playgroup creation, character setup, and leader boards. Online passes can also be purchased separately for a nominal price. Players build experience points as they progress through the modes. The first add-on content Dead Space 2: Severed will be released on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE. This add-on will include two single player chapters and appearances from Gabe Weller and Lexine Murdock.

The five difficulty levels include casual, normal, survivalist, zealot, and hard core. Players only get three save slots and the in-game saves at special terminals are sparse. This set-up forces players to strategize their approach because no one wants to start over after intense, hard earned progress. These long periods among the save terminals also promote extended gameplay time. Be prepared for the long haul before beginning the single player mode to save valuable time and effort.

Jason Graves and the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra create an outstanding musical score and the sound jolts players from their safe gaming perches. This production amazes at every turn. Expect Dead Space 3 in the near future. Dead Space 2 is also available on PC and Xbox 360. Dead Space also recently released on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Review: Dead Space 2 Limited Edition

Where to Buy: GameStop and other stores

Price: $59.99

What I Like: expanded online and multiplayer gameplay, PlayStation Move addition to Dead Space Extraction, high production values, upcoming add-on content to increase replay value

What Needs Improvement: deeper multiplayer experiences and better, more visual tutorials

Source: Reviewer copy provided by publisher

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