Return to space spreads terror

By Jonathan Terbeche
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When the first one was released, fans didn’t know what to expect and they didn’t know how much they needed a good scary game. I’m of course speaking of the original “Dead Space.”

What that game did so well, what the sequel continues, is an amazing atmosphere, a sense of isolation, seclusion, vulnerability, and of course, incredibly satisfying combat. Though the sense of isolation is slightly diminished due to the game’s new location, all of the other elements remain.

The original ‘Dead Space’ took place on the damaged, infected spaceship, USG Ishimura. The main character, Isaac Clarke was sent their as part of a recovery mission, then suddenly thrown into a hornet’s nest of nightmarish events. This time around, Issac is not so helpless.

In “Dead Space 2” Isaac wakes up three years after the events of the first game on the Titan moon space station, the Sprawl. Being a space colony, there is a definite sense of life and realism, as more characters inhabit the world. While this may slightly detract from the isolation, it doesn’t do away with it completely, as the majority of the game will still be spent alone.

Having survived the terrors of the Ishimura, Issac is hardened and not taking orders this time around. This is also shown by the amount of weapons, armor, and power-ups available.

Favorites like the plasma cutter make a return, but new additions like the javelin gun, mine gun, and seeker rifle introduce some rather interesting gameplay options. Having both primary and alternate firing modes, each weapon has numerous uses, and finding the correct combination for each combat scenario is one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming.
Not only have the weapons seen an upgrade, but Issac’s suit has as well, with flaps and boosters for flight. This becomes useful for the game’s improved zero-g segments, which are experiences you will only find in “Dead Space 2.”

What makes this a great horror-survival game is the incredible level design and memorable scripted sequences. Having to conserve ammunition and health while walking down an almost pitch-black hallway, when all of a sudden a giant monster comes crashing through the floor, can certainly get one’s heart pumping.

Not only is the level design and combat great, but the graphics and sound design are incredible. Looking at the detail of a toy store, with numerous toys and ads, when ominous, child-like sounds play in the background, goes a long way towards adding to the immersion of the game.

If there were any part of this game that was bad, it would be the fact that it is too difficult. Even on the normal difficulty setting, dying dozens of times will be commonplace. Not to mention there are three more settings above that. But seeing as how some players expect that, it may be a great thing.