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Dead Space 2 Overview
The end of the first game clearly announced a sequel, and Dead Space 2 starts this time on the space station The Sprawl, the new hunting ground of the deadly necromorphs. Our character, Isaac Clarke, has been detained in the station because he is suffering from hallucinations caused by the monolith. While a specialist is trying to decipher the meaning of the hallucination, the psychiatric hospital is suddenly attacked by the necromorphs, leaving only a few seconds for the former engineer to get away. Only when freed from his straitjacket Isaac Clarke finds the full possession of his means, with the sole purpose of escaping the massacre.
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To fight against this lovely welcoming committee, Isaac can count on a great and more diversified arsenal of weapons. Some weapons from the original game got welcome improvements, like the machine gun alternative fire that shoots a sort of devastating grenade instead of bullets. The new weapons list includes a rifle equipped with a zoom to accurately take out specific parts of the necromorphs, electrified darts and laster mines. As usual, you will need to find the blueprints of each weapons and it's ammunition before it can be obtained. Upgrades and powers are still here(ammunition capacity, reload time, damage, etc) as well as the telekinesis power(that is more efficient than ever) and the functions of the armor, whose appearance and characteristics also evolve throughout the adventure. The different outfits, in addition to having a successful design, are getting more inventory space and more resistance as you progress in the game.
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They just messed with the wrong engineer.
Dev s at Visceral Games promised a more nervous and spectacular game than its predecessor: it's a success. They replaced the confined spaces of the first game by larger and more varied environments. Your surroundings are now more detailed and the transitions from one chapter to another are fluid and indicated by a text in a discreet corner of the screen, either after a cutscene loaded with adrenaline or a simple door opening.
The game is basically composed by a series of "point A to point B missions", and although usually that's not the case, this time word linear gets a very positive meaning. This is a ride filled with adrenaline, and movie-like action, and every move on your way is worth it. If you're playing in a darkened room with your headset on, you're going to enjoy the overall feeling. It's pretty cool; the steam coming out of every broken pipe, the sparks from the malfunctioning electronics, the noises all around you as the monsters approach you are just few of the things that add up to the whole feeling of the game. The Sprawl allowed designers of Visceral to explore new types of environments, frosted glass walls of a church with very high ceiling and hot air stream of a subway station to the spacecraft views that is sometimes seen through the windows. The gameplay has not changed much since the original Dead Space, but the game never gets old, thanks to the bigger variety of weapons and powers. The camera is not bad, but the angling can be a bit tricky. You’ll get used to it pretty fast, but it can be frustrating at times. In the end, the overall impression is great.
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Interface & Controls
Once again, the HUD is integrated into the world. The health bar of Isaac is represented by lights in the back of his costume. The number of remaining ammunition in a weapon is indicated by a blue hologram out of his gun, which eliminates most of the interface and contribute to immerse the player in this dark and scary universe.
Dead Space 2 controls are great and movements are fluid. It's a great improvment since the keyboard and mouse control for the original Dead Space were not optimized. In fact, Dead Space 1 was optimized to play with a gamepad. This time, the developers at Visceral Games heard the players and made great controls for both the keyboard and the pad.
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The graphic engine used to develop Dead Space 2 is not revolutionary. There’s nothing you haven't seen already, but they do a pretty good job of holding the whole thing in a delicious coherent state where everything falls into a place, giving you a great gaming experience. The character design is really amazing. Isaac's suit looks great and the surroundings are very well designed. The necromorph are ugly as we like them. Nothing is really falling out of the picture and ruining the good experience. If we're to put it into one sentence we'd say: graphics are everything we expected, and nothing disappointed us, really.
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The music is everything it should be. It's unpredictable, original, and gives you chills at times. It’s especially true when you are in some stranded corridor, trying to figure out where to go, and you know that behind the next corner there probably will be seven Necros trying to suck you dry. The sound quality is great adds up to the whole realism of the game. In fact, all the sounds that Necromorphs produce are just epic.
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Dead Space 2 packs a multiplayer mode, but its flat. It is very basic and is not engaging at all. There are two teams of players: Necromorphs and Humans. The humans have an objective based on the map and the necromorphs need to stop the humans from completing the objective. Simple enough. Each mode of play bored me. Rush to an objective, live for as long as you can, and repeat. It is just isn't interesting no matter how many unlockables weapons and suits there are. In addition to that, some weapons are way too overpowered and you cannot customize your unlockables.
Necromorphs are weak and feel underpowered. No matter what strategy you take, it is hard to survive playing online as a necromorph. Often, the human you're targeting will back away and fire at you the whole time, and you'll die before having the possibility to melee him. Sneaking up on them might be another option, but in reality, the moment you are close enough to attack, they'll know where you are and you'll die pretty quickly and much sooner than they will.
There is a voice system integrated to online play, but it suffers from a bad design. Basically, the microphones are open for every players. The problem is: not every mic is equipped with a mute button and there is no ''push to talk' setting available. Some players who have a mute button doesn't know about it and some are not willing to use it. You can expect people screaming in the background, weird sounds, televisions and my personal favorite: 125 decibel pure white noise.
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Dead Space 2 doesn't requires a high-end gaming PC to be able to run. You do not need a jacked-up video card to be able to enjoy all the spookiness of The Sprawl. In fact, if you were able to play the original Dead Space, you shouldn't have any problem playing Dead Space 2. Here are the system requirements for the game:
- Processor: 2.8 GHz processor or equivalent
- Memory: 1 GB RAM (XP), 2 GB RAM (Vista or Windows 7)
- Hard Disk Space: At least 10GB of hard drive space for installation, plus additional space for saved games
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or better (7300, 7600 GS, and 8500 are below minimum system requirements), ATI X1600 Pro or better (X1300, X1300 Pro and HD2400 are below minimum system requirements), 256MB Video Card and Shader Model 3.0 required
- DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
- PEGI Rating: 18+
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We've waited, and got what we expected. Dead Space 2 gives you a great horror and action gaming experience. The story can be motivating, but the complete experience is what keeps you in. You want to play this game for the single player campaign. Do not expect much from the multiplayer mode. Dead Space 2 is a great quality game that can be challenging at times and that will certainly please a lot the gamers. If you liked the original Dead Space you got yourself a sequel and hours of new fun tearing up necromorphs on a very detailed and well realized space station. However, if you don't like horror games, you might be shocked by Dead Space 2 and might want to think and watch gameplay videos before buying it.
Dead Space 2 is probably the best survival-horror game of this generation. It is well-paced, scary and engage the player into an emotional story that is very unique. The quality of the single-player campaign and the replayability factors makes Dead Space 2 a must own for survival-horror fans.