on, admit it. There are times when you feel like the only answer is to
wreak carnage on a horde of undead, and then stomp on the pieces for good
measure. Dead Space 2 is perfect for those times.
The wreaking, however, takes second place to the running when you first
start. You wake in some sort of facility, constrained by a straightjacket,
to find all manner of unholy things pouring through the walls and the
ceilings. Given your current circumstances, running is about your only
option, but even that only gets you so far. Furious struggling will be
needed in order to find some relative calm behind a sliding steel door.
The wreaking is then initially moderate, a flashlight being a simple
method of bludgeoning, but not exactly conducive to large scale mayhem.
Body parts, though, can be rather good weapons, given the particularly
nasty parts on some of the things you will encounter. You will soon be
able to fling these about using a kinesis power, and the sharp serrated
claws of at least one creature make a rather impressive projectile. A
similar stasis module will enable you to slow things down, making them
easier to dispose of.
Fear not, though. Bigger and better weapons will be at hand, with all
manner of marvellous carnage capacity. You will undoubtedly have your
favourite, and will be able to “power up” its death-dealing ability, as
well as other aspects like its reload or recharge time. All of the weapons
that I came to like had a secondary fire function, which did some fun
things indeed. Skewering and electrocuting were among my favourites.
Then there is the stomping. Apart from turning bloody bits into bloody
pulp, and freeing up body parts for flinging, it can result in all sorts
of items becoming available. Searching bodies is so much more mundane than
a good stomp, so have at it.
“I found a friend of yours – he looks twitchy”
All of this wreaking and stomping
in Dead Space 2 takes place in the Sprawl, a vast and wonderfully
dark environment, built on a piece of one of Saturn’s moons. Overrun with
all manner of vile things, religious zealots, and an hysteria-inducing
artefact, your challenge as Isaac Clark is not helped by disturbing
visions of a dead girlfriend, visions that eventually become far more than
Graphically the game looks
sensational, and sound wise it's equally impressive. The horror atmosphere
is pretty high, and with headphones on and the lights dimmed you will
be scared more than once. Not everything that scares is scary – normal
sounds take on a whole new meaning in a dark and unforgiving place.
Zero gravity areas, free-falling through the
atmosphere, and various environmental struggles add to the interest and
the challenge as you endeavour to survive your way through the Sprawl.
They also heighten the intensity, with one plummet in particular
sending the heart racing. The numerous cutscenes add to the pounding,
and somewhere in the vicinity of 100 audio logs will flesh out the
storyline, as will encounters with a number of other characters. You
don’t need to have played the first Dead Space, but if you have,
you will have a greater appreciation for the plot.
But for me the exhilaration peak came
from the almost unrelenting waves of unspeakable things trying to do you
in. At times there will be one or two, more likely there will be many,
various of them respawning, puking acid, lobbing exploding sacs or just
scuttling about trying to bite your head off. Things leap off ceilings and
erupt from the walls, and many continue to attack in pieces, until totally
dismembered. One will run at you with great speed, attempting to do little
more than batter you to death through violent collisions. All are
delightfully icky, the small crawling childlike things being particularly
disturbing, along with the pregnant looking ones from which small fleshy
“You owe me an eye you **”
While the mayhem is cranked way
up, there are quieter moments, which allow for some breath-catching but
which also heighten the anticipation of the next inevitable onslaught.
Some places do require methodical searching and there are various
environmental puzzles to solve to move on. You also have to hack computers
in quite a few places (a relatively simple task unless under attack), and
complete a variety of other tasks, including performing eyeball surgery on
yourself without skewering your own head.
The screwdriver prelude
was a good lesson in how not to do it.
A save point is a godsend and
there are plenty of these (although not apparently in the Hard Core
difficulty level), and checkpoints (which are really autosaves) occur as
well. You will die a lot, whatever the difficulty setting, so make use of
the saves whenever you can. You will find automated dispensaries where you
can purchase ammunition, weaponry and armour, and workbenches where you
can upgrade or enhance your weapons and other gear by using power nodes
you find throughout the environment. Various stations can recharge things
like your stasis modules, your oxygen and your health, and all manner of
things can be found through judicious searching (and stomping).
You can acquire numerous
achievement trophies in Dead Space 2, awarded for more mundane-type
tasks like stomping ten containers (Romper Stomper) or purchasing the
advanced suit (Looking Good), to more creative endeavours such as killing
four enemies with a single ripper blade (Lawnmower Man) or impaling a
slasher with a slasher’s limb (Taste of Your Own Medicine). Getting to the
end will result in a Made Us Whole trophy, whatever the difficulty
setting, although completion at more difficult levels will result in
silver or even gold trophies.
I mentioned the Hard Core level.
You can play this only after you have completed the game once, and while
all the enemies are amped up and ammo and health at a premium, checkpoints
are disabled and you are only allowed to save three times. That was
probably about 100 times fewer than I needed.
If first person shooters are your
thing and you have a bent for horror survival, it’s hard to see how you
won’t enjoy Dead Space 2. I found it cathartic enjoyment from
beginning to end.
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
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