Dead Space 2
One of my favorite games of the last few years was EA’s Dead Space. It’s easy to describe this game…it’s survival horror on a spaceship. Think the video game equivalent of Aliens and Pandorum. Growing up on science-fiction, this game is perfectly in my ballpark. The set pieces are stunning, the sense of isolation is palpable, the weapons are futuristic yet still fit the aethetic developed by the game, and the aliens are frightening. I played Dead Space in the spring of 2009, and I was dumb enough to read the list of achievements ahead of time, so I purposefully played and beat the whole game using just the starting “pistol”, or plasma cutter. It made the game more challenging, and the achievement points were nice to receive, but I definitely missed out on using some of the cooler weapons the first time around. I’m planning on replaying the game, and this time I’m just going to go out all out.
I like horror in video games, but it has to be well done. Games such as Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead have never been truly scary to me, as most of the frights are based around impossible odds and limited resources, plus the occassional cheap jump scare. Alternatively, games like Fatal Frame, Eternal Darkness, and Dead Space are frightening in a different sense, that sense of isolation and your mind playing tricks on you. Then there are those “madness” type of games like The Suffering, where your character is going insane, and you aren’t certain of anything being real around you. Dead Space is situated between the three extremes, with an atmosphere that just “gets” me. There is that ammo conservation element, but the game will go long periods of time where you are alone in this beautiful environment, occassionally running into projections and memories that tweak your sense of reality.
If you own an Xbox 360 or PS3, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up the original Dead Space. I hear the Wii version, while a prequel, is equally as good.