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Dead Space 2, part 2

08/27/2011
Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2

Hard to believe it was back on January 14 that I first wrote about Dead Space 2 on this blog. Hard to believe I’ve been blogging this long, in fact…

But I’ve got an awesome announcement – I’ve finally beaten Dead Space 2!!

Which is strange, since I raved about it so much in my original blog post. And since then, I’ve been playing bits and pieces of it, normally 2-3 hours at a time, and loved every minute of it, but I’ve been playing other things in between those play sessions. Dead Space 2, while it would be a fun game to just quickly run through, was something that I wanted to savor every minute of. And part of enjoying it meant that I couldn’t play it on my regular TV, so I had to use my brother’s LED TV whenever he wasn’t around. So, between the desire to play multiple games and having the perfect set up to play it on, it’s taken some time.

But now I’ve finished Dead Space 2. I had some frustrations near the end, but that occurs with nearly every game I consider a classic (such as the Prince of Persia games). The ending was superb and left me eagerly looking forward to the third game, which will hopefully be the end of Isaac Clarke’s storyline, although I’m not opposed to more Dead Space games, and I like Isaac Clarke, but after a trilogy, it’s time for a new protagonist. The ending of Dead Space 2 also left me with the desire to play through both Dead Space games again, as well as check out any DLC. When that will happen, who knows; in my mind, let’s aim for two to three years when I will have my own LED TV, my own gaming setup, and hopefully my own apartment.

So was Dead Space 2 better than Dead Space 1? I’m not sure. Many aspects of Dead Space 2 improved upon the original game; there were more weapons, more enemy types, more interesting situations, etc. The twist at the end was not really something you saw coming but something you accepted as is the moment it occured; perhaps I just suspended my disbelief and didn’t try to predict the ending.

But there are several areas where I think the original is better than the sequel. For example, I think the environments in the first Dead Space were better, and the game subtly acknowledges this by having you visit many locations from the first game (with one part that is utterly frustrating and challenging, but in a good way). Few locations in Dead Space 2 rival the bridge from the original Dead Space, or the iconic docking bay at the start of the game. The key difference between games is the original is set on a space ship (think Star Destroyer from Star Wars mixed with 2001 Space Odyssey), while Dead Space 2 is set on a space station, such as Deep Space Nine.

Dead Space 2 is not a happy, cheerful, bunnies and kisses game. It’s pretty gory. Here’s a video showcasing all the many gruesome ways you can die.

My favorite death was the eyeball one. You strap yourself down into a machine and have to insert a needle into your eye which will enhance your brain or something. The first time I did it, I missed the target area, and the needle goes straight into your brain, making you convulse and bleed out. Successfully doing it is just as good, as the needle goes straight through your pupil, deposits the information you need, and then recedes. And your pulpil starts bleeding, you squeeze your eye shut, and a tear of blood runs down your face. Awesome. Do I play Dead Space 2 for the gore and violence? No, but I appreciate it being there and it helps sell the game and universe to me.

Dead Space 2 also did zero gravity scenarios better than the previous game. But I think many of the set pieces (or action moments) in this game were better. For instance, watching an exploding baby hug an unsuspecting woman and plastering the walls with both of their remains; or later on, visiting the children’s center of the space station and being attacked by dozens of exploding babies, especially at the assembly area / gymnasium. You have to control parts of a school play in order to proceed, with set pieces moving up and down on ropes and pulleys, and waves of enemies coming as you manipulate the stage. Fun sequence.

I think I like the ending to Dead Space 2 a little better as well. The first one expands the universe exponentially with it’s final revelations and ending, but this one was a bit more personal and hard won. And having a little section after the credits start to roll is really nice. Isaac Clarke wins the fight, accomplishes what he set out to do, and sits down, exhausted. The credits start to roll…and then his intercom interrupts his thoughts, and one final sequence plays out as he escapes the space station. Very gratifying.

I can’t really decide if Dead Space 2 is better than Dead Space. Parts are, parts aren’t. In many ways, not the least of which is that Isaac Clarke finally talks and has a personality beyond “silent engineer survives horrors”; if I were to go back to Dead Space, and I will eventually, I’d probably be a little annoyed that Isaac doesn’t talk at all. He was extremely well written in this second game, and I’d miss him in the first (despite playing as him, ironically). But Dead Space was unique in its setting and location, and was the grand invitation to this universe and game series.

Either way, both games are well deserving of any praise they get. I cannot recommend them enough to any fan of horror, science fiction, or survival games. Superb. I wish there were more games, books, and movies like this (such as Pandorum!).

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