Dead Space 2 - Xbox 360

Game Description: Dead Space 2 for Xbox 360 features the return of engineer turned alien-killer Isaac Clarke in this next installment of EA's survival horror series. Dead Space 2 features an exciting new collection of necromorphs that Isaac will have to battle.
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Dead Space 2 Preview: Necromorphs and More

Dead Space 2 Preview: Necromorphs and More

By Christopher Monfette - Posted Jan 06, 2011

There’s no denying that Dead Space is one of the great horror titles of this generation of gaming, a visually stunning and conceptually compelling exploration of sci-fi terror to rival the very best that Resident Evil or Silent Hill has yet to offer. As a lone engineer searching for his likely deceased lover on a derelict, alien-infested space vessel, there were more harrowing moments, sudden jump-scares and creative limb tearing in a single chapter than most games fit into their entire playtime. So it’s hardly a surprise that the acclaimed title earned itself a sequel.

We recently had the chance to go hands-on with the first few chapters of Dead Space 2 and we can definitively say that while the presentation and functionality remains the same, the title threatens to suffer from the common misconception that kills so many horror sequels: bigger is not always better. Set in a sprawling, residential space-station after a Necromorph outbreak, Dead Space 2 feels the immediate need to pull back the microscope on both the game’s setting and the mystery of the Marker, but at the cost of a few core components.


The game begins suddenly, and the opening moments – while not quite as explosive as in the original – are jarring to say the least. The station is over-run and Isaac is back, suffering now from hallucinations and the mental effects of his time battling the Marker in the first Dead Space. Soon, you’re corralled by a faceless stranger to head for safety, guided through a linear progression of hallways, junctions and commercial locations throughout the station. In our limited playtime, the environment never truly felt lived in and there were a ton of notably repeated textures and level lay-outs. We walked the same hallway a few dozen times at least, a problem that the smaller, more claustrophobic setting of the first game – ushering you from unique set piece to uniqe set piece – somehow managed to avoid.

That said, even if repetitious, the environments played host to a number of incredibly cinematic moments that have thusfar defined the series, including a sequence on a run-away mag-rail that finds Isaac sliding from car to car as the train plummets downward and then HALO jumping from one half of the vehicle to the other half far ahead. A few moments in the cathedrals of the Unitarian sector are equally involving while the sheer number of enemies thrown at you now skews the game slightly more action-oriented than its predecessor.


Players will likely have to adjust to the control scheme which requires that you balance the usage of your weapon’s primary and alt-fire modes, your limited stasis power and your unlimited kinesis ability far more than in the first title. The mechanics themselves are relatively the same, though using kinesis to thrust the severed limbs of your enemies back through their still-moving bodies is always a treat. Additionally, shops and work benches operate much the same, but don’t expect a bevy of new weapons in the first few chapters, though we’re told that flamethrowers, detonators and force guns are introduced later on…

There are distinctly more Necromorphs rushing you at any given time, flocking in different types with various attacks, so strategizing the use of your tech is a key element to surviving most of these encounters. Just bear in mind that if you see a large room ahead, or a long, receeding hallway, you’re about to be swarmed.


What little of the story is revealed in the first three chapters puts a greater focus on the Unitarian religion, the origins of the Marker and the apparition of Nicole, a great narrative motivator in the first game, but a potentially smirk-inducing, dead-girlfriend focus in the second. Thrust into a larger, more generic environment and provided more information than ever before, so much of the inescapable, unknowable quality that makes for good horror is stifled, though certainly not gone, from the early portion of the sequel. The game does, however, feel slightly more unnerving from a straight-forward action perspective, but it’s an unsettled feeling that can quickly give way to frustration as you die and die again, albeit in a number of gruesomely fantastic death animations.

While the visuals, mechanics and overall atmosphere are very much the same, there’s something about this early portion of Dead Space 2 that feels less terrifying and inspired as the original. While we’re still having a blast dismembering Necromorphs, we’re hopeful that the presentation can pull us into the terror as effectively as before…And also that in our apartments, nobody can hear you scream.


Comments are Closed

  • sweetANDRE3000

    it's just a preview. I'm not worried at all, because I'll be getting it regardless (just like everyone else here).

    Posted: January 19, 2011 1:42 PM
  • rectrik5

    I wasent really interested in the first one but the second really caught my atention the grafics look amazing and the whole story line seems intereting im certinly piking this one up wen i get the chance

    Posted: January 17, 2011 4:17 PM
  • Frank187

    I thought the first Dead Space was great. I just hope the trend continues, with the second one.

    Posted: January 13, 2011 11:48 AM
  • godzillaisyourdaddy

    This game looks and plays amazingly well from my time with the demo at home and Comic Con. Honestly, though, this game will not start the year off with a nuclear bomb like Mass Effect 2 did back in January 2010. Still looking forward to seeing this awesome horror shooter come out. There has barely been any good horror games out lately, FEAR 3 looks okay, the last two games were not impressive at all. I want a Condemned 3 already!

    Posted: January 7, 2011 9:24 AM
  • flipfreak

    the 4 player bata was like a left for dead rip off and i mean that in the best way i can will b buying this at mid night . if the single player is half as good as the ferst its worth the cash

    Posted: January 6, 2011 10:34 PM
  • P1rate

    This is a sequel I welcome with trembling open arms. The demo seemed to incorporate what the FEAR series does with scaring you along with original Deadspace elements and gameplay. I don't care for the multiplayer, got enough games groping for my time in that respect....

    Posted: January 6, 2011 2:22 PM
  • Cathartic Denoument

    @Christopher Monfette:

    Hmmm..You might be missing the point if you're going to directly compare/contrast DS2's terror delivery to DS1's.
    Visceral Games KNOWS that the dread/terror that they were able to achieve with the first one can no longer be exactly replicated for their 2nd installment.
    Hence their decision to tweak the pacing, by giving the player more "action" moments, to help you feel powerful & to release some of the built up tension; then the dread cycle starts to ramp back up again, making the terror build-up more effective.

    Hopefully, this is taken into consideration once the assigned reviewer reviews Dead Space 2. (And hopefully by a veteran reviewer)
    Otherwise, all I have to say to this Preview is..

    "A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections." - Joseph Addison

    [And this goes for EVERY G4 game reviewer (w|the exception of Adam, who seems to already know this aphorism).]

    Posted: January 6, 2011 2:03 PM
  • TrustFall

    I enjoyed the demo. It did feel more action oriented than the first one, but I liked that. Mowing down a swarm of necro-babies in the cathedral was pretty fun. The demos on PS3 at least, not sure about 360 I haven't checked.

    Posted: January 6, 2011 1:24 PM
  • gamer365

    god i cant wait for this game i have the collectors edition reserved at gamestop and i cant wait to get some mulitplayer on so i can be a necro. the first one was awesome and scared the crap out of me at the end. the second one looks great from what i have played, seen, and read i cant wait.
    just 3 more weeks

    Posted: January 6, 2011 1:00 PM
  • cracker1138

    when i heard about the mutliplayer i was sad and excited.... sad for i knew the singleplayer would suffer a bit, excited because hey this has to be the most original game and that makes for some original multiplayer. i am not that worried about it cause from all ive seen and played my faith is well placed :D

    Posted: January 6, 2011 10:41 AM
  • dukeletoatreides

    This review makes me a tiny bit nervous....but at the same time I kind of already knew that this may be more action driven than horror mystery driven like the first one. As Faber said in his reply Issac is no whipping boy in this one and has more control, knows more about whats going on (despite his hallucinations) and kicks more necromorph ass than the original. I can't wait for the 24th!

    Posted: January 6, 2011 9:30 AM
  • Dark_Samus2

    So am I the only person that didn't find Dead Space scary. It was a great game but it was about as scary as Toy Story. I just don't find how people find it scary. Try playing Doom 3 or Condemned: Criminal Origins, those are scary, Dead Space not so much.

    Posted: January 6, 2011 9:26 AM
  • Faber

    This is the first fairly neutral observation of dead space 2 that I've read or heard. Now, I am willing to admit that when i first read this preview i instantly thought that it was trying to say that dead space sucked, which in turn made want to write a scathing rant of how you are ridiculous. however, after reading it two or three times, i realized that I'm somewhat of a fanboy for dead space. You were merely pointing out what could be a setback for a game if it continues to follow the pacing of what you experienced while playing it. If that is indeed what your saying then that is understandable and I too would be nervous when i get my Collectors Edition on the of the 24th.

    Posted: January 6, 2011 6:27 AM
  • balto85

    I really enjoyed the first one, but for some reason, I'm not really that interested in the second one. I hope when it comes out, there will be something that will make this a must have. But especially after reading this article, I think I'm going to hold off and wait for the reviews first. I really hope that this is a great game. But I think I'm afraid of another Bioshock game, where the first one was great and original, but the second just feels like you spent $60 to play the first one all over again.

    Posted: January 6, 2011 4:19 AM