Dead Space 2

Dead-Space-2_LIMITED_US_ESRB_PS3Date Completed: May 9th, 2016

I pre-ordered Dead Space 2 because the PS3 ‘Limited Edition’ included a free copy of Dead Space Extraction and I was lead to believe that supply of ‘Limited Edition’ versions would be ‘Limited’.  According to Wikipedia launch date was January 25th, 2011 so I’ve been sitting on this game for over 5 years.  The current price on eBay for the ‘Limited’ version is between 5-10 dollars, or roughly a 92% discount.  Since performing this calculation I’ve been wondering what kinds of things my 2011 self would have done with that money if I’d waited to buy the game until I was ready to play it.  I think the honest answer is that I would have blown it all on some random junk on eBay and my life wouldn’t be any different than it is now but I suppose we’ll never know for sure.

Unfortunately the release of the Dead Space games coincided with the arrival of children in the family so I’ve been unable to play Mature games with any regularity for many years now.  I played Dead Space 2 in short spurts for over 5 months sneaking time whenever my wife went to bed early or the kids happened to be elsewhere.  Most sessions were about an hour long which was usually enough to complete a chapter (of which there are 15) although some chapters took longer.

I don’t play many games that are especially gory so I was a bit shocked at first when I started the game.  When your main character dies the animation is as horrifying as possible.  Rarely if ever was my head still attached to my body after an encounter with necromorphs (Space Zombies).  Some of the evil space zombies cause you to vomit yourself to death, detonate your body into half-a-dozen pieces or simply impale you multiple times just for the fun of it.  I was a bit uncomfortable with the level of gore at first but eventually I became desensitized and began to find the extended death scenes more irritating that horrifying.  I died A LOT and some of the death animations are quite long.  If I suspected that I was on a collision course with a lengthy death animation scene I would often find a way to kill myself quickly so I wouldn’t be forced to see myself slowly mutilated.

I was constantly out of ammo and health through the entire game.  In one memorable scene I had 4 bullets to kill six enemies and no way to restore an earlier save point.  Getting through this section alone may have doubled my total play time.  After slogging through about half the game I resorted to using a walkthrough so I could find all of the hidden diamond semi-conductors ($$$) and buy some ammo.

Dead Space 2’s gameplay isn’t particularly unique or mind blowing but it is fun.  What I’ve always enjoyed most about this series is how your character appears to be going slowly insane while plowing through a story full of wacky cultists and space zombies.  Dead Space 2 builds on the story of the first game in a very satisfying way and while I don’t consider this to be one of my ‘go-to’ genres I really enjoyed the game.

The last thing I want to mention is that I think I triggered a bug in the final shootout and somehow managed to beat the game when I should have died.  I replayed that last battle many, many times because I rushed the last chapter and didn’t have enough health or ammo left at the end of it to make a decent go of it.  I decided one more try and then I’d give up for the night and re-load my previous save and then something weird happened and suddenly the credits were rolling.  It may not be the normal way to beat the game, but I’ll take it!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  18 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Third-Person Shooter



Dead Space

I have a bit of a problem with self control when it comes to purchasing video games.  When I found this particular game heavily discounted there was no way I could pass it up, even though I really didn’t know anything about it.  After sitting on my shelf for awhile I finally got around to playing it and I am glad I did.  It is a lot of fun.

While playing the game I was often reminded of several different outer space based horror movies.  Unfortunately this meant that I was not allowed to play the game while my wife or children were present.  The game does an amazing job setting the ambiance.  Lighting effects, sound effects, cut scenes and plot development all come together amazingly well to create one of the most legitimately creepy video games I have played in a long time.

One interesting mechanic is that there is no way to recover your health except with medical packs you’ll find.  There are only a certain number of these on the ship, and while I never ran out of them I was always careful to use them sparingly.

Enemies can be killed with head shots or body shots, but the most effective way of killing them is by shooting off their limbs.  This is a different mechanic from every other game in the history of the world and it turns out to be pretty important because of the limited amount of ammunition available.  I was constantly running low on ammo so I had to be very careful with my shots.

The only problem I had with the game was that enemies kept dropping behind me.  There are vents all over the ship that the bad guys can use to travel around and they will often drop through a vent behind you, even when you think you’re in a nice safe supply closet.  I suppose the designers did this to force you to keep moving but I found it to be highly irritating.

Overall I really enjoyed playing the game and I am looking forward to the sequel, which I have already purchased.

* Excellent use of Sound / Lighting / Cut Scenes
* Scary

Cons* Relies on the ‘Something is behind you!’ mechanic a bit too much.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length: 15 hours
System: PS3
Genre: Third Person Shooter / Survival Horror