Isaac Clarke returns in macabre ‘Dead Space 2’

GAME: “Dead Space 2”
MAKER: Visceral Games
RELEASE DATE: Jan. 25, 2011

“Dead Space 2” wants you to be a lifeless heap of bloody flesh. It will make the player cry and possibly throw their controller at their TV screen. “Dead Space 2” is also extremely good. It’s one of the best action/horror games to come around in awhile.

While “horror” is a loose term, the game creates a tense atmosphere for players to walk around in. From the memorable opening, where the guy who saves you becomes a Necromorph in front of you, to the insanely hard final two chapters, “Dead Space 2” wants your face for breakfast.

The game picks up with Isaac Clarke in a straight jacket on a space station on Saturn’s moon Titan, called “The Sprawl.” Following this is a harrowing escape to the other parts of the psych ward, and an interesting segment on gaining weapons. To get the plasma cutter, Isaac removes it from someone on the operating table to save him, only to have the person killed a moment later by a Necromorph.

However, Isaac is not totally well in the head after the events of the first game; he’s plagued by the ghost of his dead girlfriend, Nicole.

Isaac runs through schools, hospitals, mines, and even shopping malls fighting through hordes of enemies. Never once does the game relent, allowing the player’s imagination to create the real fear that is experienced. Couple this with stellar audio work and some of the best voice acting around, and the atmosphere is always insanely tense.

The game also sports a lot of humor, which was absent in the first title. The parts that are funny border on the macabre. Is this an issue? Not at all; in fact, it progresses and adds that human element to the plot.

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In all, the title delivers on the atmosphere and all things tense. The downside is that the game will throw ridiculous curve balls at the player, almost arbitrarily.

“Dead Space 2” excels on all fronts, and even adds some humor to round out the experience. The only complaint is that the game is soul crushingly hard at times; other than that, players can expect an amazing package that’s well worth the price of admission.