Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crazy Engineers and Space Zombies

Game: Dead Space 2

System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Release: January 2011

In Barack Obama's State of the Union, he urged Americans to praise the nerdy kids. Why? Because they're the ones who are going to grow up and solve all the worlds problems. So give more credit to those geeky engineers and scientists. Well Mr. President, Dead Space 2 took your message to heart.

Issac Clark is the most badass engineer I have ever seen. Not since Gordon Freeman has a dork endured so much action. Dragged through tunnels and hurled into space? No problem. Drill through a mine so you can crash into the sealed-off government section? Cinch! Impale a necromorph onto a glass window so it shatters and decompresses the room? Achievement unlocked!

Ok ok enough of the silly protagonist praising. Issac Clark returns in another adventure more fucked up then the last. He survived the events on the Ishimura just to wind up in a straitjacket. Instead of a ship he is trapped on the Sprawl, a densely populated metropolis built on a shard of Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Once again he has to differentiate between those who want to manipulate him and those who just want to get out alive. Once again the religious zealots are going nuts and trying to bring about a space zombie apocalypse. And once again it's up to Issac to destroy the Marker--source of all the bad juju.

Yes the plot follows the same pattern of the first game. This does not mean that the game is boring and repetitive. New characters and setting are more then enough to freshen things up. This cookie cutter plot is also well done thanks in part to Issac finding his voice, and well performed acting by non-playable characters.

The new gameplay mechanics are also rock solid. Kenesis returns from the first game with a new twist. The technique can be used to impale enemies with rods, spikes, or claws. New weapons also add to the carnage, but I found myself sticking to the Ripper and Plasma Cutter. The later has a new special ability that adds fire damage--sweet! The best change, however, is Issac no longer has to lunge in zero gravity. He now has thrusters that can easily move him around in any direction. This is truly a delight because the controls are so smooth, and the level design is well thought out.

Dead Space 2 is one of those games I can play again and again. The action is so intense that it literally leaves me on the edge of my seat. The story is not original, but it is very well executed. The added improvements to gameplay are awesome, and there is even a multiplayer that I haven't had a desire to play. I'm having too much fun with the single player. Snerts Snazzy Score grants Dead Space 2 the top honors--Full Price!

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