Dead Space 2 Updated Hands-On

Luckless engineer Isaac Clarke is knee-deep in necros once more, as we wade through the first two hours of Dead Space 2.

Poor Isaac Clarke scraped through the events of Dead Space only to wind up on Titan with barely time to pull on his new RIG before wading into a fresh host of necromorphs. The gruesome space zombies abound on Titan Station, where Isaac is caught between the twisted Church of Unitology and a corporation out to exploit the madness-inducing Marker artefact, all while being tormented by an apparition of his late girlfriend. Poor Isaac Clarke.

Get up close and personal with your favorite necros.

Titan Station, a colony on Saturn's largest moon, is overrun with fleshy abominations even before our luckless engineer escapes the hospital in which he awakes. In the first couple of hours of the game, we steered him through apartment complex Titan Heights and onto a train; then, one train wreck later, through a shopping concourse, a zero-gravity garbage compactor, the Unitology Recruitment Centre, and into the creepily opulent Church of Unitology itself.

As a civilian settlement, Titan Station makes for environments that contrast with those of the spaceship-set first game; though the spaces are still mostly enclosed and corridor heavy, they include compact apartments, laundrettes, shops, and an elementary school, with the pupils of the latter reborn as screeching infant demons. Areas are occasionally linked by claustrophobic vents through which Isaac has to crawl. On other occasions, he draws on his engineering experience to hack electronics, represented by an analog stick-twiddling minigame. The halls are decked with gore and spidery alien scrawl, but beyond the windows, the station is practically scenic: a gleaming space-cityscape with Blade Runner-esque vehicles to match the "futuristic" electronic signage inside.

Team necromorph has diversified since the first game, counting spitting and vomiting horrors among its ranks, as well as the demonic kids and the classic, stabby variety. Some creatures resemble heads with tentacles, while others feature explosive yellowish growths to avoid while you're going about strategically dismembering them. Otherwise, dismemberment is still the way to go, and to that end, there's the usual plasma cutter with vertical-to-horizontal alternate fire mode, which is best used in conjunction with the slow-motion stasis power, plus a satisfyingly destructive pulse rifle coupled with grenades. There's also the powerful line gun, like a plasma cutter with a wider spray, that plants mines in its alternate fire mode, and there's the javelin gun, whose spikes can be remotely electrified. Weapons can be purchased from the automated stores dotted around the station and upgraded with upgrade nodes at workbenches, as can the new, nimbler-looking RIG exosuit.

Zero-gravity movement, encountered a couple of times in the first few chapters, has Isaac launching, landing, and boosting--flying, that is--through slowly drifting debris, with floating globules of water a nice visual addition. One zero-g segment takes place inside a powered-down waste unit, while another takes place inside the huge Church of Unitology complex, after disabling the spinning rings of a gravity generator. Those Unitologists don't lack funding--the complex is packed with lavish studies and training rooms; around a gift shop and vast cathedral hall, atop a network of frozen crypts; and all scattered with sly, parodic pokes at Scientology.

The cathedral is the stage for a face-off with a giant clawed necromorph and The Pack (the kiddie demons) that may be familiar from trailers and the demo. That is one of the action-focused beats that break up the slower, creepier traversing of the station, but it's not as extended or spectacular as the train set piece. In this, we fought necromorphs on a moving train that became a crashing, falling train--with Isaac dropping through the carriages, blasting necros as he went. Other action beats are based on explosive decompression; a window is broken, giving you seconds to shoot an emergency switch before Isaac is sucked out into space.

Isaac Clarke….sliding?

Along with the action, there are the subtler scares, with lights failing and elevators halting in readiness for nasties to leap out of vents. The impressively unsettling ambient sound and contextually triggered music returns from the first game: whispers, giggles, spooky distant lullabies, crying behind locked doors, breathing inside the RIG helmet, occasionally punctuated with tense orchestral stings. The nightmare soundscape of real and imagined noises heightens the impression of Isaac's tattered sanity; some of the most sinister moments aren't playable but are flashes of hallucination, mostly starring the girlfriend-turned-demonic-tormentor.

For Isaac Clarke, then, things only go from bad to worse. It's just as well--you couldn't base a Dead Space 2 on pottering about in early, stress-related retirement. The game launches on January 25 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and there's a console demo available now.

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224 comments
Sweendrix
Sweendrix

@The_Wii_Lover - I agree that Uncharted 2 was very good but the game did not have me literally jumping out of my seat, peaking around every corner, or elevate my heart rate quite as often as the original Dead Space. I have Red Dead Redemption, Dead Space, and Uncharted 2 as my favorites for best single player experience this generation. Black Ops, God of War 3, Metal Gear Sold 4, Modern Warfare, the original Gears, and Super Mario Galaxy are all honorable mentions but nothing really touches Red Dead or Dead Space. That's just my opinion...everyone has different taste.

hekenawang
hekenawang

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hekenawang
hekenawang

how will this one be rated if compared with METRO 2033?

Dannez
Dannez

Subterfuge71 Sir! The pack is a bunch of sissies, use the automatic rifle to send them back to moma. Some weapons are more effective against some enemies, while some just will give you a hard time. So don't give up yet, try it again, pre-order the game and prepare yourself. I believe in you ^^

CabooseGrif
CabooseGrif

Question of the Universe: If you hit a VIVA PINATA does Candy come out?

justirize
justirize

looks like this game is cool and addictive,and also...SCARY. cant wait for this game

Subterfuge71
Subterfuge71

For hardcore gamers, Dead Space 2 will be great, but the ridiculously high difficulty level will put off the casual gamer like myself. I've just played the demo, which is set on Normal difficulty, and i couldn't get past the Pack in the Cathederal. It's a damn shame that the developers have made it so difficult.

Leefx
Leefx

This is gonna be awesome, Dead Space was a minter I think I'll have a quick last run through it before 2.....lights off surround sound headset on volume up eyes alert ears pricked sweating starts......heart stops! hehe cant wait.

wkociol
wkociol

This game scared the crap out of me. Seriously, I barely made it through demo. No way I'm playing it.

turpsicon
turpsicon

I wonder if Visceral have considered putting in quick turn in this game?

Jimbowesker
Jimbowesker

As long as they can keep the scare factor up like they did in the first, this will be a MUST!! Can't wait!!

Rummy500
Rummy500

Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what are. Haha Awesome.

Gcallel
Gcallel

Boy oh boy I just don't see the time to play this little precious heart attack giving game! =]

firgie
firgie

play at midnight..turn the light off..play on pc..put the headphone..and see how creepy this game is. the previous DS give me a heart attack lol :P

blisster22
blisster22

@mw2hardcore: that's the point. it's a survival horror game and they make it more nerve-wracking by giving you a very limited amount of ammo so you have to conserve it

Cripper73
Cripper73

It would be nice to get off of the head-to-head multiplayer band wagon and realize head-to-head multiplayer doesn't fit with a survival horror genre as much as other games. It would have been great to have multiplayer co-op as they did in splinter cell which would build up to the single player campaign...oh well wishful thinking I guess.....

mw2hardcore
mw2hardcore

well.i don't know.i played the game at my friends house.i don't know if he was an amatuer or the game was hard.all i know he never had ammo!! sometimes two or three magazines!maybe i buy this game. the 4 playerco-op trailer online i saw seemed promising!

h3ydrich
h3ydrich

cmon cant EA release this a few days earlier?? Bring it on

Notelessinferno
Notelessinferno

only a few more days.....can't wait. The demo was promising but a little weird and a bit more flashy than the last game. i don't hope they overdo it because the first game was perfect and not "to much".

eddieMX07
eddieMX07

I'm really looking forward to this game. I was planning on preordering this but now thinking its too late since it will be out by the end of the month. Anyway, I hope it offers new experiences and doesn't feel I already play it before. Still the story is enough to hook me..

Samcro810
Samcro810

I loved the first game, and the demo to Dead Space 2 was very promising.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

Looking forward to this game. I sincerely hope they make a ton of money so they can continue the franchise. The first game didn't do too well because there were too many games being launched at the time it was released. I'm definitely planning on getting the pc collector's edition.

Gollum_85
Gollum_85

Looks pretty good. First one was creepy, i'm downloading the demo just now. Taking ages!!

bluehawk-55
bluehawk-55

the first one was epic, one of the best games ever, an example how to make a good video game.

ecw1983
ecw1983

Buying this one on PC. 2011 is going to be epic for PC gaming oh and NHL2k12 PC..... Whoop

pollito13
pollito13

Exgirlfriend turned demon? Bah no need for a science fiction game to find that!

mrouzi
mrouzi

The 1:st part is one of the best games i´v played and look forward the 2:nd!!!! greate game!

VenoMut
VenoMut

can't wait can't wait can't wait . . .

itsBATTLESUIT
itsBATTLESUIT

The demo was absolute garbage to the point of embarrassment. Upon walking through the same identical freezer room for the third time, I exited the demo. I cancelled my preorder the next day. Not worth my time.

plainpain93
plainpain93

DANG!!! i want this so bad... when i got this game i'm going to play it at the midnight with all lights turned off.. :p

Hunterjuggz
Hunterjuggz

With every update I read the more I want this title! The first rocked the front out of my xbox, this is going to be sooooo good!!

UberGoku
UberGoku

I finished the 1st Dead Space with the 100% of the achievements. I can't wait to put my hands on Dead Space 2! Awesome game? Naaaaa! EPIC it's the right word!

joodas
joodas

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

AkhilAnilkumar
AkhilAnilkumar

I just want someone to somehow know how awesome this game is gong to be cause that is the only thing i am caring about right now.

--__-
--__-

While I wouldn't say it's as scary as Amesnia, I would say it's most definitely just as fun if not more so.

CaptainAhab13
CaptainAhab13

This and Amnesia: The Dark Descent will have given me enough chills for a year.

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

the demo is epic! no matter how im buying it...for ps3 of course

Fogshie7277
Fogshie7277

One of the amazing sequels of 2011. Others being Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3, no Call of Duty this year. :)

gorijanmikic
gorijanmikic

come one bring dead space 2 to uss i cant wait any more

joet1973
joet1973

I love child-zombies. The elementary school in the first Silent Hill gave me chills I'll never forget.

7Deuce
7Deuce

Only game I know, which is more scary than Amnesia: Dark Descent. The first one was epic.