Dead Space 2: Severed Preview

So long, Isaac. This downloadable content pack has a new hero.

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While the PlayStation 3 version of Dead Space 2 included a free copy of the well-received spin-off Dead Space: Extraction, the first downloadable content for EA's sci-fi horror sequel will forge an even tighter bond between the two stories. Dubbed Dead Space 2: Severed, this DLC tells the story of Gabe Weller, one of the central characters from Extraction, as he traverses through a variety of environments both brand new and familiar to those who've completed the Dead Space 2 story campaign. With the release slated for March 1, EA recently dropped by the GameSpot offices to give us a look at what's in store.

Gabe Weller will be fighting creepy baby necromorphs this time around.
Gabe Weller will be fighting creepy baby necromorphs this time around.

Besides a different suit and a decidedly more English accent, the biggest difference between Dead Space 2's protagonist Isaac Clarke and Severed's hero is Mr. Weller's occupation. Weller is a security guard, meaning his default weapon is a pulse rifle rather than an engineer's plasma cutter. This is a change that makes the DLC feel a bit more like an action-focused third-person shooter. In fact, Visceral Games producer Scott Probst was perfectly upfront in letting us know that Severed has been designed to be a more action-heavy experience than Dead Space 2. Zero-gravity moments and slow, subdued treks through the unknown have been replaced with necromorphs, necromorphs, and more necromorphs.

The story in Severed is a simple tale of a man trying to find a lady. In this case, it's Gabe Weller searching for Lexine Murdoch--another character you may recognize from Extraction. The only problem is that between those two are several hundred zombified aliens and a series of decrepit outer-space hellholes. The locales in this DLC pack offer a bit of the familiar and the new, with most of your trekking done in all-new locations but with the occasional crossover into areas that Isaac Clarke explored in the Dead Space 2 campaign.

At one point while we were playing, we managed to move from a dark, dreary Titan mining cave into a more wide-open industrial expanse with machinery and platforms. At first, it seemed like fortune was smiling upon us, going to an area with better visibility. But then, we began to think, "Oh, right. Weren't there like 900 necromorphs in this area in the campaign? Oh God, what's that noise?!" And you can probably guess what happened from there. So, maybe we were wrong. Maybe the environments aren't so much new and familiar as they're new and deja vu, mixed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gabe's default weapons and armor are a bit different from Isaac's.
Gabe's default weapons and armor are a bit different from Isaac's.

Altogether, the small chunk of Severed that we played did manage to feel like a more action-oriented affair than Dead Space 2. The enemies seemed to be more frequent, and there wasn't quite as much understated tension as certain parts of the Dead Space 2 campaign offered. But, ultimately, it still felt very much like Dead Space 2 because we were throwing enemies into stasis left and right while making sure their arms and legs came to an unfortunate end as soon as possible. In other words, there was the same core gameplay but with some new window dressings on top. The biggest sell has to do with just how interesting the story and characters are when determining whether this DLC is worth your $7. You can find that out for yourself when the DLC pack arrives on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network on March 1. Unfortunately, no word yet on a PC version.

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