Dead Space 2

WADE MANNS – The Corsair

By Visceral Games and Electronic Arts

Genre: Third-person survival horror, objective-based multiplayer

Players: Single-player, or up to 8 over EA’s servers

Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

Ready to get the mining suit scared off you yet again? Then strap in and start up this sequel to one of the most horrific games seen recently.

After three years, Isaac Clarke has resurfaced in the Sol system. After his adventures on and around the formerly forbidden world of Aegis VII, where the planet-cracker ship USG Ishimura played host to unspeakable horrors known as Necromorphs, Isaac was discovered to have been infected by the man-made Marker, which seemed to spawn these so-called alien monstrosities, with a self-replicating signal; the resulting dementia makes Isaac’s hallucinations worse than ever and will eventually kill him if he does not reach the resistance leader Daina, somewhere on Titan Station orbiting the moon of Saturn.

You get an awkward (in a horrifyingly good way) gameplay shift at the beginning; being committed to the asylum on the Station, you’re bound by a straitjacket and must evade the invading Necromorphs until you can get free. You regain the use of your powers of Stasis (which enables you to slow an object or enemy to a near crawl) and Kinesis (which lets you pick up any loose object and fling it as a weapon) through specific events near the beginning of the game; and once you step into your familiar suit, you’ll feel right at home.

The morphing of your fellow humans into the ravenous, unthinking Necromorphs is more hideous than ever; the first person you meet and who tries to help you, rousing you from a drug-induced slumber in the asylum, is impaled with extreme prejudice right before your eyes, and you watch every detail as poor Marco, Daina’s hapless emissary (and protagonist of the in-between game Dead Space Ignition for Xbox LIVE Arcade), is transformed into the demon who immediately tries to kill you. And you can’t fight back; you’re still bound.

The fact that Isaac now speaks on a regular basis forges an emotional attachment such that you more readily experience his trauma, pain and horror along with him. The other characters are voiced just as well.

Multiplayer is a new experience to the Dead Space franchise, bringing with it the opportunity to fight as an engineer much like Isaac himself, or become one of several Necromorphs which try to take the Engineer team down. Gameplay is objective based; the Engineers must take steps throughout each level to contain or destroy the Necros, while the Necros themselves must prevent the Engineers from accomplishing their goals. You choose one of four classes of Necro when you choose to play as one, from hardy, strong types to wall-walking tentacled creatures. One thing about multiplayer, though: you must use an access code to unlock it fully, so keep that in mind if you choose to rent it or buy it used, as the provided code may have already been entered and thus be useless.

All in all, a wonderful, scary game, full of both shock moments and psychological horror just like the first. Five out of five stars!

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