The terror of the effulgent glow of the dark Saturn moon looming across the Sprawl is something so beautiful that it invokes not the sensation of awe but the opaque clamor of the Necromorphic terror in the crimson night. Visceral Games’ Dead Space 2 inculcates the pure uneasiness of plague matched with the horror of a never-ending life form unknown, crawling in the depths of bloody corridors and bloodless corpses abound. The gameplay has seen a parapsychological turn in the blend of peerless storyline narrative fused with terrifying action to create a title that is simply as scathing as the events of the first that befall the protagonist, Isaac Clarke. Multiplayer itself sees a Necromorph vs Human infestation battle arena that is enticing but lacks on some levels without taking away from what matters the most in the Dead Space 2 offering: storyline and single-player campaign gameplay. Dead Space 2 shatters the conceptions of the first title as more than just a third-person horror themed shooter in dimly lit areas of the USG Ishimura, and escapes to the depths of the source of the contagion: the staple of the Sprawl. Isaac Clarke’s body, mind, and unforgettably soul is maimed for life as he tries desperately to contain his composure and escape the Sprawl. The players will never escape the Sprawl, and will always see the images of their loved ones being eaten alive as I do every time I play this game. Dead Space 2 horrifies us, being simply a maddening experience that we never want to see end, and want to see end altogether too soon because our sanity and lives depend on it from the circles of the nightmares that befall us forever.
Dead Space 2 begins in 2511, 3 years after the events of the USG Ishimura. Man-kind is still struggling with resource attribution, and survival seems ultimately slim. The past may seem like a glimpse to players of the first title, but for Dead Space 2 protagonist Isaac Clarke, it is buried in memories. In 2508 mankind sought out new resources in the face of possible extinction. Enduring humans realized the only way to get resources were from the stars: newer planets and expeditions for research would be the only hope for survival with Earth’s resources almost diminished. The Concordance Extraction Corporation comes in invented the one ship to save humanity: the USG Ishimura. Isaac Clarke, an engineer system ship specialist onboard the USG Kellion, is sent out with other members of the small group in response to a distress signal sent out. When he arrives, the corridors are filled with blood and unknown creatures attack and splice half of the Kellion’s crew members, with almost all of the ship on which man-kind has its last hope is completely devoid of power and energy. The paralyzing facts become clear: these creatures are former crew members of the USG Ishimura, deformed and changed into blood-thirsty creatures. Isaac fights his way through the USG Ishimura, and barely escapes with his life. This is where Dead Space 2 begins. The story of Isaac Clarke is one which should not be detailed too heavily in terms of the second title, and for this reason all the narrative the players should know will be made evident in the asylum of the Sprawl and the dementia of the calamity with the Uniformity. We will not ruin it here but rather invite you to experience even the basic introduction yourselves after Dead Space.
Survival horror has found a new definition with Dead Space 2 for campaign gameplay alone. Dead Space 2 massacres a mark as a more engulfing version than the first title: primarily with the elimination of backtracking. Quite possibly one of the major deterrents of Dead Space had to be the backtracking, constantly traveling between different parts of the ships for continuity but mostly adding a form of repetition in the lack of substance between point A to point B. To bring the soporific nature of a dynamic adventure back into the roots of Dead Space 2 with sequel standards, newer objectives are sprinkled throughout the game along with shocking moments, a lot more twists and plot turns than the first narrative gameplay adventure. Necromorphs are everywhere, and moreover are further varied than seen before. Nostalgia and the lingering terror of memory are educed with the recurring Necromorph types. Infectors, Slashers, and Lurkers make a dynamic return but with more variants than the first. In retrospect, decompression is a fantastic use that builds upon the Zero-Gravity gameplay of the first title, making use of decompression and compression interpolate the sequences with Zero-Gravity to link diverse gameplay mechanics further by not relying on taking down enemies in special gravity boots alone but also strategy and timing along with oxygen outside the ship’s hull, all of which is more intense than ever.
Weapons within Dead Space 2’s campaign mode are all skillful, making the survival horror aspect eminent when fighting against bigger and more complex bosses to beat this time around than simply shooting big boil-spots on their bodies. Isaac Clarke has more versatility with differing kinds of weapons which are makeshift, and consist of an differing bolts, energy weapons, and various weapons utilizing stasis. All of these weapons account for the best part of the campaign gameplay: Dismemberment. Slicing arms and severing limbs brutally remains the paramount material thematic and gameplay mechanic, where the Necromorph threat must be taken out not just by a hail of gunfire, but precise aiming at different limbs. Regardless of where they are shot, they can adapt to the conditions of the environment and continue their multitudinous torture. Dead Space 2’s campaign enkindles the horror that brings Isaac Clarke to his knees and the throw-up out of the mouth of every single player that encounters the harrowing Necromorphs back from the dark and in the glow of the Sprawl’s windows, all of which cede a beautifully somniferous and putrid light in the dichotomy of the dark and undiscerning corridors of the merciless space station of the Sprawl.
Multiplayer is sadly the only lacking aspect of Dead Space 2, which is truly a shame for a title with so much promise but one that is not a huge hindrance for the game. Necromorph vs Security Officer/Human gameplay is an interesting concept, but one that does not work well to the strengths of the multiplayer, which could have easily delivered exceptionally more. Players essentially complete objective-based tasks. A team of four Sprawl Security Officers have to complete objectives such as arming bombs or securing areas while the Necromorph task is simply preventing this from happening, with a limited availability of the types of Necromorph enemy types. Multiplayer with Dead Space 2 is a welcome addition but can definitely benefit from online cooperative campaign modes without sacrificing Isaac Clarke’s loneliness factor as part of the insanity through having two equally deranged protagonists in a completely new multiplayer storyline. Clearly, Visceral Games made a half-effort attempt at multiplayer which is sad, but the replayability of the single-player campaign recompenses for this perturbation.
Dementia combined with a rage of insanity and cataclysm of singularity is highlighted in the inner-struggle of Isaac Clarke, a capricious and disturbed narrator protagonist. The single-player campaign is riddled with an amazing bundle that we wish lasted longer, as hard as it is to say that. The campaign lasted roughly 10 hours, and it left us wanting more rather than waiting for Dead Space 3. Multiplayer is a decent option for those wishing to play Dead Space 2 further, but most can definitely go without it and look to the single-player campaign as the cynosure of the action. Isaac Clarke has suffered and in turn we the observers and indirect interventionists to his unavoidable fate have suffered from the events of the USG Ishimura, now tormented by our own psyche. The pain is endless in the beams of the stars and the moon, and there is nothing left to do but hope for an end to the suffering of the night and how the moon makes us consume our doom. To remember our experiences in the Sprawl, a poem we wrote should be remembered: The splendor of Saturn’s moon Titan fills the skies; I am finally ready to die in the bloody corridors of the coruscating bleeding stars and their cruor-filled red lights.