Following a short detour to the Wii, Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, Isaac Clarke returns to the consoles in Dead Space 2. Visceral Games is promising new terrors while also making you feel like a badass, and the footage so far seems to stick with that sentiment. A few days ago, the demo for the game hit the XBL Marketplace and PSN and I got a chance to try it. Here’s what I think.
The weapons kick butt. Right off the gate you start out with the Ripper, a shotgun, the Javelin, and an assault rifle. Like in the original, each weapon has their own alternate fire for you to discover. Pretty much any of the weapons, when combined with the Statis ability, will decimate enemies with no trouble, so long as you keep an eye on your Stasis meter and ammo count.
Enemies look sick in the best way. Props have to go to the art team for creating some disturbing looking Necromorphs. The way they lumber/crawl towards you with a guttural roar is geniunely disturbing, and having to face them all at once certainly ups the scare factor.
The game will definitely get surreal. Early on, there’s a small bit that really plays with Isaac’s perception of the world after touching the Marker from the first game. I’m hoping that we get more instances like that in the final build.
Isaac’s new suit looks awesome. It’s for free and available at about midway through the demo. If you have no love towards his old suit, you should like this one guaranteed. Can’t wait to see what other suits we can unlock for him.
Isaac speaks! This may sound minor, but it’s nice to know that underneath all that armor there’s a flesh and blood person. His voice is a little meh (there wasn’t enough dialogue to get a good feel for it), but it’s still a positive step towards making a fully fleshed out character.
Much as I praised the Necromorphs getting all up in your grill, it can be really frustrating as well. After fighting off the Necromorph with the giant tentacle, I had to go up against a horde of Necromorph kids, which was equal parts adorable and messed up. What that segment basically amounted to was me repeating that encounter about five times due to it being practically an endless horde that cost me most of my ammo. It got so bad that the game actually set me at a checkpoint ahead, where I again got sliced up three times before restarting the demo completely and doing much better. And keep in mind, this was on the Normal difficulty.
The intro cinematic at the start of the demo is not so hot. The narrator essentially sums up the events of the Red Marker, the first game, and presumably Extraction (which I haven’t played). It goes on longer than it needs to, and the narrator refers to himself at one point, as though gamers are supposed to know who he is. It is skippable, but if you didn’t play or finish the first Dead Space, you’ll be completely lost by doing so.
It’s basically the demo they showed from E3 earlier this year. If you’re fine with that, okay, but if not, them’s the brakes. It even ends like the E3 demo did (the one that wasn’t at the Playstation conference).
Criticism aside, Dead Space 2 looks to be more of the same Dead Space gamers have come to know and love over the past two years. You can pick it up at your local retailer on January 25, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.