Rating: Dig it!
Isaac Clarke is not a happy camper. Three years after he stopped the gruesome necromorph infestation of the USG Ishimura, he woke up in a straightjacket. His reward for saving humanity? Psychological damage, the locking away of his memories from the past three years, and disturbing, recurring visions. He finds himself on the Sprawl, a space metropolis built on Saturn’s moon, Titan. With a new necromorph outbreak spreading, Isaac has to harden his resolve and fight his way to the source of the outbreak if he wants to unlock his memories and save the day again.
Compared to the first game, “Dead Space 2”’s setup makes it clear that this next chapter is going to be a whole different animal. Many of the plot points are similar, with betrayal, a crazy cult and a sense that everything is out of control. The game play, however, takes a much different turn. Isaac feels less clunky than he did in the first game, and the controls feel much more polished and responsive. The pacing of the game is also markedly different. Rather than the constant nerve-shattering tension of the first "Dead Space," “Dead Space 2” allows moments of relief between climactic events, slowly building up to the next one.
Whether or not these changes are good or bad ultimately depends on how much you liked "Dead Space." The first game was notable for being unrelenting in its desire to make you jump, and "Dead Space 2" lets the slack off a bit. The game is still spooky, and uses masterful sound direction to create an oppressive and unwelcoming atmosphere. The gory, dismemberment-based combat system is still intact and works well coupled with the spiffy new controls. "Dead Space 2" is a tour-de-force of fear and storytelling, and that makes it a shoo-in for any gamer’s shelf.