Dead Space 2 review

The tension never lets up in this spectacular sequel

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This connection is really facilitated by Isaac finally using his vocal cords. The whole silent hero thing was cool the first time, but now Isaac is a more active part of his own adventure. Instead of the repetitive nature of the original, as Isaac is told to travel to some new area to fix something else, he talks over decisions with whoever is telling him where to go, or he just decides on his own what to do next. Isaac won’t make a Top 7 list of most engrossing characters, but his characterization was easily good enough to keep us interested.

Above: Isaac has some personal baggage he needs to deal with

Isaac’s tale is about internal and external struggle as he slowly has to deal with his issues from the original. This usually manifests itself in pretty clever ways (see above), even if it gets a little repetitive towards the end. However, by that conclusion you feel like something really happened, which is a nice variation as part twos these days seem more interested in setting up part three than telling a good narrative. Here you’ll get a complete story, disregarding some Metal Gear-style teasers at the very end of the credits.

Be scared together

The campaign is a very fulfilling experience, one you’ll probably feel compelled to give a second run as soon as you beat it the first time, but that’s not enough in today’s game economy. Dead Space 2 adds the requisite multiplayer, which fortunately Visceral didn’t treat like an afterthought. With a set-up that works so well for Left 4 Dead, the online battles are based around four-on-four, humans versus monsters battles.

That may seem a little limiting, but just as concentrating on a great linear story helped the campaign, keeping the multiplayer focused to a handful of maps keeps the gameplay quality high. Human teams have set goals to complete in each map and are the more powerful side, but the Necromorphs just need to keep killing the humans to win and they respawn much faster. We had a fair share of intense fights online, and could see it being more than just a distraction. Though it almost certainly won’t get the following of Call of Duty, it’s tasty gravy on top of a great package.

Is it better than%26hellip;

Dead Space? Yes. It doesn’t put the original to shame, but it addressed of the few complaints, somewhat brightened the at times oppressively dark tone, and has some pretty nice multiplayer on top of that. Plus Dead Space 2 is a little clearer in its storytelling, not demanding you read up on tons of ancillary information to grasp the universe.

Resident Evil 5? Yes. Aside from the forum-baiting, “you can shoot a gun and walk at the same time in Dead Space 2,” DS2 just feels more modern. It understands the changes to games that have happened and tries to innovate, whereas RE5, while fun, felt like a half-step of progress at best.

BioShock 2? No, but it’s pretty close. Personally we find DS2’s multiplayer more compelling, but BioShock 2 was just a little bit better overall. The characters were more interesting, the shooter gameplay more varied, our emotional connection to the story deeper, and BioShock 2’s quality was more of a pleasant surprise.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Keeping almost everything that made the original great while taking suitable steps to amp up the fun, Dead Space 2 will please boththe series’ fans and those just starting with this haunting adventure.

Jan 25, 2011

More info

UK censor rating"18+","18+","18+","18+"
Franchise nameDead Space
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature"
Platform"Xbox 360","PS3","PC","iPhone"
UK franchise nameDead Space
DescriptionKeeping almost everything that made the original great while taking suitable steps to amp up the fun, Dead Space 2 will please both the series’ fans and those just starting with this haunting adventure.
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.