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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dead Space 2

            As I have mentioned in my previous posts, the horror genera is one that has gone drastically downhill and even the survival-horror genera of video games has grown a bit stale.  However, I also mentioned in my Dead Space review that this game had a chance of reviving the genera.  As a result, my expectations for Dead Space 2 were through the roof and I was honestly expecting it to be better than the first.  Unfortunately, it took me a long time to get around to playing this game as other games seemed more important and it never struck me as being a game worth sixty bucks.  But at long last, I have finally beaten this game and am ready to write my review on it.  This is The Illusive One's Review of Dead Space 2.

The Plot

            The game takes place about three years after the end of the first game and Isaac has been locked in an insane asylum in a city called the Titan Station on Saturn's largest moon.  After being in a state of a near drug induced coma, Isaac completely regains his senses when the station is attacked by necromorphs and Isaac once again finds himself in a fight for survival.
            On the positive side, the plot was as much about what was going on in Isaac’s head as much as it was about his survival.  Apparently he is suffering from a deadly form dementia due to his exposes to the Marker in the first game.  This makes him see a hallucination of his dead girlfriend Nicole who constantly tries to make him kill himself and spews vague lines.  I felt it was a great element to add to the plot and was the best thing about it. 
            However, that's where the novelty of the plot ends.  When you take out the physiological battle it's just another survival horror game.  The goal of this game is just to destroy the Marker that has been built on Titan Station and thereby destroying the Necromorphs.  Even though the plot of the first game was beyond clichéd, it had a novelty to it that sequels can rarely match and they failed to in this one.  Not to mention, the story in the first game was a lot more driven.  You were constantly reacting to events in order to survive while this game never had the same sense of rush to it.
            What else can I say?  It had a great physiological quality to it but wasn't a very driven story.

The Gameplay

            This was where the game really dropped the ball, as the gameplay was exactly the same as the previous game.  The weapons were the same, the enemies were mostly the same, the upgrades were the same and most of the other gameplay elements were the same.
            While the dismembering of enemies was the same stuff we saw in the previous game it was just as fun.  The enemies also had a larger variety to them and had a few cool boss fights with necromorphs the size of King Kong.  There were also a lot of good environment puzzles that call on Isaac’s engineering skills to solve.  They were challenging enough to make you think but not difficult enough to make you want chuck your controller across the wall, (unless you’re a complete retard).  There were also a lot of good uses of the environment for combat.  Most notably, they make you aware that you're in space and a single blown airlock can mean the end of you.  The last to mention in this area are the graphics and were they great.  The developers vastly improved them and there was so much attention to detail and to the little things like the wiring in the walls.  Who honestly takes the time to make that part of the environments?  The developers of this game.  That's who and they're great.
            The main problem with the general gameplay, however, is that it just seemed like more of Dead Space.  They added a few things but it just wasn't as mind blowing as it was in the first game.  I also couldn't help but feel that the enemies were a lot easier to kill.  I'm not exactly sure why but they didn't strike me as being as challenging.
            All around, the gameplay had its ups and downs but ultimately just felt like more of the first game.

The Characters

            With the first game, the characters were beyond clichéd, boring and I didn't have much to say about them.  These characters, however, were different.  For starters, you have Isaac who actually had a voice in this game and it worked really well.  He was a character who was going insane, knew it, and was desperately trying to keep a hold of his sanity while trying to survive the outbreak. 
            You also had a pretty good cast of supporting characters as well who were entertaining in different ways.  Nicole was a constant and almost scary threat and you never knew when she was going to pop out and you were never sure if she was trying to help Isaac or trying to kill him.  Once, again, she made for a great physiological battle for Isaac and kept you on your toes.  Ellie was also a very entertaining character.  She was tough, funny, and a character you got attached to.  Not to mention she is probably the only character I've ever seen to have her eye ripped out, got up to fight the ass hole who tore it out, and had the energy to yell “You owe me and eye!” at Isaac.  That's pretty badass.
            You also had an insanely unpredictable character in Nolan who was suffering from the same form of dementia as Isaac.  There isn't much else to say about him other then he kept you on your toes throughout the game.  The character of Daina was good for what she was but her time was too limited for the player to develop a love or hatred of her.  Surprisingly, I found the main antagonist, Tiedemann, to be a pretty interesting character.  He's got all the clichés of the nut job who thinks the aliens mean salvation but is revealed to be a believable character as well.
            All around, the characters of this game were great, especially for this genera and I have nothing negative to say about them.

The Verdict

            All around, I have to say this game had a lot of improvements over the first game but I felt it came up a little short.  Granted I have played a lot worse video game sequels but this one just struck me as being more of the first game with better graphics, character, with a duller plot and less difficult enemies.  It just failed to leave as much of an impression.  But still, most of my criticism comes from comparing it to the first game.  Granted, the plot is still dull but if you take the first game out of the equation, it's a kickass survival-horror game and a lot better then those that have come out in recent years.  If you liked the first game, you'll definitely like this one but it won't impact you the same way.  If you're not familiar with the franchise, definitely check this one out because it's worth any gamer/horror fan's time. 

All Around

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