Dead Space 2

There are many problems with this game.

It’s a completely superfluous sequel which makes the first game’s absolutely complete story slightly poorer by redoing bits we liked (why does my girlfriend look nothing like she did in the first game? – why does the silent protagonist keep talking?). It’s far less scary due an unfortunate difficulty curve. The lowest difficulty level removes almost all the tension by being a bit of cake-walk (which wouldn’t be a problem if there were a reasonable difficulty betwixt it and normal). There’s that bothersome phrase again too, the difficulty level is called ‘casual’.

High Quality Video Lo-fi Version

Can you even get a casual horror game?

Surely the atmosphere and tension parts which are intrinsic to horror would ruin a casual game experience. Then there’s normal which is painfully difficult, but worse than that, it’s a complete monster mash with lots and lots of player deaths. Due partially to the obnoxious difficulty, but also to the style of game-play. For example, there are some rooms in the game which are clearly designed for egress at the earliest possible moment. Ah, but I hear you ask, how do you know which rooms you stay and fight in and which rooms you run from? Why, if you get killed because the monsters don’t stop coming, then you should have probably left sooner.

Welcome to trial and error game-play.

What do we fear in horror games? Real fear, primal fear. We fear the dark, we fear pain, and we fear death. There is a theory (tried, tested, and true) that if one is flooded with the object of a phobia in a safe and controlled manner, then one ceases to be afraid. You’ve probably heard of it, Exposure Therapy (or Systematic Desensitisation). Imagine if there was a game, a horror game, where instead of using things like the threat of imminent death sparingly, carefully, to ratchet up the tension, it instead acted somewhat like a giant exposure session where you get killed over and over again in scripted, horrific ways with no real consequence and instead of wondering if there’s a monster around every corner, we know there’s a monster around every corner, even corners we’ve already been around. That game is of course, Dead Space 2.

Isaac looks over a balcony

Dead Space 2

Oh and multiplayer. Look, games industry, people who play games for their multiplayer are going to stick with multiplayer games for multiplayer. Do you see how that works? You aren’t going to attract them, they’re either going to play your multiplayer and ignore single, or just play the multiplayer. They are going to be impressed by neither.

I would recommend Dead Space 2 to those obnoxious people who like games based on their difficulty, the sort of person whose favourite music is chip tunes, who pretended to have heard of Scott Pilgrim before the film. You know who you are.

Why do I care though? Well, it could have been different, Dead Space 2 could have been a brilliant experience, it wouldn’t have even taken a lot, just a difficulty level betwixt casual and normal, less monsters, slightly more ammo and throwing away a few sequences that didn’t work. Maybe, what, up the interactivity a bit?

That’s all, 99% of the game would remain as is, and it would be awesome.

Please see a fuller review by Studious Octopus