In space, no one can hear you scream
by Aaron Chatha
Turn off the lights, turn on the sound and make sure the batteries in the controller are full. Also, a change of underwear might not be a bad idea.
Dead Space 2 is out for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and it’s even scarier than the 2008 original.
You play as Isaac Clark, an engineer in the bustling metropolis of Sprawl, located on one of Saturn’s moons. You don’t really need to be caught up on the details of the first game, suffice to say Clark fought some monsters and it drove him insane.
You start Dead Space 2 strapped tight in a straightjacket, running as fast as you can to escape the monsters breaking through the walls and ceiling, trying to get a stab at you. The intensity of the game never really lets up from there.
Eventually you get weapons, in the form of futuristic engineering tools, like rivet guns. The real horror comes from enemy designs and combat mechanics.
The baddies, called necromorphs, are a collection of limbs (arms, legs and spiky bits) complete with horrifying noises, creating a pretty tense atmosphere when you can hear a few coming, but can’t actually see them yet. When you do get a chance to tussle with the screeching crazies, a few shots to the body won’t suffice. Indeed, these guys will continue to attack you even if you lop off a head. Only by taking out a majority of its limbs will they be put down. This forces you to essentially stand there and try to make a few precise shots before the horde of enemies gets too close. As you can imagine, it’s incredibly gory and God help you if you miss a shot, as your weapons don’t have the greatest rate of fire.
What’s a little baffling is that most of the ammo you pick up comes from the corpses of your enemies. While this is not a new concept to video games — in fact it’s pretty much standard for a game to reward you for taking down an enemy with a few more bullets or health packs — it’s a little crazy that Dead Space 2 forces you to curb stomp these freaks of nature until their stomachs burst open, so you can get those 27 space bucks that found their way inside. Be prepared for copious amounts of gore.
It’s not all firefights and dark hallways. The game uses its environment for some very effective scares. A hallway you’ve already cleared before may hold new surprises. You may hear a baby crying in a nearby apartment, but a necromorph will burst from the door as you approach it.
There are times where you’re forced outside, into space, trying furiously to find a door back in before your air supply runs out. And don’t forget, in space, you can’t hear a necromorph scream before it rips out your innards.