Hands-on: Returning to necromorph hell in Dead Space 2

By Stephany Nunneley, Thursday, 9 September 2010 10:28 GMT

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The first Dead Space was one scary game. Very scary. In fact it was so scary, we left some lights on in the house the first couple of nights after playing it.

If you were of the same mindset, Dead Space 2 will be no different for you. In fact, after getting some hands-on time during PAX last weekend, we can almost safely say it might even give you full blown nightmares. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Faster, Isaac Clarke! Kill! Kill!

Not content to just rehash the achievements of the first Dead Space, Visceral has pushed the action up to a more frantic pace, while maintaining depth and the core elements of the original.

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Our hands-on time with the PS3 version started out with Isaac in the Sprawl, the game’s space station setting. We were tasked with gaining access to the Church of Unitology. The first area we went through was the hallway filled section called the Freezer, full of plenty scary hiding places for the enemy.

Right away, we were confronted with necromorphs, and the ramped-up action was on full display, along with accelerated gore.

This time around, instead of trying to fight the necormorph off, I used Isaac’s Plasma Cutter to beat it into a nice greasy spot on the floor.

On another occasion, we used the new Javelin Gun, which pins enemies to walls with a projectile. When the baddy’s incapacitated, you can unleash a spray of electricity by holding the right trigger down until it literally explodes into an bloody mess.

Once finished with this area, we made our way into a room with a gravitational object surrounded with large rings and metal flaps in the center. I solved the puzzle by lining up rings in order to go into zero gravity mode.

After cracking into the device’s control panel, I used Kinesis to pull the metal covers around it. I wasn’t going fast enough, and luckily one of the booth attendees reminded me of the Stasis ability. This slowed things down enough for me to finish the puzzle.

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Gravity is your friend

Something which took me a bit of getting used to in the original Dead Space was zero gravity. However, this time around, you have full control of Isaac as he floats about his merry way. You are no longer forced to go where the nearest ledge or wall is either, and can even do summersaults if the mood strikes you. Gone are the days of taking a straight path here, or a straight path there. It’s almost like Cirque du Soleil. Almost.

During the zero gravity portion of the level I playing, Isaac was in a more ecumenical-looking area of the Church of Unitology. Once inside, this massive Tripod came in, hellbent on my demise.

In order to best the beast, I had to shoot the yellow pustules attached to the monster until he left me be. Unfortunately, once this happened, all hell broke loose in church and I was bombarded with a pack of little monsters the size of five-year old kids with big gashes down their fronts. This is where the Plasma Rifle came in handy – using anything else would have been lights out – for me anyway.

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Time to start sleeping with the lights on, again

All in all, we found Dead Space 2 to be a lot like the first outing, with an extra bit of oomph added to the pacing and gore. Since the first game received so many accolades, Visceral didn’t apparently feel the need to reinvent its wheel. Why mess with a good formula? The scares were more intense, movement was fluid, controls were smooth; it was like catching up with an old pal you hadn’t seen in a while to find they’ve visited an amazing plastic surgeon.

What we played was pretty much what was shown in Dead Space 2’s E3 trailer, so click here and reacquaint yourself with the video.

Dead Space 2 releases on January 25 and January 28 in the US and Europe, respectively, for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Check out the latest footage, released today, below.

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