On having your arse handed to you repeatedly

Posted: March 7, 2011 in Musings
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I’ve been playing a lot of Dead Space 2 lately. Mostly because it’s a very good game, but the other side of it is that Dead Space 2 has what might be considered among the finest gaming challenges: Hardcore mode.

Unlocked after completing the game for the first time, Hardcore is a totally different kettle of fish. Enemies are tough, every bit as dangerous as they are on the previous hardest difficulty, and ammo is just as scarce. In fact, ammo is one third as plentiful as it is on the easiest difficulty, meaning that the standard Plasma Cutter gets just three extra rounds for every drop, as opposed to nine rounds. This forces cunning use of the ability to grab and throw dangerous items at enemies, as well as intelligent use of the game’s stronger weapons (which are now a hell of a lot less useful.)

On top of this is the fact that you can’t use any of your previous save files to help you out. If you start a Hardcore run, you do it from scratch – bad weapons, basic health bars, the works. The only advantage you might have is that your downloaded weapons and suits will be waiting for you in the store, but you have to survive around half an hour in order to get to them.

Is that not hard enough? Nope, there’s more. There are no checkpoints and you can only save three times. Yep. It’s quite brilliant, really. The game is between four and eight hours long (depending on how much running away you do) and you can only save three times. Just imagine how ridiculously intense the game becomes, knowing that the slightest foul-up will undo hours of your hardest work.

Naturally, I’ve been giving it a try. I’ve had to rely on a few online guides here and there, just to have some idea of where to save. The most common advice is around chapter three or four (out of fifteen).

If only I could get that far! The Necromorphs have become some kind of super intelligent hive mind that somehow read my thoughts and manage to position themselves in the worst possible places. It probably doesn’t help that I’m in a state of panic, due to the knowledge that I’ll lose everything if I get killed. It doesn’t help that the game opens with an unskippable ten minute cutscene that you have to watch every single time you restart.

So that’s me, getting torn apart in deepest space, simply for the satisfaction of doing it. If that doesn’t convince you that it’s worth my time, check this out:

It’s a foam hand that owns everything it’s pointed at! C’mon!! I never thought I’d see a weapon greater than the Hand Cannon from Resi 4… it’s gotta be worth it.

Other than that, I’ve been getting stuck into the online multiplayer on Dead Space 2. It’s phenomenal. Quite simplistic and limited, but it’s so much fun. Four humans try to complete a series of objective, while four Necromorphs try and force them to run out of time. Chaotic, intense, hilarious and bloody good fun, it’s become a brand new addiction. Yes… another one.

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