Posts Tagged ‘dead space 2’

Dead Space 2: Severed

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Review
Tags: , , ,

Dead Space 2: Severed Review

Just one month on from Visceral Games’s excellent survival horror sequel and players are already being treated to something that the first game never got: downloadable content.

‘Severed’ is a fairly short expansion on the premise of the main game, in that the story unfolds during the downfall of The Sprawl. You take on the role of Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Weller, a soldier who is one of only three survivors of a fierce battle in the mine shafts. Abandoning his mission, Gabe attempts to cut a path back into the rapidly falling city and rescue his wife.

It’s largely the same as the main story in that you’re simply running from A to B and getting swarmed from all directions. It’s far more action-oriented than its counterpart, seeing Gabe carve a blooded path through hundreds of Necromorphs with nothing more than a Pulse Rifle and a Flamethrower. It’s an intense, if surprisingly short, add-on that combines the frantic tension of being swarmed from all direction with the satisfaction of Dead Space’s fantastic combat engine.

As good as this mini-chapter is at inducing tension, it’s incredibly short. There are just two chapters here and you’ll rattle through them both in around an hour on your first sitting. In fact, you’ll finish the entire game and get every achievement in just two runs, so for a fairly steep asking price – 560 MS points – you’re not really getting that much for your money.

Most of the locations you pass through are ones from the game, with a few minor exceptions in the first chapter. Even more disappointing is that you’re not doing any new things in the areas, Gabe is simply running through the level in the opposite direction to Isaac.

Having said that, there are a few very good set pieces and boss encounters on offer. The excellent hanging-upside-down-blasting-everything sequence from the main game is here redone to perfection, while an excellent first boss and a genuinely powerful final stand might just be enough to keep players coming back for more.

‘Severed’ seems a bit of a missed opportunity. You don’t get to see much of The Sprawl’s downfall and it doesn’t feel quite as epic as the main game. It also doesn’t bring anything new to the table, which is quite disappointing considering the splendid variety offered by Dead Space 2. If you can’t get enough Necromorph-dismembering action, then ‘Severed’ is a real treat, although one that’s a little too expensive for what it offers.

70%

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.