Dead Space 2: First Impressions

Well, I wasn’t able to clear Bully in time, so I’m on my scheduled break from the backlog now to take in Dead Space 2, which I’ve been eagerly anticipating for some time.

The first game was a well-crafted piece of survival horror. It wasn’t anything new or groundbreaking, but it was a refinement of a lot of concepts in games that had come before. I found that it relied on cheap scares a bit too much, and near the end they designed just decided to toss a bunch of enemies at you just to slow down the pace of the game, but the story was enough to keep me interested and I thought the universe was well-planned and thought-out.

I’m about three hours in to Dead Space 2 and in game terms have just started Chapter 6, which means I’m past the first “what a twist” moment and also past the first truly irritating gameplay moment I’ve seen so far. Thankfully, the game is pretty amazing out of the gate. The images and sound are exactly right and create just enough tension to keep you going, and the pacing is just as masterful as the original. It’s 30 seconds of frenetic “save yourself” action followed by a minute or two of calm and relative safety.

The atmosphere so far has had plenty of the morbid and creepifying, especially reminiscent of the near-final areas of the first game. That’s an unnerving way to start out the sequel because it reminds you so much of the constant action towards the end of its predecessor. In some contrast to the earlier game, this one has wasted no time getting weapons into my hands, and the quick start was both fun and exciting.

The story so far has raised nothing but questions that I hope will be resolved by the end of the game. Truth be told, I had a hard time stopping to get some sleep, let alone type out my reactions, so this should tell you how interested I am. Dead Space had me leaning forward in my seat, palms slick from anxiety over the shadow on the wall or the sound coming from behind me. So far, this one’s got its hooks in me just as well.