Dead Space 2 Made Me Turn On All The Lights In The House

Dead Space 2 PAL boxDead Space 2 is easily one of the scariest games I’ve ever played, possibly only surpassed by the original and perhaps more recently by ZombiU. I really did have to turn all of the lights on when playing it one night – it creeped the hell out of me. I think it’s the sound effects that conjure up the scary atmosphere so successfully – the clanks, moans and unexplained noises that regularly pop up as background ambiance do wonders at sending your imagination into overdrive, so every door is opened with bated breath and an itchy trigger finger.

Special mention has to go to the opening scene, which is probably the best I’ve ever witnessed in a game. The first 15 minutes is a non-stop rollercoaster ride that draws you into the game convincingly and lays down the gauntlet in terms of creating immersion while teaching you how to play. Brilliant stuff.

I also like the way that the designers have chosen to give Isaac Clarke a voice in this one: in the original Dead Space, Isaac was mute, á la Gordon Freeman in Half-Life. I can see the reasons for doing this, in the sense that having a mute character allows the player to imprint their own personality on the avatar they’re controlling, but I also think it’s quite limiting in terms of developing that character’s story. I think giving Isaac a voice really brings the character alive in this sequel, and it leads to some memorable scenes with a few other characters who are introduced along the way.

Dead Space 2 screenshot 1

Another big improvement is the zero gravity sections, which have been beefed up considerably to allow much more freedom of movement. These sections were a particular highlight of the original, and they’re even better here.

I’m still not entirely sure about the plot though: I’m as big a fan of an obtuse and nonsensical sci-fi/horror drama as the next man, but I’m still not quite convinced that any human would willingly unleash the carnage seen in this game deliberately, no matter how crazy the religion they belong to. Is there something I’m missing? Do write in and let me know if I’m being thick here…

Anyway, apart from my slight misgivings about the plot, my only gripe with Dead Space 2 is the sudden massive increase in difficulty in the final act. The game is far from easy at the best of times, but at the end it suddenly goes completely bananas, throwing every enemy under the sun in your direction, including a Nemesis-style baddie that can’t be killed. After many, many restarts I finally got to the final boss, only to die again and again and again and again… Part of the problem was that I’d been upgrading my suit over my weapons for most of the game, so killing the final evil dude proved a little tricky with my underpowered peashooters, but even taking that out of the equation it was a pretty irritating and frustratingly difficult confrontation.

Dead Space 2 screenshot 2

Eventually, after fifteen (fifteen!) attempts at finishing off the final boss, I did the unthinkable – I gave up and just watched the ending on YouTube.

Yes, I can already feel the scorn from your accusing eyes on my ashamed face, but sometimes you’ve just got to cut your losses and move on with the rest of your life. And at least I don’t have to listen to the noise of those scary ghost children chasing me round in circles any more. Brr.

[As penned in anguish by a visibly shaken Lucius Merriweather.]


  1. Oh, for shame, Mr. Merriweather! *frowns and sends scornful looks* Though, I understand the frustration – I have played the first Dead Space on my PC and started it with a controller. I was quickly taught a lesson in dying a lot, because my aim is utterly lacking. Thus, I put my heavy hand back on the mouse, which increased my skill in monster killing considerably. The only downside was that it decreased the horror. But not completely! The atmosphere was still fantastically sticky and scary.

    Bah, I need to finally play the sequel too.

    1. You do, you really do! You’re right that the slightly cumbersome controls definitely add to the horror, just like in Resident Evil – it’s all about generating panic.

      That last bit of the game was a joke though – it’s basically just an insane run of the gauntlet through every enemy the game can throw at you. I even reloaded a previous save to try to improve my meagre stash of ammo, but to no avail…

      1. Oh, but the first one was the same! In the final moments of the game, there was this long long tunnel, and you were ordered to push a cart through, at the same time shooting monsters left and right. That was quite silly, though still tense.

        But, yeah, I’ve heard that the last stretch in the sequel is even more ridiculous.

  2. Lewis- nice review. The original literally scared the poo out of me, just as well I don’t have the time to play this… For scariness I’d recommend Doom 3, Amnesia, and the orphanage section in Thief 3 (if I recall). I’d like to see your take on those sick buggers. all pc though. The killer plants in the spectrum game Potty Pigeon were also pretty scary…

  3. Firstly: Yaaay!!!! to a fellow British chap who’s not afraid to revel in classical, nay! historically no longer relevant (sadly, *Sighs*) verbiage & nomenclature, whatsay!?
    Sadly, however I must come to the thrust of mine note, to whit? while I would like to join yon T. cooper above in scorning you, I myself just watched Conker’s Bad Fur Day for Xbox (all cutscenes, no gameplay) so can cast no such derision your way, lest the effluent spatter back onto mine own countenancial visage, galling as that would truly be.
    Me Excuse: sadly due to lack of time (& my lack of…… let us say… Patience…. *Swears Extravagantly, for Quite a Surprisingly Long Time* ….. Lava level!!!!) Ahem!….. so binned unfinished ages ago & am going to look up Smash TV & House of the Dead 1 (Literally, I cannot think of anyone who either had the skill or money to get through it, let alone if your partner was *Coughs Extravagantly*) cos would rather like to see the Joker thing if I’m honest (I thoroughly expect to be let down…. But C’est LA Vie!?) & 2 in anticipation of buying Overkill!!! (looking forward to it, it won’t actually get played till 2018, if at all, as our glorious government are behaving abominably & what with current British gas prices, haven’t been able to afford to game for over 3 yrs, am currently still on PS2 era [only the good 1’s mind, no cod, pes, FIFA or other fetid detritus of that dratted ilk] but finally making headway into 360 & PS3, this is my dilemma: games =£1 so ‘Sweep & Clear’ is the goal, bills permitting, but then I add them to pile, add them to total sheet [220+] & just listen to my Xbox, Wii, N64, PSP, DS & especially my PS2 [My Favourite!!!] cry night after insufferable night!!!! [Would you believe I suffer from suicidal depression now, purely because of this… *Sighs So Deeply, nearby Whales Empathise*] Buggeration & Dash it all!!!!!!)
    Apologies for rambling & whatnot, but your well written article (kudos for 101 games too BTW, read through it t’other day & twas a joy!!! Podcasts were iffy tho but we were, at least, forewarned *Grins Warmly*) deserved an equally considered epistle (bloody things taken me over 10 mins don’t ya know *Twiddles Moustache & Adjusts Monocle*) I go now, to futilely attempt to acquire cheap & tasty vittles (futile as financially buggered at the present time & also no local branch of Mcds as our town (village) is taking an age to finish building it (*Swears Even More Extravagantly & Even Longer than the 1st Time!!!*….Lazy builders!!! *Shakes Fist At Sky*) Good day to you Sirrah! & continued power to your elbow & best of luck with all future endeavours!!!!!!!!!
    Yours, with greatest respect (& some rankling jealousy because you have found a steadfast young lady whilst we meander this life horribly Alone *Word Echoes In The Wind*) & highest admiration for writing talent, Lord Tyr Cyberius (The 1st, Dr. SSC. GSC.)

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