E3 2010: Hands Off: Dead Space 2

E3 2010: Hands Off: Dead Space 2

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Everyone's favorite space miner, Isaac Clarke, is back to cut more necromorphs to pieces in Dead Space 2. He's left the dark hallways of the spaceship Ishimura for The Sprawl, an enormous city attached to the last remaining shard of the moon of Titan.

Much of Dead Space 2 will immediately look and feel familiar to fans of its predecessor. Isaac is still shambling around in environmental suits, using mining equipment to lay waste to the monstrous necromorphs that are prowling the city, popping up in nerve-jangling fashion. You'll have to "strategically dismember" the creatures to prevent them from crawling after you, though you can occasionally just cave in their heads, too. They're tough, disgusting creatures.

A lot in Dead Space 2 has changed, though. Moving the action from the Ishimura to The Sprawl allows for far more environmental variety than in the original Dead Space. The demo I saw featured an icy crypt beneath the Church of Unitology as well as a deck that looked out over the vastness of the city. The visuals were marvelous and vibrant and The Sprawl's varied locations, like schools and shopping malls, should allow for all manner of deadly situations. My one concern is that it all might start feeling a bit too ordinary. Part of what made the first Dead Space special was right there in the title - Space. Will a shopping mall in space retain that unique feel, or will we just feel like we're playing any old horror game? Hard to say at the moment.

While you'll still encounter zero-G environments, you'll now have full 360 degree flight capabilities, as opposed to just picking a direction and letting your magnetic boots do the rest. You can also now cut a limb off a necromorph and fling it back at them to save ammo - particularly effective when you're up against something with huge, spiky arms.

Dead Space 2 will also offer more puzzle-type situations that will make sense in context. The one puzzle I saw had to do with moving mechanical arms to stop the spinning wheels of a device that bore a strong resemblance to the engine in Event Horizon. Nothing particularly brain-breaking, but a nice diversion from blowing monsters into goo. Speaking of goo, the puker joins the necromorph ranks, hurling its spew with disgusting abandon. Ever seen space vomit travel in slow motion? You will.

Perhaps the biggest change in Dead Space 2 is that Isaac now has a face and a voice. He's no longer your silent avatar stand-in, but rather a genuine, fleshed-out character. I'm not entirely convinced this is a good thing - Isaac's silence was part of what made the first game scary for me - but I didn't see nearly enough to form any real opinion. The demo I saw was meant to showcase new weapons and monsters, and only had a few lines of dialog.

Dead Space 2 will have more weapons, enemies, suits, and locations than its predecessor, all of which should make it a very enjoyable action game. Will it be scary? That I'm not so sure about. Nothing in the demo I saw was particularly creepy. Being swarmed by a pack of necromorphic children was tense and exciting, but not really all that scary. I'm hoping that's less a fault of the game and more just a reaction to my surroundings, though. I wasn't actually the one manning the controls, was in a large group of people, and didn't have any real context for what was going on in the game; not exactly the ideal scenario for being frightened.

If you didn't find the first Dead Space scary, then just content yourself with the fact that the sequel should improve nicely on the original. If, like me, you're hoping to be scared, too, you may have to wait and see.

Dead Space 2 is scheduled for release on January 25, 2011.

Keep track of our E3 2010 coverage here.

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I really hope that Isaac's transformation from silent protagonist to fleshed out character doesn't end up screwing everything over. I'm all for character development though, and I'll be happy if they manage to make it work.

This sounds like Fear in SPACE.

I don't think I like the sound of it, but then the first game wasn't exactly the most bestest thing in the world.

Man, I kind of wish they kept Isaac as the silent character. It made him feel much more engrossing, although I didn't enjoy the whole GF arc.

Dead Space was never a Survival Horror game. It was an Action Game with Suvival Horror elements. Stop expecting it to be scary and just enjoy the atmosphere.

TsunamiWombat:
Dead Space was never a Survival Horror game. It was an Action Game with Suvival Horror elements. Stop expecting it to be scary and just enjoy the atmosphere.

I'm curious, what atmosphere would that be?

TsunamiWombat:
Dead Space was never a Survival Horror game. It was an Action Game with Suvival Horror elements. Stop expecting it to be scary and just enjoy the atmosphere.

Dear God THANK YOU. I was starting to fear that I was the only person that realised Dead Space wasn't a horror game, dispite the fact that the controls are neither clunky nor awkward, both of which seem to be an absolute neccessity for a horror game, Dead Space is, as you said, all about the atmosphere, the cramped, shit-your-pants-no-where-to-run-in-between-acts-of-curb-stomping-zombie-babies atmosphere. :D

Here's to hoping the sequel will be as immersive as the first game!

Dead space was scary like aliens was scary. It simply threw too much peril at the characters for it to NOT get your heart pumping, which may not work as well as slow, tension building horror, but it does make for an entertaining experience whether it scares you or not, particularly important in gaming, where trying to find a balance between the game being too slow and simply not scary is a big problem.

If dead space 2 ramps the action up more, it'll probably lose what scare factor dead space had, but it will be entertaining and exciting, remembering of course, that EA said from the announcement of dead space 2 that they would be going for action more this time around.

Why do you guys call it "Hands Off" as opposed to "Hands On"? Is that like a joke I'm not getting or something? lol.

BakaSmurf:

TsunamiWombat:
Dead Space was never a Survival Horror game. It was an Action Game with Suvival Horror elements. Stop expecting it to be scary and just enjoy the atmosphere.

Dear God THANK YOU. I was starting to fear that I was the only person that realised Dead Space wasn't a horror game, dispite the fact that the controls are neither clunky nor awkward, both of which seem to be an absolute neccessity for a horror game, Dead Space is, as you said, all about the atmosphere, the cramped, shit-your-pants-no-where-to-run-in-between-acts-of-curb-stomping-zombie-babies atmosphere. :D

Here's to hoping the sequel will be as immersive as the first game!

If clunky/awkward controls are what make a horror game, does that mean the PC version is survival horror? That's the only version I've played and it felt very survival-horror-ish to me.

OT: I'm looking forward to Dead Space 2. They did the characterisations well in Extraction (great game as well), so I expect Isaac to be portrayed well in this game whilst keeping the rich atmosphere.

It's certainly shaping up to be an interesting specimen. I'll give it that, not so sure if it'll still feel 'spacey' with all the new environments and such but hopefully it'll give the player an idea of the universe to which the game is set.

Still, I'm definietly intrigued.

BakaSmurf:

TsunamiWombat:
Dead Space was never a Survival Horror game. It was an Action Game with Suvival Horror elements. Stop expecting it to be scary and just enjoy the atmosphere.

Dear God THANK YOU. I was starting to fear that I was the only person that realised Dead Space wasn't a horror game, dispite the fact that the controls are neither clunky nor awkward, both of which seem to be an absolute neccessity for a horror game, Dead Space is, as you said, all about the atmosphere, the cramped, shit-your-pants-no-where-to-run-in-between-acts-of-curb-stomping-zombie-babies atmosphere. :D

Here's to hoping the sequel will be as immersive as the first game!

Hold on, you just said it's not a survival horror game, but then described the atmosphere as a survival horror game.

Looking really promising, it seems they put alot of work into taking out what made the first one a little buggy, and added more of the good stuff

SteelStallion:
Why do you guys call it "Hands Off" as opposed to "Hands On"? Is that like a joke I'm not getting or something? lol.

That's actually a good question. Hands off means we saw a demonstration or presentation, but didn't actually get to try the game ourselves.Hands on means we wrapped our mitts around a controller and tried things for ourselves.

Hold on, allow me to put the most important line in there in bold for you...

Denamic:

BakaSmurf:

TsunamiWombat:
snip

Dear God THANK YOU. I was starting to fear that I was the only person that realised Dead Space wasn't a horror game, dispite the fact that the controls are neither clunky nor awkward, both of which seem to be an absolute neccessity for a horror game, Dead Space is, as you said, all about the atmosphere, the cramped, shit-your-pants-no-where-to-run-in-between-acts-of-curb-stomping-zombie-babies atmosphere. :D

Here's to hoping the sequel will be as immersive as the first game!

Hold on, you just said it's not a survival horror game, but then described the atmosphere as a survival horror game.

That help much? :P

10BIT:

BakaSmurf:

TsunamiWombat:
snip

snip

If clunky/awkward controls are what make a horror game, does that mean the PC version is survival horror? That's the only version I've played and it felt very survival-horror-ish to me.

OT: I'm looking forward to Dead Space 2. They did the characterisations well in Extraction (great game as well), so I expect Isaac to be portrayed well in this game whilst keeping the rich atmosphere.

Well, if the controls were clunky/awkward then yes, the PC version is indeed a survival horror, after all, what's more horrifing in a horror game than the controls not doing exactly what you want them to do when you need precise controls the most? :P

 

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