Zero Punctuation: Dead Space 2

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Someone tell me where the Land of Chocolate Lesbians is right now.

Theres no shitty MP in DS2. Only an extra MP you can try after bored of the single.

Not everything is trying to be the next "best MP shooter" you know.

A great review, as always yahtzee.

But why does it seem to me that there are always a handfull of posters who go into this comments section after seeing a review and type something along the lines of: "I agree with everything yahtzee said because I can't form opinions of my own and I haven't bothered to look at another piece of information regarding this game other than this mighty paragon of a brit so I guess the game is awful." I would say they're fanboys, but I'm expecting them all to read up to this point, stop reading and post a wave of "umad", "u stoopid blandy mcbland bland", etc

I apologize in advance for this huge wall of text which nobody will read.

NOW WATCH OUT FOR THEM SPOILERS WHICH I WON'T BOTHER HIGHLIGHTING

Anyway, I felt as though DS2 was an improvement of DS1 in nearly every way imaginable. There was a nice variation of environments from a hospital, a kindergarten, a preschool, a mall, apartment complexes, spooky cult churches, haunted houses, trash compactors, inner machinations of the station, blah blah blah. There were less orchestral explosions when monsters showed up, in fact I only remember a handful of times where the music started playing. The beginning was spectacular, which (LOLSPOILER I LIED)puts Isaac Clarke tied up in a straightjacket with no method of self defense other than to sprint for the exit whilst being pursued by the reanimated corpses of the cast of "One Flew over a Cuckoo's Nest". The best part about it was even after you escaped them through a door, the fact that the game had no qualms about making you sprint defenseless put me on edge...until it became obvious later that they didn't intend on doing it again. The design of the sprawl was also better than the ishimura because they made the apartments, hospitals, stores, etc look more like places you might have been to. I agree that like in DS1 eventually we get used to the scares nearer to the end, but there are enough cool set pieces and events throughout to keep you going, like (IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPOILERS, WHY WOULD YOU EVEN READ THIS) that slide down the train near the start and the elevator around the middle and that thing at the end which I won't spoil. Like somebody else said it's more like a 65-35 mix of action and horror, but don't believe those people who say it's a bad game. It's actually quite good. Not nearly as scary as Amnesia, but it had quite a few good moments that made me very uneasy.
Also, the ripper is not nearly as strong as it was in DS1. Its range is reduced and it seems to do a fair bit less damage; in the first game you could hold them at arms length, but in this one, they get close enough to lovingly nibble your ear before biting it off. Double also, there weren't THAT many children. There seemed to be many more adult necromorphs than kids. Except in that one area that's like an auditorium from a grade/middle/highschool that freaked me out a bit because it looked suspiciously like the one that was at my grade school, minus the happy sun of course, we couldn't afford one. (TEEHEE SPOILER) I thought for sure yahtzee would have said something about that stage in the church where there was a big fat necro (a priest) who sends waves of little children at you. (BAD TOUCH)
(LOLSPOILER AGAIN)Triple also, I wonder why yahtzee never mentioned the new stalker enemy. And fuck those things. They're smart, they're organized and they peak around corners like dogs made of zombies. Everytime they showed up the game got way more tense because they tended to wait for you to make a move or for their attack plan to get into place before they charged you.
Oh and monsters don't always come from vents...though they usually do...In the game's defense, it's implied that they use the vents to travel throughout the station, getting into seemingly locked down areas by using the air conditioning, but there are many times when I saw a vent, went "OHOHO, I SEE THROUGH YOUR GRANDIOSE PLAN!" and then nothing happened. They seem to come out of vents half the time and with that in mind, I have acquired a mild fear of vents from these last two installments. There was also that time (SPOILY SPOIL SPOILER) where a necromorph just broke through the top of the tiny elevator isaac happened to be riding and got puke all over his good suit.
Lastly, I agree with the whole limbs come off too easy thing, at least with the corpses and isaac's deaths, but dead bodies you find around have skin and flesh stripped off with exposed ribcages, bones broken(sometimes) and marks where the blades either penetrated or slashed. And the later necromorphs actually take a bit of shooting to de-limb. If one finds the game too easy or hard, you can always change the difficulty mid-game...another thing I expected yahtzee to mention because I seem to remember him complaining about how, in most games, you can't change difficulties.
Lastly lastly (sigh), the only near instantaneous transformation I remember was in the very beginning. When infectors transform later on, they do it on corpses that have been dead for a while and the whole process takes like...I dunno, 6-12 seconds before the necromorph is battle ready? That's enough to fumble around and try to murder the flying vagina before you have another Abloogy-woogy-woo zombie to deal with.

I never thought of Dead space 2 as a horror game with the way combat was. I was much more afriad of having to start punching things then any actual danger the enemies posed.

I found it to be scarier than most, but that's because I wont play a horror game unless I'm in a dark room with nothing but surround sound for company. Also, if it has a difficulty setting, the harder the better. Same with setting the darkness, if it asks me to move a slider until a symbol is barely visible, I do exactly that. Remove all comforts both out of game (light, company) and in game (ammo, health, visibility) and your brain will take over. Instant horror.

I also think that we perhaps need to think about a different way to categorize "horror". Horror as a genre is supposed to frighten you, obviously, but horror games actually require you to act on your fear; forcing you to go into either a fight or flight response in a way that a book or movie cannot do. Ideally, the best games allow you to do both of these things but that is incredibly difficult to pull off. (I'd argue that the best games will lead you to do one or the other without your knowledge based on how the developers want you to feel at any given moment during their carefully crafted story, but I'll probably get shot down because, apparantly, LINEAR IS BAD...)

The problem here is that the two different responses to fear leave you feeling very differently about the fear itself. The fight response (i.e. Dead Space's "stamp on it's face until it stops" gameplay) sees you in control and leaves you feeling elated, empowered and, most importantly, no longer scared. The flight response (i.e. Amnesia's "hide in a cupboard crying like a little girl" gameplay) is far, far more frightening. You are vulnerable and you certainly don't feel in control of anything. It's a rush, sure, but it's a different kind of rush to the other response, one which leads to a radically different game.

The issue here is one that I've been hearing a lot of since Amnesia's release: Mostly everyone is in agreement that it is a fantastic game, and most have some kind of story to tell about their experience, but I've read more posts from people who play a few hours and then find themselves never going back to it than I do from people who finished the game. I, personally, found amnesia to be exhausting to play and every time I took a break it became harder to go back; despite having told everyone I know just how much I had enjoyed it.

I think that "fighty" games like Dead Space are fun while you play and "flighty" games are only fun after the fact. You've escaped, you've lived to see another day and you feel great, but you equate that enjoyment with having finished playing rather than actually having played. I have to choose to play Amnesia, I couldn't stop playing Dead Space 2 until I was finished. See my point?

Perhaps, then, games that let you "fight" will always be more fun and less frightening and viceversa? The ideal horror game, then, has to walk a very fine line between the two in order to give you plenty of moments of both vulnerability and power, each playing off each other in turn to make your victories seem sweeter and your attackers seem impossibly powerful. Dead Space lacks the vulnerability part unless you impose it on yourself with difficulty settings and the like, the necromorphs eventually start to become more of a nuisance than a threat leaving you occasionally startled as opposed to genuinely scared.

It's still bloody fantastic (if a little formulaic), though. ;)

(Note: The above might be a load of nonsense, forgive my rambling.)

Oh fer' crying out loud. I also think that Silent Hill 2 was the greatest survival horror of all time. Agreed on that really, but Dead Space isn't psychological horror. It isn't about athmosphere. It's more like a decent slasher movie set in space, without deep plot. It's just an action game with jump-scares and buckets of blood and gore. You have to enjoy the game for what it is, since there is no game that will even compare to SH2 impossible high standarts. Even other SH games can't really hold a candle to the second one.

I would really love to play a game set int he land of the chocolate lesbians.

Speaking without having actually played the game, Im probably full of shit and fantasy but I thought that the new Dead Space was trying to be more gory to the side of ridiculous. I mean thats just what they advertise with those mom adverts and the trailers before that only seemed to spout the millions of ways you could die. It seems to me like Dead Space wants to be on the cheesy side of horror.

foxyexplosion:
Speaking without having actually played the game, Im probably full of shit and fantasy but I thought that the new Dead Space was trying to be more gory to the side of ridiculous. I mean thats just what they advertise with those mom adverts and the trailers before that only seemed to spout the millions of ways you could die. It seems to me like Dead Space wants to be on the cheesy side of horror.

Agree that the whole "ur mom hates this hurrdurrhurr" thing was very bad. If visceral did anything better for the first game, it was the teaser site.

After reading the thread I have to comment on the genius of the "Your mom hates Dead Space 2" commercials. Everyone saying it's not scary, that it's not a horror game, you people have been so desensitized to what a normal person considers horror that Dead Space barely registers. I know because I'm the same way; when I see a necromorph I don't see a horribly twisted former human, I see a shambling, pointy good dispensary who is only a couple well placed shots removed from helping me pay for my next upgrade, next gun, next armor, etc.

But objectively I can look at Dead Space (Both of them) and see how unnerving they are. My favorite parts of the game are the quiet parts, the parts where you're exploring a relatively safe area, but then the lights go out, or one of a hundred scripted events that occurs as you progress through the game. The atmosphere is one of the game's greatest strengths, and frankly, if you can't recognize that, you have no place offering your opinion on games.

foxyexplosion:
Speaking without having actually played the game, Im probably full of shit and fantasy but I thought that the new Dead Space was trying to be more gory to the side of ridiculous. I mean thats just what they advertise with those mom adverts and the trailers before that only seemed to spout the millions of ways you could die. It seems to me like Dead Space wants to be on the cheesy side of horror.

They're about the same.

Jandau:

Diegolomac:

Jandau:
The Ripper isn't overpowered, it's one of the crappier weapons IMO. It's unreliable, slow and did I mention unreliable?

I've made through the entire second half of the game using only the Ripper and the Plasma Cutter, and I only used the Cutter when it was really necessary (with the exploding babies for example, seeing as you can't let them get near you to use the Ripper). But on the other hand, I fully upgraded the weapon to do that, and was constantly using Stasis (especially with those Stalker Necromorphs that peek at you from corners and the sprint in your direction). But still, there were moments where I could defeat 3 enemies with a single shot.

On the other hand, I only used the Ripper, Plasma Cutter, Line Gun and Javelin, so I can't give an opinion about the other weapons like the Detonator or Flamethrower.

I found the ripper to be terribly underwhelming when I'm being charged by something. By the time the blade deploys and starts slicing, I often get punched and the blade is lost. Also, the blade will sometimes go behind the target, meaning I'm screwed. It lacks stopping power, since after the initial flinch, the enemies just keep moving at me, so it's terribly impractical when fighting more than one Necromorph. I don't have time to slowly slice up one Black Necro when two of his friends are coming from either side.

I used the Plasma Cutter (always a good choice), Contact Beam (one shot, one kill), Line Gun (secondary fire is awesome) and the Pulse Rifle (with maxed damage, it rips stuff apart; great against the swarming kids). I was underwhelmed by the line gun and will likely replace it with the Detonator in the next playthrough.

How's the Javelin? It didn't strike me as particularly useful when I saw it, but I may have dismissed it too fast.

The Javelin's primary fire has the same effect as impaling an enemy with a spike you picked up with kinesis: it's cool, but you won't be using it very often, especially because it doesn't do much damage (on the other hand I didn't upgrade it), it's very easy to miss the shot, and you can only pick one enemy at a time.

The secondary fire has that electricity area attack that makes all fired bolts explode, but when I did that it usually only killed the enemy that was impaled (if he wasn't already dead), the other ones were only stunned. The only use I found for it was against those little swarms of bug-like monsters that crawl around your back. Fire at the center of the pack, and the secondary fire destroys the little buggers. Other than that, pretty much justs looks cool.

I couldn't get to grips with the line gun's alternative fire, I'm not very good with the timing so that the enemies can be near it when it goes off. And te primary fire was good at the start, but the ammunition packs for that weapon don't stack as much in your inventory (and the clip for the gun is small, five shots isn't it?), so it's a bad choice.

About your problems with the Ripper: as I said, I used Stasis a lot. That usually solved my problems. When you encounter the immortal Necromorph, I found it to be the most effective weapon to stun it in my opinion (it only takes one shot, maybe more if it isn't maxed out or you're playing on a harder difficulty setting, and you can Stasis it while it's still falling to pieces, giving more time before it rebuilds itself).

Irriduccibilli:

That scene is the most wince-inducing thing I have ever seen in a video game. Say what you will about DS, that scene was done horribly horribly right.

OT: What gets me about Dead Space 2 is how eager everyone is about it. Dead space 1 was released to a resounding cry of "Meh" but when Two comes along everyone's suddenly a fanboy!

ActionDan:
Are there any spoilers in this? Because I want to play it, but not have a spoiler come flying to my face.

Unless you count the knowledge that the monsters come out of pretty much every vent as a spoiler, I shouldn't think so.

"It's set in space, which is the best setting besides the land of chocolate lesbians."

Land of Chocolate Lesbians.
My new favourite thing ever.

"I love my mommy and being alive"
XFD

Oh come on, Yahtzee you love this game.
Of course you do you Australia based English bastard :D
You love it!!! I know.
I do too. :P

Very funny review this week, my personal highlight was: "One thing I said about Dead Space 1 was that it was as subtle as a clown with his cock out"
Made me laugh WAY more than it probably should

danpascooch:

Moments like

or

or

In other words you like getting shocked. Except for that last one which was just scripted gameplay. Now don't get me wrong scripted gameplay can be fun but it doesn't really matter too much in the overall game, since it lasted like 20 seconds, actually all the stuff you talked about lasts between 5-20 sec and it was all pretty much clips/video.

To anyone thinking about bying this game, please don't the game was awful and if you fall into the same trap as i which is, "man this game is easily just as great as the first one", then game studios might think that we want this kinda crap. Also anyone who is saying that it was a good game is either lying or an idiot.

When I heard Dead Space 2 was coming out, I struggled to find words to express my indifference.
That's what Yahtzee is for, I suppose.

the best weapon for clearing a room in my experience has been the force gun, that thing knocks over or just outright threshes most enemies in the game with just the normal fire, the alt fire on that thing is like insane it can take off a brutes arm or one of the tripod's limbs in one shot if you aim right. the assault-rifle was better this time around, though i dislike the fact that the grenade alt-fire uses so much ammunition. the javelin is disappointing, you do more impalement damage by using a tk'd pipe or claw then with a weapon designed to impale things. the flamethrower is useless, period.

I'd have to agree that I'm just not getting scared in DS2 - and I was looking forward to being scared out of my mind. So far I've run across a hand of startling moments, but I'm immediately ruining it by checking if something is trying to kill me. I will say that I'm kinda liking the mental breakdown moments.

I'm starting to notice Event Horizon inspirations in this game: Some of the service ducts (especially the L shaped on you get to turn) is like the service duct in the movie, and the dead wife with gouged out eyes is similar to Isaac's dead girlfriend/fiancee with no eyes.

One thing that I was saddened by when I noticed that DS2 team got it completely wrong was the the fire in zero G/microgravity.

Too many games on order, I put this one on my "wait list" to perhaps pick up when it drops in price a bit.

That said, a very entertaining critique of it, and yes I do agree with Yahtzee about how overdone violence and gore tends to ruin the impact compared to more realistic portrayals. But then again, I think that's the point, it's a variation on Tom and Jerry cartoon violence. Game companies don't have the guts to really try and scare people anymore, since that's an uncomfortable feeling, and if they impress jaded horror fans, the watchdogs who already hate video games will be screaming for their blood. Once in a while you'll see something like what "Heavy Rain" did for one scene, but for the most part the overblown violence and easily destructable corpses is a way of them being able to say "see, this is so ridiculous nobody can possibly take it seriously"... and that includes the people who want a seriously horrific experience from it. It's sort of like how EA responded to Fox News' recent criticism (of Bulletstorm) by listing their game content from "Bulletstorm" as a way of pretty much saying "this game is ridiculously stupid, you must be insane to take a premise like this, or anything in it, even remotely seriously".

The game industry, as it currently stands, is not likely to ever make a decent horror game. We won't see one until it undergoes some kind of renaissance.

Oh and the new ship name lacked the elegance of "Kill Beast Buffet". :)

I don't really appreciate the spoilers. Now I feel like I'm always gonna expect the finger thing with Heavy Rain. Not trying to bitch but that's my thoughts

Darks63:

ultrachicken:
Ach, I hate those vents. Mostly because after a certain point in the game you can tell when a monster is going to pop out at you and where it will, yet you can't use your knowledge of the situation to kill it before it gets the drop on you. So, you're forced to willing go into their stupid trap.

Makes you wish you could have proximity mines, so you can set up and just walk away laughing as the stupid necro owns himself.

Maybe I'm not picking up on sarcasm here, but there is a new weapon on DS2 that allows you to do that.

Oirish_Martin:

Darks63:

ultrachicken:
Ach, I hate those vents. Mostly because after a certain point in the game you can tell when a monster is going to pop out at you and where it will, yet you can't use your knowledge of the situation to kill it before it gets the drop on you. So, you're forced to willing go into their stupid trap.

Makes you wish you could have proximity mines, so you can set up and just walk away laughing as the stupid necro owns himself.

Maybe I'm not picking up on sarcasm here, but there is a new weapon on DS2 that allows you to do that.

Really I havent started playing yet so I didnt know what weapons there are yet, if so this is yet another thing like preemptively smashing corpes which I will have to do in game.

I laughed when the gunship just shoots the hell out of the unitology church when you finally, reach the top its especially funny when the churchy goon who's holding onto you just stares at you dumbfounded as the windows shatter and everyone gets sucked out into space, fucking hilarious.

Whilst I concede that the game isn't really scary, it is very good at building tension leading into combat. This is definitely more Uncharted/Gears of War in space than it is Amensia: The Dark Descent, but that is fine for those of us who want to shoot something other than a terrorist or a zombie. Even though it isn't scary, you have to admit it's interesting, and very enjoyable as far as I am ( Chapter 10: The USG Here are the juicy humans yum yum so long as you're asking)

mrhateful:
To anyone thinking about bying this game, please don't the game was awful and if you fall into the same trap as i which is, "man this game is easily just as great as the first one", then game studios might think that we want this kinda crap. Also anyone who is saying that it was a good game is either lying or an idiot.

Dear Sir and/or Madam,

Having provided points and an overly large textwall detailing things that I thought the second game improved on, I'm sitting here wondering why you didn't do something similar. You could have said: "I disliked this game because: x, y and z. I found the [Blank] to be [insert adjective here]. Therefore, I must say this game is [good/decent/bad]." Your complete lack of points illustrating why the second game is, as you put it, "crap", makes me wonder if you know how to construct a complex opinion. Secondly, I must say your last sentence somewhat bothered me. Having mulled it over, I conclude that you are saying something along the lines of: "Anybody who doesn't share my opinion is wrong and stupid." This, combined with your lack of evidence, makes your seem rather foolish. I wanted to let you know this in the hopes that you may gather up your reasoning and respond to me in the fashion of a gentleman.

Good day,
Sir Delicious Cake Esquire

mrhateful:

To anyone thinking about bying this game, please don't the game was awful and if you fall into the same trap as i which is, "man this game is easily just as great as the first one", then game studios might think that we want this kinda crap. Also anyone who is saying that it was a good game is either lying or an idiot.

Obvious troll is obvious. You don't like the game, your loss; by any objective assessment it's a solid game, and easily an early contender for one of the top games of 2011.

What do I mean about objective assessment?
*The metaplot is well-written, sadly the fact that people still thinking unitologists are the game's whacky cult instead of a conspiracy that cuts to the core of the setting just proves people aren't reading much into the game.
*The graphics from a technical standpoint are flawless, I never experienced clipping, visual lag, missing textures, distension or any of the usual hiccups.
*The art design, while not being the prettiest around is very suited to the game's atmosphere.
*The physics engine, while somewhat rudimentary adds a great deal of weight to the game. Things seem as if they have real weight to them, and for the most part behave realistically.
*The game combines several mechanics that would serve as other games single gimmick, telekinesis, hacking, Bullet-time, and even the much loathed QTEs (Though the presentation is occasionally changed up).
*Sound design and light design are both suitably creepy and in depth, and go a huge way to pushing the atmosphere.
*The multiplayer is a great addition, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
*The 3rd Person Shooter genre has by and large stagnated, becoming haunted by the success of Gears of War, anything that can be done to resurrect a great genre is welcome in my book.

I could go on, but those are the key bullet points.

Darks63:

Oirish_Martin:

Darks63:
Makes you wish you could have proximity mines, so you can set up and just walk away laughing as the stupid necro owns himself.

Maybe I'm not picking up on sarcasm here, but there is a new weapon on DS2 that allows you to do that.

Really I havent started playing yet so I didnt know what weapons there are yet, if so this is yet another thing like preemptively smashing corpes which I will have to do in game.

It doesn't just plant mines, you can use it as a grenade launcher. The Pulse Rifle also has a grenade launcher now. As does the flamethrower. The force gun's is gone though.

The real winner is the Hand Cannon though.

Booo Hooo, this game isn't silent hill , and doesn't bore me to tears, booo hooo, it's not what I wanted it to be, even though it's so much fun, boo hooo, it's EA, therefore mainstream and thus must not like it.

sp86:
The real winner is the Hand Cannon though.

I swear, that thing turns the game from action horror to full on comedy.

I swear that part of him getting paranoid, at the game talking at him, was creepier than he intended. :P

DeliciousCake:

sp86:
The real winner is the Hand Cannon though.

I swear, that thing turns the game from action horror to full on comedy.

Pew Pew Pew BANG

For the uninitiated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O8R8iiOVPs

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