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Average User Score: 6.4Feb 20, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'll start off by stating probably the only positive thing about this game: the graphics are stunning and the environments appropriately desolate and grimy. Having said that, this is one of the most dissappointing follow-ups to one of my favorite games of all time. Pretty much everything in this is a step in the wrong direction, either completely out of left field or backwards. At the end of DS2, Isaac defeated the Marker both from without and within, and with his new friend Ellie, rocketed off to freedom. Well, in this game, Isaac has not only hooked up and boinked with Ellie (because in video game storylines what else are you supposed to do with a woman), but they've split up because Isaac has become a self-pitying recluse who is thrust back into the fray at gunpoint and spends the game complaining, wondering what the hell he's doing here (I can relate). When the game lets up on the Quicktime events to actually let you start playing, Isaac starts shooting at...dudes with guns. In a franchise that was supposed to be about shooting zombies to pieces, you start out by ducking behind cover and shooting dudes with guns in the face. Welcome to Call of Duty: Dead Space. The Unitologists, who made for great enemies with their methods of infiltration and subterfuge in past games, are now dudes with guns. They've managed to take over all of Earthgov, who were the totalitarian enemy in DS2, and have now reduced them to a SINGLE SQUAD. Wow, for a game that features alien monoliths that turn people into zombies, this game is making all this VERY hard to buy. So after the intro to Army of Isaac, he reunites with Ellie, who proceeds to lock lips with one of the jarhead military guys right in front of him. And now the zombie shark has officially been jumped. Ellie is Bella and Isaac is Edward. With the fate of humanity in the balance, Isaac now gets into p***ing contests with Military Jacob over stealing his girl.
The rest of the game is a tedious fetch-quest much like the 1st game, but whereas you felt put upon with the two other NPCs sending you here and there, now you fly through space and trudge in sub-zero terrain while a crowd of token characters like Bald Chick, Old Guy, and Redneck Jarhead tell you where to go while they sit back do jack squat. Meanwhile, you get to grab this thing and open this door and start this engine while you collect "resources" and "spare parts." Remember how players complained Dead Space didn't have the best weapons? Well the developers have passed that job down to us as we now construct guns like rusty Legos and find out that they're all still just as weak as ever, only now you, the player, have seen how fruitless your efforts are. That's pretty much how you experienced Dead Space 3; you don't play it, you work on it. You know, I can practically see the stiff-suited market researchers sitting around thinking how much crap they could cram into this game for the sole purpose of hooking more sales. We need that Twilight dollar, let's put in an overly dramatic and unneccesary love triangle! We need that Walking Dead dollar, let's add more useless NPCs that will serve no purpose other than to die at some point! We need that Mass Effect dollar, let's make the players pretend this is an RPG all of a sudden and collect parts!
I never quite understood why EA was painted as a money-grubbing, artistically-bankrupt company, but now I know all too well.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6Jan 31, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The pro's are actually right for a change, this is a GREAT game. If you like horror games, which I do. However, before I say whats great about it, I feel like I have to point out that this game is not an instant classic because it does have its flaws. But it would be hard to attack the game for these flaws without attacking the conventions of its genre or the limitations of the technology which was used to make it.
Dead Space 2 is still very much a horror game and as such succumbs to the limitations that have been a staple of the genre ever since the early days of the T-Virus. For some reason, developers are still confusing tank-like controls and sneak attacks for tension and suspense. Your characters sprint is a brisk jog at best and your melee attack still consists solely of wildly flailing your arms while grunting. (Sadly the Plasma Saw from Dead Space: Downfall was not featured in this game.) So your defensive measures are still pretty much limited to your ammo reserves. There aren't many new weapons and your combat proceeds very much like the last game. When you enter a long hallway, either zombies will come sprinting at you from the other end or come bursting out of previously locked doors, resulting in the "boo" scare followed by a few moments of panic as you mash on your fire-button to blow the limbs off the monsters until money, ammo, or a health pack bursts from their corpse. When you enter a large open space, you simply walk or run forward until you spring the trap and are ambushed by a swarm of no more than 6 or so enemies. Shoot, run, collect items, repeat.
And while this is no fault of the developers, a much bigger game is promised but unfortunately cannot be delivered on. When looking out a window you see what looks like a frame from Blade Runner of a huge sprawling metropolis but most of the game is you simply spending about an hour running around a huge building or labyrinth before riding a tram or getting blown out a window to your next destination. By the time I popped in the second disc, I was completely lost on what Isaac was trying to accomplish. or where he was supposed to be going. And for your character being an engineer, your engineering is pretty much limited to insert Object A into Slot B to open Door C. Games like Bioshock have experimented with utilizing hacking to have control over your environment, why couldn't this one? While the hacking mini-game in this is a quicker, more convenient method than in Bioshock, its all done purely to open a door or restore power to an elevator. Yawn.
But what I can say is that this game still succeeds leaps and bounds beyond its predecessor and most other games in the genre. This is by far the most linear and cinematic game I have ever played. While the dialogue is still laughable and cliched and the motivations and logic of both protagonists and antagonists questionable in the extreme, the game never once takes you out of the experience of playing it. While most games still rely on chapters and cut scenes to load the next sequence, Dead Space 2 never once breaks for a moment, instead being so much more about the journey and less about the destination. (Which does lead to the final boss battle being surprisingly underwhelming, but more on that in a minute.) The game jettisons the constant backtracking and end-chapter load screens in favor of creating a truly interactive movie experience.
The graphics are amazing, down to every last detail. The zombies are even slimier and more menacing, the blood and viscera more plentiful, and your character's suits don't just get tougher as the game progresses, they vary so much in style and function that no doubt players will be able to find a favorite to call their own. Although the game does still rely on many jump-scares, there are parts that are so nerve-wracking they must be played to be believed. The story doesn't really answer many questions from the last game. There is still no answer as to where the Marker came from or why these Scientology-clones can't seem to learn that their religious artifact is basically a zombie-factory, but this I'm sure is all just for the inevitable Dead Space 3. Which if I can offer any suggestions to EA for the next game, is don't hold back. The outer-space setting offers so many different ways for ripping zombies to pieces that I felt there were things int the game that could have been done but weren't. For the next game, let us take a Plasma Saw to our enemies. Give us an honest-to-goodness shotgun to go all Ash on them. Let us pilot a gunship to rain hell down on a horde of monsters. As long we're ripping off the Alien films, give us a Power Loader to take on a Mega-Brute. Let us use the Solar Beam to burn down another Hive Mind. Hell, introduce another alien race to fight in addition to the zombies. Up the ante and the body count and I'll be back for more...… Expand