Dead Space 2 is really dope.

While I was laid up immediately following a nose job, I took some time to go see my folks, relax, and in general just try to get my life under my feet.

It’s October and I’m stressed the fuck out again so I don’t think it worked out all that well.  

Anyway, I had time on my hands and with a busted arm I couldn’t play guitar or work on any of my other things, so I spent more time playing video games.  Right now, games look better than they ever have.  Playing something like Forza Horizon 4, in some parts the lighting and graphical fidelity make it look really close to life.  So it’s fun to go back a few years to the start of the decade and see how far we’ve come.  

Dead Space!  Dead Space!  was everywhere for a few years there, the developers at EA were keen on making this horror game into some sort of multimedia powerhouse.  There were TWO cartoon movies, a bunch of spin-offs, books, the works.  Dead Space, with its striking art style, violence and otherworldly horror seemed like the perfect big blockbuster for a western company.

There’s only one problem; it’s 2010 and the character models look like creepy dolls.

It wouldn’t be til a few years later with titles like The Last Of Us or Tomb Raider that human characters would animate and move around in a very convincing manner, until then we had stuff like this (although I think this is a particularly shabby example; later characters move and talk pretty well).  Where even the emotional beats can kind of look silly as the whole thing starts to buckle where human models are just lame looking.

Alright, this one is pretty cool.

But this one, lol.

Still!  It’s space!  So you don’t see people out of their spacesuit/industrial armor for the most part and the game’s commitment to having no cuts in gameplay and the HUD being a natural part of the space suit is an awesome trick that’s marketed heavily in games today. 

Love how scenes like this transition you to the next level in a game without cutting to black or introducing a time skip.

Issac’s armor is cool and the world he occupies looks great.  The lighting is pretty dope too!

I like Dead Space 2 a lot, I think it’s probably one of the best examples of a great sequel in modern gaming: it’s bigger, it’s better and there’s more confidence in the whole product.  The main character has a voice, and is fairly sympathetic, and the supporting cast is the best the series has had.  Some of the writing is way too on the nose, such as a dementia-induced hallucination taunting the main character to cut his wrists in a hammy and dumb way…mental illness will just never be handled with any sort of subtlety in games I guess.  

The game gives you a good weapon sandbox to fight with as well, enemies move fast; faster than the over-the-shoulder camera really allows you to deal with.  If you ever played RE4 and wondered how the older, swift monsters of the series like the hunters or lickers would be handled; the difficult combat, and some bullshit deaths of this game would show you!

 

But fear not, you’ve got a few tools to help even the score: telekinesis and stasis.  TK is cool especially as it lets you deal with monsters without losing ammo, and a lot of the game is actually built around utilizing this; you can almost always punch a structure down and use the rubble to impale a monster that is running towards you.  You can even use their bodies to set off their own booby traps.

 

Less reliable is stasis, used to blast monsters with a blue smoke that puts them in slow motion…it works but it’s limited and some swift enemies will just sneak up to you out of view for the kill as you prep to fire a bolt at them…

It’s surprising how well the game still players today, things like the game economy, where you buy upgrades and items for money call to mind something like the old Dreamcast game Blue Stinger, and it’s pretty cool to see how the different weapons help you get through situations (my favorite being a close range weapon that just levitates a circular saw in front of you, dicing up anything in your path).  With the graphics, storytelling and multimedia push, I feel like this is a title that was five years too early; this would be a huge hit today compared to *only* pushing like 3 million copies back in the day back when it seemed everyone was pushing for multiplayer games, Dead Space 2 has a mode, but I didn’t play it because it requires paying 10 dollars for an online pass, another practice of that era that I’m not sad to see go.  

See the source image

Ugh.

 

Anyway, this game’s pretty awesome, it’s way better than the other shitty horror game I played in August: The Evil Within, a bland stealth horror game by the man that created the sublime Resident Evil 4…how could he have fucked this up so bad?  It was on new consoles and looks significantly worse than Dead Space 2.

 

 

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