Dead Space 2 PC Review

By on February 7, 2011

Dead Space shocked the entire gaming industry when it first came in 2008. One of its key elements was its horrific atmosphere… or so most of gamers say. Personally I didn’t feel this horror or any chills down my spine. Most of those ‘horror moments’ where like this: <<Booohoooooo. I’m a bad ass monster that came from nowhere. You didn’t expect me right? HA! Boooooo>>. Well, we’ve already experienced these scenes in older games. Games like “D” or “Resident Evil” were full of them. If you got frightened by Dead Space, you should also got frightened by Doom3 as they use the same ‘cheap’ tricks (and we already know what most of gamers think about Doom3). And if you got frightened by both games, what will happen when you play Amnesia?

What I noticed however, was a game with lots of ideas. A polished third person shooter, cleverly scripted with great gunplay, original weapons, enemies that we hardly see in every other game that was powered by a beautiful game engine. And these are also the key features of the sequel. Of course, Visceral Games didn’t simply increase the action part of the game as previously stated. They offer more variety, some exceptional QTE’s, better mouse support for the PC version, a typical multiplayer mode and generally, a better gaming experience.

First things first. Once again, you take the role of Isaac Clarke. Three years have passed since the incidents of the first game and as you can imagine, you don’t remember anything that has occurred these years. The game starts with Franco waking you up, in the hospital of a space facility. What is going on in this facility? Who is Stross and what you have in common with him? What experiments were taking place in this facility? Who are Daina, Ellie and Tiedemann. And what does Nicole want from you?

As with its predecessor, Dead Space 2’s game engine is remarkable. Although there are some light sources that don’t cast shadows, your light of flashlight casts. As a result of this, the environment doesn’t look ‘flat’. Part of this is also due to the great use of some ambient lights. Visceral Games implemented some cool graphical effects, like lens flares, motion blur, heat haze and a nice fog effect. They also used higher resolution textures for the sequel and most of the characters have a higher polygon count. Requirements are really low and although the game scales to a quadcore, it doesn’t take advantage of it. As we can see bellow, the first and the fourth core were used mostly. If you have an Nvidia card, you can use the 0x00401045 compatibility AA flag to force AA. If, on the other hand, have an ATI card, you can force MLAA. We should also note that the SLI scaling is great in this game.

The sound is as good as the graphics. The freaky screams of the babies will haunt in some levels. Weapon sounds are top notch and this time around, Isaac can talk. Generally speaking, the voice acting is, for the most part, great. When you enter outer space, the sound effects are muted and you can clearly hear your breath. Dead Space 2 supports most of the surround speakers. Our only complaint is that the music and the environmental effects aren’t used as much as we’d hoped to.

Like we said, Dead Space 2 is a third person action horror shooter. It may be more action packed than before, but Visceral offers us something remarkable. Something we’ve always wanted. They offered variety. One moment you’ll be facing a horde of Necromorphs and the other you may be exploring some atmospheric rooms. And then you will be fighting a mini-boss, or the story will be unfolding in front of you, or you will participate in a QTE or you will be solving puzzles in zero gravity. One thing is for sure. You won’t get bored at all.

As with the first game, Isaac’s suit places a major role. The suit provides you protection and oxygen in case you get to Space. Both your suit and your weapons, can be upgraded at various benches. In order to upgrade them, you’ll need to collect or buy nodes. You can also buy ammo, new weapons and new suits.

The combat in Dead Space 2 is great, particularly due to the spectacular weaponry and the dismemberment of enemies. What can we say about the amazing Line Gun or the Ripper? And if you are a ‘classic’ gamer, you can use the Seeker Rifle (a futuristic sniper rifle) or the Flamethrower. To kill the Necromorphs, you’ll have to dismember them. A good tactic is to first cut their legs. If things get worse however, you can use your ‘stasis’ powers to slow them down, or your ‘kinesis’ powers to block their way.

The multiplayer mode that has been added is functional at best. And that’s because it suffers from the issues of all console ports. There isn’t any browser list, any latency indication (except from some bars), there is a lot of lag, when the host leaves you will be prompted to the main screen and there isn’t any penalty for the host’s disconnects. You can’t reenter the server you were playing if you get disconnected and the friendlist implementation is messy. I seriously can’t wait till consoles offer browser lists and dedicated servers. And this has nothing to do with me being a PC gamer. Both of these features will also be appreciated by the console gamers. Lag-less games in the server of your choice by simply saying with your microphone <<Hey guys, let’s go to Shalala server>>. As simple as that!

All in all, Dead Space 2 is a great and polished game. It has variety, enjoyable combats, interesting story, direct controls, nice cinematic moments that are not overused and some clever features, like the zero gravity environments. Even though it isn’t scary (damn, nothing can come close to Amnesia), I enjoyed it. It’s not perfect (especially the ragdoll physics need a lot of tweaking). It is however an impressive and polished third person game that every gamer has to play. 2011 starts off incredibly with Dead Space 2 and it seems we were right when we stated that this year would be one hell of a gaming year!

Rating: 8.5

+ Graphics and sound
+ Variety
+ Better mouse controls
+ It’s Dead Space, enhanced to the max
+ Isaac can talk

– Problematic ragdolls physics
– Multiplayer is full of problems

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.