Saturday, 23 July 2011

Review - Dead Space 2 and Dead Space: Ignition

This is a new regular segmnent I will be featuriug on my site. As an avid gamer, I love to play as much as possible. I will be reviewing the games I've played here, so look out for my new posts. My first games that I will be reviewing is Dead Space 2, as well as Dead Space: Ignition. 

Developer - Visceral Games
Publisher - Electronic Arts
Platform - Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genres - Survival horror, third-person shooter
Modes - Single-player, multiplayer
MetaCritic - 90
User Ratings - 86
My Rating - 85
Achievements - 900/1000
Hours Played - 10

Dead Space 2 was an all-round great game. The story picks up where Dead Space 1, or more recently, Dead Space: Ignition, left off (more on that later). You continue as protagonist Isaac Clarke, awakened from stasis by Dead Space: Ignition "protagonist" (I use that term loosely) Franco Delille. The game takes place on Saturn's now-shattered moon Titan, on a humanized colony called "The Sprawl". This time around, the story pits you against multiple adversaries; EarthGov, Unitologists and, of course, the Necromorphs.

The fate of Franco

The updated graphics are a welcome addition to the new iteration of the Dead Space franchise. Its visually rich and effective at setting an unsettling environment. The music is dramatic, and queued to indiviual events, even some as small as things being knocked over in an area beyong your vision being seen only by casted shadows on poorly lit walls creating a crescendo of nervousness and anxiety. Of course, this game makes its best use in low lit rooms, with full 5.1+ surround sound, and on the largest HDTV you can find, with your chair or couch only two feet away.

Though the game is one of the best I've played so far, it has had its flaws. My biggest dissapointment was the lopsided multiplayer. It just seemed unbalanced in favor of the Necromorphs. It was, however, fun. I spent a few hours playing through it and have had just as many fun moments, as I have had frustrating moments. Another thing I couldn't get into was Isaac's new appearance and personality. I liked how in the first one, he was a faceless hero. It was easier to personify him. With his own personality, and his own struggles, it seems like they are just trying to dramatized and romanticize the whole story. The story itself seemed to make next to no progression into the Dead Space Canon. It also seems, other than the now face-ful Isaac, the game has a Halo-like storyline. An be-all, end-all object that threatens the galaxy, and it turns out there are more, and the faceless hero has to save the day, and all this occurs in space. The length of the game was also kind of odd, considering it takes two discs. I ended up getting 90% of the achievements in less than 10 hours.

As far as the controls game, I couldn't be happier. The sluggish movements pay homage to the greats of the survival horror genre like Dino Crisis, Resident Evil and Silent Hill. The lack of a HUD makes the game much more immersive and cinematic, thus drawing the gamer in and setting up the inevitable scare-tactic that will make you wonder why you play the game at all. Though there is a selection of weapons, I again found that by the time I found my next weapon, I never used it at all because my original weapon had all my nodes in it, and was superior in almost every way. This isn't a major concern, but it seems that for all the work put into diversifying weapons, there isn't any real reason to take any others other than achievements.

My copies of Dead Space

I ended up only getting 900 out of the available 1000 achievements. The last two are just too frustrating to try. One requires you to play the game on the hardest difficulty, which provides little to no ammo or health, makes each enemy seem like a boss, and you only get three saves for the entire length of the game. When you die, it sends you back to the last save point, not a checkpoint. Hours of work could be lost. Maybe some day I'll go back and try again, but not likely in the near future.

Overall, I think the game is easily one of the best for 2011, so far. I've never really felt so much anxiety playing a game. It is scary, but it's also fun and rewarding. I could easily recommended this game to anyone who loves FPS or Survival Horror games.

Developers - Visceral Games, Sumo Digital
Publisher - Electronic Arts
Platforms - Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Genres - Survival horror, puzzle, action
Modes - Single-player, multiplayer
Metacritic - 35
User rating - 47
My rating - 49
Achievements - 200/200
Hours played - 2

One of the major gripes I've had with this game was it's repetitiveness. It's three mini-games over and over again, with learning curves steeper than Mount Everest. While the games were fun initially, they quickly got annoying and difficult past the point of frustration. The only redeeming qualities of this game are the story, and the bonus suit for Dead Space 2. It tells the tale of Franco Delille, the man who sets you free from your cell at the beginning of Dead Space 2, as well as his motives and fate. Upon completion of the game

"After completing the game players will receive bonus items for Dead Space 2, including a hacker-themed suit with 15% armor and 15 inventory slots, as well as a bonus to the hacking portions of the game Players also receive a hacker-themed Contact Beam weapon, extra power nodes, health packs, ammo, and audio logs. These bonuses are found in "conduit rooms" unlocked with a Dead Space Ignition completed save file"

Hardware Crack

Hardware Crack is a fairly traditional puzzle solving mini-game in which you redirect various colored lasers in to their respective exit points. You are time limited in this one and thus required to think fast.
There are various components in the playing field each with different functions. 

Trace Route

Trace Route involves controlling an electrical signal in a race against other signals to the finish line. You are required to dodge obstacles - walls and other moving objects that will slow you down to a near stop whilst also aiming for various power-ups that grant you the ability to reverse the AI opponents controls, drop walls behind you or simply give you a speed boost.

System Override

System Override is a simple Tower Defense minigame in which you are not only required to block enemy attackers but do so whilst advancing troops to an objective on the other side of the playing field. You have multiple unit types - one of which has the ability to slow down incoming enemy units

Over all, this game was nothing more than a stepping stone to Dead Space 2, and should be avoided unless you plan on playing Dead Space 2 immediately after.