Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

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Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

Post by miracleofsound on Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:59 am

Hey guys, hope it's cool if I post a review here I did on the 'Pist first! If it's a problem let me know and I'll remove it. Enjoy, and lemme know what ye think of both review and game itself!

Miracle's Whip: Dead Space 2

What makes a great shooter? There are so many of them saturating the market that it can sometimes be a drag to wade through the sludgy swamps of mediocrity trying to find the gems that light up our violent little hearts. For a shooter to really stand out it has to offer something a little bit different and imaginative in its gameplay - or to put it more bluntly, a gimmick. Think Half Life 2's Grav Gun, Gears of War's cover system, COD's spectacular setpieces and aiming-down sights. If a developer can then implement its new ideas in such a way that it doesn't feel like a gimmick it's already onto a winner. When they succeed in this and also add a high level of polish to the game's mechanics and presentation then we get into masterpiece territory.

As anyone who has played Dead Space 1 will remember, its big gimmick was the strategic dismemberment - cut off the limbs or the enemy won't die. It made for a fresh and original way to blast through hordes of nasties, requiring you to use precision and timing with your shots as well as making you think vertically and horizontally as opposed to just thinking 'Quick! Shoot the head!'. As protagonist Isaac Clark was but a humble engineer, all he had for self defense was a few engineering and mining tools, used in ingenious and inventive ways by the designers. Rotating your Plasma Cutter in 90% angles to hack the arms and legs off various mutilated monstrosities felt completely natural and intuitive and was buckets of bloody fun. Add to this a tense, creepy atmosphere and tonnes of 'WHOAH!' crazy jump scares and you have a winning formula.



This is what happens when you let your kids play too many videogames... now where did I put that Ritalin?

The story revolves around an alien species that inhabits and moulds other species' bodies into horriffic, blood and pus-spewing murderous monstrosities. There's the usual cliches such as a creepy cult and corrupt Government Military in there too, but the main theme is simple: Isaac needs to find and destroy whatever is causing this unholy mess and put a stop to it. As Isaac can now speak, and is thankfully well acted, we get to see him fleshed out this time, struggling with his apparent dementia and guilt over past events involving his girlfriend. I won't say any more for fear of spoilers, suffice to say that by the end of the game I grew pretty attached to him and actually cared what happened to him (and certain other characters) this time.

The moment you gain control of Isaac in Dead Space 2, you know the developers are subscribing to the James Cameron philosophy of sequel-making. An explosive and dramatic intro sequence immediately flings the player head-first into the action with no choice but to run like hell as the world around them descends into chaos. It's extremely effective and a nice contrast to the slow burning dread of the first game. Gone is the Event Horizon meets Alien claustrophobic terror, replaced by a much bigger and louder set-piece driven action shooter. It is to DS1 what Aliens was to Alien, or what T2 was to The Terminator. The consequence is that the adventure is not quite as scary this time around, though this is also down to the game's main enemies -the Necromorphs - now feeling more familiar and predictable instead of alien and mysterious. It won't make you jump as much now when they go 'BLOOAARGH!' and burst out of a vent waving their spikes at you. They are, however, still a wonderful example of clever game design, and due to some refined controls and shooting mechanics they are now more fun to dismember.


She's a good dancer man, but I dunno about her looks. Whatever you're into, I guess.

The first thing you will likely notice after you finally get a chance to slow down and catch your breath is how utterly beautiful the game looks. I can say without much doubt that this is by far the best looking shooter I have played on the 360. There are simply ridiculous amounts of detail, colour and variety in every environment, making each chapter feel really different to the others - something the first game could have done with. There are tens of thousands of unique visual assets, which goes some way to explaining why the game is spread over two discs. Just try not to be wowed as you stand watching plumes of shimmering flames ascending giant circular towers, sending dynamic lighting and shadows flickering in and out of complex industrial structures and sending waves of colour over Isaac's beautifully rendered suits, all without dropping a single frame. It really is a feast for the eyes - that is if you can take all the gruesome and disgustingly designed body horror, which some may find a bit too much (my other half was left comically slack jawed upon witnessing a bulbous, deformed zombie baby explode its guts in my face for the first time). The visuals will make you jizz your pants and/or puke. Hopefully not simultaneously.

Visceral have gone to great lengths to make Dead Space 2 as playable and free of frustration as possible. In my entire playthrough, the only time I ever had to watch a loading screen was when I booted up a game after quitting. Every single load in the game is happening behind closed doors (literally) as you play. It happens as you crawl through vents, search coridoors for audio logs, talk to another character in an elevator - you're never left bored and sitting there waiting for stuff to happen. It is fluid, fast paced and sets a new benchmark for how developers should be handling this much-maligned part of modern gaming. There is no HUD, everything is displayed on Isaac himself, even the menus are projected from his suit. Now someone please tell Peter Molyneux that this is how you make something fully interactive.


Take notes, Lionhead. This is how you make an interactive HUD


Combat is more difficult than it was in DS1, with tougher enemies coming at you in greater numbers. You once again have your makeshift arsenal of industrial items, plus some fun new ones like electric spears and detonation mines. When you run out of ammo (and you will) you have your Grav-Gun-like Telekinesis power and an improved melee system to fall back on. There were one or two occasions where certain ambushes felt a little bit cheap and there was no way you could have avoided death, but this is countered by the hilariously over the top death animations and some very generous checkpointing. The only enemies I found to be in any way frustrating were the fast, scuttling floor crawlers who run in, attack and run away, but even these were manageable with skillful use of your Stasis power (DS's equivalent of a Freeze spell). There was also the odd time when I suffered repeated knockdown attacks with no chance to fight back, and an overly long chase sequence in the final chapter overstays its welcome. These instances were rare though, I think it's important that I emphasise how fun and rewarding the combat is for 99% of the game. Everything just feels right, from the hit detection, to the pace, to the aim acceleration. Anti-gravity sections are also vastly improved. Isaac can now propel himself freely around, as opposed to the awkward jumping from wall to wall of DS1.

To add variety to this admittedly extremely linear corridor shooter, Visceral have included some pretty spectacular set-pieces. It will be hard for any game this year to top the thrilling, speeding monorail train sequence in Chapter 2, or the huge spacewalk sections which are breathtakingly epic in scale. There is also one harrowing and memorable interactive scene late in the game that makes Heavy Rain's finger moment look like the Tellytubbies. The final hour is so massive, dramatic and full of amazing sound and visuals that you'll immediately want to see it all again after finishing it. Speaking of sound, it is once again top notch. The dark, ominous low string drones from DS1 return, punctuated by high pitched bursts of atonal noise when in combat. Simple and effective. Sound effects are disgusting, visceral and meaty. Every gun is punchy and a joy to fire and every limb you hack off gives a satisfying mix of squirting, crunching grossness.

There is also a pleasantly surprising self-referencial sense of humour running through the story. Watch out for a scene where someone tells Isaac 'Thank God you don't have to go through the med-bay' and at that very moment... well you'll see for yourself. The final spoken line in the game also pokes fun at the first game. All in all, it is hard to find fault with Dead Space 2's campaign. Brilliantly paced, expertly designed and lots of fun... what more could we want from a shooter?


Isaac liked to hang around the mall by himself. It was tough to make friends when everyone was a slavering murderous zombie alien.
Multiplayer:

I only spent an hour or so trying out the multiplayer and it didn't feel particularly interesting. The basic premise is humans vs Necromorphs, with the humans having to complete objectives as the Necros try to stop them. Climbing up walls as a crawler felt fun for a while but in all honesty the multiplayer feels a bit pointless and very unbalanced. I played 6 or 7 games and the Necromorphs won every single one, no matter who was on what team. Still, only over time can we truly judge multiplayer games and whether DS2 can compete with the big boys remains to be seen.

Overall Opinion

Even without the obligatory tacked-on multiplayer, this game is well worth its price. New Game Plus lets you carry over your gear into new playthroughs, adding much replay value. Expertly crafted in every way, gorgeous to look at and listen to, a blast to play and full of 'holy shit!' moments that you'll never forget. A shining example of our medium at the top of its game.

Laurence Fishburne:
Exploding babies
Meaty, visceral combat
Tight, intuitive controls
Jaw Dropping Set-Pieces
Stunning visuals
Great sound design
Good voice acting
No meteors or turrets anywhere
Lots of variety in gameplay and environments
Story and character development better than DS1
Sam Neill:
A couple of cheap deaths
Some difficulty spikes
Over-long chase sequence
Tacked on, half assed, unbalanced multiplayer

Verdict

Buy

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Re: Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

Post by PayJ on Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:25 am

I'm afraid I can't allow this thread to continue as there are several violations in the OP.

Act 1 Section 12 of the Being a Twat Act clearly states that all reviews posted on this website must insult at least 4 racial minorities.

Act 35 Section 1 of the Posting Reviews on Green Coloured Websites Act requests that all text be posted in a colour that makes it near impossible to read.

Act 42 Section 10 of the Irish Users on this website Act ensures the liberties of all English Users on this website and stop them being offended you must post at least 5 St Georges crosses and praise all the things the English did to create the modern world.

Thank you for your time and I hope you take the time to change these errors in your work.

Twas a good review though. Seems a shame I'll probably never play this.

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Re: Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

Post by GrinningManiac on Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:40 pm

Needs Moar Boring

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Re: Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

Post by MilkyFresh on Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:02 am

GrinningManiac wrote:Needs Moar Boring
Yes, there was nowhere near enough boring in that review.

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Re: Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

Post by reg42 on Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:46 am

I just beat this last night. Beats the crap outta the first one; really fun.

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Rollin' fatties, smokin' blunts/Who smokes the blunts/We smoke the blunts/Rollin' blunts and smokin...

Oh, let me get a nickle bag

15 bucks little man/Put that shit in my hand/If that money doesn't show/Then you owe me owe me owe

My jungle looooove/Oh-e-oh-e-oh/I think I wanna know ya, know ya"
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Re: Miracle's Whip - Dead Space 2

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