PS3 Reviews: Dead Space 2 Review

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Dead Space 2 Review

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Graphics:

 

9.0

Gameplay:

 

9.1

Sound:

 

9.4

Control:

 

8.8

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       9.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

Visceral Games

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action/Survival/Horror

The original Dead Space was widely considered to be a boon for the ailing survival/horror genre, although some didn’t wish to classify Visceral’s terrifying third-person action title as a “survival/horror” adventure. Either way, it provided us with something fresh and new in an industry that often sticks to formulaic, tried-and-true mechanics and styles. And while the sequel doesn’t once again redefine the nature of horror in the video game realm, it takes several small steps in the right direction and ultimately provides us with an immensely satisfying experience. Technically proficient, stable and solid in just about every way, loaded with leap-out-of-your-seat moments, and filled with a unique sense of urgency, Dead Space 2 will keep you transfixed for hours. Just make sure to play in a dark room, and it’s preferable if you’re alone in the house. Fear is the name of this game.

The graphics are a definite high point, as the level of detail has been amped up yet again and the special effects take center stage throughout. The gooey goriness is enough to put you off your appetite – and that’s a good thing – and the developers make excellent use of this sci-fi theme. We’re not always wandering around the same hallways and fighting the same enemies in the same rooms. There’s a fair amount of design variety, the fluid animations are actually a pleasure to behold, and the atmosphere is second to none. I did spot a few small hitches here and there; I don’t remember these from the first game, so that might be considered a small step backwards. I also think we could use just a dash more color and vividness when it comes to certain encounters and situations but beyond that, this is one very pretty game. …okay, it isn’t “pretty” but chaotic, hellish, nightmarish insanity has never looked so…appealing.

The sound is even better, and that’s because Visceral knows what makes our skin crawl. In addition to a multitude of quality voices, the effects are the biggest reason DS2 shines as a sequel: when wandering about, we will hear something off in the distance; it might have been a human cry, or it might have been a scuffling or a scraping. It might come towards me in the next area or it might run. And what the hell is that noise?! There’s a lot of that, which always grips the player and refuses to let go. The soundtrack plays an excellent complementary role and enhances every freakish encounter with swelling orchestral tracks. But really, the effects are top-notch; it’s the combination of the in-your-face – the cringe-worthy sound of stomping on a corpse – and the ambient, background audio – i.e., far-off screams, moans, thuds, and roars – that catapults Dead Space 2 into another stratosphere where tension reigns.

For the most part, Visceral adopted the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy for this follow-up effort. And while the naysayers will translate that into the very negative “rehash” term, let’s not forget that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves didn’t really make any significant mechanical changes, either; it simply built on a perfectly solid foundation. And while DS2 doesn’t have quite the same level of absurd high-end polish, nor does it make as many noticeable leaps and strides, it still manages to emerge as an awesome production that doesn’t hold back. They pull out all the stops in a concerted effort to keep you perched on the edge of your seat, palms sweaty, knuckles white, and mouth slightly parted, anticipating the next “holy sh**” moment with bated breath. There’s quite simply no other game that features such a ceaseless assault on our senses. No wonder those moms couldn’t handle it.

The control is as you remember: you move and shift the camera about with the left and right analog sticks respectively, and you can run with L2 and execute a melee attack with R1. You aim with L1 and fire with R1, stomp with R2 (and the alternate fire for your weapons is R2 as well), select one of four possible weapons with the directional pad, and hold down R3 to get your bearings. The blue line will move the plot along while the yellow line shows you to a store, and the green line locates a save point for you. Extremely helpful. For some reason, I think the camera is just a bit more erratic this time around; there were times when it backed up on me in a corner, and when you bring up your inventory (or a text log) and you’re in a bad spot, the angle is terrible. But besides that one hiccup, this is one of the best control schemes going, because you never feel overwhelmed or cheated and mastery of the gameplay isn’t difficult.

The difficulty lies where it should: in the strategy of survival. You have multiple ways to approach any given battle, and due to the limitation of your inventory, you really have to pay attention to your progress. Okay, so you’re low on ammo for your Plasma Cutter; maybe you should rely on the Line Gun. But wait, you want to save the Line Gun for encounters where you fight numerous enemies, and you don’t want to waste that ammo… Well, there’s Stasis, which you can use to halt enemies in their tracks, and use your valuable Plasma ammo to sever limbs in only one or two shots. Or maybe you’re low on ammo altogether, so that’s when you use Kinesis to pick up a certain sharp object and impale a rushing foe. If you’re running low on health, you might have to keep your distance and maybe waste some ammo; if you’ve got lots of health and don’t mind getting up close and personal, maybe it’s time for the Ripper…

The bosses are not only meticulously designed, but such battles are often ingeniously designed and super fun to play through. There’s great balance and pacing, too, in that you’re never facing too many of the same necromorph in consecutive areas, you’re never in the same type of level for too long, and you’re constantly surprised by something. It’s here where the strength of the game resides. Urgency is absolutely paramount because you never feel safe; even when you’re resting, you’re still tensing, mentally preparing for the next terrifying encounter. This sense of urgency is what sets DS2 apart and keeps you playing. You always find just enough ammo and health on Normal Mode to survive, provided you’re careful. This means you’re frequently on the edge; you always feel as if you’re one poorly executed battle away from serious, serious trouble.

If you do mess up, it’s not a bad idea to succumb on purpose and start from the last checkpoint (which is usually right before the battle you botched). Maybe you were inaccurate, maybe the enemies came at you from an unknown direction, maybe you accidentally used a medium health pack you didn’t want to use, etc. There’s plenty of survival strategy involved and when you factor in the aforementioned urgency, it’s an involving, engaging experience. And yes, there’s an immense amount of gore and potentially offensive material, but that’s to be expected. There were instances where I thought Visceral went a little too far without any good reason – I’m not sure we need to see a drawn-out disgusting sequence when Isaac dies – but it’s not a deal-breaker. They really do maintain a sense of fear and anxiety, and you can’t do that when gore is flying in your face every ten seconds.

The flaws I found may be more subjective than anything else, but they should be mentioned. Firstly, I’m not as big a fan of this storyline. Before, it seemed more mysterious; i.e., what are those things, where did they come from, where did everybody go, where the hell am I going? That sort of thing. This time, it feels just a little too tacked-on and clichéd; okay, there’s this church of fanatics, your dead girlfriend is popping up and tormenting you, and there’s still a lot of vagueness for most of the adventure. Secondly, I kinda wanted more…you know, more in the way of new enemies, new weapons, and maybe even new styles of advancement. The Bench has returned where you utilize Power Nodes you find (which can also be used to gain access to secretly locked rooms), and there’s the Store where you can purchase and sell items and pieces of equipment. It all works extremely well; I just thought…well, yeah. More.

But at the end of the day, Dead Space 2 is another gem from a talented developer that knows what makes us jump. The control is just as good as ever (with a slight caveat concerning the camera), the audio is some of the best of the generation, the detail is freakin’ sweet, the pacing is fantastic, and the urgency and tension drives the entire production forward. They do make a few changes; for instance, how we approach the zero-grav environments. This time, you actually hover and move about as if you’re flying, as opposed to the “jumping” mechanic utilized in the first title. While I do have my reservations about the story, and I really think some moments should’ve been reigned in, there’s no denying that DS2 will keep you riveted in place. There are just so many times where you emerge breathless from yet another terrifying encounter, and that’s when you truly appreciate the obvious effort.

Even the co-op multiplayer seems to be a blast; there’s very little in the way of technical issues and in comparison to a lot of shooters, this is a whole new thing. If you can locate a friend who wants to play, you’re bound to have some fun. Co-op is a feature that many desire, and is so often left out of great games; you should definitely take advantage of the option…even if it means issuing a fair warning if your partner isn’t expecting this type of game. Whichever way you approach the gameplay, you should be prepared for one of the most harrowing interactive action dramas out there. It isn’t perfect but it’s well worth your time and money.

The Good: Great visuals and top-notch design. Unbelievable sound effects and good voice acting. Solid, reliable control. Pacing and atmosphere are big highlights. Survival strategy solidifies depth. Sense of emotion, urgency, and tension keeps us entertained at all times.

The Bad: Story doesn’t seem to be as interesting. Vision can be obscured at times. Desired a bit more variation and advancement overall.

The Ugly: “Uh…not sure that was necessary. Holy God.”

1/26/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (54 posts)

thj_1980
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 9:39:28 PM
Reply

Awesome review!!!! I wish i had this game!!! I HAVE No cash!!!!

Last edited by thj_1980 on 1/26/2011 9:39:47 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:36:18 PM

At least you have energy!!!!

Agree with this comment 9 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

kevinater321
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 9:40:15 PM
Reply

Awesome review but i think my hands are full right now with the amazing little big planet 2.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 9:51:14 PM
Reply

Regarding the co-op: Is it storyline co-op or just a variation of the regular competitive multiplayer modes, "survive the waves", those kind of things?

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GuernicaReborn
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:00:20 PM

So far, the only co-op I've played consists of two rounds. Round one, you play as necromorphs and try to stop humans from reaching certain goals. Round two, you play as the humans trying to accomplish said goals.

Goals consist of, but are not limited to, destroying certain objects, starting computer systems, carrying objects from one point to another... that sort of stuff.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:32:57 PM

Aha, thanks alot for the info. That's what I was afraid of, it's the typical "cheap" way of adding co-op to a game. A fun addition but not a reason in itself to buy the game.
Oh man I'd SO love to have a game like this in full storyline co-op mode. First and foremost because I gotta be honest here: These games scare the crap out of me when I play alone. Remember Condemned 2? I didn't even get past the tutorial.
However, being two sneaking around in the corridors, figuring out strategics via the mic, I'm pretty sure that'd be the greatest co-op experience I'd have so far.
Nothing beats being scared together! :D

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/26/2011 10:33:29 PM

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MadKatBebop
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 9:57:24 PM
Reply

Nice review, so far I'm lovin it! its so awesome!

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Alienange
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:00:46 PM
Reply

I'm a little surprised at the negatives. You mean it's the same old nodes with bench stuff? Nothing new there?

As for the story, well, church goers are creepy so that kinda fits.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 11:39:05 PM

Yes, same build-up process.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:08:52 PM
Reply

Very nice review! DS2 is unreal and harder than DS1. I seem to remember killing 95% of the necromorphs in DS1 in front of me. I don't know, I could be wrong. But I am almost done with Chapter 3 and they have surround me and attacked from all sides!! Loving the game and cannot get enough of this fantastic story. Cannot wait to learn more. Definitely buying all the books after I beat DS2. So glad I chose this over Mass Effect 2. I will get ME2 in March so it's all good. I give it a 10 out of 10. So far everything is perfect!

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Nickjcal
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:57:37 PM

the books are great. I just finished one of them. The blue cover one I cant think of the name right now ha

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FM23
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 1:21:45 AM

Trust me, ME2 is far from terrible.

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Hezzron
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:20:38 PM
Reply

I want this game. The great reviews it's getting makes me want to splurge on it soon. Good job.

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Shams
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:25:27 PM
Reply

Great read. Got a great deal from KMART. I picked up ME2, and DS2. They're offering $20 PSN cards with DS2, and buy 1 get 1/2 off on 2nd with purchase of LBP2 or ME2. The Kmart I went was out of PSN cards, so they gave me $30 dollars off of DS2 because of ME2, and another $20 off because of the cards being out of stock. I got DS2 for $10 brand new!

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 10:48:44 PM
Reply

Sweetastical review. I wanna play. Gotta wait, but don't want to.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SvenMD
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 11:16:46 PM
Reply

Nice review....it's actually what I expected from this game. (I'll see how I feel about the story)

I didn't really want them to change much, but that's because I thought the first game was awesome. I like the No HUD, I like the engineer weapons, I like dismembering necromorphs, I like the nodes and the benches.

It arrived today, but can't really play it till Friday (BIG-A$$ test on Friday - gotta keep studying)....so until then I will just be totally psyched.

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Radiohead
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 @ 11:46:33 PM
Reply

This game deserves a 10 simple as that.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:14:19 AM

No, it doesn't.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 1:36:18 AM

BOOM! you got shut down!!=)

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Nlayer
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:56:41 AM

Well, wow. People can't have different opinions? I don't think RadioHead was telling Ben that he scored it wrong. It sounded like he was just stating his opinion. I could be wrong though.

Although my opinion on all games is that nothing can get a 10, ever. But that doesn't mean I have a better opinion than anyone else. Most all reviews are opinionated anyways. =]

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:52:54 PM

Of course, both are opinions. We both stated our opinions; no issue there.

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Radiohead
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:16:26 AM
Reply

I guess everybody has different opinions about dead space 2.

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booze925
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:27:11 AM

if you feel it deserves a 10, you should explain why in the user review section. im curious to hear why it deserves a perfect score

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booze925
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:25:23 AM
Reply

what you didn't mention is how isaac isn't a trustworthy protagonist. hes going insane, and i sometimes find myself second guessing his actions...
otherwise, DS2 is a great addition to my library

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:26:10 AM

That's just about the only interesting part of the story in my eyes.

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booze925
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:29:11 AM

watch out for that needle isaac.
a perfect example

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Geobaldi
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:41:48 AM
Reply

It's fun and a great game but it doesn't score as high with me as the original did. Seems like they just throw more and more monsters at you instead of building up the tension and surprises like the previous one did. It's more gory though and that's a huge plus for me. Multiplayer is just Left 4 Dead redone in space.

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FM23
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 1:25:00 AM
Reply

This is what I was afraid of...more of the same. The mystery of Dead Space one made that game classic for me, but if the combat is the same and the story isn't going anywhere...then my wait for this game is much easier now...still want it though.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 1:40:38 AM
Reply

How does one go about writing a user review? I think I want to write one for this.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:02:39 AM

NEVAR MINDS. I found it.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 3:41:12 AM

Not enough space! I'm too verbose for a 500 character limit, so... I'll be writing the review for my blog and I'll post the link here, if anyone's interested.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 4:54:40 AM

500 is the minimum lol..

20,000 is the max.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 4:55:23 AM

HA! It's a five hundred character MINIMUM limit. I've written reviews in excess of three thousand words mate. Trust me, length is no barrier.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:20:18 PM

Yeah... I uh... just re-read it a few minutes ago and realized I was wrong.

Total facepalm.

Maybe I'll get it right next time. Ha.

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___________
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:12:13 AM
Reply

again, this game is not survival horror!!!!!!!!!
disappointed to see its not as scary as the original, which is really disappointing because, well, the original was not really scary!
what do i have to do to get a game that has me cowering in the corner like a school girl?
ps1 and ps2 games, even some ps3 games use to be able to do that in their sleep!
so whats going on!!!!!!!??????????

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Nlayer
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:58:29 AM

Please play Dead Space on Insane mode. Maybe even try to get a 5.1 sound system and a very large TV. Thank you and goodnight! =]

Oh, and play only around 10PM through 5AM.

Last edited by Nlayer on 1/27/2011 2:59:58 AM

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___________
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 7:26:26 AM

any other requests?
O, and i dont have a 5.1 surround setup so hopefully a 7.1 with 8K processor & amp will do.
56 inch large enough?
no prob, i can play between 10 and 5 but you will have to ring my boss and explain why ill need the week off.
some of us dont stay home all day playing games you know?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 10:26:56 AM

You work? ...with people?

Agree with this comment 13 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

coverton341
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 11:22:02 AM

You know, sometimes you come on here driving on about being a poor college student, then sometimes you drone on about this magnificent entertainment setup and job.

I don't think I believe anything that you say any more...well, sorry that would imply that I did at one point so just disregard that.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Nlayer
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:31:03 PM

You have more than I anticipated, haha.

I guess you just really dislike games. I won't try to alter your opinion. You might want to try a 144'' screen though, it works for me. ;]

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slugga_status
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 3:39:37 PM

I'm sorry but I don't think you have even played the games that you always seem to have a negative opinion about. You always give subjective opinion without any experience to back it up.

And I'm sorry..how is this game NOT survival/horror? It uses the same exact concept of RE,RE2, and RE3. Once again..if you never played it..just say that..if you don't like it..just say that..smh



Last edited by slugga_status on 1/27/2011 3:39:56 PM

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BikerSaint
Sunday, January 30, 2011 @ 12:24:09 AM

coverton,
I believe that you're a 100% spot on about____!!

I called him out once again on just that very same BS about 3-4 weeks ago.

I mean, I spend $3000 to $4000 a year buying games, consoles & hand-helds, accessories, & games for all my collections & there's just no effen' way I could even play(& never mind, buy) all those games he allegedly plays.

Hell, I just bought 58 PS3 games alone, in the last 3 to 4 weeks & I'm still nowhere near getting close to getting all the current popular games, even with all of those purchases I just made.
And I've got at least a 80-game PS3 backlog to boot.

Plus _____ would probably have to do at least a 5-game speed run daily just to play all the games that he says he has. And through my own experience, I'd say he would have to be in at the very minimum, a few 100 games backlog at any one time while spinning all his fairy-tales.

And where's all this Richie Rich money coming from that's funding a poor ole "boo-hoo-hoo" college student??????

Unless of course Microsoft is paying __________ big bucks to just to "ASTROTURF" this Playstation site, &/or other Sony themed sites too.
Which to me, would certainly seem the much more plausible scenario.

So either way, poor liar or a MS-paid fanboy, I'll say this once again to Mr Zero Credibility.......

"Bullsh*t"

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Pandacastro
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:34:46 AM
Reply

Are you going to review dead space extraction?

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 3:36:08 AM
Reply

Sounds cool. With a bit of luck, my sister will be able to pick it up for me tomorrow. Now, bring the scares.
Peace.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 5:20:56 AM
Reply

http://dameyon.blogspot.com/2011/01/dead-space-2.html

There's my review of the game. It's not the traditional sort of video game review at all... ha, but if you're curious give it a read. It's a bit all over the place, as it's the first time I've written a review in several years, but...

:shrug:

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 12:53:23 PM

HEY.

How come WE didn't get your user review? ;)

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SvenMD
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 1:22:03 PM

Nice review.

But honestly....didn't this game come out 2 days ago?? How have you already done 3 playthroughs??

Anyway, I think you're spot-on about the seamless nature of the game. That's one aspect I did really love about Uncharted - it never felt like "levels", it just felt like a story unfolding.

Thanks for the review

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:15:13 PM

I was seriously gonna try! but the character limit is 500 characters on the user review thing, and I'm just too friggin' wordy. Haha. The next game review I do, I'll try to keep my wordage in check and it will definitely come to PSXE first.

Oh, wait. I just re-read the form... it says 500 characters minimum.

MY BAD.

The whole point I did the review was so I could post it here!

Now I just feel dumb. O_O

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 2:17:45 PM

Haha! Yeah, it did come out two days ago. Okay, well, I work at Costco, and we're open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but we get a floating holiday we can take between certain days that count as our MLK Day. So, my supervisor told me I had to schedule it or lose it, and I remembered that DS2 was coming out, so I took my MLK day, and my two regular days off, just so I could do nothing but play Dead Space 2.

And that's pretty much all I've been doing.

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MadPowerBomber
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 5:40:08 PM

As a sidenote/bar to my review... if they do another Dead Space, which I'm sure they will...

SPOILER... kinda...

I want Ellie to be the main character. She's pretty effin' cool. Nothing against Isaac at all, but I would like to play as her for some reason.

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blaqsmyth
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 8:58:20 AM
Reply

great review i'm definetly like the new isaac voice he sounds cool!

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Pyramid
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 7:37:11 PM
Reply

Waiting for this review...thanks and this game IS survival horror. All u have to do is set the harder difficulty setting and play it loud. Pop up the home theater and turn off the ligths. Like the first one guys here remark an excellent sound 9.4

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Lairfan
Thursday, January 27, 2011 @ 7:54:55 PM
Reply

I don't know, I thought the story was really interesting overall. Not sure what you're seeing there Ben, but I do respect your opinion.

I pretty much agree with everything else though. Especially with your sentiment that we needed a lot more new enemies and weapons, not just a few. Don't get me wrong, I really like the game and this isn't too big of a problem for me, but hopefully they'll add more new stuff next time.

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Godslim
Sunday, January 30, 2011 @ 8:04:44 PM
Reply

brought it today but am yet to play it the review makes its sound great tho cant wait to play it :)

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