FANDOM


This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Dead Space 2.

Transcript Edit

In case you were wondering, because I certainly was, "dead space" is a physiological term referring to air inhaled by the body that doesn't take part in gas exchange. So, for example, when you gasp with delight at the prospect of a new Dead Space game, some of the air you intake will not be absorbed by your alveoli and will be exhaled again when you sigh with irritation because a spindly sausage monster has jumped out of a vent for the seventeenth time that day.

I shot my torch around inside one of those vents once and saw that there were no ways in or out, so either monsters grow in there like a fungus or the monster carefully replaced the cover after climbing inside, perhaps to have a little sleep. Perhaps what I interpreted as a hostile attempt to ambush me was in fact someone waking up in a panic and realizing they're late for work, which makes sense, because if they were trying to ambush me they could at least try hiding inside some other kind of vent once in a while!

Three years after the events of Dead Space 1 Iain M. Vonnegut has taken the standard route of horror story survivor aftermaths and wound up in the loony bin, still haunted by visions of that one lady he couldn't save rather than the several hundred people whose corpses he desecrated, the selfish twat.

In my review of Dead Space 1, I mocked it for trying to tug my flinty heartstrings by inflicting personal tragedy upon a character with no voice, no personality, and a bucket on their head, which was like trying to make us feel sorry for a floor lamp because someone knocked it over. Well, Visceral Games took this on board. Isaac now lifts his hat more often than a Victorian gentleman in the lingerie department and has a voice and a personality. It's just that they're completely generic. Not that I expected him to be voiced by Orson Welles, but I find it hard to coalesce Isaac's bland, predictable responses with the mighty thunderous figure roaring with triumph as he stomps on a cardboard box.

Anyway, necromorphs break loose on the station and Isaac must discover why. Chances are good it's something to do with those pesky Scien Unitologists, the infuriatingly widespread space religion whose central tenets are human unification and unrelenting denial.

Another thing about Dead Space Uno I mentioned was that the USG Here Are the Juicy Humans Yum Yum didn't look like it had ever been a nice place to live and should be thankful all the blood and corpses have thrown some colour around. That's another thing Dead Space 2 meets head-on by setting its first half, BioShock style, in a lovely residential area full of colourful, cheerful decor, so it can be extra poignant when the blood gets everywhere. To a rather unrealistic degree, unless everyone immediately got a nosebleed the moment the alarm sounded.

The thing is, though, it seems like the population of Titan Station was about 75% under the age of twelve. Maybe life just gets really fucking boring every nine months or so. It seems like early on for a while you go from one children's bedroom or elementary school to another. It's for poignancy points, obviously, all music boxes singing plaintively to themselves and bloodstained crayon drawings saying "I love mummy and being alive." And, of course, killer children are one of the new monsters. They flock around you like you're the fucking Wiggles, and I'm pleased to report the circular saw weapon is just as overpowered as before and now all the carpets in Titan Elementary are going to need a lot of fucking shampoo.

Since world-shaking innovation has been a bit dry in the games industry lately, Dead Space 2 's gameplay is very similar to the first. There's even a level unapologetically copy-pasted from Dead Space 1, perhaps to demonstrate eco-friendliness, and combat's still mostly things jumping out going "Boo!" and you congratulating them on their prank by sawing all their arms and legs off.

So let's focus on the differences. In zero gravity now, instead of leaping from wall to wall like a flying squirrel in body armour, you get to free-float around with jetpacks. And I think I've implied before that there are very few situtations that can't be improved by jetbacks, except perhaps dense clusters of extremely flammable objects. This leads to one or two of those Space Harrier-style minigames where you fly or fall towards something and bank around to avoid the debris coming off it, which is becoming curiously endemic to action games. I remember it being in God of War III, Shattered Dimensions, Force Unleashed II, Wet, Wolverine - that's the game Wet and the game Wolverine, not a game about a wet wolverine, no such thing exists.

It seems like there's every reason I should like Dead Space 2. It's horror, it's set in space (which is the best setting besides the Land of Chocolate Lesbians), and now there are jetpacks in it. So why am I still not particularly moist? Well, another thing I said about Dead Space 1 was that it was about as subtle as a clown with his cock out. You start the game, and just when you think it's pacing itself and building the tension a bit monsters pop out going "argle bargle wargle" and wiggle their shredded bums under the spotlight.

Now, if I were a paranoid man - which I'm not, whatever people have been saying about me - I'd say Dead Space has started deliberately trying to provoke me. The very first thing that happens in Dead Space 2 is a bloke turning into a necromorph, fully illuminated and literally six inches away from your face. Then it grabs you by the lapels and screams at you while his eyes pop out. This is the horror equivalent of a small child banging its head on a wall so you pay it attention. "Hey, look at me! Are you scared yet? What if all the skin rolled off my face? Are you scared now? Aaaaaaaahhh, doing this really hurts, actually. Aaaaaaaahh, I currently represent threat in an extremely unspecific way. Aaaaaaaaaahh!"

Dead Space can startle, but it doesn't horrify me. It pushes the horror so hard that it comes right around and starts being silly. There's no sense of weight to any of the gore. Everyone's about as attached to their limbs as that mountain-climber bloke. When a body gets mangled or hacked apart, there's no sense of effort or that the flesh is resisting or even that it hurts much. The necromorphs seem to be able to hack off your knees by brushing past you in a narrow corridor. And do you know how hard it would be to sever a leg by stamping on it? You'd need to wear an ice skate, and even then the bone is going to take a few whacks. And the process by which a human turns into a necromorph is so fast it's meaningless. If it happened over time like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly and they could see and react to it happening, that would have carried emotional weight, but here it's stab, plop, away we go.

All of this would be fine in a silly gore game, like Resident Evil 4 or Splatterhouse, but Dead Space is trying to be taken seriously. You can't have it both ways, EA. Either stick everyone together with masking tape and dog food or make evisceration actually mean something. Chopping my pinkie finger off in Heavy Rain got to me a million times more than anything in Dead Space 2 did, and the guy didn't even pull his own face off.

AddendaEdit

Only survivor of the incident: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

I really can't stay creeped out by corpses when the game demands I make them into little festive puppet shows to fool the DNA scanners

What the hell kind of cutting tool fires in a short non-continuous burst


ScreenshotsEdit

Dead Space 2 1

Necromorphs break loose

Dead Space 2 2

"I love mummy and being alive"

Dead Space 2 3

There's no sense of weight to any of the gore

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.