Dead Space 2

Isaac Clarke is back with his plasma cutter in this second nightmarish sci-fi episode with the Necromorphs.

The game starts from the very moment our engineer Isaac Clarke awakes from a coma after events from the first game on the Sprawl, an offshoot human colony on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. As usual, things do not go favorably with the already tormented engineer, and there is yet another Necromorph manifestation on board the space station. For those who don’t know, Necromorphs are undead, reanimated corpses that have mutated beyond recognition. And they are as blood thirsty as they are intelligent. The usual culprits behind this outbreak are, of course, the oddball religious fanatics called Unitologists and the Earth Government, who have their own agenda as well.

The dynamics of the struggle between the two opposing factions are interesting, and throughout the game, clues are dropped in the form of text logs, audio tapes and video tapes to fill you in as you play. The narrative pacing is excellent here; the game does enough to educate and yet intrigue you further as into what happened. The brief walkthrough from a Unitologist centre that leads to their eerie church near the beginning keeps a comfortable momentum going, and while Isaac isn’t the most talkative of video game protagonists, he does enough to pull you entirely into his see-saw world of desperation and survival. Isaac has serious personal, but equally pressing issues: his bouts of dementia trigger hallucinations and visions, and the mental manifestation of his girlfriend are as thrilling as they are terrifying. These jarring moments fit in nicely with the gameplay mechanics – Isaac’s struggle to perpetuate reality from his mental state of mind directly mirrors his tensed physical encounters with the frightening Necromorphs.