Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Brief Critique of Dead Space 2 (So Far)

(Short post tonight, just sharing some thoughts I've had about Dead Space 2 whilst playing it.)

So I played some more Dead Space 2 today. I stopped at the beginning of chapter 5. While I find the fact that the villains are essentially scientologists hilarious, I'm still a bit underwhelmed by it in places. It startles, sure, but I don't think the first act has had enough pacing to really be "scary." So far the whole game seems to be "Go down hallway. Lights flicker. Cat scare. Real monster. Ahhh." And there's not really anything wrong with that formula, it's become so common for a lot of good reasons, but when you keep reusing it over and over, it stops being very effective.

Not to sound like any more of a Valve fanboy than I already do, but the reason something like Ravenholm manages to genuinely scare, is because it manages to make you paranoid. The scariest parts of Ravenholm are not the points you're fighting the headcrab zombies, they're the points where you aren't. The points where you hear the moaning, or skittering, or maybe it was just the fire crackling, or maybe it was a headcrab and oh god there's a corpse there is it really dead or is it a zombie I could shoot it but I'm low on ammo and don't want to waste it and OH MY GOD HEADCRAB FLANKING ME WHYYYYY...

Erm, you get the idea. In Dead Space 2 (keep in mind all of these comments are restricted to the second game, as I've yet to play the first), you get plenty of ammo, and due to a very predictable routine in every few rooms, it's just... Not scary. And I mean, I'm one of the easiest people in the world to scare, I have very low horror tolerance, if I'm not scared by something branded "horror," then something is very wrong with it.

As it is, it seems to be putting a lot of the set pieces you would see in something actually scary, (a nursery, a dark room, a hospital, etc.) but because of the way it's done it's just so blatantly manipulative that, most of the time, it only makes me laugh.

Not to mention a lot of the game seems to reeeeeally want to be BioShock in a lot of places, and it's just... Not anywhere near that good. (I'd still put it over BioShock 2 though...)

But I do like the game, the zero grav stuff, what little I've come across at least, seems interesting, the game has a good visual design to it, the monsters are cool looking (although I am confused as to how a "virus" literally FUSES BODIES TOGETHER) and the way the interface is integrated is a stroke of brilliance. I might do a full review of it here eventually, as I think it's pretty alright for an action game.

Oh, and little kid zombies? Really? I'd say you're "trying too hard," but that would be like calling the Titanic a "small boating accident." *facepalm*

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