As usual, go somewhere else for your bland reviews. I like mine focused!
Last week I had a sick day and two snow days at home, so it gave me ample time to rip through Dead Space 2, a game that, despite a middling and debatable “kinda sorta liked it I guess” of the first game, I found myself somehow really excited about. Perhaps the universe was imparting upon me some sense of distilled faith beforehand, like hearing the calling to become a man of the cloth. A gladiator, I mean.
And my faith was completely rewarded. But only mostly because I love Bioshock.
Don’t get me wrong, half the fun of Bioshock is watching a video game interpret Ayn Rand, finding ways to shoehorn heavier philosophies into the snappy dialogue of the supporting cast. And it works, too, in a weird Cliff’s Notes kind of way. But the other half of Bioshock that’s so fun (alright, gameplay gets a nod too …) is the created reality of Rapture. As the player explores the underwater City of Tomorrow, they run into different areas of the everyday, and whole unwritten histories (well – not written for the player to actually read anyway) begin to unfold. The New Years Eve Party massacre, the sadistic pleasure palace with its human “sculptures,” the transit ways of Little Sisters, the lavish ballrooms and living quarters, the exquisite and grotesque topiary of the gardens; Rapture was a complete imagined world with an immeasurable amount of detail and style worked in. The consistency of the game was unbelievable at times.
What Dead Space 2 has done is taken the solitary, dreary, and sometimes even boring drudgery of “alone on an abandoned spaceship” and completely changed course to “I wonder what Rapture would be like…. IN SPACE!”
Which is not to say the setting of DS2 is in any way intended to be some perfect society of any sort. But what you get, instead of different variations on the spaceship theme, is a fully functioning community existing on an asteroid … IN SPACE! And the touches of detail and style are everywhere, from the safety posters adorning the walls in the factory to the motion-triggered auto-flush toilets in the living quarters, the occasional sweeping views of the chaos erupting throughout the colony as seen from a distance, the creepy abandoned flowers and balloons from well-wishers at the community hospital, and more.
It’s a survival horror shooter. If you don’t like shooters, stay away. But honestly, I loved DS2 in ways I never imagined I could love an EA game.
You know what I am talking about…
So anyway, I give this game my highly coveted “Maximum Number of Rating Units Possible” This is a game with depth that actually surpasses its predecessor in important ways while not changing the strengths it had in the first place.