Well I'll be, I'm reviewing a demo for a game that hasn't actually come out yet! Well that's a first. Anyway, let's look at Dead Space 2.
Let me get it out of the way and say that this is the first time playing a Dead Space game. I haven't played the first game, seen the animated films, or read the comics. But, as I've heard a lot of good things about the franchise, I thought I would give this one a shot. And it sure was something.
The demo starts out by giving you a four minute intro of exposition regarding the setting and the events of the first game. This is good for someone like me who doesn't really know much about it, and for those that do, you can skip it. This intro has some cool imagery and shows you the important stuff you need to know.
After that you go through what I assume is a ship looking for and speaking over radio to a woman named Dana. The set up of this allows you to get accustomed to the controls, the UI, and the various game mechanics, although if you are already familiar with all of this from the first game, it might seem a little dull. Eventually the shit really starts hitting the fan, and after some interesting encounters with some very creepy and disturbing creatures the demo ends just as you go "holy shit!" due to an imminent boss fight. Which was a good thing, because by the time we reached the end (the Cynic and I traded off playing after Roland woke up) we had no ammo and no health to speak of.
So what did I like about this demo? The atmosphere, it was dark, it was creepy, it just oozed the horror aspect of survival horror. The Cynic felt that the beginning of the demo with the frozen pods was very reminiscent of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Overall, I felt it had a very Alien x Resident Evil feel, and these comparisons are favorable. We had a lot of fun with this demo, it was creepy with just a few jump-type scares if you weren't paying attention to your surroundings, and it did it well. The ship felt dark, gloomy, and industrial, not a terribly inviting place to begin with. Your character, Isaac Clarke, lumbers heavily in his space suit that covers him head to toe, and you never see his face through his futuristic Crusader Helm. That was all brilliantly done. One other thing we really enjoyed, in kind of a sadistically satisfying way, was the stomping dead enemies in order to make them drop loot. The creatures themselves worked very well with the vibe of the game, as only the pale, mutated, spindly, rotting undead can.
What wasn't I crazy about: lack of ammunition. Now I know that it makes the game more challenging to be sparing with ammo, and it most certainly does, but it was almost impossible to find ammo anywhere, the stuff just did not drop. Although, there was no indication of what difficulty I was playing the game on (most likely a normal/default setting), so I don't know if that had an effect. So be warned, be stingy with your ammo, you won't get much. Same goes for regeneration items.
This game hits store shelves January 25th. So if you want to pick it up, that would be the time to do so. Would I play the full game based on this demo? Yes, I certainly would (although after Roland goes to bed). I would give this demo four stars out of five, for a great atmosphere, interesting story, and good gameplay, but severely short of ammunition and a bit of a slow start (especially if you've already played the first game). Definitely give it a shot, and look for the full game out soon!
** Oh, and if you haven't heard (or seen the post below), Coffee With the Cynic is making a return very soon! The Cynic is currently working on new material as I type this, and will be debuting said new material and a new, more set release schedule in the very, very near future! So stay tuned here, on our YouTube channel, and our Facebook page for updates and new stuff! Huzzah!**