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January 25, 2011



- Drops right back into the depressing Dead Space universe
- A lot less backtracking than the original! No turret sequences!
- Ability to respec weapon upgrades
- Puzzles are a lot better this time around
- Some really awesome "jump" moments

- Multiplayer: Necromorphs vs. Humans



- Unrelenting gore and hopeless atmosphere might make for some insomnia

- Corners only feel safe



Review: Dead Space (360)

Review: Dead Space Extraction (Wii)

Review: Dead Space Downfall (DVD)

Review: Splatterhouse (360)



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Dead Space 2

Score: 9.0 / 10


dead space 2          dead space 2


There's an argument to be made that Dead Space 2 is more than just dismembering nightmare creatures in a never-ending splortchy march of exploding heads, impaled flesh, and insanity, with some light engineering work.

Dead Space 2 is one long comment on how the desires to procreate (i.e. sex) and extend the reach of humanity have a definite psychological impact on the whole of humanity.

Case in point, the source of all the problems, the red Marker, is entwined phallic tentacles. It's a product of humanity's attempt to reverse engineer true alien




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technology. Like so many of humanity's attempt to control and replicate systems beyond understanding, deconstructing then reconstructing this alien technology produced unforeseen consequences. In Dead Space 2 it means necromorphs, beings assembled from organic matter and bent on assimilating any and all organic matter in easy reach. This faux Marker can also produce insanity. It's a destructive


mix. The fact the trouble can be traced back to a very obvious substitute penis speaks volumes for the deeper themes associated with the game.

This commentary appears in more subtle ways as well. At one point, protagonist Isaac Clarke plummets through a debris field, dodging directly through a big conduit, then a hallway, and finishes by bouncing through an access shaft. The act of penetration is completely unambiguous, as is the suggestion that not even if one is doing such penetration safely (i.e. wearing full, upgradeable space armor) there is still danger of things going horribly wrong, like splattering into said debris.


dead space 2          dead space 2

In the ultimate example of loss of innocence, Dead Space 2 features exploding infants. These unfortunate souls explode on impact, and while their appearance often affords a chance for some strategic necromorph evisceration, it reminds one of the low value that society seems to place on life. Life is disposable. Fragile and disposable. Ended with a well-placed shot from the Javelin Gun revealing yet more sexual imagery.

The issues of politics and religion also play into the events that propel Isaac through the story, on his own journey of psychological healing, which just happens to be slathered in buckets of blood. These issues and subtext are abandoned with Dead Space 2's multiplayer, which isn't a throwaway feature by any means, there's just less meaning to be found; it's less open to thematic interpretation.

Dead Space 2 is enjoyable. It's a great action title but it's the deeper, complicated facets of the game that firmly puts it in the running for Game of Year, even this early in 2011.

- Aaron Simmer

(January 27, 2011)


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