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Demo Impressions: Dead Space 2

January 12, 2011, Author: Debbie Lloyd

I remember playing the demo for the original Dead Space. I also remember hating it because of its awful, clunky controls and sluggish movement. Perhaps I played about five minutes of it and gave up, therefore missing out on all the terror and screams.

After the longest ten hours of my life I have finally finished Dead Space on normal setting, regretting that decision to give up on the original demo the entire time. My throat is raw from screaming at my television every time a necromorph popped out of an air vent, and my nerves are in tatters from the whole experience. In some sick way though, I was excited like a child at Christmas when I heard the official release date for the Dead Space 2 demo. For some reason I just couldn’t wait to be scared off the edge of my bed once again and I was really looking forward to getting back into the traumatised mind of Isaac Clarke.

Following on three years after Isaac’s escape from the Ishimura, the first thing we are treated to is a quick cinematic recap of previous events and the horrors we were subjected to. There is a huge spoiler within this cinematic, so if you haven’t finished Dead Space do so now before you even consider downloading the demo. Isaac now finds himself aboard the floating space city The Sprawl with very little explained about what has happened. You are thrown into the action straight away which leads me to believe that perhaps the demo takes place somewhere in the middle of the game.

You will start by making your way through a series of rooms filled with what appear to be human cryogenic freezers or holding tanks. Disturbingly some of the tanks seem to have been smashed open, though it is unclear whether this was from the inside or not. The further through these rooms you go, it becomes very clear that Isaac is a few sandwiches short of a picnic and various visions appear in front of your eyes of writhing and screaming bodies. This is of course fully understandable, as I think you would be feeling a little fragile after nearly being eaten countless times by deformed aliens.

Just as you start to get over these sudden visions of horror, a new enemy pounces on you from out of nowhere in typical Dead Space style. This new enemy is aptly called The Puker as it vomits acid towards the player in a bid to erode his armour and, of course, his face. Stand far enough back and you should be fine, but with any necromorph it is easier to take out its legs before it has chance to regurgitate its breakfast all over you.

Those evil aliens really need to control their children

Those evil aliens really need to control their children

In terms of weapons, the usual suspects are back but the addition of a new dart gun makes the killing so much more fun. Need to kill them in one shot? Well that’s certainly easy with the dart gun which fires enemies backwards and impales them onto the nearest surface. Dual firing modes also make a return with the plasma cutter and the pulse rifle for those of us with an itchy trigger finger.

Once you have fought your way through a gang of necromorphs, several new additions and improvements make themselves apparent in the next room. Isaac must hack into a terminal which will turn off the gravity in the room and allow you to progress. Once the gravity is turned off, you are then treated to the new movements available to you in zero gravity. Instead of just being able to travel from one surface to another you can essentially fly through the air allowing you to move far more freely around the open spaces available to you.

Once you have travelled through various death traps in zero gravity using your stasis module, you can finally plant your feet on the ground again and make your way to a slightly more regal looking area of the city. Upon entering an almost church-like hall, you are suddenly thrown to the ground and dragged along the floor by an old friend; the Drag Tentacle. Assuming of course you can save yourself from becoming mince meat at the hands of a rather sharp vent, another fresh set of faces in the form of creepy looking demonic children will swarm towards a disorientated Isaac. These little menaces appear to hunt in packs to overrun you and claw at your face, so killing them quickly is preferable.

The demo ends with a scene that  any who have watched the teaser trailer will be familiar with; Isaac is suddenly swept through the air and into the deadly atmosphere outside The Sprawl, a quick time event triggering his rescue down a small shaft into a room splattered with blood and home to a giant Brute, which thankfully you don’t have to fight.

From what the demo has to offer, Dead Space 2 looks set to be just as terrifying as the first adding in some new enemies and vastly improved control mechanics. I for one can’t wait to see what horrors The Sprawl holds for me, but perhaps playing with the light on might be a better idea this time around.