REViEWERS DETAiLS
Review by The Advocator
Based on 16 Hours of Playing

System
Platform PC
- Intel i7-860 CPU
- Gigabyte P55A-UD5 Motherboard
- 4GB (DDR3) 1600 Patriot Viper2 RAM
- ATI Radeon 1GB 5770 Video Card
- Seasonic M12D 850watt PSU
- Thermaltake V9 Case
- Corsair HD50 Water cooling
- Zalman ZM-MFC3 Controller
- 3 x 120mm Thermaltake ISGC Fans
      (thermal dynamic bearing)
- 1 x 230mm Fan
- 24" BenQ V2400eco LED Monitor
- Logitech G9 Mouse (3200dpi)
- Windows 7 Ultimate (32bit) OS

Created On : 12th of February, 2011
Modified On : 12th of February, 2011
 
RATiNG
This GAME Scored:
Graphics
  9/10
Game Play
  7/10
Game Design
  7/10
Plot/Story
  8/10
Level Design
  8/10
SFX
10/10
Music
  9/10
Config
  6/10
Navigation
  7/10
Secrets / Rewards
  5/10

FINAL RATING
79 %
B
( 7.9 / 10 )
 
POSSiBLE iMPROVEMENTS
Here is a list of some key areas that this GAME could be improved.

  • Fix Aim Toggle so that it works all the time and there is no delay when it does work.
  • Stop making items disappear even if you are holding it when you walk into another room.
  • Fix the help / tutorial key displays so they display all keys assigned to that action AND fix them to the screen, not the character. (the green help prompts are ok but the white ones are not and the white ones do not display the key names correctly).
  • When opening the store often your weapon blocks the text description for each item and the accept cancel prompt does not properly display the assigned keys.
  • Give players the ability to use the torch and perform other actions like punch, stomp and run.
  • Why not allow the use of Kinesis to hold large objects infront as a shield?
  • STOMP is useless and can not be used for attack. This is just nuts.
 
 

Shooting - Shooter third person

A Realistic Review of DEAD SPACE 2

ELECTRONIC ARTS
Dead Space 2
( DeadSpace2 )
Dead Space 2 is a Third Person Shooter (3PS), linear designed game. Here you play as someone trapped inside a facility that is now overrun with mutants and creatures beyond your wildest nightmares. The game provides you the ability to buy better equipment, weapons and armor/suits, plus perform upgrades on all your equipment. In order to do this you have to scavenge from the environment and from the dead. Each kill you make will reward you with a dropped item. These items could be money, ammo or useful items such as stasis packs, circuit boards or med packs.

This game provides great atmosphere and offers a good environment, some stunning graphics and some unique and interesting weapons. This is a sequel to Dead Space and has faithfully kept to the same game concept and design. This game contains a large amount of Gore and there are a number of spectacular ways you can die all of which are displayed in great detail and long cut scene sequences.

For this review I was playing on the Survivalist difficulty setting.

CONCLUSiON
This is a very enjoyable game, even though you will find most of the levels extremely dark, which is a shame because the quality of the graphics is excellent that it's a pity you can't see more of it. The torch you are provided with is quite limited and has a few drawbacks which annoyingly increases it's ineffectiveness. The scripting is quite blatant at times and in other instances just totally weird. For example you can pickup and carry items around and in many instances use the items you pickup as lethal weapons, by throwing them at the enemies. This is lots of fun, however the game fails considerably in this respect when you try and carry an item into the next room. One second you are holding an object, and the next step/second it instantly vanishes. If you were inclined to return to the room from which you originally collected the item you will see the item has been magically returned to its starting position? Monsters also have trouble moving into some rooms and will chase you until you enter a specific room, even if the door is still open they will not go through and they will not attempt to attack you.

Saving your progress is handled by a Checkpoint Saving System, however the game does a sort of auto save at key points too, so that if you die (which you will AND often) then you may find yourself restarting, not from where you last saved but somewhere in between that position and where you last died. However these "auto" saves are not actually saved, so if you exit the game then return, you will have to load from your last save location. The save system does not restore the game environment to what it was when you saved. So any item you have moved, broken or used will be returned to its starting position when you reload. Also upon reload items will not always still be available. Many instances I would find items to collect on my first visit to that room, then on reloading a saved game, I would once again visit that room for the first time and some items were no longer there. This type of inconsistency will be encountered numerous times throughout the game and unfortunately does get a little annoying.

Even though the game is good fun initially, there are so many little things which you will have to deal with constantly while you play it, which unfortunately add up enough to impact on the rating this game achieves. This is not a game I would ever consider playing through again.

ELECTRONIC ARTS Dead Space 2 DeadSpace2
AVAILABLE PiCTURES
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PiCTURE DESCRiPTiON
 



A More Indepth Analysis of each Section.
Click on each "Tab" to read about that section.

Graphics
Game Play
Game Design
Plot/Story
Level Design
SFX
Music
Config
Navigation
Secrets / Rewards

(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Graphics

The Good

The graphics in this game are stunning. The environment looks excellent and is highly detailed while still retaining a very high frame rate. Of course this is a linear style game, which does allow higher quality graphics compared to an open map style game simply due to the fact that the environment contains less elements, especially less elements at distance because you are primarily in a tunnel / hallway majority of the time. There are some instances where you can gaze out of a window, but alas you have no access to that expanded environment. A few instances do place you outside, or in open space, but these areas are usually sparse with elements / objects.

The game presents you with a Third Person camera angle only, which comes with all the typical issues of vision limitations and elements blocking your vision range, including your own weapon. Clarity of other objects are also impacted by this aspect, such as your inventory display.

One good feature with the point of view is that if you do not move then with the mouse you have free look, and can rotate 360 degrees around your character. If you then touch an action key (ie aim / shoot / stomp / punch) or touch any movement key, your character will orientate with your current view direction. That is a great idea and considerably better than the typical fixed chase camera position commonly seen in all other 3PS games.

All the interaction screens, communication screens and other information screens are orientated to your character, so if you open your inventory for example, you can then use the mouse camera pan mode and rotate a full 360 degree around your character and inventory screen (which is partially transparent) so you can see it from the front and the back. This looks very cool, in fact it looks awesome, but does have a few drawbacks as mentioned in the bad section.

Another interesting feature of this game is there is no HUD and no on screen displays. Instead your health bar and statis bar are displayed as part of the suit you are wearing. This looks really cool.

The Bad

DARK. Majority of the game you're left in the dark and sure this adds to the atmosphere of the game, but it also drastically detracts from the enjoyment aswell. There are so many objects in the game that you can bump into and the torch is virtually useless in a tight space, so trying to keep enough distance so the torch shines on as much as possible can be quite a challenge.

The graphic quality is very high, however at many times the display is very messy and with quite a few action sequences been very frantic it's difficult to see what is going on or in fact what you actually have to do. The very first sequence in the game is a classic example of this. The scripting forces you to be attacked, yet while you are being attacked the camera angle is a fixed position with the help / tutorial note being obscured and even to the point of being displayed off the bottom of the screen. These types of notes and help prompts should be fixed on the screen, but this game fixes them to your characters orientation, which looks cool, however in this instance, is a classic example of when this idea fails. Being the very first sequence you encounter does not bestow much confidence or set a good tone for the game.

All the information screens that you can access, such as your inventory or weapon selection, are all displayed "projected" in front of your character and orientated to your current direction of view. Now this looks awesome, but only when you are in an open environment. if you are in a hallway or a smallish room and you open your inventory you will have great difficulty trying to view your inventory, let alone navigate around it to select a specific item. Also as you move closer to a wall certain parts of the display enlarge and this just adds to the difficult vision issue.

Many instances you will notice that dead bodies get stuck in doors if the door closes on them. This looks very strange and it also adds lots of slopping sound effects as the flesh is constantly bouncing up and down through the door.




(This Section equates to 20% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Game Play

The Good

The game has some interesting levels where at times you don't encounter any enemies, but you often hear them moving about, which certainly helps build the atmosphere, but then at other times you are literally overwhelmed with threats that the game just becomes a frenetic shoot / slash fest often resulting in you dying.

NPC's are in the game but often they are not traveling with you directly, so you don't have to worry about them.

You have numerous actions you can perform such as run, punch, stomp, kinesis and stasis, plus weapons usually have two modes of operation with primary and secondary fire modes. You can also float and use the cool jetpack style thrusters built into your suit to move around while in Zero Gravity. One point also that has to be made is the Fantastic feature to quickly orientate yourself with ground. Games that allow all 3 axis navigation always make it difficult to orientate yourself with the level design, so having a key that quickly re-orientates yourself with ground is fantastic.

When you come across an item you can pickup you will hear an audible notification and as you get closer to the object a small info screen is projected from the item showing you what it is. Great. You can now pick it up. Alternatively you can use the Kinesis to pull it towards you and then collect it.

The Bad

Majority of the threats are slasher / melee attackers and some move very fast, so being attacked from numerous directions at once does start to wear a bit thin after a while. Targets emerge from any locations, such as under walk ways, from roof / floor or wall vents, from over balconies and through windows. Virtually no where in the game is safe and you will encounter many rooms that you'll take one quick look at and think, ok I'm going to be trapped in here until I defeat either waves of mutants, or a boss and sure enough a few seconds later you're in the thick of it.

Even though you have numerous actions you can perform, many of them only operate when in one mode and this just gets annoying at times especially considering how frantic some of the fights are. So lets go through some of the main ones now.:

AIM MODE - while in aim mode YOU CAN NOT : run, punch, stomp or orientate to ground
WALK MODE - while walking YOU CAN NOT : fire a gun, use the torch, use kinesis or stasis
RUN MODE - while running YOU CAN NOT : fire a gun, use the torch, use kinesis or stasis
ZERO GRAV MODE - while floating in Zero Gravity YOU CAN NOT : punch or stomp

Inevitably you will be in a situation where you have to switch from AIM mode to punch or stomp, the instant you leave AIM mode your torch is turned off! When a game is as dark as this, being forced to turn the torch off so you can perform certain actions is just not a good idea.

As AIM Mode is the only way you can use the three key elements of the game (Torch, Kinesis and Stasis) you will be spending a lot of time in AIM Mode. So to help reduce RSI from constantly holding down the Right Mouse Button, the game offers a Aim Toggle. Great.. Oh dear not so great it is terrible to use. It reacts too slow (sometimes upto half a second delay) and now I've encountered the problem that the aim toggle just doesn't work at all no matter how many times or for how long I press it, it just doesn't either enter or exit me from Aim mode. I think this is a major annoyance.

When you encounter numerous items that are close to each other which you can collect, it is incredibly difficult to actually select the item you want. You would expect that when you put the cursor over an item, that would be the item you would pickup, but in this game that is not the case. It seems the item that is the closest to you is the one you will be forced to pickup irrespective of which item you are actually looking at directly and have targeted. See the gallery for examples of this. Now at first you may be thinking why is this an issue, just pickup everything. Yes I agree except you only have a limited inventory and if you have just dropped an item so you can pickup a better item, often you end up picking the item you just dropped even though that is not the item you are directly looking at.

There is no Jump or Crouch actions. Well there is a jump key but that is only used to launch you when in zero gravity areas. So you'll find yourself having to navigate around objects on the floor quite often as you simply can't jump over them.

STOMP is utterly useless as an attack option. You can punch at the creatures (not very efficient though), however stomp does not work. I even hit a creature that I had already cut the legs off, so it only had arms with stasis which froze it, then I walked up and hit stomp. To my utter amazement the creature was actually "pushed" aside by the stomp animation and i simply stomped on the ground leaving the creature completely untouched?.?.? That is without a doubt one of the most ridiculous inconsistencies in the game.




(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Game Design

The Good

This game has some very good ideas. For starters you use power nodules to upgrade your weapon, rather than buying mods and fitting them. Each item that can be upgraded (suit, stasis or weapon) has its own upgrade tree and includes numerous specifications that you can enhance. The tree must be completed in a linear sequence, so the next selection must be next to a previously selected section. Each tree has branches that you can follow. This often means you upgrade each section of the device as you go, rather than only upgrading ammo capacity, or only upgrading damage for example.

You can collect items from the environment as you progress, or you can buy items from the stores that you encounter. Some weapons you can scavenge from machines early on in the game, with later weapons only being available from the Store. Other items you have to find schematics for and once you do they will be available from the store for you to purchase.

You have a limited slot inventory, which you can only upgrade the capacity by purchasing new suits. Each suit you discover has different properties, usually higher armor value, but some suits may also offer additional bonuses, such as Security Suit offers a % damage increase when using a specific weapon, or the Ancient suit offers 10% discount from all stores. Any item you buy or collect, you can use (such as medpacks and statis packs); you can sell or you can move. One really good idea is each store has a feature call the Safe. Here is where you can move items to, that you do not want to carry and do not want to sell. Moving items to the safe, makes them available to you from any store that you access from any level in the game. Great Feature.

If you have upgraded a weapon (using valuable nodes) you can choose to reselect that weapon, which will allow you to recover all nodes so you can either reallocate them for this weapon, or use them on another weapon. Just another great idea because it lets you upgrade a weapon, but if you don't like it you can recover the valuable nodes and use them again. This Reselect does cost you money though. So it is not a free process.

There is no in game map, nor is there a compass, but what you do have is a Navigation key. Press this and your character will highlight the route to your next objective. You can also get it to display the route to the nearest save station, store or workbench. The highlighted path stays illuminated for a few seconds. Even though this is a cool feature is is really not needed in such a linear designed game as there is usually only ever one path / route available for you to choose anyway.

The Saving method offered is Checkpoint Only. You have to travel to each save station in order to save your game progress. The game does perform auto saves so that if you die then you will restart somewhere between your last save checkpoint and the location you died, however these auto saves are only available while the game is running if you exit the game and reload it, then you will have to start back at your last save station position.

The Bad

The intro sequence, the character conversations and the cut sequences you can not skip. This certainly hurts the re-playability of the game.

Saving games is handled by the save stations. That is all ok, but the order saved games are displayed is not very friendly. It displays the first (which is the oldest) to the last (latest) saves in that order. If you do not want to override an existing save you are forced to scroll all the way to the bottom of the list to find the next available slot. They should have reversed this order as more often than not if you need to load a save you would be loading the last one you saved, not the first one, yet the first one is always shown first. This is assuming that you have saved each to a new slot. if you simply override the first slot and replace it, then that will help resolve this issue, but not really a good option if you wanted to keep previous saved games.

Many doors are locked and it is very unclear if they are locked for now, or for ever. In some places I have back tracked a few rooms only to find a door is now unlocked for no explainable reason, but mostly doors just stay locked. In the original Dead Space doors were also locked, however you were given different tasks to complete which usually unlocked doors that you previously discovered as locked. I have not seen this in Dead Space 2.

When you save and then reload the game will not be consistent. Say for example you save, move forward and encounter a monster, move forward again and then you die in a battle. When you load a saved game you may not encounter that first monster. Also the selection you have for the weapon will be rest. Example is using the default weapon the secondary option is to fire vertically or horizontally. If you set it to horizontal, then save, when you reload the weapon will be set for Vertical. Other things in the environment are also reset, such as dead bodies which you destroyed by stomping are now back and fully intact. Objects and items that you kicked around will be returned to their default position. Other items will not be altered though and will be left as they were, so it feels a little inconsistent as to what is reset and what is not. Save is also dump in that it does not save the state of the rooms accurately. Each time you load a save the rooms are not the same. Even to the point that items you had collected then saved, when you load that save again those items will be still there allowing you to collect them again? That's nuts.

It is not just the saving that makes objects disappear. You can kill a monster rip its arm off and place it on the ground next to you, so that you can quickly use it as a weapon, well if you wait long enough it will simply vanish. The game also has a in game movie stating that you can rip off the arms of a monster and use that as a weapon and then retrieve it and use it again. Alas I have not been able to accomplish that. When i use the arm from a monster, it can not be retrieved, so it can not be used more than once.

Monsters can not go through certain doors, so you can simply open a door, take one step inside that room, the monsters all appear, you step back and they all just run off. Talk about destroying the atmosphere and immersion that the game tries so hard to create. There are also many objects that you can place on the ground (using Kinesis) that the monsters can not step over or move. The Police Shields are a good example of this. Infact you can only move them using Kinesis. Simply pick up a few and place them on the walk way and the monsters will run up to them and just get stuck if you watch them long enough they will then eventually vanish, as if the game has realized they have become stuck and simply teleports them back to their starting location. This really does look quite ridiculous however what is worse once they are stuck they seem immune to damage or even hits by stasis! Encompass these issue with the "can not cross this threshold" issue and it certainly degrades game enjoyment.

Kinesis allows you to pickup objects and move them around, however this has a major drawback and that is when you pickup an object it blocks the light from your torch, so now you can't see! What sort of idea is that? Finally with Kinesis is when you are holding / carrying an object and you move into another room it may simply disappear right in front of your eyes. This looks utterly stupid and can be quite annoying at times. There seems no logical reason why objects that you can use as weapons can not travel between rooms.




(This Section equates to 12.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Plot/Story

The Good

The plot is there as is the story, but there is very little in the way of interest with it. You start off as a type of prisoner / experiment patient and now you have people talking to you via the com-link giving you directions to escape the facility. You have no idea who these people are or if they are trustworthy, but as the game only gives you one path to take, you have no choice but to take it.
The Bad

Another game where the primary story is presented in flash back, abstract, dream / psychosis sequences that are triggered throughout the game at certain intervals. I'm quite bored with this idea as it's been done to death and has become the basis for just about every thriller / horror FPS and 3PS game since Max Payne's release back in 2001 ! Surely it's time for something new.



(This Section equates to 15% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Level Design

The Good

The levels are well detailed and of a linear (drain pipe) design. Many levels will allow you to back track through the chapter which is great if you wish to return to a store, workbench or save station.

The graphics are all consistent and portray the type of environment you are in.

You have the ability to pickup, kick or move many objects in each room. Some items are too heavy for you to move normally but you can use kinesis to manipulate them.

The Bad

Many locked doors and no idea if they are locked temporarily or permanently.

There is an issue with items you can move. Even items you can use as weapons. If you pick one up with kinesis and walk to the next room, often the instant the door closes the item you're holding vanishes. If you return to the room where you collected the item from you will find it back at its starting location. In one room i kicked a wheel chair through the door and the instant the door closed the wheelchair instantly vanished from right in front of me when i opened the door it was back at its starting position. This represents a distance of about 10 feet at which point the game would reset the objects. This not only looks stupid (especially to see it happen directly in front of you) but also destroys the immersion that the game has tried so hard to build up.




(This Section equates to 10% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about SFX

Sound effects are all awesome. Weapons sound good, monsters sound good and the ambient sound effects really add atmosphere to the game. There are many sounds as you kick objects or bodies around.


(This Section equates to 5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Music

The Good

The music in the game is primarily to add atmosphere. It is all fitting and complements the game well. A game like this doesn't need too much music because it should be primarily ambient noises that add the atmosphere.
The Bad

Sometimes the music starts playing to telegraph the fact that you're about to enter a battle, even if you have not even seen the threat yet. The music also ends once you eliminate the last threat, so now you know it's safe to venture out of your cover position again.



(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Config

The Good

You have the ability to select different options for you Video Card, including resolution and brightness.

The game reports if a key you are trying to bind has already been assigned to a function. The game allows you to assign two keys to each action which can be helpful if you wish to have access to that function from either left or right hand at any time.

While in the game, if a help / tutorial prompt is shown it will list the key you need to press and it will show the key you have assigned to that action, not just the default key.

The Bad

When configuring keys, the game will alert you if that key has been assigned to another action, but it does not list what that action is. There is no explanation as to what some of the key assignments are (the names listed are not all that obvious), so it's not until you get into the game and work out what the keys are for will you realize the importance of that key.

Even though the in game help / tutorial will display the key you need to press, it will not show both keys that you can assign. Instead it will only show the Primary key assigned. This is ok if you have assigned the keys you want to use as the Primary, but if you have assigned them to the Secondary, then they game will not show this.

Also the key help display is far from consistent. There seems to be two types of help / tutorial displays, once is in a nice green box and contains good information (even though it only lists one of the two possible key assignments the game supports), with the other being a stupid brace that more often than not can't even be seen on the screen due to the current camera angle which you can't change because this key usually appears when you're being mauled by a mutant and need to fight it off. Now to make this even more annoying it can NOT display all the key names. For example I assigned KEYPAD ENTER to Activate and in the game this second help / tutorial simply shows a blank pare of braces? That is just strange (see the photo gallery for an example of this).




(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Navigation

The Good

Navigating the menus is easy and using the primary interface screens in the game is all easy to do. Mouse is supported by the game.
The Bad

The game allows you to configure movement keys and also arrow / navigation keys. What is strange is that some screens you will have to use your navigation keys, while others you will have to use your movement keys. I don't really see the need for these additional navigation keys. For example when you open your inventory you can't use your movement keys because that moves your character, so you have to use the navigation keys. Yes you can move around while your inventory is open, which means the game does not pause. But when you go into a Store or Workbench you can not move around.

The mouse is used to move the camera around when you are not moving, and also to aim. When in the store or workbench it can not be used to select items. You are forced to use the navigation keys.




(This Section equates to 2.5% of the total score. ) This Section is Rated at ()
Comments about Secrets / Rewards

As this is a linear style game I have uncovered very few secrets. The game does present locked doors which you can use one of your nodes on to open, however I would hardly call that a secret because these doors are pretty blatantly identified. You can do a little bit of exploration but this is restricted to maybe one room or around a corner of a corridor before you run into an obstruction. In these very short off the objective path you may find money, ammo or an extra node, but nothing that would be classified as a secret / reward or bonus.

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This Review was Last Modified on : 12th of February, 2011