Two days ago I asked a series of questions regarding the evergreen Dead Space 2 on my blog as I rather think we've all accepted the changes made by Visceral and not really discussed them much. As far I can tell its been a "yeah its a great game" reaction. So several people have responded, my thanks to Iridescent406 especially but as I don't have that many I have drafted in the help of Kenji (whose words I may have taken a few liberties with as its hard for him to articulate abstract concepts in english) and a friend from back home whom we shall call Bentley as I've been playing some Sly. Also included are my thoughts regarding the same questions.
(as nobody else has given be stuff for a part 2 I've shoehorned stephenage's opinions, which are rather inflammatory to say the least, into my old post)
1. Should Dead Space as a series be acknowledged as the foremost exponent of the survival horror genre over the RE series?
Iridescent406: No, mainly because there aren't many games to support the series.
dylan417: I like the idea of survival horror games a lot. I think Resident Evil is by far the pinnacle of the genre, but the setting of Dead Space and how raw and disturbing the games are, makes it a fresh series.
stephenage: Definitely no, the Dead Space series is incredibly derivative. Resident Evil has its status because it was so influential whereas Dead Space lacks a clear identity. The games try to recapture other series to too great an extent, Bioshock and Resident Evil, and just aren't scary nor original
Bentley: RE is still the king as far as I'm concerned, yes RE5 was a letdown but Dead Space is just an improvement on RE4's gameplay style.
Kenji: Resident Evil isn't scary anymore, even RE4 doesn't scare me. Horror games have to scare you and Dead Space 2 kept me nervous all the way though
Moi: Dead Space isn't in competition with RE, its replaces it. honestly we don't need Resident Evil anymore because with only two games Visceral has proved it can make a scarier, more innovative, better looking and playing series that RE ever achieved in nearly 13 years of its lifespan.
2. Was giving Isaac a voice a good decision?
Bentley: not really, i always liked chatty main characters like Shephard but for Dead Space i think should have gone the Freeman route
stephenage: He turned from a nothing character to a very weak character. His attitude to certain plot events in the sequel was just infuriating, he is easily fooled. His voice brought nothing to him, surprisingly it added no personality; he still feels incredibly generic.
Iridescent406: Well, yeah. I found it weird how he never responded to his team mates when they were in a death trap.
Me: I hated the decision, in the first Dead Space I felt like I was Isaac, giving him a voice meant that I was playing as Isaac and that pulled me out. In future he should just scream, better that way.
3. Is Dead Space 2 as scary as its predecessor?
stephenage:Neither title is scary, they lack the invention needed for a good scare and rely too much on monster closets, repetitive jump scares and thinking that adding extra limbs makes something terrifying... It really doesn't.
Bamul: Haven't played the sequel, but I really liked the first. Guess I can't answer though. (very helpful)
Iridescent406: Depends on whether you think the series is scary or not.
Bentley: i really really hate needles
Moi: Its certainly more "horrific", the inclusion of the raptor necromorphs and the pack added some twisted originality and tension but it much more an action game than a horror title in many ways.
4. Was the Dead Space 2 multiplayer a welcome addition which warrants further development?
Kenji: Yes I liked it, playing as the monsters was fun and it had the unlocking system that makes all multiplayers more addictive.
stephenage:I didn't play it. I uninstalled the game after I finished the story, I had no want to return after the games poor finale.
Me: No comment. It didn't interest me and I knew that if I got hooked it would be a betrayal in my mind of what survival horror stands for. L4D yes, thats action horror but not proper survival horror especially something as well crafted and bespoke as Dead Space.
Iridescent406: Yes, but it will have to be expanded upon if it wants to be prosperous.
5. What improvements were made in Dead Space 2 when compared to the original, what did the sequel bring to the table?
Bentley: lots of uncharted 2, the whole "cutscene but you have control and you might die if you don't do things right" thing and some GoW button mashing thrown in. level design was better, less backtracking and enemies that vary in more than just different colors. (Bentley is american so I apologise for his lack of vowels in the word "colour")
Iridescent406: Neat graphical touches, felt smoother, and the story was more involved
stephenage:The game was faster paced and had greater visual variety, however it still fell foul to many of the flaws of its predecessor.
Kenji: it was scarier, the necro kids were really frightening for me. The sprawl felt more real than the Ishimura
Me: The Sprawl, it was a place rather than a shell. You got the feeling that people live there, worked there and it went a long way to sell me on the expanded universe of Dead Space. The combat was also a bit more forgiving compared to the original and everything looked like some proper concept art had been done beforehand
6. Were the forays into pyschological horror effective?
Me: No actually, this kinda blends into my feelings on the Isaac voice question. If they had been more subtle about it rather than using the pysch horror for shock value it might have been more effective. If they had left Isaac as a mute then I might have found it more convincing. Bioshock still does insanity better.
Kenji: It was good as the game had both sides of good horror movies. the gore and the fear factor.
stephenage:I would say they were terribly done, they got stale very quickly and were poorly implemented. The character wasn't interesting enough to support them and Visceral isn't good enough at anything bar jump scares to maintain another kind of horror.
Iridescent406: For the first half of the game they were, but they got old towards the final stretch.
7. Is the inclusion of new characters in Severed a good way to expand the Dead Space universe?
Bentley: hard to say, Severed was such a disappointment as it was just a few tacked on hours of play rather than a short story that its hard to judge.
Iridescent406: Yes, adds to the story.
stephenage:I didn't play it. But I really don't like Isaac. So yes .
Kenji: More Dead Space is good, its the game, not the story that I love
8. In your opinion, how could Visceral Games make Dead Space 3 better than both its forebears?
Iridescent406: Better mission design, by making it more open. Also improving the multiplayer would help.
Me: Scrap the multiplayer, turn it into a co-op experience as long as the single-player or close to. Have long individual scenarios like uncharted's co-op but with a shared inventory and no characters. Tricks like splitting the players up to complete different tasks etc. More puzzles too, I think they were underused and simplified in Dead Space 2 in some cases. Less menial chores, by now we'll have to admit that Isaac isn't your ordinary joe anymore. Finally, as I'm a R&C fan, customisable/buildable weapons, say you can find schematics that you can build weapons from or augment your ordinary arsenal, I like the hands-on aspect of Isaac's weaponry
stephenage:It could be made better quite easily but I don't know if Visceral is the team to do it. It's a series that has a lot of potential but never capitalises on it. Therefore I would like to see another teams take on it.
Bentley: strip it back, less NPC's whining in your ear, less over-the-top action sequences. one or two will have more of an impact than fifteen. Make it so tense and brutal that you'll be afraid to start playing. oh and a Hardcore mode thatll bring me to tears.
9. What did Dead Space 2 do wrong?
Iridescent406: It reused areas from the first game, which in my opinion is a very half-ass way of doing things.
Me: I second Iridescent406, we paid money for a New game, send Visceral a dictionary. They had so much room to play with the Sprawl and they make me trudge through 2008 again.
stephenage:A lot to be honest, weak story, characters and gameplay that became a chore. The level design wasn't spectacular and the later sections of the game were just plain bad. It looked great and had some interesting set pieces, but in other areas it was very lacking.
Kenji: nothing much, I loved every moment. I got sick of the hacking/engineer minigame though.
10. Will we tire of the Dead Space formula anytime soon?
Bentley: yeah itll go the way RE5 went eventually, too much action not enough tension. visceral will try to change things up and well have a Dead Space full of minigames and turret sequences before we know it. either that or theyll be team deathmatch and prestiges, at that point we can kiss the genre goodbye.
stephenage:It tired precisely after Dead Space 1's great opening level, all the imagination of the designers was used up there and after that the game became very repetitive and wearisome.
Me: I second Bentley up to a point, I don't think Visceral would cop the flak of introducing competitve multiplayer but its still only going to be fresh for as long as they can come up with new and terrifying ideas. Eventually its going to be boomers, tanks and pukers all over again.
Iridescent406: Depends on how Visceral will handle it in the future.
Kenji: I'll never get tired of shooting off limbs, its scary and its fun. Good enough for me
So that is the view of 4 guys, one of which actually is on GS. Though I didn't get as many responses as I hoped its a good start and I'd like to try this again. If any of you have opinions on these questions then comment and I'll do a Vox Populi part 2. If there are any other games/series that this format might work for then recommend.
This was adam1808 and friends