The Frighteners: Dead Space 2

By Jim Rossignol on November 5th, 2010 at 9:02 am.


They’re calling this the lullaby trailer, which means it’s soundtracked by a spooky rendition of a children’s song. Nothing spookier than that, eh F.E.AR. franchise? Better than being soundtracked by inappropriately shouty rock music, anyway. We’ve seen a fair bit of Dead Space 2 already, and I think it’s fair to say that it looks a good deal more ambitious than the original. Actually, with the infested city and so forth, I am getting a bit of a Bioshock vibe from the environments, but maybe that’s just me. Also, I’m afraid I am one of those freaks who was able to put up with the interface wonkiness on PC and still rather enjoy the game, so I am certainly looking forward to this hitting on the 25th of January.

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50 Comments »

  1. DevilSShadoW says:

    still wondering if i should play the 1st game…
    is it all out terror or just some thriller moments? I don’t enjoy being scared stiff but i do enjoy the occasional jump just to keep me on the edge

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Think of it as John Carpenter’s The Thing In Space Lite. It kinda telegraphs if you’re gonna get jumped, but what’s worse is when they just plain sneak up on you. I thought it was pretty great. Played like Resident Evil 4… in space… if Leon had a space suit and KNEW HOW TO MOVE WHILE SHOOTING.

    • HidesHisEyes says:

      It is a very jumpy game, and it deserves a gamepad, but it was also a fairly smart game with some cool mechanics that was a bit refreshing for an AAA title compared to call of modern war duty 7.

      The HUD setup is one of the coolest I’ve seen for example.

      I never finished it though. More than my jangled nerves could take.

    • Sören Höglund says:

      Dead Space belongs to the Doom3 school of scary games, so it’s startling, but not really scary.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      It’s not scary scary at all, although there’s a fair few jump scares. It’s a very good game, though, and you should play it.

    • EALouise says:

      I found the level of terror varies with how much ammo you have. It’s kind of interesting because you have so much fire-power the creepy buggers aren’t scary at all, but when you start to run low on ammo, you start to dread every encounter.

    • Wooly says:

      I’m someone who has a low tolerance for being scared in horror games, but I’ve been able to make it about 3/4 of the way through. I still intend on finishing it, but I quit and deleted it from my hard drive after

      SPOILERS
      that goddamn regenerator CAME BACK! D: That Thing scared me more than anything else in the game (despite that it’s apparently ripped off from RE4, but whatever). I’m not a fan of being stalked endlessly through the ship by an unstoppable monster as my ammo slowly dwindles as I slow it down and run away and slow it down and oh god

    • The Great Wayne says:

      The game starts great, but at one point early on it even stops being scary. Predictible jumps, systematic butchering of aliens and a horrible, horrible scenario/dialog/characters writing meant that any immersion or fear was impossible for me.

      ***SPOILERS***

      You even end up laughing when the traitor unveil to be who you think she was from the beginning, when after countless “captain obvious” moments your buddy is butchered at the exact time you think he’ll be (according to 40 years of B movies). You also grin when the entire rescue team, composed of skilled and trained troopers end up being slaughtered by one lone alien you sent into space in a rescue capsule, while you’re doing fine clearing the whole station considering you are just Mario the space plummer, etc…

      For me it killed the immersion. But the alien slaughtering part was ok enough to have me finish the game, so that’s not so bad.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      Dead Space is a goiter on the neck of Science Fiction.

    • Ateius says:

      “You also grin when the entire rescue team, composed of skilled and trained troopers end up being slaughtered by one lone alien you sent into space in a rescue capsule”

      And yet, after you go through a laborious process to get into the entirely sealed-off and inaccessible crashed military ship, there are suddenly dozens of baddies inside. Did they miraculously teleport? Did the one lone alien not only kill the entire crew but somehow turn half of them into more aliens despite not being the enemy type specified as being able to do that?

      Or did the game designers simply find themselves unable to put in a level without a squillion icky things throwing themselves at you?

    • Deccan says:

      I honestly don’t understand the viewpoint of “Dead Space relies on jump scares and ‘boo!’ moments”. I felt it excelled at building up an undercurrent of unease and fear; the constant threat of some blade-faced gribbly leaping out to rend my flesh had me on edge constantly. This would then gradually crest into outright pants-shredding panic (the regenerator and the dormitory escape, among others, spring immediately to mind). There was a point one night where I had to stop playing, because my nerves could take it no more.
      The scene in the common area where “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” plays sits high on my list of greatest game moments. No game had ever inspired *revulsion* in me like Dead Space did right there. I spent several minutes just walking around the room, drinking in this feeling, knowing how long it would be before any game evoked something similar.
      So, yeah, Dead Space employed a huge range of effective horror techniques, and it scared the dick off me. I feel sympathy for everyone on whom this was lost.
      (Ironically I never finished the game, having given up in frustration at that stupid final boss and the 30-second death cutscene it came with)

    • Caiman says:

      Dead Space was my favourite game of 2009 (the year I played it in). Clearly it relied on your personal psychological profile of what you find scary, and obviously for me Dead Space hit that nail squarely on the head. While it certainly had a few jump scares, the cloying, clawing desperate fear that I felt simply being there, especially with a new area ahead, was too much at times. Perhaps it’s because I watched The Thing when I was quite young, but alien horror doing unspeakable things to human bodies is my number one scary thing, and when it’s set on a space ship it’s even worse. Human axe murderers or nutjobs with hockey masks, on the other hand, I find completely unimpressive (unless one was chasing me, I suppose).

      So yeah, I can unreservedly recommend Dead Space if you similarly find body horror scary. Otherwise it’s a competent survival horror game. Looking forward to the new one. I hope they remember that not throwing enemies at you every 10 seconds is what made the first one super scary.

  2. Shadram says:

    :o It’s out on my Birthday. I probably still won’t buy it, though. I thought the first was a bit shit.

  3. Pemptus says:

    All the previous bits about DS2 left me with a slightly F.E.A.Rish “meh” feeling. They tended to show that gameplay shifted towards action and explosions and a more nimble hero who has the moves, baby.

    This made me feel interested again. I loved the first Dead Space.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The mention of F.E.A.R. fooled me into thinking this post was actually about F.3.A.R. Hard to tell the difference, eh?

  4. giovanni says:

    Not shit, just a bit (quite a bit) repetitive after a while.

  5. Andy says:

    What interface wonkiness? I loved how the GUIs and menus worked in dead space. The fact that it tried never to break the immersion was one of my favourite things about that game.

    • Howl says:

      Agreed. I loved the UI both on PS3 and PC. This game demands a dual analogue gamepad, regardless of platform. It was rubbish on mouse and keys. Pads are mandatory for all survival horror, imo; the turning and aiming speed is balanced for them and adds to the tension.

    • mwoody says:

      Dead Space on PC had some truly nasty interface issues, not in terms of UI but rather bad input code. In particular, it was a game that reeeally needed v-sync (tearing was constant and un-ignorable), but turning v-sync on led to a one-two punch of mouse lag and high mouse acceleration that silently robbed the game of much of its fun.

      The weird part being, you could force v-sync on with external programs with no such problems.

    • ix says:

      I thought the horrible input lag when aiming with your mouse kind of added to the feeling of dread. Like a dream where you feel like you’re walking through gravy and you feel something behind you and you want to turn but OH GOD YOU CANT ITS GOING TO EAT YOU TURN TURN TURN DAMMIT.

      Something like that, anyway.

    • AlexH says:

      Oh! I’m one of those who played a 360 version and a PC version, and thought the PC one vastly easier to play. Just aiming was far more precise and I didn’t have the Vsync problem.

      Guess I was just fortunate enough in pretty much always forcing Vsync externally.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    The mouse acceleration made shooting things a chore, in a game where all you do is shoot things.

    Eh… I’ll buy 2 if they fix 1.

    • Pemptus says:

      There was a silly-sounding trick to fixing the mouse acceleration. You had to disable v-sync in the game, but force-enable it from your gfx panel, or the other way around, can’t remember. Helped considerably.

    • Sam says:

      So, you played through the whole game with terrible mouse lag, when one simple search would have fixed it?

      This is seriously my pet peev with this game, so many people complain about this problem and I always reply the same way. It’s bonkers. If there is something so wrong with the game, why would you NOT search for a fix?

    • Antsy says:

      I didn’t even attempt to play with mouse and keyboard. Just whipped out the 360 controller and awaaaay!

    • Pemptus says:

      Aiming guns with a controller instead of a mouse? Unnatural! Madness!

    • suibhne says:

      The game played beautifully with mouse/keyboard. All you had to do was disable vsync and leave it off.

    • bgnz says:

      Thanks for they tip on V-Sync. It plays much better now! (I patched the game with all official patches, and just wrote off the glitchiness as quirkyness ;)

    • suibhne says:

      It’s just sad that this keeps being a problem, sigh. I don’t blame new players for not being aware of it – I blame EA for not putting out a tiny patch to just lock out vsync when mouse control is enabled.

    • ix says:

      @Sam: at the time when I searched for a fix, it all seemed a bit hackish and people were suggesting doing things that just didn’t make any sense. So I played it the way EA apparently intended me to. When I buy AAA titles, I expect them to work, not spend all my time slogging through fanboy forum posts to find a solution to some easily patchable bug.

  7. Chris says:

    The UI on DS 1 was cool but the control scheme was borked on the PC – unassignable keys and whatnot (yes, I’m a leftie who uses the arrow keys, so shoot me with a line gun). The original wasn’t psychological horror as just plain nasty in a dismembering-mutant-babies way. Any FPS which plays better with a gamepad = fail, although the concept was good. Reminded me of nothing more than Event Horizon.

    • megaman says:

      It took me some time to get used to the steering (with mouse and keys, PC style), and it certainly influenced my shooting skills in cassical shooter-style games (like L4D). And I still finished the game twice in a row, second run on highest difficulty, and I enjoyed it.

      IMO it’s a good and well-rounded game that deserves being finished at least once, so you know all the twists and how the tale finishes. Afterwards, the replay-value sinks enormously – not a game that you play 10 hours a week for a year.

      I guess I’ll take the same approach like I did with the first part: wait till it’s cheap on steam, then buy and have a lot of fun with it.

  8. toni says:

    I didn’t like the whole “room gets locked until you clear out everything” mechanic they had for their encounters but it didn’t have any QTEs and was more reminiscent (with a few forced nods) to SystemShock than Bios*ck ever was. It’s OK and very recommended for that low price you can get it.

  9. Huggster says:

    Okay the best thing about that trailer was the David-Lynch-foghorn at the end

  10. suibhne says:

    @Jim: “Also, I’m afraid I am one of those freaks who was able to put up with the interface wonkiness on PC”…

    What do you mean by that? Are you referring to the mouse issues present when vsync is enabled?

    • Mechorpheus says:

      I also was able to enjoy the PC version, rather freakishly played though it 6 times. Trying to resist the alure of that collectors edition with the model of the Plasma Cutter….. is that too geeky?

      Vsync in DS was an odd beast though, besides the mentioned wonkiness it also for some reason quadrupled loading times. Personally tearing never really bothered me so I just turned it off anyway.

  11. SirKicksalot says:

    The Frighteners was a pretty cool movie.

  12. Jake says:

    I don’t like the nursery rhyme in the trailer, it doesn’t seem suitable really, but I bet the people at F3EAR are kicking themselves they didn’t think to have a lullaby in their trailer.

  13. NegativeZero says:

    The best thing about the first thing had to be the sound. Some of the absolute best game sound design – it’s surprising how many supposed horror games mess up such an important element.

    • Howl says:

      It was fantastic. I wasn’t that bothered about this game but the EDGE review’s comments on the audio convinced me to try it out. I went for the PS3 version, just for the Home Cinema System experience. I wasn’t disappointed.

    • jaheira says:

      Best. Door Opening Noise. Ever.

  14. Chizu says:

    I preferred the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star they used first time around, was more fitting.
    Still pretty cool though.
    I already have this pre-ordered, but on my ps3 console toy thing.

  15. KillahMate says:

    A lullaby in a minor key, with a lot of wailing strings and some jumpy editing?

    How is this any different from FEAR 3? It certainly doesn’t look attention-grabbing.

  16. Vodka & Cookies says:

    Looks good, PR aside Dead Space is a good bit more scary than the supernatural action shooter that FEAR series is, powered armour tends takes the fear out the equation.

    Actually speaking of FEAR whatever happened to Monolith ? they used to be a 2 game studio but they’ve been awfully quiet of late, Monolith veteran Samantha Ryan has been running Warner Brothers Interactive the past 3 years. There’s plenty of job openings on their website too looking for people.

    The only info on their website comes from an interview with head art director that they are still working on something…
    http://www.lith.com/Studio/News/June-2010/Sherry-Floyd

  17. cHeal says:

    Deadspace was the most refined game I have played for years. Most of the gameplay ideas it used were adapted from other games but they were perfected to within an inch of their life. The train level changing which maintained the immersion. The absolutely superb sound effects. The fantastic HUD. The interesting weapons that weren’t weapons. The alien designs and puzzles. The level design and sci-fi environment all screamed polish and professionalism.

    If they have given the game a bit more depth with more character development and a stronger story it could have been branded System Shock 3 and considered a pretty damn good showing. For me it all just worked and I did find it pretty scary. Those who didn’t feel the tremendous tension either didn’t play it on a hard enough difficulty or were just too good at the game. As someone has said, it’s not too scary until you run low on ammo, at which point every single turn of the corner and opening door is scary as hell.

    I loved it and would rate as one of my favourite games ever and I’m not usually into such relatively “lite” gaming experiences, Stalker and The Witcher being my absolute favourite games ever. I look forward to the sequel and if they get it right again I’d like to see these developers given the System Shock license with substantially increased resources.

    Can I just make a request that ye change your CAPTCHA providor. Every single time I try and post on this site I’m told the CAPTCHA is wrong, which means I just couldn’t be bothered posting much anymore. Please please fix it. The audio doesn’t even match the fecking picture!!!!

    • Dave says:

      I too love Stalker and the Witcher, and I too was very, very impressed by Dead Space, as was the rest of the household:

      Room mate: Played it and loved it. Got really jumpy a lot of times.
      Brother: Played it and loved it. Avid Silent Hill, Resident Evil, etc. fan.
      Girlfriend: Watched it played from beginning to end. Despite being totally incapable of handling scary stuff, seemed captivated.
      Me: Played it on hard to show-up room mate and brother. Got eaten a hundred times. Gave-up, having already seen ending.

  18. Flatfingers says:

    I had exactly the opposite experience with Dead Space from cHeal’s — the only parts of DS i didn’t actively hate were the cutscenes.

    I don’t normally use the word “hate” where games are concerned, but that’s how I felt about this one. I hated that it’s what EA did to System Shock. (“We need more killin’ and less of that, you know, THINKING stuff. But keep the vending machines.”) I hated that it was an appallingly lazy port of a mindless console toy game. (Lazy port = flawed PC controls, limited key remapping, and checkpoints + limited “save station” saving instead of the quicksave/quickload standard for PC games.)

    I hated the inescapable third person perspective, with Isaac’s gigantic vacsuited back blocking nearly a third of my view. (Points for trying to eliminate the usual HUD; many minus points for not accepting that the helmet of a spacesuit makes a perfectly reasonable place for a HUD.) I hated the stupidly predictable, Doom 3-like “lock the room and release the kraken” fights.

    And top all that off with EA’s insulting decision — before DS was even finished — that it would be a “franchise” game. “Who cares whether gamers actually like it or not? We’ll MAKE them like it with our brilliant multimedia marketing — the kids today like comic books, right?”

    The whole thing was just an exercise in disappointment and frustration to the extent that, over decades of gaming, it remains the only game whose disk I have ever ripped from the drive in order to fling it across the room. Not only will I be avoiding DS2 like it was made of concentrated evil, the very thought that Visceral — who went on to make the ludicrous “Dante’s Inferno” — might be asked to make a true System Shock 3 would be like asking Michael Bay to direct “The Hobbit.” I’m sure the folks at Visceral are perfectly nice people, but under no circumstances should they be allowed anywhere near the design of a game that intelligent adults can enjoy.

    • Dave says:

      Paraphrased: “If you liked Dead Space, you’re stupid.”

    • cHeal says:

      I’m sorry but not including quicksaves does not automatically make a console a bad port. That is a game design decision. quicksaves are a poor solution to bad game design in most cases. With deadspace they weren’t necessary. The save stations did fine and helped rack up the suspension. I had no problems with the controls. I liked the sluggish mouse acceleration, made me feel like I was in that big suit, intended or not.

      This game was not what EA did to System Shock. It was a re-imagining of system shock, for a console audience but most significantly it did not carry the System Shock name.

      It looked fantastic, had a generally engaging story, (I didn’t find it anymore predictable than most game stories) with pretty good acting. Great sound, good level design, interesting environments and plenty of scares.

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