Verdict: Dead Space 2

By John Walker on February 8th, 2011 at 2:39 pm.

He's angry because he can't wear balaclavas.

A week back Jim was kind enough to tell us Wot He Thought of Dead Space 2. Compelled by a lack of anything else to do this weekend, John played it too. And when two minds of the RPS hive share content, they must examine. Thus, we Verdict. Below is Jim and John’s discussion of the space stomping sequel, in which Jim defends while John complains.

Jim: John Walker, did you play the original Dead Space game?
John: I did. For ten minutes. Ten miserable, awful minutes.
Jim: That is not very long. I liked the original, you see.
John: That’s because you have a diseased mind. What did you like about it?
Jim: I like stamping on the rubbery corpses of the necromorphs until they splattered all over the place.
John: That’s in the first game too?
Jim: Yes it is.
John: I found that genuinely repulsive.
Jim: See, I think this might be a measure of the warpedness of a mind, because I found the gore in Dead Space 2 comedic. It was so hyperbolically nasty that it just seemed silly. I regularly found myself laughing at some hideous evisceration.

John: “Looting corpses” by violently stamping on dead human bodies such that their heads rip off and blood bursts out of them feels, to me, like the lowest form of playing games.
Jim: Well you can loot them by shooting them again, too.
John: This is true. Stamping on aliens, I’m not so fussed. But there’s something truly awful about his petulant stomping on dead humans. However, I did LOVE how both his punching and stamping always looked like a toddler having a tantrum. That entertained me throughout.
Jim: Yes, also if you strafe left and right repeatedly, he is clearly dancing.
John: So, tell us about the game in a general way, Jim.
Jim: Okay, a general way to describe Dead Space 2 would be to call it a linear third-person shooter with a sci-fi horror theme. There were some people add “survival” to the horror, but I didn’t really find it to be about surviving. In some ways it reminded me of FEAR, because it’s supposed to be horrifying and scary, but you are an armoured man with super-weapons.
John: My overriding thought throughout was, “When your core source of inspiration is F.E.A.R. 2, your game’s in trouble.”
Jim: I dunno if that is the inspiration, really. But it is of that lineage.
John: It seemed to me it was mimicking that game to an embarrassing degree, right down to a completely botched attempt at a spooky primary school.
Jim: Ah yes, it does do the “fright-moment” but that was hardly original when the FEAR games did it.

Ow.

John: Did it ever scare you?
Jim: There were a couple of “BOO!” moments when something popped out of its box, but there was never a sense of vulnerability. Which is what I mean. The scary games are the ones where you know you can be horrible maimed and there’s not much you can do about it. But also, despite its beautiful environments, it never quite hit the heights of scary ambience. Not in the same way as, say, the underground bits of Stalker did.
John: It was so strange to go from jumping a couple of times at the very start, to becoming seemingly immune to fear. Things jumped out of walls, and whether I was expecting it or not, I didn’t have any reaction at all. I’m scared the game has broken me. It was simply, “Oh, there is something else to kill.” Or equally as likely, “Oh, there is something that has killed me because it jumped out behind me.” That’s never happened to me before.
Jim: Yeah, I think it became easy to be desensitized to. Also I think the threat of the beasts dropped, because your weapon power increases. I mean if you push up the difficulty it’s better, because the ammo is so scarce. And you have to use physics objects to conduct the battles. Which I think should have been how the game worked, physics stuff everywhere, forcing you to improvise, constantly.

John: I found that the physics were so unreliable that I couldn’t trust them to work. Half the time that slow time thing just didn’t fire when I pressed it, and objects in the world seemed to do no useful damage. So instead I just focused on ramping up the javelin gun.
Jim: On normal difficulty you can pretty much get by without using the physics objects, but if you push on to harder hardenesses of difficulty then you have to use them.
John: Like I say, they didn’t work well enough to want to use them.
Jim: I didn’t find them that bad, and the sort of fumbling danger of them added to the tension. Relying on super-BIFF guns takes away the horror.
John: My feeling throughout was being a bit bored. There were achingly long levels of identical rooms, ludicrously repetitive. You couldn’t plan for battle because everything you fight jumps out of the ceiling. And most of the set-pieces barely involved you. “I hammered E! And then I won!”
Jim: Yes, the set pieces seemed pointless. They should have had a word you had to type really quickly. “H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T” when you are smacked out into space by a tentacle beast.
John: YES. The only parts I genuinely enjoyed were the large room battles where those runny-hidey baddies would dart between crates. Then it was suddenly about using tactics, and the element of surprise was interesting. And you could improvise with whichever weapon setup you currently had. Rather than standing in a corridor, killing everything three times.
Jim: Yes, but I actually liked some of the sillier sequences, like the train, or the creature that knocks you into space, so you have to grab a passing spaceship.
John: But I watched Isaac grab a passing spaceship. I didn’t get to do it.
Jim: Those sequences were all done with an amazing eye to where the camera should be and so on. It would have made a great movie.

John: We should discuss the story. Was there a single twist that surprised you?
Jim: It had a story? HA HA HA, I make joke.
John: I found myself shouting out loud, “BUT IT’S SO OBVIOUSLY A TRAP!”
Jim: Yeah, the story was pretty bad. Again, it was there to be an excuse for the action.
John: Even the final moment, the credit twist, was so predictable that I told my monitor what was about to happen.
Jim: I don’t think I was as bored by the game as you, because I rather enjoyed the general running about and stamping, but I think we can agree that someone needs to read science fiction from the 60s and 70s to remember how it worked before Aliens and Event Horizon.
John: I did like the javelin weapon though. By the end I had it firing, then electrocuting, then exploding.
Jim: Ah yes, that is quite the God Of Hellfire weapon. I mean the game is stacked full of great design.
John: Yes. There’s no denying it’s quite a feat. The scale of the design is often breathtaking.
Jim: Like the weapons, the monsters, and so on, it really does feel like a high end big studio production. You can taste the money.

John: Even the acting’s not so bad, even if the dialogue is hammier than a pile of pigs.
Jim: Isaac talks in this one, which I thought was going to be terrible, but he’s admirably earnest and fraught.
John: I was frustrated that the larger theme – the stages of grief – was so badly told for the first three quarters of the game. When that finally comes together near the end, I was like, “Oh! I see! That’s what you were trying to do.” Which was actually quite a sophisticated story to try to tell.
Jim: I didn’t even notice that.
John: And then of course it pisses that up against a wall with its miserably obvious twist. Imagine if the whole game had genuinely been about Isaac’s releasing himself from the grief of his lost wife. Which I’m fairly sure is what they were trying to do.
Jim: It’s possible that big games will pull that stuff off, eventually. I mean it looks like the prevailing desire for games is for them to be “about” something.

John: Oh, the anti-gravity bits! Those were all ace.
Jim: There is nothing existential about those! But yes, that is something the game does brilliantly (it did it well the first time, but it’s even better here) the “feel” of space. Decompression is consistently exciting, and the zero-G bits are all meticulously planned to feel real and believable, in as much as artificial space-gravity machines can be real and believable.
John: Yes. And while the puzzles are all remedial, they’re a fun distraction from the corridors. So I didn’t hate it. I occasionally felt hate toward it in the worst sections, but that wasn’t overriding. I just found it dull. And I’m bewildered that my jump reflex can be switched off. I didn’t know that was possible.

John: Are you dead?
Jim: Sorry, was making tea. And the tea bag broke. So I had to make another.
John: NOOOOOOOOOOO! This is true horror.
Jim: It was a real difficult time. Anyway, I feel more positive about Dead Space 2. There were long bits of it not being boring, against dullness. It wasn’t scary, but it was FLASHBANGBOOM, which is all I need sometimes. And I still haven’t played the multiplayer.
John: Nor me! Multiplayer’s for idiots.
Jim: Ok then. That is all I have to say about Dead Space 2, and I said most of it twice. What are you going to have for lunch?
John: I think it’s going to be bacon. But more excitingly, I’m slow roasting some pork throughout the afternoon.
Jim: I am going to stamp on some people in the street and see what pops out.

, , , .

90 Comments »

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  1. Dood says:

    I’m really not that much into all those 4chan-trollface-whatever jokes, but the man in the fourth picture clearly tries to tell us something about shootin’ his lazer and all that.

    *edit*
    Funny, the guy in the fifth picture actually has a laser shot at him. Interesting… And then there’s the sixth picture, which seems to fit the lasery theme quite well.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      So I don’t have to play the game, can anyone sate my curiousity and explain why the fourth-picture-guy’s face detaches so cleanly?

    • John Walker says:

      It only appears to be detaching because that particular suit came with a grey balaclava thing. It is in fact his head that’s been detached, after having a giant horn stabbed into his mouth. Someone at Visceral needs to see Dr Freud.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      What the hell did that horn do to his lip-tissue to make it that elastic?

      Wait, no, I don’t want to know. At all. brrr!

      Also, judging from what I’ve seen of Dante’s Inferno, I second paging Dr. Freud to Visceral Games HQ.

    • Hunam says:

      I didn’t like the Vintage suit with the balaclava, kept tricking me into thinking I was a sweary big daddy.

    • Sarlix says:

      Sometimes a horn is just a horn.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Except when its an ovipositor.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Man Raised by Puffins says:

    A verdict, but no Optimus Prime thumbs?
    What is this sham?
    (What a shame)

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      In order to finish the review they had to shoot off Optimuses’ thumbs.

    • westyfield says:

      When you stomp on Optimus Prime electricity comes out.

  3. dr.castle says:

    Yeah, the first Dead Space, and I’d imagine this one too, was neither “survival” nor “horror” unless you played on the hardest difficulty and turned the lights off in a room by yourself. It really is necessary to play the game in this way to get a good experience out of it, yet I imagine most people playing it on normal with their friends around.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      It really does seem as though game developers forgot how to do scary right. It was like Doom 3 appeared and everyone decided things leaping out of walls was true horror. I hope some big studios took note of Amnesia’s success. Before that the last games that really got into my head and wracked it with genuine fear… well… I guess that would’ve been the Silent Hill series.

    • Shagittarius says:

      I’ve always found the only frightening thing about Silent Hill to be the controls.

    • dr.castle says:

      I think the first Silent Hill was pretty genuinely terrifying. Especially for its time. There’s a couple simple rules for good horror that games like Dead Space could take from it: make the player run away as much as possible (blowing apart monsters with a superpowered gun doesn’t exactly give the same sense of panic as fleeing madly from things that will tear you apart), and don’t ever let the player expect what’s coming (I still remember that first entry into the alternate world in SH as being one of the more disturbing sections of a game I’ve played, though some of that is likely due to never having seen anything like it at the time). I think a key to good action-oriented horror is finding the right balance between allowing players to fight and forcing them to flee.

    • GHudston says:

      Agreed. I always wonder why reviews always mention that it isn’t scary, then I remember that I played both this and the first game in a pitch black room with surround sound at a realistically high volume. I also played on the second hardest difficulty and used only the Plasma Cutter (don’t ask why, I did it in the first game and couldn’t NOT do it in the second). There’s something about relying solely on an industrial tool for survival, one which has limited charges and requires steady aim in a game designed to make you panic, that really ratchets up the tension.

      After several hours of that, you find yourself constantly counting your ammo and health and holding your breath before opening every single door and feeling palpable relief at every save point and store.

  4. Springy says:

    When you stamp on people in the street swears and swift retaliation pop out.

    • John Walker says:

      This sounds like the voice of experience.

    • Springy says:

      Yes. A goggle-eyed PC games blogger recently tried to stamp on me in the street, to which I replied, “Flaming ‘Eck,” and hit him with my shopping.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Ahh this is why I love RPS, thank you for making my day!

  5. Premium User Badge

    Tinus says:

    “Imagine if the whole game had genuinely been about Isaac’s releasing himself from the grief of his lost wife.”

    Silent Hill 2 did something like this, I seem to recall?

    • Cooper says:

      Silent Hill 2 was, in part about this. It was about so, so, so much more too though.

      One of, if not the, best game for characterisation, ever. Probably one of the greatest story-telling games ever too. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this.

    • unrealisticexpectations says:

      I never quite got Silent Hill 2’s plot…

    • Lilliput King says:

      All I really got was that I was meant to biff things which farted at me. Thought it was a bit nob.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      I only recently saw the UFO ending which is indeed very fine. Very fine indeed.

    • Multidirectional says:

      Yes, Silent Hill 2 already did the grieving story much much better. There would have been no way for unimaginative writers of Dead Space to come even close. I just didn’t pay attention to the story in Dead Space 1/2 and enjoyed it for similar things I enjoyed Doom 3 for. These games can be very atmospheric without being actually scary, I’m fine with that.

    • bill says:

      you aren’t alone. Yahtzee for one.

      but sometimes i’m ok with aliens style action and atmosphere too.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Wait, Silent Hill 2 was about grief? It’s been a while since I played that game, but wasn’t it more about regret and coming to terms with what James did to his wife? Wasn’t the entire horror landscape a physical manifestation of James’ sexual frustrations?

  6. Furius says:

    I could be wrong, but I’ve noticed in my playthrough that stomping on human carcasses never rewards you with loot. Could this be a design decision to try and persuade you not to wreck your human brethren’s cadavers? Or am I indeed wrong?

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      if so they done a bad job since this game and it’s predecessor have trained you to treat any corpse with it’s limbs attached as a potential victim of the flying necromorph factories (don’t know what they are called) and so need to have their limbs removed regardless of whether they are potential pinatas

    • Furius says:

      OR they’re actually making you ask yourself how much humaity is left inside Isaac/you. Do you see these bodies as the tragic corpses of the recently dead, and as such should be left to be disposed of respecfully, even if it means the risk of them getting reanimated as necromorphs, or are you so desperate for survival that you only see them as potential enemies to be detroyed?

    • Shagittarius says:

      Only Necromorph corpses will give you anything for stamping on them.

    • steviesteveo says:

      Enemies. Got to be enemies.

  7. John Walker says:

    It’s like you’re trying to be as wrong as you can be!

  8. hjd_uk says:

    You don’t get ribcage-pinata prizes from ‘normal’ dead humans, but you probably want to smush them up anyway just in case you get one of those flappy necro-maker things turning all those restful dead into spikey scythe-armed monstrosities.

    [Edit] Some of the trail-and error ‘puzzles’ / environmental dangers annoyed me though, “upcoming expansion” glass in the aviary namely.

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    James G says:

    I’m very disappointed you didn’t hate it John, because then I’m sure I could have worked out some great comment relating it back to the ‘your mum will hate it’ advertising, and it would have been great, and everyone would have laughed, and they would have made knowing references years down the line when RPS had become so big you were effectively ruling the world and had rationed out full-stops, and perhaps John would be a big brother like figure called big mother in reference to this comment.

    But that didn’t happen. So there is no need for me to stockpile full stops. Sadly it also means that RPS will never rule the worlds, and this comment will be quickly forgotten.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I am from an alternate timeline where that happened they didn’t just ration full stops they rationed all punctuation

      It is horrible there

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    Lars Westergren says:

    >“Looting corpses” by violently stamping on dead human bodies such that their heads rip off and blood bursts out of them feels, to me, like the lowest form of playing games.

    Thanks for saying this John.

    >John: Even the final moment, the credit twist, was so predictable that I told my monitor what was about to happen.

    Ech. I hate that. Formulaic horror is the worst. “Tension building music climaxes…. the vulnerable female protagonist approaches the closet… A CAT JUMPS OUT! Music stops, protagonist smiles and goes whew, pets the cat. Oh, now you want me to relax too, don’t you movie? We’ll, I refuse to, because in 5 seconds she will turn around and the real monster is going to go BOO.”

    >Jim: Sorry, was making tea. And the tea bag broke. So I had to make another.
    >John: NOOOOOOOOOOO! This is true horror.

    I’ll say. You use TEA BAGS? YOU ARE THE REAL MONSTERS!

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Real Men™ use Tea Balls (infusers).

      I’m still debating on getting this title. While I enjoy a cinematic experience, I’m worried that it might go too far like the latest COD did.

  11. 20thCB says:

    I also hated the first game – oppressive atmosphere (in a bad way), grotesque and distasteful violence, dull environments, been-there-done-that gameplay – and so I only gave it about an hour… until I tried it again on a friend’s ps3.
    I don’t know why, but something about the controls just made it all click for me. On the PC, with its mouse and keyboard controls and insta-headshot (or rather, “limbshot”) kills, I could only feel detached from the action – as a PC point-and-click shooter Dead Space completely lacks that sense of struggling to survive (not that it can’t work elsewhere ,as in Half-Life 2 or Stalker). BUT, on consoles, that extra sluggishness the controller provides (and da rumble!) really increases the tension. I suppose, for me, it was the same effect as having to struggle with the controls in games like Siren or Bethsoft’s Call of Cthulhu, but anyway, for me at least, Dead Space works on consoles where it just didn’t on PC – of course that’s not quite a recommendation for the game.. Just saying is all….

    • 20thCB says:

      IT also helps if you have regular Alien/Aliens movie sessions in-between plays…..

    • GHudston says:

      As blasphemous as it is to say on RPS, there are some games that are actually designed for consoles and, as a result, “feel” better with a controller. Dead Space is most certainly one of them.

  12. Radiant says:

    Walker what are the specs on your pc?

    The first time I played the og dead space game I thought it was abysmal.
    Then I upgraded my machine and all the stasis and amputation strategy suddenly made sense.

    In the game it made sense too.

  13. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    While my list of criticisms of dead space 2 is very long and it’s almost certainly a worse game than dead space 1 in every way that actually matters i had fun playing it & it’s a fun game imo.

    specifically whoever came up with the sheets of glass that if smash launch you into the vacuum of space (or for some reason have you gruesomely crushed by the door supposedly designed to save you) unless you happen to be on the other side of the room & so giving you time enough to aim at the baffling object which knows to pop up when the glass is blown out but some how isn’t capable of closing the door at that instant.

    also the zero g sections aren’t as good as dead space 1 and the seamless game play while a technical marvel is one of the contributing factors to the complete lack of pacing which inevitably desensitises you to the game wholesale.

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    tobias says:

    Really rather worth noting that, unless I’m much mistaken, stamping on dead humans nets no reward bar the first time you’re asked to do it (admittedly a bit inconsistent). From then throughout the whole game only stamping on aliens nets rewards, and even then only ones you’ve killed yourself (so from ones killed in cutscenes and by AI controlled characters you get nothing). I was playing on the hardest mode so don’t know if that affects it- if so someone ought to set me straight.

    Worth noting as it seems like such a bone of contention- personally I loved the game, but then I loved the first warts and all. It looks completely stunning, has a consistent character and is generally a very solid experience. Also those who don’t find it scary/tense/however you want to dignify pooing yourself at pixels ought to try it on a higher difficulty with the lights out and headphones. It’s grand.

  15. Damien Stark says:

    More and more I feel like our enjoyment of games these days is driven (usually driven down) by expectations rather than actual content.

    Most of the negative comments about this game (and others) aren’t “oh I tried it, I see how some people could like it but it’s not for me” but rather “They called it horror and it’s not like Amnesia at all!”

    I enjoyed the first Dead Space quite a lot, but I think that’s largely because I went into it with such limited expectations. I played it at least six months after it came out to “meh” reviews, having got it cheap and on a whim. Then I was delighted by the story – of course it’s lame compared to good movies or books, but still in the top 10% of video game stories – the mechanics (still primarily “shoot all the bad guys” but instead of hit-points and damage quantities, we’re focused on damage shape and spread and dismemberment, with some stasis and telekinesis and zero-g thrown in for flavor), even the power curve.

    Most good survival horror games have clunky controls, intentionally. If you can circle-strafe everything, sprint like a track-star and escape everything by leaping onto crates and up onto the roof, it’s hard to feel trapped or vulnerable. You’re meant to feel like an awkward, plodding, regular person (here an engineer, rather than a spess muhreen) and that’s good. At the same time, it’s immensely satisfying to gradually gain power and overcome that vulnerability. To grow and improve and be able to blast the hell out of those creatures you were scared of in the beginning. The trick is handling that transition well, so you don’t just feel like you’re safe all the time and there’s no real threat. I though DS1 did that well.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled a bit, but I think part of our wonder with indie games of late isn’t just the objectively good content, but the lack of expectations we go in with. We’re not playing Braid 2, or reading previews of breathlessly hyped features for Minecraft a year ahead of time (all the complexity of Dwarf Fortress, but in 3D!).

    TL;DR – Try going into some games with little or no expectations, and just enjoying them for whatever they are rather than what they’re not. You’ll be glad you did.

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      I think one of the reasons I enjoy the dead space games is because for me the obvious comparison is Resident Evil 4, which is a great action game, so naturally Dead Space is even better which makes it a great action game +1.

      Comparing it to amnesia on terms of horror is like comparing Amnesia to Day of the Tentacle on term of which is the best point and click.

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      I think the problem is more that the internet has forced everything to be viewed through a microscope. Extremes of opinion are vomitted all over the place – you’re more likely to reply to or comment on something if you felt strongly about it which leaves a very skewed look at any given subject (the irony being that half people pull towards the good extreme and half pull towards the bad extreme which levels out in the middle i.e. average).

      Couple that with the lack of consquence in instigating confrontation, ambivalent wording and no capacity to successfully convey humour/sarcasm/tongue-in-cheek (the winky emoticon seems to be the online equivalent of “no offence”).

      I agree that Dead Space was enjoyable – it had many faults but so does every single thing ever created. And I completely agree with your comments on a sense of perspective when summing up ones experience. There’s more and more “it was shit and you’re stupid if you think otherwise” flying around these days.

      But that’s more than enough condescending tat from me.

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      Saul says:

      @Damien Stark: No! I go into games expecting them to be good, original, moving … something! Otherwise, why would I play them?

  16. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    lol read “A Scanner Darkly”

    EDIT: just read the line about bacon and realised it was sarcasm, whoops :D

  17. noerartnoe says:

    @kobzon
    Wait what?

    Admittedly some movies were like that, but for the love of pete, you cannot be that clueless about sci-fi literature can you? I mean…the 50s/60s gave us works by Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Anthony Burgess and Arthur C. Clarke just to name a few…

    EDIT: Actually, I suppose you can be that clueless about it… it’s not everyone’s cup of tea after all.

    EDIT2: My sarcasm detector is wonky. But even if it was sarcasm, my comment still stands as there actually are people out there with that attitude. :p

  18. unrealisticexpectations says:

    Could somebody recommend me some good sci-fi from described era, perhaps?

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      “A Scanner Darkly” is my favorite book eva. I prefer Philip K. Dick because his books re about real people in bizarre situations (the writing isn’t always the best maybe), “Ubik” is arguably his most accomplished book, although “Man in the High Castle” done well.

    • hjd_uk says:

      Top 100 Sci-Fi list with year of publication.
      http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/lists_books_rank1.html

      Ringworld (The 1st one) is good. Starship Troopers, 2001 and 2010 and Gateway are all good.

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      I wouldn’t personally recommend most of the books on that list despite personally enjoying quite a lot of them.

    • hjd_uk says:

      It was just a quick google. Ive not heard of most of those books.

    • unrealisticexpectations says:

      Ah, thank you. I’ve been trying to make a good list of “to-reads.”

    • tomnullpointer says:

      Roadside picnic (basically the inspiration for stalker- alongside tarkovskys film)
      Solaris – existential alien contact
      Rendezvous with rama – futuristic archaeology
      The disposessed (and left hand of darkness) – political /social ideology
      Ubik /scanner darkly – fragmentation of reality
      if you like ian m banks then RIngworld is basically the precursor of his ‘culture’ model
      Lord of light – hindu pantheon revisioned as future science-magic myth
      High Rise/Crystal world.. hell anything by JG Ballard imo

      etc etc – these are just a few from the mentioned period.
      One thing that IMO is significant about that era (or maybe just these books) is that theres rarely any laser beams, baddie aliens, or space war.. the subject matter is clearly more philosophical than PEW PEW

    • Lilliput King says:

      I rather like this series:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF_Masterworks

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Earth Abides isn’t in the top 100 therefore the list is demonstrably wrong.

    • unrealisticexpectations says:

      Beautiful!

      Now where to start…

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      jaheira says:

      All humans should read “Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      Might I also add Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A Canticle For Leibowitz to that? It’s the greatest Sci-Fi novel of all time if you ask me (and my all-time favourite novel next to Blood Meridian), and I’ve read more than a few classic Sci-Fi novels. Despite dealing with some pretty heavy stuff about the nature of Religion, Church Vs. State and the self-destructive nature of Humans, Miller is a very fluent writer. It comes HIGHLY recommended, and I don’t think it’s been out of print ever since it first appeared in 1960, so it should be easy to find.

      Any novel by Gene Wolfe should do the trick as well. His novels are not of the 60’s-era, but his writing is completely original.

  19. hjd_uk says:

    Apparently in the future, where FTL travel, gravity and time manipulation and ripping apart entire planets is possible, the only way to stimulate your brain is through your optic nerve :)

  20. Mman says:

    ” the first game was easy once you got the hang of it but in harder difficulties you had a VERY hard time managing ammo, here Zealot is easy as hell compared to Hard in DS1…”

    This is literally the exact opposite of how DS1 and 2 have been for me. I went through DS1 on both hard and impossible with few problems with either difficulty or equipment outside of one or two areas. Whereas Zealot on DS2 was utterly brutal and had me starved for ammo throughout, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I died more times than my multiple playthroughs of DS1 put together.

    Edit: damn, replied wrong.

    • Mman says:

      I guess it might be difference between playing it on PC or Console, and/or DS2 rewards precise aiming more or something.

  21. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I desperately want someone to make a game based on being a combat courier, as in Heinlein’s “Friday”. In my head it’s sort of like Mirror’s Edge crossed with Arkham Asylum set in a Deus Ex style dystopian open world.

    Tell me that doesn’t sound awesome.

  22. noerartnoe says:

    @kobzon
    Like I said in my edit: sarcasm detector be wonky. I’m relaxed.

    Now, about forgetting some authors: the sheer amount of sci-fi authors makes that kind of a given, unless you want a novel ;) I just went with some I figured “most” people would have, at the very least, heard about – if not necessarily read. Although I will (shamefully) admit that the reason I missed them might also be because, well, I’ve missed them. So feel free to throw me some names – I’m always up for more reading.

    As for (action) games inspired by sci-fi literature I’m coming up a bit short. But to be honest, I’m not entirely certain I want any either. I mean… I enjoy the slightly brainless entertainment that tends to be the staple of action games these days(not pointing any fingers) as much as the next guy, but a lot of the really good sci-fi deserves more than that.

    As far as liking DS for being a cinematic game, by all means. It just, like most recent games and movies that are supposed to be “horror”, seems (to me) to think that surprise == horror. And I don’t subscribe to that particular idea.

    Anyways, if I keep this up I’ll go into full-on ramble mode so I’ll just leave this poor comment thread alone for now.

  23. Lack_26 says:

    Damn it Drewski,

    Now I want Mirror’s Edge crossed with Metro 2033; a dark Eastern-European take on M’sE, set an semi-post apocalyptic world, where fall-out has forced humanity inside their hermetic sealed buildings (bolted on air-locks, sealed windows, etc.) and you need gas-masks/NBC suits to walk-outside. Possibly throw war-fare between neighbourhoods and a morally dubious government desperately trying to keep control into the mix.

    I feel a sudden urge to write a story about this.

  24. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    The necromorphs in clothes are hilarious.

  25. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    My feeling throughout was being a bit bored. There were achingly long levels of identical rooms, ludicrously repetitive. You couldn’t plan for battle because everything you fight jumps out of the ceiling. And most of the set-pieces barely involved you. “I hammered E! And then I won!”

    That mirrors my precise feelings of the first Dead Space, which I played last month after getting it in the Steam sale. I had to force myself to finish it just to see if it had anything great which might have redeemed it a bit (it didn’t).

    So I won’t be getting this one. I’ll find another game that suits me better instead.

  26. Fathom says:

    Wow, now we actually have people saying they hated Dead Space 2. Amazing. The negativity on RPS knows no bounds.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Ging says:

    The kinesis combat is only good when firing the spiked objects that are handily left sitting about the place. Firing boxes / crates / fridges / trucks at the necromorphs will do little more than piss them off a bit…

    Throw a spiky thing at them and it’ll stick’em to the wall, it’s a bit of a broken design frankly.

    • Tally Lassiter says:

      I very successful knocked over the Hunter (regenerative bugger) repeatedly with large crates and barrels.

  28. Unrein says:

    John, get that stick out of your ass.

  29. Tally Lassiter says:

    I definitely enjoyed DS2 minus the school level which I hated. I’m holding my second playthrough until they fix the PC version and put the Elite suits in where they should be.

  30. RandomEngy says:

    You don’t get loot for stomping on human corpses. Human corpses never come to life and attack you. Only necromorph corpses. The game gives you absolutely no reason to stomp on a human corpse.

    Also, use kinesis to impale. Rods and severed spike arms. Stasis to slow them down (if it hits them or anything near them it works), sever an arm blade, then pick it up with kinesis and impale something with it. If you haven’t done this you are missing half the fun of Dead Space 2.

  31. Serenegoose says:

    I just want to say that comparing every horror game to amnesia just seems to be doing it wrong. There seems to be this approach with horror games where it’s generally accepted that ‘the scarier it is, the better’. We don’t seem to have this with other things – we don’t rate our favourite books on which one has the most word in it, or which movie runs the longest or which album has the longest chain of notes without a pause.

    I really like dead space because dead space is a horror game I can finish. Sure it’s not the scariest, but I’m never getting out of the first room in Amnesia. I’m always going to prefer an experience I can access to one that’s denied to me.

    To be clear, I’m not trying to say Amnesia isn’t an excellent game – I switched it off the moment I seen a monster and never returned, I don’t have an opinion that could be considered valid as to its quality. I just think it’s somewhat missing the point that all horror games seem judged on above all else is this single criteria, and it doesn’t quite seem right to me.

    • GHudston says:

      Agreed. Dead Space is “Aliens” style horror, not Lovecraftian horror. There’s room for both.

      I love Amnesia, but it’s exhausting to play and every time I stop playing it takes me longer and longer to go back. Not because I’m bored, far from it, but it’s an unpleasant kind of horror that takes a certain degree of psyching up to actually put yourself through. The last bit I played was the “water section” (to spoil as little as possible), which was a few weeks ago. I actually had to take an hour or so to wind down afterwards, and haven’t been back for seconds yet.

      Dead Space on the other hand is more condensed and to the point. First the atmosphere builds up, then there is a scary thing, you go “Oh, Blimey! A scary thing!” before going about smashing it into a pulpy mess to make it stop. It’s a bit formulaic and predictable at times (You find a large cache of ammo, you know there’s a big thing to kill in the next room. etc.), but it flips seamlessly back and forth between being vulnerable and threatened by a single stalking beastie and mowing down seemingly endless waves of horrors. It’s bloody good fun too.

      At its best; horror, especially interactive horror, tries to awaken the instinct that tells us that we are about to die, invoking our fight or flight response. There is a need for vastly different horror games like Amnesia (Flight) and Dead Space (Fight) that play to both sides of the spectrum. It is incredibly difficult to have both in a single game and, honestly, the “fight” reflex is the more empowering one and therefore I’m not surprised that it is the one more commonly used for entertainment purposes.

  32. bill says:

    I love aliens, but it would be nice to have a few sci-fi games that went beyond it. Some great classic sci-fi novels as inspiration would be a good start.

    The main thing i liked about Advent Rising was that it seemed to want to go beyond that. (though of course it was mostly fighting invading aliens). But it did touch on bigger themes and alien culturesm etc…

    The problem is that most games are combat. And the Aliens model fits endless combat more than the I Robot, 2001, Homeworld, Bladerunner model…

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      There was an adventure game of Blade Runner…

      This is significant.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      If you’ve not played Blade Runner you are missing out in a way that can’t be expressed, just know that Blade Runner is the only Point and Click game I am aware of that innovated in any tangible way, combined with fitting into the plot of the Book and the Film and making all 3 seem to exist simultaneously, it’s an astounding game.

    • bill says:

      have indeed played bladerunner. it was indeed awesome.
      but sadly it’s both old and rare.

      it’s also a licensed game, and while i’m happy for devs to make games directly related to cool sci-fi i’d also like them to just be inspired by it and make something original.

      what was the last mainstream sci-fi game that wasn’t aliens/wh40k style?

  33. Sunjammer says:

    John needs to relax more. Or not play third person shooters on the PC ever again.

  34. GHudston says:

    You two are like Statler & Waldorf in reverse.

  35. DoucheMullet says:

    HOW RPS DETERMINES IF A GAME IS GOOD OR NOT:

    Is it Minecraft? No.

    Is it a pretentious indie game? No.

    Does it radically redefine how we experience video games? No.

    Verdict: SHIT

  36. The Great Wayne says:

    **SPOILERS**

    Just finished it. Verdict:

    The +:

    – Some places are great (the cathedral, the gov sector, the ishimura), great ambiance, good design, beautiful scenes.

    – Good action, the zero-G sections are good too.

    – A fine sense of scale. When you enter the ishimura, walk through the metro line, etc. It’s frickin huge, as it should be. Adds to the immersion.

    – Ellie. Seriously, knowing the first game you just wait for her to die. But she doesn’t. Good surprise, fine character (reminded me of jan ors from the DF: jedi knight series). But just give her her eye back in the third opus. Honestly, mutilating women character for the sake of it isn’t scary, it’s stupid.

    Would be interesting to have her as a playable character in the third opus, even a multiplayer co op. I guess once portal 2 hits, it’ll become a must have for many fps-alike.

    The -:

    – Horrible, horrible scenario. Again. Appart from Ellie and Isaac, most character are bland, the reactions are stupid, the setting as unplausible as something emerged from a 80’s slasher (ie. you, a lambda engineer, survive two necromorphs outbreak singlehandedly, but armies of security personel are slaughtered) and you see every twist coming from one mile away.

    Plus, the after credits final open ending with “the black one” hint in an audio log kinda suck, especially since there were no clue at all beforehand.

    Also, gratuitous mutilations of bodies or character clearly doesn’t help, it passes more for a way to hide the holes in the writing than anything else.

    – Again, trying too hard to be gruesome to be honest. The game’s not scary at all, but stomping corpses, mutilated bodies, mutated babies, etc… kinda get on your nerves fast. Gimme a good writing and just ditch that pre-pubescent shit, it’s a mature rated game (but you gotta doubt a little bit, seeing the uk ads for it).

    – Certain scenes are just dull. The mines for example are uninspired as much visually that in the level design. Same for the nursery, where I think they tried to make a “oh my god gruesome slaughter in the kinder garden” but it just ends being poorly designed. Also, a majority of the game is “generic space station”, which is a shame.

    – There’s a problem with the weapons. Most of them lack a real purpose, some being completely let alone because they’re underpowered. Overall, the weapon system lacks a real coherence. But it was the same in the first opus.

    Verdict: I liked the game for the action part. It’s a solid shooter, not scary but with some moment of tension. That said, there’s a lot of work on the writing part to become a solid serie. Ditch the cheap gory bits, work on the characters, quit borrowing psychology behaviour from the slasher movies, etc.

  37. Armitage says:

    Multi-player is for idiots? Oh how superior you are, you gallant, tea sipping game journalists!

    • MD says:

      Yeah, why don’t you go and sip some more tea and think about what you’ve done, you pompous twats! This is no place for your (obviously deadly-serious) generalised insults!

  38. Kablooie says:

    Deadspace2 was a pleasant surprise for me; I liked the first, but wasn’t real impressed with it (save for the way it could make me jump out of my skin at times). They fixed the movement issues, I personally had no mouse problems, and zero gravity was implemented better.
    The gore didn’t bother me but the story is facepalm-worthy. The worst part of it for me were the Unitologists. I can’t believe people would be so gullible (then again . . . .). The babies as monsters got old in Doom3.
    Otherwise a solid shooter, nice weapons, fun physics, and a good time stomping critters into paste.