UK Chart: Dead Space 2 claims number one

Posted on January 31, 2011

EA’s sci-fi horror sequel enters the chart at number one, with launch sales up 70 percent on the original.

Get the full article at GameSpot

UK Chart: Dead Space 2 claims number one” was posted by Jane Douglas on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 04:14:55 -0800

Dead Space 2 Review

Posted on January 29, 2011

Dead Space 2’s thrilling campaign and intense multiplayer make it an excellent game and a worthy follow-up to its superb predecessor.

Score: 8.5 / great

Get the full article at GameSpot

Dead Space 2 Review” was posted by Carolyn Petit on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:21:28 -0800

Dead Space 2: Best Deaths

Posted on January 27, 2011

VIDEO: From being puked on, cut in half, or succumbing to the vacuum of space, Isaac Clarke has a million ways to die in Dead Space 2, these are some of the best.


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Dead Space 2 Review

Posted on January 26, 2011

The “Previously, on Dead Space” video is a nice touch, though it reminds me how similar Dead Space 2’s premise and gameplay are to the last one. This time Isaac Clarke awakens on a facility on Saturn’s moon Titan, three years after the rescue-mission-gone-awry on the mining ship Ishimura, and finds a very familiar situation: Titan is overrun with space zombies called Necromorphs that have set about the meticulous dismemberment of everyone in sight—and he’s still having hallucinations of his dead girlfriend.

It also highlights that DS2 is a better sci-fi horror game, in a lot of subtle but important ways. While the plot is similar, the storytelling technique has changed for the better—Isaac has recovered from a bout of Gordon Freeman Syndrome (inexplicable muteness), and the voice performances are excellent. But the real star is the environment: for the entirety of the eight-hour campaign, Visceral does an expert job of making you feel in constant peril, alternating between tingling your spine with unsettling scenery and audio and trying to rip it out of your body by way of horrific monsters.

This is what happens if you play Twister during the space-zombie apocalypse.

New blood

Fighting a Necro is different from other videogame enemies, in that shooting its head is like shooting a grizzly in the foot—it barely slows it down, and just makes it angrier. Picking off limbs takes them down quicker, requiring multiple accurate shots per target—which makes the smooth controls greatly appreciated.

DS2 has a zoo’s worth of different varieties of spitting, charging, wall-crawling nasties (including evil space-babies), and each puts up a hell of a fight. The first time I was hunted by the new Stalkers was one of the most frightening moments of the game—I caught a shadowy movement behind some crates out of the corner of my eye, but I found nothing there. I heard a chirping noise, and spun around to see a velociraptor-like creature charging toward me. With a scream it smashed me to the floor, then nimbly darted away, intelligently using cover to escape before I could hit its legs. Then, more chirping—and I realized I was surrounded. Clever girl.

Stalkers are swift, agile pack hunters. Also, they’re jerks.

Most of the 15 stages have a unique look to them (as unique as possible given that they’re mostly metal corridors), from the wrecked residential areas to the Necro-worshiping Unitologist temple to the EarthGov zone, and they’re punctuated by floaty zero-G areas. You have all the same tools as before—the upgradable Rig suit is equipped with time-slowing and telekinesis powers—but the levels are designed well and don’t overuse any one gimmick. That includes enemies that must be defeated by blasting their glowing yellow bits.

The new multiplayer owes a lot to Left 4 Dead’s example: four human players fight their way through a gauntlet of objectives while four class-based Necro players and AI-controlled backup zombies assail them from all sides. It’s fun, and produces some nail-biting finishes, but aside from making you unlock equipment with experience (which I don’t personally care for), it doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before.

No you idiot, don’t shoot it in the head!

Overall, besides retaining the irritation of having to seek out a save station to avoid losing progress when I want to quit, DS2 is a smartly improved version of the original. It’s not a new experience, but it’s a hair-raiser nonetheless.


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Dead Space 2 DLC ‘Severed’ adds two single-player chapters, brings back DSG

Posted on January 25, 2011
Dead Space 2 DLC

While Dead Space 2 has only been on retail shelves for about … oh, a couple hours, that hasn’t stopped EA from announcing more Dead Space 2 in the form of “an all-new digital download pack that extends the Dead Space 2 story with the addition of two standalone chapters in the single-player game.” Most notably, Dead Space 2: Severed features the return of some nobody named Gabe Weller and … Lexine “Dead Space Girl” Murdoch. Some of you may recall a certain blog’s fondness for DSG … we still remember seeing her for the first time (and haven’t gotten her out of our heads since).

The only other details we have on Severed include a release window of “soon” for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. And yes, PC gamers, we realize that means your platform of choice isn’t included and, since we wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on an opportunity to be reunited with Ms. Murdoch, we’ve asked the publisher to clarify what’s going on.

JoystiqDead Space 2 DLC ‘Severed’ adds two single-player chapters, brings back DSG originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 25 Jan 2011 10:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dead Space retrospective

Posted on January 25, 2011

FEATURE: To celebrate the release of its sequel, we examine the development & reception of EA’s survival-horror game, revealing how it marked a new chapter for the mega-publisher.


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Sound Byte: Meet the Composer Behind Dead Space 2 – Jason Graves

Posted on January 25, 2011

Find out what it takes to create a bone-chilling soundtrack for a horror game.

Get the full article at GameSpot

Sound Byte: Meet the Composer Behind Dead Space 2 – Jason Graves” was posted by Sophia Tong on Mon, 24 Jan 2011 15:54:36 -0800

Dead Space Composer Jason Graves Explains The Unsettling Score

Posted on January 24, 2011

Award-winning composer Jason Graves has provided his musical talents to the gaming industry for the past eight years, and has successfully caused gamers to jump out of their seats with his work on the scores for the Dead Space franchise. The classically-trained composer explains what it takes to craft “the scariest music anyone has ever heard.”

Composing for the video game industry

Originally I had my sights set on film and television music, and this was in 1995. Nobody knew who I was. I didn’t know anyone or have any connections. All the jobs I got were “Copy this score, we want it to sound like Star Wars. We want it to sound like Rambo.” Creatively it just wasn’t a lot of fun. I did that for a while, but I decided out of it. I was really busy and working a lot, but it wasn’t fun.

I got my first game about eight years ago and it was King Arthur. They wanted it to sound like Hans Zimmer, obviously, because he was going to score the film. That was the only musical direction I had. I got to write 40 minutes of music, whatever I wanted, as long as it more or less sounded like Hans Zimmer. No corrections, tons of fun, and it was like “This is what I’ve been looking for.” I’m getting paid to write music and I get to write what I want to write.

Landing the Dead Space gig
I believe there was a general demo call out from EA and they were just looking for stuff. They knew they wanted scary music. I’m actually a classically trained composer and my background is in 20th-century music (that’s what I originally studied in school) so I had some stuff I could submit that was kind of out there in terms of horror music. They had a couple of suggestions from film so I put together one custom piece and that’s how they ended up hiring me. The original audio director called and was just raving about how on point everything was that was sent. It was exactly what they were looking for. It was kind of the easiest job I’d ever gotten. Even when I was submitting stuff it was like, “Is this really what they want? I’ll put it in and we’ll see.”

Preparing for the job
I definitely wanted to avoid any kind of influence from previous games, film, or television stuff. The idea was, no small task, but EA wanted me to write the scariest music anyone had ever heard. Period. With my background in 20th-century classical music I just kind of dove into all these really modern chaotic experimental scores. Nothing electronic or musique concrete, all with the orchestra. It’s kind of where I come from anyway so it was a real natural transition for me.

Composing “the scariest music anyone has ever heard”
Essentially 20th-century music is my bible. There’s all these techniques and effects that players can do. I had a shorthand list of experimental ideas that I then went and put in front of the orchestra. The nice thing was, as with all Dead Space stuff, is we have more than one recording session. The ironic thing is the recording sessions always come before the music’s written. I have to get all these effects and things just so that EA can hear what it sounds like. I can say I’m going to have all the string players tap the wood on their instruments with their fingernails when there’s no pre-recorded sound for that. The idea was get the palette of sounds down first and then write the music with those sound palettes. Then we would go halfway through the music production cycle and have another recording session and build on what we got the first time.

The idea was all the crazy stuff is what we got the orchestra to do and then I would come back and analyze everything. We’d have hours of recording, literally we’d record 50 minutes every hour and I would then have 50 minutes of material when we left. There’s no wrong notes. It takes longer for me to explain [to the orchestra], “Yes, yes that’s what I want you to do.” After the first hour the musicians understand that there are no chords. There are no unisons. That everything is just barely controlled chaos. So I would take all these things back, 10, 12 hours of material just after one of these sessions then analyze it, cut it all up, figure out how to incorporate it into pieces of music, and then write pieces of music around or with these textures, which is why the score has such an unusual yet horrific sound.

Creating an infected sound
I wanted to try to do something as original as I could without having it sound too derivative, and obviously with horror music there’s going to be some “been there heard that” kind of stuff. There are things that work and are used all the time, but I try to put a new slant on them to make everything different. In a way, the Necromorphs in Dead Space are these humans that have been infected and mutated as monsters, and I thought that was the perfect thrust for me as a composer to take the music, which is being performed by humans, but just mutate it, infect it, and twist it around into this completely unrecognizable sound. It’s the fact that you don’t recognize what it is that scares you.

A cacophony of chaos
I’d have 60 string players in the room by themselves, or 12 or 16 brass players in the room by themselves, and I would just have everyone play a random note. Of course everyone had questions [laughs]. I would say, “Play any note you want” and everyone has got a question. “Really play anything!” and that’s where a lot of the ambient stuff that you don’t even realize is music actually comes from. Especially with the strings because it’s just this texture, a sound effect like the tone of a room, but it’s off somehow and it doesn’t necessarily sound like strings or brass or woodwinds when they play it because traditionally that’s not how you have them play. If you’ve got 60 string players you maybe have five or eight notes that are being played, I’ve got 60 different notes that are all being played at the same time. That was one of those ideas of the unknown making you uncertain, unsettled, and then building up anxiety.

The other very common one in traditional 20th-century stuff is just have them play a bunch of notes really, really fast. So if you have a monster right on top of you, you’ve got 60 players playing 60 different notes all at the same time super fast. It’s just this cacophony of chaos that’s barely controlled. What’s nice is the antithesis of each other because one is calm and spooky, and the other one’s completely in your face, bubbling and nerve-wracking.

Building tension that can make bunnies seem terrifying
My role is to build up the tension, building up the anticipation and anxiety before something actually jumps out at you. Once you’re fighting, sure I’m doing combat music that puts you on edge, but the key to the score working really well in the game was all the ambient stuff before you get attacked. That way you’re really unsettled, you’ve got this really creepy feeling, and you’re not exactly sure why. Sure where you’re walking looks kind of creepy, but nothing is happening yet. I figured if I did my job right you could have a giant floppy bunny rabbit hop from around the corner and you’d still jump out of your seat because the tension was just so intense you could hardly stand it. You take the music away and that just doesn’t work. That’s the power of music in the games. It’s the unheard, unknown aspect that you could just subconsciously get the player and unhinge them a little bit. They don’t know why they just know they don’t like it.

Effectively syncing music to onscreen action
A lot of the interactive aspect of the music is owed to the original implementation of the first game, and we just kind of doubled up on the second game, so all the music I deliver is anywhere between four and eight streaming stems. The idea is the closer the player approaches a physical marker that is marked as being scary (like the corner of a really long hallway) the more frenetic and crazy the music gets the closer you get to the corner. Or it [the marker] could be on a Necromorph that could be moving around, so even if you’re standing still, the closer he gets to you, the music starts building up. Say you’re walking toward the corner, and it’s got implementation into it that the closer you get the scarier the music gets, and you’re like, “Um, I’m not going to do that” and you stop, the idea with the music is it’s still moving, but not increasing anymore. Then you can walk away and go back toward the other end of the hall and the music goes back down. It’s really an interactive system that allows seamless integration. I think it works great.

So what I end up doing, I have a two-tiered approach. The first one is the creepy music and do that in a couple of layers and compose them knowing that they’re going to be stacked on top of each other in an additive way. The more layers get added on, the more creepy and suspenseful it gets. Eventually somewhere in there I’ll start some combat layers as well. Everything depends on different events in the game, but the combat music kicks in when something is actually attacking you and that also has varying degrees. If there are guys down the hall running toward you, it’s a moderate pause, but once they’re giving you a hug and chomping on your neck, the whole orchestra is going crazy.

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Game Scoop! Podcast: Dead Space 2 Review

Posted on January 23, 2011

Plus: 3DS, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Gears of War: Exile.

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Today on the Spot – Dead Space 2, Spare Parts

Posted on January 23, 2011

Today on the Spot, we get caught up on the new wares coming This Week on PSN and go On Location for the multiplayer reveal for Homefront. We get double demos for Dead Space 2 and Spare Parts, and stay tuned to the end of the show for a Trivia Bonanza!

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot

Today on the Spot – Dead Space 2, Spare Parts” was posted by DanM on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 16:00:00 -0800

Dead Space’s Isaac Clarke sneaks into Dragon Age 2 (Dragon Age 2)

Posted on January 21, 2011

Above: The Ser Isaac armor set for Dragon Age 2. See the teaser for the sci-fi synergy inside

Clearly there’s more than a little mutual appreciation going on between Dead Space 2 developers Visceral Games and the Dragon Age 2 crew at Bioware. Players of the latter, EA promises, will hear bards’ tales recounting the exploits of demon-slaying knight Ser Isaac of Clarke. However, if that’s not a cheeky enough in-joke for you, Ser Isaac’s distinctly familiar-looking armor will be available to players themselves…

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Dead Space 2 Outbreak Mode Multiplayer Trailer

Posted on January 19, 2011

Get ready for some strategic dismemberment in Dead Space 2 multiplayer!

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot

Dead Space 2 Outbreak Mode Multiplayer Trailer” was posted by DanM on Tue, 18 Jan 2011 17:36:03 -0800

Dead Space 2 is a "mind-numbing, mind-altering, demonic weapon" says somebody’s mom (Dead Space 2)

Posted on January 17, 2011

Any game your mum doesn’t like must be cool. That’s EA’s thinking when it comes to Dead Space 2, which may be rather old-fashioned, but it makes for a damn fine video advertisement. Several real-life ‘moms’ were put in front of a Dead Space 2 showreel that features vomiting, dismemberment and other unsavoury scenes. Here are their horrified (highly entertaining) reactions:


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Dead Space 2 Hands-on Preview

Posted on January 08, 2011

We dive into the Necromorph-infested space station The Sprawl, encountering some new nasty baddies for Isaac Clarke to do battle with, and a take a train into Necromorph central.


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Dead Space save file unlocks original plasma cutter in Dead Space 2

Posted on January 01, 2011

Here’s a nice bonus for fans of the original Dead Space. If you have any save file — completed or not — from the first title, you’ll unlock the original plasma cutter right off the bat for use in the upcoming sequel. Hardcore players should be more than familiar with the gun, thanks to an Achievement that forces players to complete an entire playthrough using only that gun.

But don’t expect the plasma cutter to give you much of an advantage at the beginning of the Dead Space 2 campaign. Although you’ll get access to the gun, Visceral Games’ Louis Gascoigne told us that the upgrades you purchased for the weapon won’t carry over into the sequel. Isaac Clarke just can’t get a break, can he?

JoystiqDead Space save file unlocks original plasma cutter in Dead Space 2 originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 01 Jan 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dead Space 2 Demo Scares Up Your Consoles on Dec. 21

Posted on December 08, 2010
Ho! Ho! Ho! Dead Space 2 demo makes a nice stocking stuffer for your gaming console

EA announces today that gamers will get an early scary Christmas gift as Visceral Games’ action horror game Dead Space 2’s demo will become available to download on Dec 21 for both the Xbox 360 and PS3 via Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN

read more (Shogun Gamer)

Dead Space 2 Isaac Evolution Trailer

Posted on November 25, 2010

Dead Space 2 Art Director Ian Milham breaks down the Evolution of Isaac.

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot

Dead Space 2 Isaac Evolution Trailer” was posted by alastairs on Thu, 25 Nov 2010 07:05:28 -0800

Dead Space 2: New "Ring Around The Rosie" Trailer

Posted on November 05, 2010
New Dead Space 2 trailer wants to scare you to sleep with a new lullaby.

EA and Visceral Games released a new trailer that guarantees to keep you up at night with a new creepy trailer for Dead Space 2.

The trailer uses “Ring Around the Rosie” to set the terrifying mood that evokes the memories of the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” trailer for the first Dead Space game.

Dead Space releases on Jan 25 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

read more (Shogun Gamer)

Dead Space 2 collector's edition with replica plasma cutter leaked

Posted on October 13, 2010

According to a (since removed) image found on Amazon and now posted on Examiner, the collector’s edition of Dead Space 2 will include a life-size toy Plasma Cutter, in addition to a soundtrack CD, a DLC voucher, and a piece of artwork. EA announced its intention to produce a collector’s edition for the sequel way back in January, when it sought ideas for pack-in items from fans. The plasma cutter happened to be on the list even then — and we called it “outrageous.”

Being a sort-of leaked item, EA hasn’t officially announced its existence, and thus no information about its price is known.

[Thanks, DarkKainDrg]

Dead Space 2 collector’s edition with replica plasma cutter leaked Joystiqoriginally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 13 Oct 2010 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dead Space 2’s Multiplayer Is A Bloody Good Time

Posted on September 29, 2010

I’ve just returned from a knee-deep sludge through the Dead Space 2 multiplayer beta and all the gore and mayhem that it entails. I’ve gunned down waves of abominations and had my body torn to ribbons as a human. I’ve vomited toxic bile and pounced upon hapless victims as a necromorph. Dead Space 2’s multiplayer is frenzied and fun, requiring tenacious determination and altruistic cooperation. Now let me tell you about my harrowing tale deep in the mines of Titan.

Starting out on the necromorph team, three other players and I chose which monster to become. I began with the Lurker, a deformed infant with tentacle arms that can simultaneously shoot three deadly projectiles. The necromorphs’ view is third-person like the humans, which makes aiming the triple attack easy. Running across walls and the ceilings was a blast, if a little disorienting. Soon the novelty of wall-climbing wore off, and I was left with an underpowered distance unit with too little health.

Next I became one of the Spitters, which wretch acidic bile from far away and pack a devastating melee attack. The unit is the hardiest, but its inability to jump holds it back. I consistently found myself being gunned down as I made a beeline for a target. Hopefully, Visceral Games will increase their speed.

It wasn’t until I tried one of the Pack necromorphs that I settled into my groove. These elementary school-sized mutants may appear to be fodder, but they are not to be underestimated. I exploited my extreme speed and rapid claw swipes to murder dozens of disoriented gunmen. Landing perfectly-aimed pounce attacks while my teammates racked up assist points was a thrill. You may spend a few rounds getting torn apart by enemy plasma cutters, but when you find a necromorph that suits your playstyle, it’s a total blast.

I had a harder time getting comfortable as a human. Enemy monsters are free to rush into the spawning area and overwhelm your team. We had to constantly check the shadows, cover one another’s backs, recover health, and blast frenzied packs of necromorphs. The plasma rifle is a reliable machine gun with a beastly grenade launcher, but the plasma cutter’s power and precision makes it the overall winner. Strategically dismembering gangly Spitters was easy enough, but nailing the smaller Pack and Lurker unit types was a little harder. Sometimes the rapid spawning made it feel like we were facing eight or more other players, but our combined firepower usually did the trick. Stopping enemies dead in their tracks with a stasis field saved my teammates’ lives several times. Surviving a torrent of ghastly enemies was a definite rush. Giving the player the power to choose their necromorph type and respawn as a human was a good choice on Visceral’s part, and makes this much more action-packed than the comparable versus mode of Left 4 Dead.

If you were able to hold your own in the corridors of the first Dead Space, you’ll be able to last solo in multiplayer for a while, but you won’t win the match. You and your teammates must combine forces to gather items scattered about and bring them to a central point on the map. Carrying the equipment makes you slower, and you’ll be overwhelmed if you don’t work together. My team never managed to pull it together and destroy the mineshaft door, but I had fun trying.

Overall, Dead Space’s signature ambiance and tension makes a surprisingly solid transition to multiplayer. I was only interested in more single-player scares when I initially leaned about this sequel, but my hands-on time has me dying to play this with my friends. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some hopeless humans to decapitate.

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