It's rare to see a videogame sequel deal with the emotional ramifications that it's predecessor may leave on it's protagonist. In most cases the events from previous titles primarily effect the overall story of the series, but rarely does it put its main focus on the effects it may leave on its protagonist or other characters. Unfortunately for Isaac Clarke in Dead Space 2 the events from the first title have left him in an asylum with no memory of the past three years and constant hallucinations of his dead girlfriend. To make the situation even worse is that the station (The Sprawl) he finds himself on is experiencing its own necromorph outbreak, and that Isaac must once again survive through another nightmare while the demons of his past test his sanity. Isaac's personal struggle provide some of the games more memorable moments, since they help establish him as a more developed character and even provide more weight to what happened in the first game.

Atmosphere and sound are two key elements to making great horror, and Dead Space 2 has both of these in spades, but fail to utilizes these tools to their fullest. The game relies to heavily on certain tricks in an attempt scare the viewer, not long into the game you will have a good idea of when necromorphs will pop out of vents or arise from the floor after pretending to be dead, the horror has a level of predictability, and rarely cashes in on the well built tension created by the sound design. Unlike the mining facility, the Ishimura, from the previous title, the Sprawl is a residential station with schools, shops, and apartments. This change of location helps create more diversity in the levels that the first game lacked, but unfortunately some of the locations get reused and the Sprawl feels more disjointed and doesn't deliver a sense of place like the Ishimura did.

The game play has stayed largely intact from the first Dead Space, you are still dissecting necromorphs with a diverse range of cool and unique weapons, your hud is still located on Issac's back, and stasis is still required for some of the hairier moments. One of the biggest additions is telekinesis, which allows Isaac to lift almost any object and lunge it at an opponent, more often then not this is used to impale your enemies, and on occasion used to solve small puzzles. The other big inclusion is the ability to freely travel in zero gravity areas, which ultimately feels under utilized since there are only a handful of these sections in the game, and enemy encounters are rare in these parts, which is a shame because these sections were some of my favorites and I believe more could have been done with these parts. I really enjoyed the first Dead Space, it had solid game play, an intriguing story, and a fun and cool approach to killing enemies. Dead Space 2 does all of these things and even does some of them better, but it doesn't do a lot new things, the game is still great, but it lacks in the innovation department. Also, Z-ball doesn't make a return, Whaz up with that?!