Dead Space 2 stands out amongst the Dead Space trilogy as being my favorite by a long shot, and much of that has to do with the game’s ending.

The ending of first Dead Space has a worthwhile twist, but its closing shot felt a little forced, maybe even unnecessary.  It also overshadowed the moments leading up to the ending, which could have offered a more interesting and somber note of closure. Dead Space’s decent ending, however, helped to cement Dead Space 2’s as my favorite in the series.

Isaac Clarke was not much of a character in the first game by design. He was a silent protagonist meant to server as a proxy to the player. By the time you made your way through the second game, Clarke had become a person with a voice, a goal, and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to sacrifice himself in order to do what needs to be done.

After Dead Space 2’s final boss, Clarke sits down to relax and resign himself to death as the Sprawl collapses around him. He’s done, finally prepared to rest, and as the player I am more than happy to let him to do so. The credits even begin to roll cementing the idea that this is the end.

But then Ellie appears – less your romantic interest, and more your partner is this disaster – to save you. It’s a surprise to see Ellie. The cutscene placing Clarke on her ship is an enjoyable spectacle, but it’s when Clarke is again afforded an opportunity to relax that cements Dead Space 2’s closing moments as one of my favorites.

As Clarke leans back, as he did in the ending of the original Dead Space, he looks over to Ellie, her eye bandaged from a previous incident, and she asks, “What?” Then it cuts to black. It’s my favorite type of ending: succinct and direct. It played with your expectations established from the first game, showcased the kinship between Clarke and Ellie, and created an indisputable sense of finality to the story, with just a tiny little bit of humor.

Other games tend to favor louder endings with large implications, but I will always appreciate the quick, almost quiet ending of Dead Space 2.