Dead Space 2
Platforms: PS3, X360, PC
Dead Space 2
Hope you're ready for a sleepless night or two, because claustrophobic sci-fi horror title Dead Space has given birth. Fortunately its offspring isn't one of the tentacled Necromorphs that populated the first game's dark, lonely spaceship corridors; instead, it's a bouncing
baby sequel, and according to the reviews Dead Space 2 is every inch the game its fans had been hoping to see.
That goes for critics, too. With aggregate scores hovering around the 91%
mark on the Xbox 360 (a few points above Dead Space's 89%), its
reviewers are in broad agreement: Dead Space 2 looks to be one of those
rare follow-ups that improves on just about everything.
Calling the controls "a joy," Giant Bomb's Brad Shoemaker heaped praise on the game's careful design, saying "if there were a university course about third-person shooter design, it would devote an entire unit to the way this game plays." Noting only
slight reservations about the depth of its multiplayer options -- a new
addition for the sequel -- he awards it the site's highest mark.
And while Eurogamer's Simon Parkin doesn't go quite that far, he still describes it as "an
exemplary game," praising its sound design, the addition of spoken
dialog to protagonist Isacc (who was mute in the first game), and its
eerie themes of Jacob's Ladder-like insanity. "Dead Space 2's ambience,
brute frights and player toolset are good rather great," says Parkin,
"but in combination, these three elements prove as irresistible as the
pull on Isaac exerted by a malfunctioning airlock. For once, you'll want
to let go."
Meanwhile, Joystiq's Richard Mitchell joins many reviewers in praising the game's new
setting, a bustling space station that's worlds away from the original
game's near-empty mining ship. All the same, doling out four out of five
stars -- a strong score that's nevertheless the current low-water mark
-- Mitchell was obviously looking for a little more spark out of the
title. "How much you get out of Dead Space 2 is directly proportional to how much you enjoy slicing up Necromorphs," he says. Still, it's "one of the best action horror experiences
available. In short, survival horror fans should definitely suit up."
Also Out Now:
Cake Mania To the Max
Go back to the '80s with the sixth installment in the smash hit Cake Mania
series. You'll step into the Reebok high-tops of patisserie maestro
Jill as she slings scones, chucks cookies, and throws tiramisu for the
amusement of all (but mostly you).
Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Dead Space fans, rejoice! This week also sees the launch of the game's debut appearance on Apple's iOS platforms -- and it's a resounding success. Top-notch visuals (nearly as good as the console versions, in fact) and a touch-sensitive control system that actually works (yes, really) make this a must-play for serious iOS gamers.
Two Worlds II
Platforms: PS3, X360
In the mood for something a bit more meaty? RPG sequel Two Worlds II hits
console platforms and the PC this week, and its 40-50 hour main quest
ought to keep you busy for a while. Reviews from its native Europe
(where it's been out since December) have been all over the map, but a
few things are clear: it has a huge, vivid world to explore, it's
saddled with a daft plot, and it's not as good as State-side competition
Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls, both set to be graced with fresh games
this year. If you can't wait for them, Two Worlds II might tide you
Soap Opera Dash
Typical. We've probably sent a hundred scripts to Hollywood producers over the
years, and what do we have to show for it? A bulging file of rejection
letters that'd keep you warm for a week, that's what. But Flo -- of
Diner Dash fame, naturally -- sends just one, and she's catapulted into
the limelight, producing her own soap opera, As The Burger Turns. Can
you help her keep up? We'd give it a go, but we have more of these pesky
scripts to mail.
Boy, Xbox Live Arcade has come a long way. Once dominated by classic ports
and simple 2D games, it's blossomed into a distribution system replete
with titles that are every bit as polished as the $60 stuff on the
shelves of your local game store. And here's another one for the pile:
multiplayer shooter Breach, which has all the visual panache, gameplay
chutzpah, and online features you'd expect from the head-to-head half of
a Call of Duty or a Gears of War.
In the mood for more sci-fi? Terrafarmers takes Farm Frenzy's popular format, straps on rocket engines, and blasts it off to another planet. Or perhaps that should be "planets": 14 feature in this time-management exobotany hit.