Released 27 months after the original game – back when development cycles weren’t absurdly long – Dead Space 2 found success in early 2011, but history and online discussion haven’t elevated it to cult status like they did with the 2008 classic. Going back to it, ahead of this month’s shiny remake of the original, to confirm my suspicions, I can now proudly declare it’s the best installment of Visceral’s trilogy. Come at me.
I vividly remember Dead Space being a huge sleeper hit in late 2008, automatically becoming one of the scariest games ever, and with such a big cliffhanger wrapping up the first chapter of Isaac Clarke’s story, talk of a sequel quickly heated up. That second entry materialized a little over two years later in Dead Space 2, a more action-oriented take on space-based horror. If Dead Space, despite its bigger scale, could be compared structurally to Alien, then Dead Space 2 was clearly borrowing some notes from its explosive sequel, Aliens.
Perhaps it was Visceral’s plan all along, but Resident Evil 5’s more action-heavy take on its material arrived shortly after the first Dead Space and got people talking, so maybe that was factored into the sequel’s development. We know that EA has always liked to chase down trends and rework formulas to hopefully broaden its player bases, so it’s not a big leap to consider this Resi-flavoured gear change, especially when Dead Space 3 doubled down on that direction and ended up losing sight of what made the first two games work so well.