13 Years Later, Dead Space 2 Is Still A Perfect Video Game

A sequel that builds upon a solid foundation.

                                                                             Story Highlights

  • Dead Space 2 is an action horror game developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts.
  • As a follow-up to Dead Space 1, it is a perfect sequel that improves upon every facet of the original.
  • 13 years later, Dead Space 2 remains a masterfully made title that has staunchly stood the test of time.

When it comes to horror, sequels can be a little tricky. Not every franchise can be as fortunate as Resident Evil to spawn over a dozen entries (if you count spin-offs). With horror in particular — a genre that excels in the unknown and the unpredictable — it is always a challenge to decide where to go. You can’t just do more of the same, it won’t be scary. 

When it came to following up on Dead Space, Visceral Games followed a very similar approach to the “Alien” trilogy, all the way to the ambitious third entry, also widely regarded as the worst of the trilogy. Gone were the claustrophobic hallways of the USG Ishimura, you were no longer stalking your way through the dilapidated guts of a dying planet cracker. Instead, Dead Space 2 was set inside a sprawling space station, foregoing retro-futurism for more “conventional” science fiction. 

Dead Space 1
Dead Space 1

While Dead Space 1 had you facing the aftermath of the horror, a good while after the outbreak has taken nearly everyone aboard the Ishimura, Dead Space 2 throws you straight in the midst of the outbreak. It’s a much more “explosive” intro. I’m not going to pretend that the first game’s introduction was some slow-paced atmospheric masterpiece, the last thing I would call it is subtle, but it still takes a little time to set the stage.

Meanwhile, Dead Space 2 nudges you on the shoulder and goes “You already know what’s going to happen, so let’s not waste any time.” Within the first minute of the game, you’re already screaming and dashing away from the iconic necromorphs. Five minutes later you’re using giant spikes to impale said monsters into a wall.

It’s a drastic shift in tone and carries over to the rest of the game too. Dead Space 2 feels much more like an insane action horror film. And although the game does have many moments scary moments, I’d argue it’s a scarier game than the first one, mostly thanks to just how unashamedly visceral (heh) it is.

YouTube video

While the flesh-infested halls of the Ishimura build an unparalleled atmosphere, Dead Space 1 suffered when it came to delivering effective scares. Most of them were similar variations of the “monster jumps at you from out of a closet with an accompanying piercing stinger” and it gets predictable fairly quickly. The scares in Dead Space 2 are varied, from getting jump-scared by a picture of a smiling sun for children to getting a lethal MRI scan. 

Visceral Dismemberment

If there is one word that describes Dead Space 2 perfectly, it’s “Visceral.‘ 

The entire philosophy behind Dead Space 2 ties to this word. It’s just way more visceral. The scares are more in-your-face than ever and the combat dials things up to 11 in a way that both challenges you and empowers you. Isaac has a ton of new additions in his repertoire, from the ability to rip limbs off dead necromorphs for kinesis to much better mobility and weapons that feel more lethal than ever, ranging from the usual plasma cutter to a powerful electrified javelin. 

Dead Space 2 is the perfect sequel
byu/thel4stSAIYAN inpatientgamers

Gone are the claustrophobic, contained enemy encounters of the original. Dead Space 2 instead showcases Visceral’s mastery in creating unique and challenging combat encounters through fantastic enemy design and a deep understanding of the combat loop. The game knows exactly when to throw a new enemy at you and when to create tough encounters that mix various enemy types in one encounter. 

There’s one encounter late into the game that is just utterly ballistic. It’s where the game goes “Alright, you can manage each enemy we throw at you, so now we’re throwing everything at you all at once, good luck.” You have to contend with ranged enemies pelting acid at you from a distance, exploding enemies that are slowly approaching you, as well as close-range slashers that charge and lunge at you, all at the same time. 

Many of the late-game encounters in Dead Space 2 remind me of the best fights in DOOM Eternal, which also happens to be my favorite action game of all time. At their best, both games push you to the extreme, forcing you to realize every weapon in your arsenal while staying on the move at the same time.        

Facing Trauma

Part of the reason I love horror games is because of their ability to tell unfiltered stories that just aren’t possible in most other genres. Horror has birthed some of the most compelling stories in this medium, from the first four Silent Hill games to modern masterpieces like SIGNALIS and Alan Wake 2. I think that Dead Space 2 comfortably sits among those games even in narrative. 

After finding out about Nicole’s death near the end of Dead Space 1, Dead Space 2 lets Isaac simmer in that grief. He feels the pain and the regret, blaming himself for what happened, because it was him who ultimately convinced her to go. It’s a game about Isaac confronting his anguish, constantly punishing himself before he finally decides to accept reality for what it is, which culminates in what is one of my favorite moments in a video game. 

YouTube video

It’s an incredible moment where the writing and the performances come together to deliver an emotional jackhammer. Both Gunnar Wright and Tanya Clarke are phenomenal in this game, but this moment belongs to Tanya Clarke, who casually delivers one of the best performances I have ever heard. 


Following a fantastic remake of the first game, I honestly have no idea how a remake of Dead Space 2 would even work. It’s a timeless game that hasn’t aged a day since it came out. It’s the Uncharted 2 for the action horror genre. Dead Space 2 is a sequel that delivers such a feast that by the time you’re done, you’re not only full but also satisfied. 

It’s rare to see a sequel that so thoroughly improves upon every facet of its predecessor. It’s bolder, scarier, more emotional, and on top of that it plays like a dream even now. If there’s ever a game that I believe can be deemed perfect, it’s Dead Space 2. 

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Nameer Zia is a video game News Writer on eXputer obsessed with hunting down all the latest happenings in the industry. Nameer has been gaming for more than 15 years, during which he has spent more than 3,000 hours on Overwatch 1 & 2. As a literature student, his literary chops feed into his passion for games and writing, using eXputer as the medium to deliver the latest news in the industry. Websites such as GamingBolt and IGN have also credited his works.

Experience: 4+ Years || Previously Worked At: Tech4Gamers || Education: Bachelors in English Literature.

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