Reviews

Dead Space 2: Severed

Gabe and Lexine were interesting and likable characters in Extraction, and introducing them now as a married couple on the verge of starting a family is certainly an unexpected development in their relationship. However,the whole relationship is just a conceit to get a man moving from Point A to Point B.


Dead Space 2: Severed

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: Mature
Players: 1 player
Price: $7.00
Platforms: XBLA, PSN
Developer: Visceral Games
Release Date: 2011-03-01

Severed is the first piece of downloadable content for Dead Space 2. It’s a single-player short story that puts you in the shoes of Gabe Weller, a survivor from Dead Space: Extraction, who must race to the hospital to protect his pregnant wife Lexine, also a survivor from Extraction. The two hour length might sound short, but Dead Space 2 is very good at putting you in a constant heightened emotional state that makes every second feel twice as long. In this case, however, that’s not a good thing.

Gabe and Lexine were interesting and likable characters in Extraction, and introducing them now as a married couple on the verge of starting a family is certainly an unexpected development in their relationship. Sadly, this most interesting aspect of the story and characters is completely ignored. These could be any two people, it doesn’t really matter. The whole relationship is just a conceit to get the man moving from Point A to Point B.

The DLC seems interested in trying to add to the mythology of the series because people keep talking about how Lexine is “special.” This even happened in Extraction, but now both games have failed to actually explain why or how she’s special. There’s also a guard who’s trying to kill her and some scientists trying to capture her, both for reasons unknown; apparently there’s some faction rivalry going on here but it’s not clear. If the plot had just revolved around finding Lexine and getting off the Sprawl, Severed would have made a fine short story, but since it insists on bringing up all this haphazard attempt at mystery it ends up leaving a bitter taste. By the time the credits were rolling, I still wasn’t sure what had happened or why. Despite appearances, Severed isn’t interested in fleshing out the Dead Space universe, it just wants to send you from Point A to Point B while fighting some monsters along the way.

Combat is usually a high point for a Dead Space game, but Severed suffers from the same flaws as the full game. You begin with half your inventory already available, 50,000 credits, and access to all the weapons from the shop. This lets the game throw you into the action fast without any build up but that build up was the best part of Dead Space 2. Very quickly you’ll encounter the black form of various necromorphs, which are stronger and take more damage than normal monsters. These are the standard enemy for Severed, you’ll rarely even see regular necromorphs. Because they have so much health, it takes multiple shots to dismember any limb; the fun of Dead Space 2 is in dismembering a monster while others come towards you, strategically slowing them all down, so if one takes too many hits to stop, then it’s quickly on top of you and the entire dismemberment mechanic becomes pointless. Stasis is very important because the dismemberment stops being a useful tactic when the enemy limbs have this much health.

Severed is a wasted opportunity. These are interesting characters in an interesting situation that goes nowhere, the forced mystery is irritating, and the combat forces you to rely too much on a tired mechanic (stasis: slow down enemies to shoot them more easily) rather than the really fun mechanic (dismemberment). Since it is Dead Space 2, the combat is still tight and the set pieces are still grand, especially the final stand in the end, but with this premise, it could have been much more.

6

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image