Dead Space 2: Severed Review

dead space 2 severed

Take Dead Space 2, subtract the hallucinations, the Zero-G segments, the puzzles, the element of discovery, the fresh (if languished) environments, and Isaac Clarke himself. What’s left?

Dead Space 2‘s first single-player DLC Severed stays focused on the implication of its title, perhaps to the detriment of the overall package. It places an ungainly weight on the shoulders of dismemberment combat for this extension of Dead Space: Extraction‘s fiction creating a dichotomy as uncomfortable as traipsing backward through already tired levels. The Sprawl never looked so… familiar.

The sum of Severed‘s parts is not greater than the whole, but that’s not to say that each self-contained piece is lackluster. Dropped into the midst of Isaac Clarke’s necropocalypse, security officer Gabe Weller has to plow his way through limbs and fleshy bits to reach quarantined wife Lexine Murdoch, stymied by various twists, per Dead Space tradition. For those who have played Extraction, these characters will immediately conjure emotional significance, but the voice acting is strong enough to pull at newcomers’ heart-strings, as well.

Unfortunately, Severed only lasts for two hours (at the most), and while that may be long enough for the animated Dead Space films ("Downfall" and "Aftermath") to create meaningful connections between consumer and media, the DLC just needs more time. Just when things feel the most desperate and involved is when Severed cuts it off. Dead Space titles have thrived in these moments (sometimes hours) of desperation, so to see Visceral move away from that model is disappointing.

dead space 2 severed

The biggest disappointment lies in setting, however, as Severed‘s two chapters plot a reverse course through two stages from Isaac’s journey in the main game. Sure, the blood spatters have been moved around, spawn points for enemies have gone from vent A to floor panel C, and the end of each chapter features one unique space for a unique encounter. But using ninety percent of the same level design feels lazy. So much of Dead Space 2‘s intense atmosphere comes from the eerie process of exploration in unknown environments. Although the sense of tension remains with new jump-scare points in Severed, the familiarity brings an action-rich adventure to the level of unimpressive monotony.

Severed finds its saving grace in combat. Mechanically, weapons, kinesis, and stasis function identically to Dead Space 2, but the combat situations receive a hardcore makeover. New enemies like the stasis-fused necromorphs twitch-travel toward Gabe, demanding a trap-shooting kind of speed and accuracy, and other necromorphs spawn in surprising spots in greater numbers. At certain points, the music signals the kind of frantic, desperate shootouts that offer the hints of ingenuity that made the series great, but, as a microcosm of the entire DLC, the combat doesn’t truly offer anything new or for long enough — just a rearrangement of the working components.

For a series as unique as Dead Space, a DLC that amounts to Bulletstorm‘s "Echoes Mode" with an unsatisfying story stands out. This rare miss not only costs too much for the surprisingly short adventure, but lacks any distinctly fresh gameplay. Those looking for a brief continuation of Gabe and Lexine’s story will find it, only to be severed from this piece of narrative before it takes off.

2 out of 5


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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