I only have one piece of advice for anyone waiting for the release of a highly anticipated sequel; when watching trailers and reading about new features, look at the bad side of everything, be as pessimistic as you can, because if the game turns out bad, at least you aren't disappointed. On the other hand, if it turns out to be good, it will be all the more addictive.
This is what happened to me with Dead Space 2. I didn't see everything from a negative view intentionally, everything about the game just looked like it wouldn't even be a worthy sequel of such a good new series. The fact that Isaac now has a voice was a turn off, so was the addition of multiplayer, and the "more action, less horror" approach. Even the demo wasn't too convincing with the way over-the-top sensitive camera. Fortunately, this game really showcase's Visceral Games talent. Like how people wouldn't expect the Beatles to improve on Revolver before they were treated to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Visceral would need to do something drastically good to impress with Dead Space 2, and believe me, they really know what they're doing.
Well, i should re-phrase that; the single player portion of the development team really know what they're doing. I only played one match of the multiplayer but it is instantly obvious that the world of Dead Space was not meant for competition. There was nothing wrong with the connection, hell, I didn't even have any problems with kids letting static run through their headsets, but Dead Space 2 has, by far, the most unbalanced multiplayer there is in the modern gaming world. Playing as a necromorph i got 4 kills and 13 deaths, as a human i got 13 kills and 3 deaths. And this wasn't just me, that went for everyone in the match. The necromorphs are ridiculously under -powered, they will never win. It is a little fun playing as the humans, but it's just too damn easy.
The multiplayer turned out just as i'd feared, but luckily my other main concern turned out to be false. I, like many other people, thought that the addition of multiplayer would result in a watered down single player experience. How wrong I was. I'd already considered the first Dead Space to be one of my favourite games of all time, and i thought that nothing could possibly make me like Dead Space 2 as much as the first. As it turns out, i'm actually having a lot of trouble trying to figure out which i like more.
The game starts off at an incredible pace, experiencing the outbreak happening around you while you are completely unarmed and having to run for your life. This is the opening of a very cinematic experience, as you will quite frequently see a lot of set pieces where Isaac is running from a giant monster and fighting it in space and it all just looks incredible. Of course, cinematics don't make a great game, and what's great is that Dead Space 2 takes the gameplay from the first game, tweaks it, adds features, and makes one of the most fun single player experiences I've played in a long time. As for the "less horror" path that Visceral took, it still has the same sort of freaky atmosphere that the first had. I have noticed the extra action but because i never found the first game scary either, i can't notice the difference in horror, it just feels like a true sequel to me, and i couldn't be happier about that.
The voice acting is good all round, and Isaac doesn't get annoying to listen to like i thought he might, but the addition of a voice seems unnecessary and occasionally his voice actor lets the quality slip. Not to mention he has quite a lot of cliche dialogue. Don't get me wrong, he definitely doesn't sound as bad as I'd expected, and i wouldn't really say that his voice is a low point but it is by no means a vital part of the game.
The ability to take all your upgrades to a higher difficulty i thought wasn't a bad choice, but personally i preferred it to be the old way. This makes Dead Space 2 too easy on the second hardest difficulty, but the hardest is hard for a different reason. Put it this way, there are 4 difficulties initially; Casual, Normal, Survivalist and Zealot. When you complete the game, you unlock hardcore mode. Hardcore mode isn't necessarily hard in the way that you will keep dying in the same situation over and over, in fact that's way off the mark. Hardcore is Survivalist difficulty with Zealot pick-ups, there are no checkpoints and you can only save your game 3 times. So far I've done 7 out of the 15 chapters before using my first save, then when i tried to continue, i spent 2 hours getting from chapter 7 to chapter 10 and then i got killed by my most hated enemy in the game. in fact i got killed by 4 of them at once, it was incredibly frustrating, that's 2 hours of game time gone to waste. I will attempt to complete it still but i might not get it done for a while.
Dead Space 2 is so much better than i expected, and I'm thinking it will be a close game of the year from me despite competing with Uncharted 3, Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3 and so on. And no, not Gears of War 3, i didn't really enjoy the first two a whole lot. This is an incredible game and i can recommend this to just about anyone.