It slices, it dices... you know.
Expanded universes can be a lot of fun. Reading every entry on every computer terminal in Fallout 3 can really get you into the backstory of an expanded universe. Take Dead Space: Extraction for an example. The on-rails shooter on the Wii introduced new characters and told the story leading up to Isaac Clarke's arrival on the Ishimura, the setting for the original Dead Space game. The Dead Space franchise in turn expanded to envelop a new audience, new gameplay, and a lot more backstory.
[image1]That setup makes Dead Space 2: Severed a hard sell for gamers who've only scratched the surface of the universe by playing the two core games. If you've only played Dead Space 1 and 2, you'll have no idea who Gabe and Maxine Weller are. Severed won't help.
The DLC pack starts off with a bang, putting players in control of Gabe Weller in the mining area on Dead Space 2's Titan station. Severed begins at the outset of the Sprawl's necromorph outbreak. Gabe has to get to the medical bay to rescue Maxine and escape the Spawl. You'll recognize a few areas from Dead Space 2's main campaign, but Visceral's done a great job of setting up completely different gameplay. It really feels like you're looking at the same rooms in a completely different way.
[image2]From the outset, players encounter combat that runs the entire span of Isaac Clarke's experience in the campaign. Gabe is tasked with fending off waves of necromorphs while waiting for doors to open. Gabe is also left hanging like a piñata while necromorphs advance on him in two separate instances. Severed features no zero-gravity sections, but it does take players into vacuums on occasion. Ultimately, the focus on shooting can be a little disappointing after Dead Space 2's main campaign did such a good job of implementing variety. It stands to reason, though, that more of a great thing is still pretty good, so another two or three hours of Dead Space action manages to delight on more than a few occasions.
I'm totally fanatical about Dead Space lore, but I have to look at Severed from an objective perspective. If you really, really can't shoot enough necromorphs, this is the DLC for you. If you loved Dead Space 2 as much as I did, you don't need me to tell you to go download Severed right now. The rest of you are better off waiting for a sale. As it stands, Severed falls a little short of the DLC value proposition and doesn't have the depth of gameplay to boot.