A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dead Space 2 is not only very scary -- with disturbing-looking creatures who can jump out of the dark at you -- but there is also plenty of violence, blood (and bile), and gore. It is an M-rated game that earns its rating and is not meant for kids or teens. Enemy creatures can be stabbed, shot, lit on fire, dismembered, and beheaded with the myriad of weapons at your disposal. And when your character dies, you can be impaled in the head by your enemy's spiky appendages -- and the camera becomes very close so you can see all the gory detail. Humans and aliens cry and shriek in pain when killed, blood stains the floor and walls, and body parts are strewn throughout some environments. The game also has coarse language, including the "f--k," heard during dialogue sequences. The TV commercial for the game promotes the fact that it's very violent and gory, showing mothers' shocked and disgusted reactions to the video game playing on the screen.
What's it about?
Taking place 500 years in the future, DEAD SPACE 2 is a sequel that begins shortly after the events from the first game. Isaac Clarke, an engineer assigned to restore a mining ship's damaged communications systems, awakens from an amnesiac spell on the Sprawl, a giant metropolis orbiting Saturn. He finds himself wrapped in a strait-jacket while being interrogated by an officer, during another relentless attack by the vicious "Necromorph" creatures. You, as Clarke, soon discover you're suffering from dementia caused by an ancient artifact you found in the first game; and not only must you escape the carnage, but must also find a mysterious woman who claims to have a cure for your illness. Played from a third-person perspective, the game has plenty of nail-biting moments as the enemies jump out from the shadows with claw-like appendages, ready to impale you.
Is it any good?
Dead Space 2 is terrifyingly good -- if you can stomach the gore and you enjoy fright-filled moments. You'll acquire many high-tech weapons, melee attacks, and powers such as telekinesis, which allow you to pull objects toward you (such as a nearby crowbar or even human bodies) and push them back toward the various types of Necromorphs. Along with wandering the creepy corridors and rooms on the Sprawl, Dead Space 2 also lets you visit other locations not revealed in this review for fear of spoiling the surprises. The game features high-definition graphics, cinematic camera angles, and Hollywood-quality music and sound effects. Along with the solo campaign, which should last about 12 hours, multiplayer has been added to the franchise with online support for up to 4-on-4 matches. Electronic Arts' mature space adventure lives up to the hype and sets the bar high for other videogames in 2011. But be sure you like being scared before you buy, as this is one to play with the lights off and speakers turned up.
Online interaction: Gamers can take the fight online against human opponents (humans versus Necromorphs), up to four-on-four, and chat with each other via headset microphone to strategize. Language is not filtered and can be unpredictable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of these survival horror games. Do players enjoy the scary moments, not unlike a game of Silent Hill or Resident Evil, or is it the intense action sequences as you fight to stay alive against hoards of alien creatures? Or perhaps it's the sci-fi setting in the 26th century that appeals to players the most? A combination of all three?
Could EA have made the game with less violence, gore, and profanity and make it just as thrilling?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.