Ok, so today was my first little taste of some Dead Space 2 action. So far it looks just like Dead Space so no big change there. The atmosphere of undead alien creatures coming in on all sides waiting to tear out your organs and use them as party favors is still very much intact. It looks good with the right mood lighting and the screeches of the Necromorphs all around you keeping the pace very tense. So the beta is restricted to this one map so far. You are in an old mining station and your objective is to gather three components and place them on a center machine that will create a bomb and end the level in a victory for the humans. As Necromorphs your job is to stop them doing this within the time limit. Seems it is at a 4 v 4 setup right now. However even if you are only 4 Necromorph members the game will spawn AI controlled Necro to keep the pressure on. The humans also get to respawn but only at certain areas. The Necro can respawn from the classic places, vents. You choose what vent to spawn from that will put you in the best spot to attack the humans. All the while you can hear like a weird overmind voice that tells you to kill the humans and stop them from building the bomb. Similar to the voice of the cerebrates from Starcraft that gave orders to the Zerg. Hints at some possible plot developments in the single player game?
The humans are armed with standard issue space rifles that have auto fire and their secondary is the trusty line gun. Necro drop ammo and supplies as you kill them. You even pick up stasis packs though I have yet to figure out how to use them or the medical stuff. Been a while since i played Dead Space so I am still rusty. The Necro come at you from all sides so sticking close to each other and watching your backs is key to survival. You have to move around the map and collect different components of the bomb and whoever is carrying it is reduced to a slow walk. If they are killed they drop whatever component they have and someone else can pick it back up. As you play you level up and unlock new weaponry and equipment. I am guessing this will probably tier later on for a more even play. You have your melee attacks if the Necro get close, and they will, so make sure to swing away or stomp away as the case may be. The melee is especially useful against the pack Necro. Little guys that look like children that run up to you can swarm you. They move fast so trying to shoot them up close is near impossible. So melee seems to be your best bet. Though due to how the movement works the pack Necro have the advantage of movement and attack speed close up. A stasis module helps out then though if more than one is on you you had better hope a nearby team member can swat them off. The pack Necro also have a grab ability that initiates if they jump on you and make a successful attack. You have to rapidly press X to get them off though this leaves you in a vulnerable animation that other Necro can take advantage of.
On the Necromorph side so far there are three types you can be. There is one grayed out selection box that will most likely be opened up later for a fourth variety. The first is the pack Necro. The small, fast ones that can do a lot of up close melee damage and jumping grabs. A good Necro for getting up close and slashing away while the human is trying to kill you off. The second type is the ranged one that has three tentacles on its back it uses to fire projectiles. It is very small and can climb on any surface. I tried firing from the ceiling area but it was very disorienting. The third type is the common Necro you see in most of the first Dead Space. The human sized ones with two big slicing claws on its back. They are actually easier to kill than the pack ones due to their slower speed and size. They can however rush their enemies down with a slicing attack and have a sort of puke attack from range that does some good damage. There is a limit to how many can spawn though and you can see the respawn timer on that type in the selection area. The pack and ranged Necro are always available however.
The multiplayer is a good addition to the Dead Space franchise especially this type of survival mode. If there will be another mode like deathmatch I cannot tell yet but I doubt it due to the very nature of the game. The Dead Space vibe is still very strong in the sequel and loses nothing in this multiplayer format. If anything it feels very much like the scene from Aliens when the marines are in the xenomorphs nest. Tense, fast paced, and gripping. Just over the entire course of the map rather than just a minute or two. I am very eager to see more now come release time. Till then, stay frosty.