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'Dead Space 2' improves upon all aspects of original

Moms all over the world may hate “Dead Space 2,” but their disgust pales in comparison to Isaac Clarke’s disdain for the ultra-violent and ultra-deadly necromorph swarm.

Though Isaac may not be pleased about having to once again fight for his survival, fans of 2008’s “Dead Space” will find a lot to love in this gore-ridden sequel.

"Dead Space 2" (PC, PS3, X360) Survival horror/action M for Mature Online multiplayer 4.5 stars out of 5
Isaac wakes up in a hospital on the Sprawl — a space-colony built on one of Saturn’s moons — three years after the events of “Dead Space.”

With no memory of the time passed, he must fight his way through an endless onslaught of murderous monsters all while battling his own deteriorating mind — a dementia resulting from his contact with the Marker artifact from the first game.

Series veterans will find the latest iteration a familiar experience, but make no mistake — “Dead Space 2” improves on the original in every aspect.

The game is absolutely haunting- a nice mix of harrowing hallways, dark, gritty environments and wide-open areas provides a sense of freedom compared to the first game’s claustrophobic corridors, though some areas are a bit repetitive.

Huge amounts of detail embellish every environment, weapon and character, while the superb soundtrack and eerie ambient audio will keep your anticipation peaked.

New necromorphs show their ugly mugs, making nearly every enemy encounter feel more fresh and varied than before. Some of the new monstrosities are terrifying to face, sending chills up your spine every time you hear them release a blood-curdling howl.

The game’s intensity is rarely broken — I often found myself pushing on, promising to stop at the next save point, only to realize that was four save points ago.

Necromorphs hide in some pretty creative places, and will often scare the crap out of you. However, the delicate equilibrium between destroying the reanimated dead and overcoming Isaac’s dementia makes “Dead Space 2” a psychologically exhausting ride that offers more than simple “jump scare” tactics.

Even being eviscerated is mildly amusing, as most necromorphs have a unique execution animation while exploring Isaac’s innards.

On its normal setting, the difficulty of the game fluctuates between being fairly easy and downright frustrating.

An expanded arsenal of dismemberment includes several new entries with different capabilities and uses.

There’s nothing quite like using the awesome Javelin gun to impale a necromorph through a space window, causing said window to burst open and suck all remaining stab-happy creatures into the cold void.

“Dead Space 2” also offers a multiplayer component in which one team plays as humans and the other as necromorphs — a style similar to the “Left 4 Dead” versus multiplayer.

While nothing special, the addition is an enjoyable change of pace from the intensity of the single player campaign, and is great for some mindless mayhem.