Spotlight: Dead Space 2 - Severed

There's some good DLC that's landed on PSN and XBL at the moment, the first of our spotlights has fallen firmly on Dead Space 2 and the 560 msp (5.49 for the PSN) price point makes it pretty attractive offer. Dead Space 2: Severed is set during Isaac's adventure on the Sprawl and introduces a couple of characters who were prevalent in Dead Space: Extraction on the Wii (and now the PS3 version of Dead Space 2).

Gabe Weller and his wife Lexine are caught out on the Sprawl when the Necromorphs return, Gabe is a security officer aboard the space station and he must battle through his own mini-adventure to find and save his wife from the oncoming slaughter. There are some twists and turns along the way, ones that we're not going to spoil here.

The gameplay remains the same, though there are no zero-g sequences to play through so you can rest assured that Gabe's adventure takes place on terror-firma (see what I did there?) and not in the vastness of space. That doesn't mean it's any less intense or packed with some nice little set piece moments. You're essentially treading the ground that you've trodden before with the character, but you're coming at it from a different direction and there will be some locations that you won't have seen in Dead Space 2 at all...or only seen through window glass.

You begin with Gabe in a snazzy security suit that is stylish and different to Isaac's engineer outfits, your RIG, Stasis Module and standard issue Pulse Rifle are upgraded somewhat from the get-go and you have 50,000 in cash to get you started. Depending on your game-plan you will want to think tactically about your weapon choices and so on. You'll find there are significantly less nodes to play with in Severed, so you're going to be hard pushed to get everything you want in the time it takes you to complete.

Talking about that, it takes around 2 hours on Zealot difficulty and should take you around 1.20 hours on the easier levels. It depends how much backtracking and inventory management you want to involve yourself in, getting the nodes, getting the right mix of weapons and upgrades are crucial to success. You can run and gun if you like, but you'll be missing out on the tactical options a good arsenal can offer you.

There's at least one new (yet returning) type of Necromorph, one that should be a welcome addition to fans of the series and they require you to be pretty quick on the trigger, or use stasis to stop them in their tracks (you should be using stasis a lot regardless) and deal with them. Gabe's adventure doesn't add any new weapons but you do get the suit and the patrol issue rifle that has a few bonuses.

It's a short affair but for the price it's not too bad at all, I recommend playing on Zealot if you can since it's a more rewarding experience in the long run. The smattering of new environments and environments that Isaac has been through give a sense of evolution to the game world, that there is an impact from Isaac's adventure across the Sprawl and that you're seeing some of his handiwork and not knowing who it is that's left a trail of destruction for you to find.

It will also answer a few questions about Dead Space 2's narrative that you might have been wondering, why certain things are where they are and so on.

Graphically there's no change from Dead Space 2, the environments are basically the same and have the same level of detail given to them. The new areas that you can traverse were either fully realised in Dead Space 2 in some cases, since they needed to be seen from a cut-scene or through a window, or they have been constructed to the same level of detail as the main game. Either way, it fits into the whole thing flawlessly.

Jason Graves' music is one again prevalent through the whole thing, with some subtle changes, remixes and altered themes to drive Gabe's adventure forth. Jason is probably one of the most talented game composers out there and he brings with his talent, a unique vision of the Dead Space universe, one that leaves you breathless and amped at the same time.

So all in all, what you get for the price is well worth it. The new adventure treads some old ground but does so in an engaging and fun way. Having limited resources means you need to think outside the box in terms of tactics and given a lack of nodes, you're going to have to scavenge items and work harder to upgrade Gabe's arsenal.

If you're a fan of Dead Space 2, then grab this DLC and enjoy a couple of chapters that will give you more insight into the whole thing.

See you on the Sprawl.