Electronic Arts’ Dead Space 2 Beta has crept onto the scene late Thursday night, inviting a hand-picked few to test out the multiplayer feature. If what I just witnessed is just a taste of the things to come, then all of us are definitely in for one heck of a treat.
As you enter into the multiplayer, you’ll be automatically assigned to a team, either the Necromorphs or the Humans. After each round is completed, you’ll get the chance to try out the other side to keep the gameplay even. As a Necromorph you’ll get to have jump button and the ability to see the Humans’ energy signatures through the walls. This helps the Necromorphs plan ambushes and to sneak up on your opponents.
You’ll first start off as a sickly-looking child, hell-bent to rip and shred the space cadets. Performing a successful lunge attack with this character will enact a button mashing contest between the two who are tangled up. Whoever can hit “X” the fastest wins and gets to watch their character impale the other foe. The greatest advantages for the Necromorphs is their speed, agility, and their ability to see through walls. The disadvantage is that they are easily dispatched. When you are killed as a Necromorph, a free-cam mode becomes active and allows you to search for a spawn point any where in the level that is marked, which is usually an air shaft of some sort.
As a Human player, I can’t stress enough that teamwork is essential for survival. In the beta level, the objective was to obtain items that were scattered throughout the level and then return them to one central hub before the timer expires. Once the item is located and grabbed by a Human player, that player will lose their ability to sprint, making the journey back a nail-biting adventure. Since the walk back will not be a stroll in the park, the person carrying the item will need to rely heavily on his teammates to watch his back as they fight their way to the central hub. And here is a fact: you will get swarmed.
Your only means of defense as a Human will come from two main weapons: your trusty Plasma Cutter and a Pulse Rifle. You will also be able to use your stasis ability to slow down the enemy temporarily while you cut them down to bite-size chunks. Putting down your enemies will drop much needed ammo and health packs to temporarily suspend the inevitable: your death. Once you do die, a five second timer will count down before you get plugged back in to race against the clock to complete your objective. As you win matches and score kills, you will be awarded points which will level up your rank, and allow you to unlock stronger characters and more weapons.
So far, the game plays extremely well with no lag. The graphics are done perfectly to maintain that creepy and dark atmosphere that some of us may remember from the first. However, with this beta there seems to be a balancing issue. Every match that I’ve played always had the alien critters on the victory side. Maybe it’s the unfamiliarity of the game mechanics or the short timer that is currently in place. Thankfully, this is the beta and developers are looking for feedback of this type to fine tune the finished product. I’m sure there will be more issues that will surface as time progresses, but as of now, my experience of the beta has really added to my anticipation for Dead Space 2’s release on January 25th! We definitely are in for a creepy treat.