So how do you make competitive multiplayer terrifying? Kind of like this.
I was lucky enough to get a beta code for Dead Space 2‘s multiplayer trial. So before I get to the real meat and…well, meat, seeing as how this is Dead Space…I have to thank Villdoc. Villdoc, you are a rock star. You are a warrior king. May the heavens part and sing their praises to you.
Alright, let’s do this thing.
Unfortunately, the bad news about the beta is that there is only one level and only one mode. The good news is the rest of it. The basic objective of the beta is that the humans have to collect various parts of a bomb that will blow closed the hallway where the Necromorphs are coming from. The Necromorphs, of course, have to stop this from happening. There is a counter going down and every time the humans successfully recover part of the bomb and plant it on the main device in the center of the map the counter resets. When the humans get all the bomb pieces together the humans have to defend the device for one minute while the Necromorphs make a last ditch effort to destroy it.
I’m quite happy to report that playing as both sides of this struggle is really fun. The beta has you go two rounds, with one round having you play has the humans and the other round playing as the Necromorphs, with each team being 4 vs. 4. The humans are probably the more blah of the groups, as their struggle is pretty basic. Get the parts, get back to the center. You have guns. Go do you some of that. What’s neat about this, though, is that I saw great examples of teamwork. I would always beeline straight to a bomb part, which has a little marker pointing you to where it is. I snag it and immediately all my fellow players start to guard me, checking out hallways and having my back. Oh, I forgot to mention before, the player holding the bomb part can’t run. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the Necromorphs and your teammates. Luckily, all my teammates were really awesome. Thanks for having my back guys, even when it didn’t turn out so well.
And speaking of things not turning out so well for the humans, let’s talk about the Necromorphs! This is where things get freaky. You get to play as three species of Necromorph, being able to switch race whenever you die. The little babies with tentacles and the big spiky armed guys are from the first game. The freaky jumping little kid is new to me. Now as for playability, I used the tentacle babies the least. Their long range attacks were rather weak and I really only used them as the last ditch attempt to kill the bomb. The good thing about those guys is that they can crawl all over the walls and ceiling. Unfortunately, you are mostly in tight corridors in the stage you’re allowed to play in, so they’re not that useful.
Now the other two, those guys are sweet. You have the little kids who have slashing attacks and a jumping attack. Jump at humans and attack and you can latch onto their faces. Press X repeatedly to kill them. Its really neat to watch a foe fall to your demonic 5th grader tearing their jugular out with their teeth. However, the enemy has to be pretty low on health to kill them this way. Its mostly used to hinder people while the rest of your group swarms them. The spiky guy is like a bigger version of these guys. They run fast and claw and swipe and can tackle guys. And man are these things powerful. You can tear guys apart in a few seconds if you use them right.
Overall this game had some great moments for me. One thing I forgot to mention is that you get to pick where you respawn as a Necromorph. They come from grates and there are grates everywhere. Its a great feeling to watch a guy walk shakily past a grate only to pop out as soon as he passes by and stalk him down. On the opposite side, being a human can genuinely frightening. This one time I had a bomb part. No running for me. So I haul ass as fast as I can to get the bomb piece back to the center when I find a hallway swarming with evil 5th graders. The turn, see me, shriek and run at me. They corner me and start slashing at me. I’m shooting, trying to get out, crying for help. I collapse in a pile of gooey man-parts. I start laughing, as what the hell was that?! Man, you don’t see that in everyday multiplayer.
This is some great multiplayer. I mentioned before that the one problem was that there were no other maps or modes available yet. Well, I’ve come up with another problem. I want to play more. I can’t play more. There aren’t as many people playing as I would like. Man, this was already a day one purchase for me, but now I’m salivating at the thought of getting a full world of people to play with. So you guys, if you’re wondering if Dead Space 2 multiplayer is good, let me tell you. This is the real effen deal.