Bitpicking: Sequel in Name Only
[Continued] Page 2
The next game, Dead Space 2, isn’t as terrible as Ninja Gaiden 3. In fact, it's a great game; it's just not a great sequel.
Dead Space 2 had a lot to live up to, since the original Dead Space was an excellent horror game filled to the brim with atmosphere, and it included a unique way to kill enemies to boot. Dead Space 2 takes a different approach, almost abandoning the horror elements and the moody atmosphere of the previous game.
Rather than a full-fledged horror game that just happened to use third-person shooting, Dead Space 2 is a third-person shooter that happened to have some horror elements.
The main problem with Dead Space 2 was that it took place on a populated colony, as opposed to the first game, which prided itself on a sense of isolation. While there were some people for Isaac to maintain contact with, there was that scary feeling of being left alone. In the sequel, the colony has quite a few people in it, and there isn’t a sense of isolation. Even if you’re not actually running into anyone, knowing you’re in a setting where other people are going bonkers right alongside you just sets a different and less dire tone.
The atmosphere is also ruined due to Isaac’s voice. Despite Isaac being a distincitive character with his own personality, it was easy for players to project him or herself onto Isaac in the first game. For all intents and purposes, you were Isaac. By giving him a voice in the sequel, there is a disconnect between the player and the character. The human voice can be a powerful tool, but in this case it hurt the game. Isaac was the anchor that kept the player immersed in the game. Now that this anchor is gone, gamers are simply controlling a character rather than being the character.
Dead Space 2 also focused less on strategic dismemberment. The previous game’s combative encounters were extremely different from other third-person shooters due to its focus on dismembering enemies' limbs. While Dead Space 2 still contains strategic dismemberment, the combat had been slightly changed. It was still highly advised to take down enemies by removing certain limbs, but there were enemies where it’s better to just outright kill them by filling their bodies with lead. The combat system just didn’t match the enemy types at all sometimes.
Dead Space 2 failed to live up to the expectations that gamers had for the sequel to such a well-regarded title. It doesn’t build on the elements that made the original great in a way that makes sense to longtime fans, and it puts action at the forefront. However, this doesn’t mean that the game was bad; Dead Space 2 can still be called a worthy successor to the original Dead Space.
Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead Space 2 are only two examples of sequels that didn’t particularly follow up their predecessors well. It’s inevitable that sequels are going to be the flavor of the day going into the next generation. Trilogies are all too common, and judging by how the industry is moving, we might even end up having trilogies of trilogies. Who knows? So let’s hope the sequels to successful games are great sequels and not poor ones.
I often complain about games, but I think it might be time to complain about the community that follows it. Join me next week as I tread dangerous water with online communities.
Simon Chun is GameZone’s freelance writer and RPG buff for all things new and old. Check out his twitter @kayos90.