First, the game suffers from the US definition of horror: gore. Not very subtle. At this the game can’t match the No. 1 horror game ever: Silent Hill II. The later had all ingredients without all the gallons of blood (though a good share of it). It defined tension not by the number of limbs cut off, but by the fact that you just do not know what is going on and the overall creepiness. However Dead Space II is quite good in delivering a portion of suspense.
Second, the game stresses the gore factor unnecessarily to a questionable extend: the “Eye-scene” and the “Execution” in the very last chapter: WTF! There is really no single reason found in the story-line to justify this. I believe it’s just there to give US teenagers a good kick to topple the game over other survival-horror shooters.
Third, I f**king hate opponents and enemies which you can’t kill. In the last chapter, there’s a special sort of monster which puts itself back together and rises again. So, you can’t kill it. Ammunition and health packages are rare, enemies are crawling all over the place and this undying thing start to hunt you. Next to the stress to find the exit you now have to make it very fast. This was the reason I switched in the game from “Normal” to “Easy” in the last chapter, because this invincible thing was nothing but pure annoying.
Forth, the story is … uhm … confusing at best. Most of the time the radio speak of Nicole/Marker is very hard to understand to get the full picture. And what Nicole/Marker is doing with Isaac’s mind is totally unknown to me. Also there ain’t any background to anything but Unitology, which is clearly a parody of Scientology. Besides the Marker and this religious movement the Dead Space universe is quite, well, “dead”. There is pretty nothing of interest in it. Dead Space universe history and environment seem to fit on a single page of paper.
I assign the game 4 out of 5 stars. On the pro side: one of the hardest horror yet seen in games(18+ is right) though way too splattery. The sidekick at Unitology = Scientology is pretty obvious and nice. On the con side: the four points mentioned above: too much emphasis on the unsubtle gore part of the definition of “horror”, which is sad, exaggerated gore scenes in the end, which do nothing to the story and seem quite out of place, invincible opponents and completely confusing story within a pretty dead universe.