Empty room 2 was published ten years ago. Since then, we’ve seen the size and ambition of set pieces in the game. Games like God of War attach great importance to their cinematic camera technology. The recently released resident Evil 8th has some of the most technically complex scenes ever to appear in a horror game.
And yet. Even a decade away from Dead space 2, I still think that tense action sequences handle it better than most modern games. Through a combination of clearly communicated motivations, well-considered pace and breathtaking aesthetic design, Dead space 2s Set pieces continue to be popular with the best in the medium.
This essay on Dead space 2 was written as a companion piece to the video above, which was also created by Jacob Geller.
Horror media often follows a predictable pattern. The first entry in a series will usually be on a relatively small scale and focus on an intimate scenario and only a few characters. If that first listing is successful, the fr anchise will come back with a sequel that has a larger scope, audience, and budget. This cycle repeats itself until later entries in the series hardly resemble the first one. This happened with extraterrestrial
For a game where you dismantle monsters with a mining tool, the original Empty room is surprisingly reluctant. Its atmosphere comes from quietly wandering through the creaky halls of an abandoned spaceship as well as from cruel fights. However from Dead space 3Much of this subtlety has been replaced by co-op, and microtransactions Boss fights huge drills. It’s easy to paint the series in such a way that commercial success gets in the way of its minimalist roots.
But Dead space 2 proved that it can bridge the reluctance of the first entry and the excess of the third. It could add bombast while maintaining a clear connection with the horror on which it is built. And nowhere is this more evident than in the game’s outstanding set piece: the HALO jump.
Dead space 2 takes place over a giant space station called “The Sprawl,” essentially a donut-shaped city in space. In the middle of the game, the series protagonist Isaac Clarke is fixing something on one side of The Sprawl when he receives a panicked call from his friends stationed on the opposite side. It’s a classic Empty room moving – a simple engineering activity suddenly becomes stressful due to external pressure. In the first game, Isaac would likely have completed the repairs, caught a train across the station, and found his friends already dead. But thanks to the expanded scope of the second game, we get a sequence that is at the same time more tense and more explosive.
After receiving the 911 call, Isaac realizes that the only way to get across the space station in time is to do a HALO jump (which is an acronym for “High Altitude, Low Opening” – basically a risky form of skydiving in the world The atmosphere). . He rushes into a control room, yells at his friends that they just have to hold on, throws himself into an ejector seat and shoots himself – in a beautiful camera movement – into space.
In space, no one can hear you race across the void in a desperate attempt to save the people you care about from impending dismemberment – at least not initially. In a brilliant subversion of all the tensions that have led up to this point, the first few seconds of Isaac’s HALO jump are utterly silent. The sound of the rockets from the ejector seat disappears and we are left with the silent horror of the vacuum of space. It’s a moment that takes my breath away.
Then, agonizingly slow, the scene adds noise again. First comes the bassy rumble of Isaac’s rocket engines, then the deep “whine” of objects that fly past you. Both are not really registered as noise; They’re more like vibrations picked up by a spacesuit. After a few more seconds, Isaac’s jagged breath cuts through the void, getting louder and louder, until finally, shortly before landing, an entire screaming horror orchestra breaks out of the silence. It’s a feat of engineering, a demonstration of the power of auditory restraint that lasts every 45 seconds of the scene.
The minimalism of the soundscape also underlines the amazing look. There is no reticence here, only spectacle. Once the scene begins, we are treated with a perspective that we have not yet seen in the game: a view of The Sprawl that lies ahead of us. At first, we can barely identify the massive city blocks embedded in the space station. As Isaac gets closer, these city blocks crumble into individual buildings, huge towers and apartments that are drawn with sharp details.
The objects we pass on our way to the other side are just as detailed. Instead of functionless space debris or inconspicuous asteroids, Dead space 2
While these are simple obstacles from a pure gameplay standpoint, their details give the scene a surprising level of credibility. It doesn’t feel like game designers filled the space between two points with trash because the players needed to do something. Instead, this level of detail implies that every other point in space around The Sprawl would have an equally unique rubble. As absurd as a premise as a “space HALO jump” is on paper, Dead space 2 uses it to deepen the character of his world.
It’s not difficult to imagine a similar sequence in one Unexplored Title. The music swells, Nathan Drake jokes, the player gets last-minute help from an unexpected ally. But perhaps most importantly, this offset doesn’t reveal the basis of the horror Empty room Series is built. Although not scary in the traditional sense, the HALO jump is painfully tense. The game makes us understand the desperation of this moment; Isaac has to make that jump and if he screws it up his friends will likely die. As the sparse sound design escalates in intensity and the obstacles become more complex and difficult to circumvent, I work up a sweat. Every time I have to evade the huge infrastructure, I grit my teeth.
Rumors of a return continue to circulate Empty room either way. EA can revive the series, and some of the senior developers of the original games are working on a new IP with a familiar style. I look forward to this generation developing the franchise, but I hope we don’t let it happen Dead space 2 drifting out of our collective memories. Because despite all the technical advances in the last ten years, I have not yet found a title that manages to balance stress and spectacle, horror and awe more effectively.