It's time to strategically dismember your friends.
Ever dreamt of blowing your friends arms off? Well, now it's time to live it in Dead Space 2. If you're one of those people who thought the first Dead Space just didn't have enough multiplayer options (see: any), EA and Visceral have your number with this sequel. Sure, the single-player storyline still follows our engineer-turned-Necromorph-murderer Isaac Clarke as he picks up what's left of his sanity after tangling with all sorts of horrors on the USG Ishimura, but the multiplayer portion of the game is a beast all its own.
Here, players face off in four-on-four matches. One side plays as a group of four humans decked out in suits like Isaac's, and the other four combatants take on the roles of Necromorphs, the horrible reanimated corpses/aliens we all know and love. Players brawl in objective-based maps, one side wins, and then the roles are flipped and the humans become monsters and vice versa. You'll be leveling up as you play, but not much was revealed on that front.
The engineers shouldn't require too much explanation as these guys are just versions of the single-player character you know. You can stomp, fire your plasma cutter, whip out your space machine gun to mow down enemies, and even use stasis to freeze incoming bad guys (it takes a while to reload, though). Everything controls like it did in the first game. Being a Necropmorph, well, that's a brand new element. When you start – and each time you respawn – you'll get to choose what kind of Necromorph you come back as. For the demo IGN played, this included the Spitter, the Lurker and the Pack, but EA reports that you can be the Puker in the final version as well.
Anyway, each of these Necromorphs plays in a very different way. The Spitter is a bipedal beast that can walk around and (you guessed it) spit a corrosive, acid-like substance at the human players. You can perform light spits by tapping the button or major ones by holding the button and charging up the attack. The Pack ghouls are the size of your average 7-year-old and can run around levels wildly slashing at enemies. If you time it right, you can latch onto opponents while jumping and then get to mash a button to inflict major slashing damage. Rounding out the group, we played as the Lurker. These are the enemies that can crawl on the walls and have those spitting tentacles that pop out of they're back. When you take control of a Lurker, you can crawl on those walls, too, and rain hell on your enemies. If you land all three of your shots on the same enemy, you're going to deal three times the damage.
For the debut of Dead Space 2 multiplayer, EA showed two game types, but there will be five in the final game. The first charged the team of humans with collecting bomb components and detonating the construct so that the men could escape from the Necromorphs crawling all over the Sprawl. As the humans scurried around the place searching for components, it was up to the Necromorphs to spit, eat and kill the normies. Assemble the bomb and survive long enough to detonate it, and the humans win the day. Have time expire with the hull walls intact, and the Necromorphs celebrate their undead awesomeness.
The second game type was all about getting to safety. Here, the humans had to activate terminals so that they could move on, set up and get to escape pods in the space station. They ran around to the onscreen objectives, and the Necromorphs tried to kill them. The interesting twist here is that there was an "every man for himself" moment. Working as a team is key to winning in Dead Space 2 multiplayer. If you're a lone Necromorph or human against two or three other players, you're screwed. For a human to activate whatever they're trying to activate, they need cover fire from friends regardless of the mode. Still, after the OK to go to escape pods is given, humans start leaving one by one.
Trust us, you don't want to be the last human trying to get to the last escape pod. If you are, you have four Necromorphs who have one sole objective: killing you.
So, now you know the basics. Ready to know what IGN's three Dead Space 2 players thought of the mode? Well, click on over for first-hand impressions from some of IGN's finest.