Video Game Reviews

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This is my plasma cutter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Dead Space 2
EA/Visceral Games
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PC, PS3
Street: 01.25
The problem with killing necromorphs is two-fold. First of all, they’re fucking scary—that’s the heart of the issue. Secondly, and equally important: Shooting them in the head or body usually just makes them run at you a bit faster. So when the lights flicker off in the cramped service tunnels of The Sprawl, and you hear a clang and a growl come from behind, then a screech from ahead, it may feel like the perfect time to panic. But you must stay calm to adequately aim your plasma cutter at the squishy, sliceable limbs of the red-eyed abomination that is now screaming and flailing in a dead run straight at you. It’s what makes Dead Space 2 so effective: The trick to not getting killed is maintaining your faculties at the exact moment when the game is at its scariest. If you do it right, our hero Isaac is a harbinger of necromorph re-death. If you do it wrong (and you’ll do plenty of both), the different ways Isaac can die must number in the hundreds. There are few games scarier than the two-disc experience that is Dead Space 2. Every aspect is improved over the original, with controls, graphics and environments receiving the most attention. Controlling Isaac, in my opinion, is nearly perfect—the tight, responsive feel of it plays a big part in making the game so enjoyable. The story is more present this time around, but DS2 is still about the necromorph-slaughtering gameplay above anything else. If you’ve ever enjoyed a survival horror title, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t love Dead Space 2. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much fun being scared. –Jesse Hawlish

Namco Bandai Games
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3
Street: 11.23.10
For a fairly simple hack-and-slash button-mashing game, Splatterhouse is actually a great deal of bloody fun. The introduction of the classic Splatterhouse series of side-scrolling gameplay that warranted the success of a trilogy on platforms such as Nintendo, NES, Genesis and others, could have been better. The storyline is enough to keep you going, but nothing to blow your socks off: You’re looking for your kidnapped girlfriend in a mad/occult scientist’s lair, with a hell of a lot of other story-related content that really doesn’t get explained all that well. Splatterhouse isn’t about story lines—it’s about full on gore, a pretty rocking metal soundtrack and female nudity. With decapitations and dismemberment in all shapes and sizes, there is nary a moment while battling it out with the plethora of monsters where your screen won’t be covered in a bloody mess. While there are quite a few combo moves to practice up on, as well as the option of upgrading to new moves, I found myself finding only a handful of extremely useful ones, which generally got the job done. Splatterhouse is a mess of fun, especially for retro gamers. There are instances in game mode where you go into a side-scroller type mode. Additionally, a full playthrough unlocks the ability to play all three original Splatterhouse games. Plus, there are boss fights aplenty. It kind of reminded me of a really simple version of Devil May Cry. –Bryer Wharton

This is my plasma cutter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.