Dead Space 2 is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.
It is the sequel to Dead Space. Unlike its predecessor, Dead Space 2 has a multiplayer mode. A Collector's Edition is available for all three platforms. The PlayStation 3 Limited Edition includes Dead Space: Extraction as a PlayStation Move compatible title.
Dead Space 2 is a survival horror third-person shooter. The player controls Isaac Clarke from a third-person point of view, looking over the character's right shoulder. The game features no HUD, relying on holograms projected from the player character and his weapons to show information such as messages and ammunition count, respectively. Player health and stasis are shown by visual indicators on Isaac's back. Isaac must fight an alien organism that infects and takes control of human corpses, turning them into "Necromorphs", mutating their bodies. Necromorphs must be dismembered as the alien organism controls host bodies via tentacles extending into their limbs. Other, larger types of Necromorphs that cannot be dismembered will often have yellow, glowing pustules, indicating weak spots. Occasionally, when an enemy gets close enough to Isaac, they will grab a hold of him, and the player must repeatedly press a key to fend off the enemy, with failure to do so leading to death of the player character.
The player acquires two modules; a "stasis" module, allowing the player to slow down enemies or objects, allowing for otherwise insurmountable moving obstacles such as active heavy machinery to be slowed down, allowing Isaac to safely pass, and the "kinesis" module, which allows Isaac to manipulate objects, machinery, and panels obscuring important circuitry, which Isaac can then tamper with in order to open doors and gain access to otherwise restricted areas.
The player may upgrade their weapons and armor at work benches, using power nodes found throughout the game. In-game stores may be accessed where the player may buy and sell various items and attain new weapons and suits through the acquisition of schematics found throughout the levels.
The player encounters zero-G environments, where Isaac is capable of maneuvering with thrusters attached to his suit.
Dead Space 2 offers five difficulty levels; Casual, Normal, Survivalist, Zealot and Hard Core. Hard Core mode is unlocked once the game has been completed. It can only be played from a fresh start and the player is limited to three saves in the entire game, with ammunition, health, supplies and credits being very difficult to find, and enemies are very challenging. There are no checkpoints in this mode.
Multiplayer mode pits two teams of four players against each other, one team consisting of humans trying to accomplish an objective, and the other consisting of Necromorphs, who are tasked with stopping the humans from accomplishing said objective.
Each playable character has two weapons in their arsenal. New weapons and their secondary firing modes can be unlocked through level progression, along with different colored suits for the humans. The necromorphs on the other hand, unlock different abilities or bonuses to their current abilities.and can play split-screen online.
The game begins in a hospital on the Sprawl, a densely populated metropolis built on a shard of Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Isaac Clarke has no memory of the last three years, having just been released by Franco, the protagonist of Dead Space Ignition. However, before he can remove the straitjacket, Franco is killed and transformed into a necromorph, leaving Isaac to escape on his own.
He is later contacted by a woman named Daina, who guides him to her location. He is also contacted by another patient, Nolan Stross, claiming he and Isaac can destroy the Marker, which Hans Tiedmann, the station's administrator, forced them both to rebuild after finding Isaac adrift. Ignoring Stross, Isaac fights his way across the city, making his way to Daina. Upon his arrival, two guards seize Isaac as Daina reveals that she is a Unitologist sent to "recover" Isaac, claiming that he is responsible for building the Marker that is causing the current infestation and that they need him to build more.
As they are about to leave, A Titan Security gunship guns down Daina and her associates, allowing Isaac to escape. Stross contacts Isaac again and he reluctantly decides to trust Stross, as his only mission now is to destroy the Marker. Stross tells Isaac that the Marker is located in the Government Sector under lockdown. As he makes his way there, Isaac comes across another survivor, Ellie Langford, a CEC officer who eventually joins their mission, deciding that she needs their help to survive. As they progress through the Sprawl, Tiedemann, throws several obstacles in their way to stop them from getting to the Marker. Later, Stross' dementia worsens, causing him to attack Ellie, stabbing her eye out with a screwdriver. She survives, and later Isaac is forced to kill Stross in self-defense. As he fights his way to the Marker Isaac experiences visions of Nicole, which become more vivid as she tries to deter him from his task. Eventually he comes to accept that he cannot run away anymore, and that his destiny is to sacrifice his life to stop the Marker, causing the Nicole visions to become friendly.
Upon reaching the Government sector, Isaac sends Ellie away alone on a gunship, despite her protests. He does this because he reasons that, even though he could not save Nicole, there is still time for him to save Ellie. Once inside, he releases the doors holding back the necromorphs trying to get to the Marker, who overwhelm Tiedemann's men. Isaac eventually comes upon the Marker, which is surrounded by necromorphs. As Isaac looks on, the Marker begins "convergence", an event foretold by the Unitologists. With the vision of Nicole guiding him, he comes upon a machine that unlocks the blocked Marker-infected parts of his mind, which Nicole claims will help him.
He then fights his way to the Marker, where he encounters Tiedemann, whom Isaac is forced to kill. Isaac then approaches the Marker when the Nicole vision suddenly pulls Isaac into his own mind. There, Isaac encounters the parts affected by the Marker and the Nicole vision, who then reveals that the only way to make the Marker "whole" is to absorb the body and mind of the one who created it. After a lengthy battle, Isaac is able to destroy the Nicole vision and rid all traces of the Marker's influence from his mind, destroying the Marker in the process.
Upon exiting his mind, Isaac slumps to the ground, ready to accept his fate as the violent destruction of the Marker leads to the collapse of the station. Suddenly, Isaac receives a call from Ellie, who crashes the gunship through the ceiling. As Titan Station collapses, Isaac makes his way onto the gunship and they escape.
After the credits, an audio transmission is heard between two people, an unknown subordinate and his ranking superior (known only as "the Overseer" from one of the text logs that can be collected during the course of the game). The subordinate relays that Titan Station (which was Marker Site 12) and the Marker have been destroyed. The Overseer replies that the other sites will then have to “pick up the pieces”.
The game's creative director, Wright Bagwell, said that Dead Space was very similar to Resident Evil. "There's an interesting story from Dead Space and Dead Space 2, which is that when we started building Dead Space, we basically started with a mechanic set that was really similar to Resident Evil 4, the [people on the] team were really huge fans of that game."
The game's art director, Ian Milham, commented about the multiplayer of Dead Space 2, "Other games are fine but this is different. It's the kind of multiplayer that could only exist in a Dead Space type world."
A closed multiplayer beta began on September 23, 2010. A playable demo was released for the Xbox Live Marketplace worldwide and PlayStation Network on December 21, 2010 in North America and on December 22, 2010 in Europe.
As part of a build up campaign to Dead Space 2's release, Visceral Games ran a competition via Facebook to get your face in the game by creating a piece of text, video or artwork detailing a melee kill by Isaac Clarke. The winner, chosen from ten finalists, will have their face put on a character who will meet a rather violent end.
A downloadable game was released on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace prior to the release of Dead Space 2. Titled Dead Space Ignition, it comprises three minigames: Hardware Crack, Trace Route, and System Override. Dead Space Ignition has four endings and obtaining each ending unlocks a piece of equipment for use in Dead Space 2. The creator of the Dead Space comic book series Antony Johnston wrote the story for Dead Space: Ignition. The game was also available as a free pre-order bonus with the standard and collectors edition.
EA announced that the multiplayer component of the game would be receiving two new multiplayer maps. The "Outbreak Map Pack," which includes The Academy and The Concourse, will send players back to survive multiplayer evisceration in The Sprawl on May 31 and June 3 for Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively. 
The Collector's Edition of Dead Space 2 features a copy of the game, replica plasma cutter, CD soundtrack, DLC voucher (for access to the Unitology Suit and Force Gun) and artwork. In North America, all three system versions comes with the plasma cutter. In Europe, however, only the Xbox 360 and PC versions come with the plasma cutter. The PlayStation 3 version forgoes the replica gun and comes with Dead Space: Extraction, and a DLC voucher for access to the Rivet Gun. It is the HD version of Extraction which supports PlayStation Move, features co-op gameplay options, and has been updated to include full trophy support.
 Downloadable content
Three downloadable content packages were available at launch: the Hazard pack, the Supernova pack and the Martial Law pack. Each include multiple new suits and weapons.
The first post-launch downloadable content package, titled Dead Space 2: Severed, was announced on January 25, 2011. It features characters previously seen in Dead Space: Extraction contained in a standalone two chapter single-player campaign. It was released on March 1, 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
For the advertising campaign, 200 women were selected for their conservative values and lack of familiarity with video games. Their reactions to a screening of the game were featured in EA's web and TV advertisements with the campaign slogan called "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2".
The campaign was criticised as sexist and reinforcing stereotypes against female and older gamers. As the game is M rated and only 17+ can purchase it, others thought the advertisements were pointless and would hurt market share. Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com wrote: "The video game's campaign hinges on a unique premise -- one that ignores how much the culture of gaming has changed."
The game has received highly positive reviews from critics. PSM3 gave the game 92%. Official Xbox Magazine gave the game a 9.5. Game Informer's Andrew Reiner gave Dead Space 2 a 9/10. He praised its horror aspect by claiming "Battling a seven-foot beast that vomits acidic bile and tries to impale Isaac with razor-sharp appendages is one thing, but watching a mother cradle a necromorph baby will haunt my nightmares until I die." Official Xbox Magazine UK gave the game 9 out of 10. GameTrailers gave the game 9.0 out of 10, praising the game's dark and dreary atmosphere and its intense and unrelenting gameplay, while pointing out the multiplayer component for certain of its shortcomings.
GameSpot's editor Carolyn Petit, who gave the game a score of 8.5 for the Xbox 360 and a 9.0 for the PlayStation 3, said: "Dead Space 2 doesn't bring with it the same sense of experiencing something utterly new and innovative that its predecessor did. But it's nonetheless a terrific game, with a campaign that simultaneously leaves you satisfied and eager for more, and intense multiplayer that gives you a great reason to keep coming back to this terrifying universe. Unless you're just plain chicken, this is a sci-fi horror adventure you definitely want to suit up for."
IGN's editor Greg Miller gave the game a 9.0, saying that the survival-horror genre got a new gold standard and that: "Dead Space 2 is more than just an action game and it's more than a survival horror game -- it's a game that tells a really personal story about a guy who has been seriously scarred by the events around him. That premise alone makes it interesting, but Visceral Games melds it with rewarding combat, shocking enemies, and huge set pieces before tossing it into a world that's truly creepy and scary." He also said that he did not find the multiplayer very interesting.
Thierry Nguyen from 1UP.com compared Dead Space 2 and its predecessor to "Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens". In his review, he says, "The first installments in both series focus on civilians panicking their way through a dark spaceship while avoiding an extraterrestrial lurking horror; both follow-ups retain their predecessor's basic aesthetic while deliberately shifting from creeping tension into outright sci-fi action. Aliens introduced space marines, the power loader exosuit, and the Alien Queen; Dead Space 2 gives us scenes of Isaac flying around in zero-g, mowing down Necromorphs with an assault rifle while wearing 'space marine' armor, and confidently throwing explosives with his telekinetic powers."
Fangoria's Doug Norris gave the game 4/4 skulls, praising both the gore and psychological horror. He stated that the intro is "one of the most hellacious first fifteen minutes of a game ever to appear on consoles."
Destructoid's Jim Sterling liked Clarke's change from a silent protagonist to a speaking role, and praised the overall quality of the single player part of the game. However, he felt that there were too many tight corridors in the Sprawl, which made it look like the spaceship of the previous game. He also thought that the multiplayer was "rather unsatisfying and delivers nothing of the pacing and tension that the main game brings."
Hardcore Gamer's Adam Beck gave Dead Space 2 a 4.5/5, praising the cinematic single-player campaign but criticizing its horror aspect by claiming "there are just too many expected encounters when you enter a room and it never allows you to let your guard down". He goes on to say "Dead Space 2 is one of the most disturbing, grotesque and unsightly games I've ever played... but it's so damn good."
EA reported that Dead Space 2 sold nearly 2 million units in the first week of its release.