Supreme space carnage
While 2008's slow-burning shocker Dead Space was an unabashed love letter to Ridley Scott's Alien, the sequel is an explosive homage to James Cameron's balls-out xenomorph frag-fest Aliens. In short: this time it's war.
Staged in a huge interplanetary settlement known as The Sprawl, the gnawing loneliness and extreme isolation of the first game is gone, thrusting players into the heart of an unfolding tragedy where space settlers are torn limb-from-limb by the reanimated corpses of their friends, rescue ships crash into each other in their haste to escape the carnage, and the plaintive cries of terrified colonists and abandoned babies echo through the steel corridors.
Like the original Dead Space, the sequel is as much about atmosphere as it is the dismemberment of monsters using brutal mining tools. Realistic shadows provide dingy hiding places for the aliens, nightmarish hallucinations of the mentally-disturbed hero make you question everything you see, and fiendish mutants lurk around every corner. They'll haunt your nightmares long after you've switched off your console.
Players need to nurse their ammunition which may irk hardcore gun-nuts, and the uncompromisingly tough action will frustrate anyone looking for an empowering bout of alien butchery, but for genuinely unnerving action delivered with style and a sharp sense of storytelling, Dead Space 2 is hard to beat.