Dead Space 2 is one of the greatest horror games I’ve played in a long time. It’s delicious blend of action, spectacle and terror has made it an early contender for Game of the Year, so obviously it’s first dose of DLC has quite a bit to live up to. Severed is already different from the game its expanding upon because it follows the two protagonists from the on-rails shooter Dead Space: Extraction, Gabe Weller and his wife Lexine Murdoch.
Really, this is all about Gabe as he struggles through waves of beasties, including the Twitcher who should be familiar to fans of the original game, to save his wife. Just like Isaac’s problem in the main game, Gabe has to fend off Necromorphs and humans in order to reach his wife who’s being hunted by both. So does Severed live up to the bar set by the game it’s tagging along to, or is it a bit of a dud? Find out in my action-packed, spoiler free and blood soaked review of this delicious dose of DLC. The Baby Factor: If Dead Space 2 got together with More Dead Space for a night of hot incestuous Necromorph on Necromorph action, Severed would be their potentially genetically deficient offspring.
At 560 Microsoft A Baby Ate My Dingo Dollars I don’t recommend jumping into the DLC with the expectation of many hours of enjoyment. My first time through clocked in pretty close to two hours, and I tend to dick around a bit in my games. That said, there are a few new characters, or new at least to anyone who hasn’t yet played Extraction. Severed stars two of the main characters from the underrated on-rails shooter, Gabe Weller (the badass you control) and Lexine Murdoch, Gabe’s wife and the person he’s trying to reach before time runs out. The story is simple, your wife is in danger and your sole mission is to save her and royally fuck up anything that gets in your way.
Severed doesn’t bury the lead as one of its major additions is the ultra creepy Twitcher breed of Necromorph, which they tease at the very beginning of your adventure. If you played the first game you might remember your time aboard the crashed military ship where the soldiers inside it fused with their stasis devices creating unexpected results. Bottom line is, they’re incredibly fast, unpredictable and are insanely quiet allowing them the chance to run up behind you when you least expect it. They’re second to the Stalkers on my list of the best enemies in the Dead Space universe, if I was nerdy enough to have made a list of course (I totally did).
Once you’ve sunk a half hour or so you might start to wonder if Severed introduces any new areas to explore, as the first chapter takes you through the Titan Mines (a multiplayer map) and a few areas Isaac explored in the latter half of the game. Unfortunately, outside of the very end there are no new locations to see here, and that’s incredibly disappointing. One of the major improvements Dead Space 2 made over its predecessor was its much larger variety in the environments you explore. You’re on a space station the size of a large city but instead of taking from that deep ocean of potentially awesome new environments we have to essentially play through the main game backwards.
Sadly, there are no new weapons or equipment outside of Gabe’s incredibly cool new threads, and again, that’s really disappointing. I feel like Visceral had a story they wanted to tell, and an interesting one at that, but they didn’t want to show us anything new. Literally everything in Severed has been done before in previous Dead Space games and that’s a major let down after experiencing arguably the best horror game of this generation. It’s possible to mix things up, try new formulas, or give us interesting new places to visit. Just look at Resident Evil’s Lost in Nightmares expansion or BioShock 2’s Minerva’s Den. They were both flawed but at the very least they gave us a strong reason to return to a game and experience it in a different way.
For Dead Space fans I highly suggest picking this up, whether or not you played Extraction this is something enthusiasts of the series will enjoy immensely. But if you’re looking for something fresh and original there’s not much to be had here. I hate saying it but if you played through the game already there’s little reason to check this out unless you really want to know what happened to Gabe and Lexine.
The Final Word: It might not have lived up to the expectations set by Dead Space 2 (or the ones I set in my head) but for a bargain price this is definitely a worthwhile way to spend an evening.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of Dead Space: Severed.