Well it's finally over. The necromorphs are gone, the world is saved and it's time to wrap things up. I finished Dead Space 2 tonight; it took me just over 10 hours on Survivalist difficulty. I took my time and had to redo some sections multiple times. So if you're playing on an easier difficulty, you can probably count on at least 8 hours, which isn't bad for a game like this.
Overall, my final impressions of the game are fairly consistent with my first impressions. The game is gorgeous, the action is great. The story sucks, which was pretty disappointing. Not that the first Dead Space was Shakespeare, but at least it was coherent. This game just feels very disjointed. The story is nonsensical enough when you have it all laid out for you, but in the game it's presented in bits and pieces, usually in the middle of something else. This makes it nearly impossible to follow. Which is sad when it pretty much boils down to "Find the marker and destroy it."
The setting didn't really do anything for me either. The first game does a great job of presenting the Ishimura to you. There's this beautiful in-game cutscene where you get to see it from outside in all it's glory. You really get a sense of how massive this thing is. The inside all looks very industrial, like you would expect a deep space mining ship to. It only adds to the creepiness of it all. Dead Space 2 takes place on The Sprawl, which is some kind of space city I guess? You never really get a sense that it is a living, breathing (in space olol) city. There are some very pretty things to look at, but they just didn't have the same impact for me.
As you may remember, I was not a fan of talking Isaac. Well I really disliked him for a good 75% of the game. He is basically a big whiney bitch. "Wah wah how do I open this door? Where is the marker, blah blah" But late in the game he seems to actually grow a pair, and shows some signs of growth as a character. I thought that was pretty cool and he started to grow on me. By the end I was cheering for him and ready to kick some ass. Only the last couple levels were pretty much a letdown and nothing as cool as the end boss of the first game showed up.
Also, when people call this more of an action game compared to the first, it's basically a lie. It plays very similar to the first Dead Space (Barring some cool scripted events) up until the last 3 levels, when the game just farts in your face and throws 50 hojillion tons of monsters at you. There's nothing as cool as the leviathan or the hive mind in this game. Just waves of monsters you've already seen before.
Overall I think that this game is a thrill ride that is definitely worth experiencing, even if it doesn't stay with you very long. Despite the story being a letdown, there's enough to do and see that I was always entertained, and wanting to play to reach that next save point. Even if I can't give this my Game of the Universe award, I think it deserves my Game of the Solar System award. And if you don't like it you can talk to the hand!