Dead Space 2: Severed Review

There are a few ways to make episodic DLC work. You can dole out small additional pieces to a larger story (Alan Wake). You can create a new, self-contained story within the context of a larger story (Mass Effect 2). You can even have a new, self-contained story that doesn’t really have anything to do with the larger story of a game (Fallout).

Dead Space 2: Severed is an attempt to combine the first and second options, and it fails miserably.


Dead Space 2: Severed (XBox360 [Reviewed] PS3)
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 01, 2011
MSRP: $7

Severed is, basically, a sequel to Dead Space: Extraction. You play as Gabe Weller, one of the survivors from that game, as he attempts to rescue Lexine — who has become his wife — during the necromorph outbreak on the Sprawl. The story runs parallel to Isaac’s adventures in the main game.

Severed is best served if you think of it as an epilogue to Extraction, because the only purpose it serves is to say, “Oh, hey, yeah, by the way, this is what happened to Gabe and Lexine.” There’s no story arc, and nothing about Gabe or Lexine is interesting except in the greater Dead Space canon. Presented this way, though, it’s worthless; it would have been much more interesting to actually incorporate the mystery of Lexine either into Dead Space 2 proper or in a true sequel to Extraction.

On its own terms, Severed also suffers. It’s just an extra hour of Dead Space 2, but free of the context of Dead Space 2′s story, because Gabe’s journey is completely independent from Isaac’s. They only intertwine very superficially; the vast majority of the Severed has you backtracking through Isaac’s path out of the hospital, which is absolutely boring.

With a plot that runs parallel to that of the main game, Severed is most similar in concept to Blue Shift/Opposing Force and the GTA IV episodes. The difference between Severed and those games, aside from price, is that those titles were substantial enough to have actual story arcs, whereas Severed is too short to have one. The whole thing took me one hour to complete.

Here’s why I think Severed exists: the folks at EA and Visceral wanted to expand the Dead Space mythology and tie Extraction in with the main games while also making a little extra money. It’s amazing they would do it so clumsily, though, particularly after Mass Effect 2 so effectively tied together all of that franchise’s expanded universe materials. With Severed, though, it almost feels like Visceral is looking to run a little subfranchise for a while until they deem it convenient to combine the two.

Severed costs $7. Is it worth it? I really don’t think so. It’s little more than a cash-in, and there’s nothing new to experience here. There’s one very brief cool horror moment, but otherwise it’s just more of the same in places you’ve already been. It certainly isn’t crucial to your understanding of Dead Space that you play this, either, because whenever Lexine eventually becomes relevant, some character will explain her entire story in 30 seconds, and that will be more than enough.

final score: 20/100

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7 Comments on Dead Space 2: Severed Review

Joe

On March 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

I don’t mind paying 7 dollars for some extra play time, but it better be interesting and more than a mere hour. I may purchase it if they ever put it on the deal of the week for half the price, but until then, I think I’ll steer clear. Thanks for the info and the review.

Ryan

On March 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I don’t really know why the author had such a negative outlook on this DLC? I have played through all the dead space games and while I can understand if you don’t know the storyline you may not care, but I think it is still enjoyable. I bought it and played through it entirely in one sitting. It took me just under 2 hours and I have to say I can’t wait to put in another two hours to beat it at another difficulty or with a new weapon loadout. If you liked dead space 2 and you want a little different experience, I don’t think you’ll regret buying this.

Jordan

On March 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I literally just completed DS Severered. To be honest, i agree with everything this guy just said.. it’s irrelevent, boring and in my opinion, lazy. This is just backtracking through the original single player’s first chapter and adding in a map from multiplayer. Not much work has been done on this, bad times.

Fletcher

On March 4, 2011 at 1:15 am

I actually really enjoyed this dlc. Sure it wasn’t a lot but it was generally cheap when compared to other dlcs i’ve seen as of late. I think it’s worth the price. It was nice seeing the return of the Twitcher enemy in this dlc as well. Overall I think it’s worth it.

xino

On March 5, 2011 at 6:47 am

what do we expect from EA’s DLC? they are always a rip off

Sniper47

On March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I want to play it on PC. Put the DLC Extraction+Severed on one disc and I pay You 30 bucks.Its unfair for PC community!

No.

On March 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

The fact that the author compares the way DLC was handled with Mass Effect 2 compared to this as if they were developed by the same company nukes virtually all credibility he has. While I disagree with the review itself, I also believe it was very poorly written and, the points that were brought up were terrible.

Essentially what I’m saying is: 2/10.