Dead Space 2 Soundtrack, Jason Graves, 2011
“The Same. But Different. Yet Better.” According to Jason Graves, those were the words that he stuck above his monitor when composing Dead Space 2. Considering the success of Dead Space’s aural aspects – two BAFTAs and a degree of media attention few game scores ever achieve – Grave’s goal was no doubt an ambitious one. Then again, no matter how ferocious Dead Space’s soundtrack was, there was room for improvement. Graves’ breakthrough work was the equivalent of a horror movie that tries to scare its audience with jump scare after jump scare. And at some stage, watching monsters leap at the protagonist for yet another “boo!” effect gets old.
Fortunately, Graves fixes this and other issues on the Dead Space 2 soundtrack. It is still unmistakably the soundtrack for a very scary game. But at the same time, through a more varied approach to creating unease and immersion, Dead Space 2 clearly surpasses its predecessor. It delivers a surprisingly multi-faceted exploration of the dark corridors of both a haunted space station and of its protagonist Isaac Clarke’s disintegrating mind.