Dead Space 2: My Hardcore Mode Experience, Part 1 – Weapons, Upgrades, and Tips & Strategies I used

Dead Space 2 PS3

What I wanted to do back in October was write a third Halloween Gaming blog post so I could talk about Dead Space 2 for the PS3. However, once I decided to tackle Hardcore Mode in this game, I decided to devote my time and attention to it and then I would write about my Hardcore Run, which I think would make a more interesting read.

Three years ago, in October of 2010, I started playing the original Dead Space on my PS3 and I had wanted to get the Platinum Trophy for it before Halloween (October 31) of that year. As you can see in the picture below, I managed to do so (just barely, haha!)

Dead Space Platinum Trophy

And now I wanted to do the same thing with Dead Space 2. I thought that if it was possible for me to get the Platinum Trophy for Dead Space 2, then I wanted to do so before Halloween this year. Unfortunately, my Hardcore Run took longer than I thought.

For those who don’t know, you get a trophy (or achievement if you’re playing on the Xbox 360) for beating Dead Space 2 in Hardcore Mode. This mode is only unlocked after you beat the game once.

There are fifteen chapters in the game and during Hardcore Mode you only have 3 saves to get through the entire game. The enemies are strong and do a lot of damage. You get less ammo drops.

To be fair, a few of the chapters are pretty short and you do get a decent amount of health packs and money clips lying around. And once you give your weapons/rig/stasis some good upgrades, things aren’t as hard.

But, as I mentioned, you only get 3 saves. There are no checkpoint restarts (which the other difficulty modes have). You die, you get sent back to your last save. If you haven’t saved, you get sent back to the beginning of the game. You have to watch the opening cutscene again (I don’t think there’s any way to skip any of the “cutscenes” in the game).

Needless to say, this is brutal.

Anyway, there are four things I wanted to cover in this blog post: Playthroughs, Weapons, Upgrades, and Stasis. And there is one word you’ll see me use over and over again throughout this blog post.

Some of these tips and strategies I talk about in this blog post may be common sense, but I do want to mention them because these are the tips and strategies that I used in my Hardcore Run.

First up – the Playthroughs

As I mentioned above, you have to beat the game at least once in order to unlock Hardcore Mode. I’ve heard some people recommend that you do a second playthrough before tackling Hardcore Mode, and this does help. If you are going for the Platinum Trophy, you have to beat the game on Zealot Difficulty anyway (which, like Hardcore Mode, is also not available until you beat the game once), so you can do a playthrough on Zealot Difficulty as your second playthrough.

However, doing a second playthrough before Hardcore Mode is not necessary if you intend to use written walkthroughs or youtube walkthrough videos during your Hardcore Run, since these walkthroughs and videos will help you know where any enemy spawn points are, along with telling you what kind of enemies and how many of them are coming at you.

But if you feel like doing a second playthrough before Hardcore Mode will make you more comfortable with Hardcore Mode, then by all means, go ahead and do the second playthrough.

I myself did two playthroughs on Casual Difficulty before tackling Hardcore Mode. If I had to do it over again, I would do that second playthrough on a higher difficulty (but not necessarily Zealot)

Anyway, when I got frustrated with Hardcore Mode, I started up a playthrough on Zealot and played a few chapters. I would always go back to this Zealot playthrough if I got too frustrated with Hardcore Mode.

For those who don’t know, Dead space 2 lets you have multiple save files. I currently have 9 or 10 different Dead Space 2 save files.

Next I’ll talk about the weapons.

If you read some written walkthroughs on internet and/or watch some youtube videos about hardcore mode (and I recommend that you do this), you’ll hear people talk about weapons that you “must use” during hardcore mode. The thing is, these people are all using different weapons as the “must have” weapons.

So what are the “right” weapons to use during your hardcore run? What are the “must have” weapons?

Well, the answer is – whatever weapons you are most comfortable using. Yes, go ahead and use the weapons you are comfortable with using. That also means that if you are not comfortable using a certain weapon, then don’t use it. For example, if you watch a youtube video about Hardcore Mode and someone says that you must use the Line Gun but you are not comfortable using it, then don’t use it.

For the record, as I will mention below, I did use the Line Gun during my Hardcore Run.

Also if you watch a youtube video or read a walkthrough and see a strategy to kill enemies that you like, then use that strategy. If you don’t like it or if you are uncomfortable with using that strategy, then don’t use it, otherwise you will most likely get killed.

As you’re reading the walkthroughs and/or watching the videos, you will hear people recommend that you buy the DLC weapons. There are weapon/armor bundles available on PSN and I believe each bundle is $5.00. I never bought any of the DLC weapons, but if you want to spend money for those weapons, they are helpful.

The weapon I used the most was the plasma cutter, the first weapon you get. It’s the weapon I was the most comfortable using. You can find a decent amount of ammo for it. This weapon fires and reloads pretty quickly, especially after you upgrade it.

In addition to the Plasma Cutter, I also used the Detonator, which was crucial for me during the elevator ride with the tripods in Chapter 7. Other weapons I used include the Force Gun and the Line Gun for the timed mine (Alt Fire). I used those four weapons until the last two chapters, where I switched the Line Gun for the Charged Beam.

I have seen some people put the Ripper to good use, but I was never comfortable with using it in my Hardcore Run. Using the Ripper effectively meant getting up close and personal with the enemies, which is something I’m not comfortable doing. But if you like using the Ripper, then by all means, go ahead and use it.

I’ve read some guides and heard some people say that you shouldn’t have to buy very much ammo at the stores. Just use the ammo you pick up and spend your money on power nodes (for the upgrades).

Do I recommend this? Well, again, it depends on what you are comfortable with. If you’re more comfortable carrying more ammo, then buy more ammo, even if that means you might not be able to buy a power node. If you’re fine with the amount of ammo you have on you, then go ahead and buy that power node.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t upgrade at all, because you definitely should. The game does have a decent amount power nodes lying around, and if you use a walkthrough or video guide, you can find them.

Speaking of upgrades, you won’t have enough power nodes to upgrade every single thing, so you have to choose which things you want to upgrade. I would suggest upgrading things you feel comfortable with. If you think upgrading your primary weapon (the weapon you use the most) helps you feel more comfortable and confident, go ahead and do that.

If you rather upgrade your HP (your health) on your Rig, do that. However, if I remember correctly, getting that third HP upgrade costs 5 or 6 power nodes so that’s a pretty expensive upgrade.

If having more stasis makes you feel more comfortable, go ahead and upgrade that.

So how did I do my upgrades?

Well, first I went with the first two HP upgrades on my RIG. Then I pretty much alternated between upgrading my Plasma Cutter (my primary weapon) and my stasis until both were maxed out. I put two upgrades into my Detonator (one was Capacity and the other was Reload Speed I believe). I also put a few nodes into my Line Gun and Force Gun.

At the beginning of Chapter 10 I had the Alt Fire maxed out on my Charged Beam, in case I wanted to use the Alt Fire in the difficult fights in Chapter 10, but I didn’t end up using it.

By the time I reached that dreaded machine at the end of Chapter 13 (and everyone who has played this game knows that I’m talking about), I had my Charged Beam almost maxed out.

By that time, I had also put those 5 or 6 nodes into my RIG to get that third HP upgrade. I don’t remember if I managed get that fourth and final HP upgrade. However, I never upgraded my air or TK (Telekinesis) on my RIG.

Finally, I want to go over stasis. Most of you already know this, but for those who don’t know, your stasis does recharge over time without having to use those stasis charging machines or stasis packs. Without any upgrades you get to shoot two stasis shots before running out, and it takes a few minutes before your stasis refills completely

So if you are having some trouble fighting enemies, just stasis them and then kill them. Then go to a safe area and wait until your stasis recharges. Sometimes you can just stand where you are and wait, because most of the time (but not all the time) enemies don’t spawn until you move forward and trigger them.

This also helps you conserve ammo too. By the putting those necromorphs in stasis, it makes it easier to aim at their limbs. What I like to do is put an enemy in stasis, shoot off one of their sharp arms (not their legs) with my Plasma Cutter, and then use that sharp arm to impale them by using TK. Hopefully it would only take one piece of ammo from my Plasma Cutter to cut off their arm, helping me conserve my ammo.

Even better, sometimes I would stasis them and then kill them without using any ammo by picking up a sharp spike from the ground with TK and shooting it at them. In a few instances I even used my melee attacks to kill them while they’re in stasis (not recommended for pukers and exploders, for obvious reasons).

Yes, it is long and boring sometimes to wait for your stasis to recharge but once you have your stasis upgraded the recharge time isn’t too bad. What I did was, since I have a laptop close to me in my gaming area, I would surf the internet while waiting for my stasis to recharge. I would check some sports scores and see how my favorite teams were doing. Also I would use that waiting period to go grab a snack or drink if I wanted one.

Naturally, waiting around for your stasis to recharge adds more time to your overall playthrough time, but like I said, if you are having trouble fighting enemies, using your stasis can help you a lot.

As we reach the end of this blog, I’m sure most you have noticed that I used the word “comfortable” a lot. And that’s the key thing. Make sure you use weapons, upgrades, and strategies that you are comfortable with. If not, you might end up doing some foolish things over and over again, which will most likely result in death.

Stay tuned for more blog posts about my Dead Space 2 Hardcore Mode experience.

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